So let’s address the elephant in the room.
Peter Deneff is a pianist who wrote a book about technique for guitar.
On one hand, there are benefits.
For instance, as a guitar player, I often have to read music or guitar parts written by pianists. And… they are often VERY CHALLENGING technically especially when the pianist doesn’t actually play guitar.
There are certain technical challenges that come with playing guitar – such as fretting hand fingering choices and picking directions. Most of these are not systematic as other instruments mainly because the guitar is a younger instrument (compared to the piano or violin) and also because different guitarists adapt different techniques.
If you’re into Benson Picking for instance, there are certain things that you can do to make the picking smoother. If you like the sound Frank Gambale gets, then there are certain fingering choices that you will make to allow economy/sweep/speed picking to take place.
Now back to the book, since Peter Deneff (a pianist) wrote it, we get to see different kinds of musical ideas that I rarely see in one single book.
In the 51 exercises, there are exercises with diatonic triads, 7th chord arpeggios, fourths, triads and other intervallic patterns moving chromatically up by step as well as exercises in whole tone scales, diminished scales and chromatic patterns.
There’s a lot of variety & this is great for us.
Now the main thing that can be confusing for most guitarists (including myself) are the fingering indications. No strings are indicated in the notation, only left hand fingerings. Therefore, you have to deduce the logical string sets that the notes are played on.
Some of these fingerings are actually quite interesting and useful. But, some are “logical to a pianist” but wouldn’t make sense to most guitarists. In that regard, this is the most common issue that I’ve read online about other guitarists who have gotten this book. That, and the fact that there is no tablature in the book. There’s only standard notation.
So the question is: Is this a good book?
Well to me it is. It sort of reminds me of different books like Eric Marienthal’s Comprehensive Jazz Studies & Exercises for All Instruments, Jerry Coker’s Patterns for Jazz and The Serious Jazz Practice Book by Barry Finnerty (reviewed recently).
Do note that because this wasn’t written by a guitarist we get to see note sequences that are challenging in different ways… but because of that as well, sometimes the fingering solution provided is not logical at all to me.
Personally I would recommend getting How To Develop Virtuoso Single Line Technique For Jazz Guitar by Adam Rafferty (previously reviewed here) since that book actually has a more consistent approach for fingering. Adam is also an accomplished and technically fluent jazz guitarist so his fingerings are way more logical than this.
Perhaps an alternative might be taking the ideas from Peter’s book and using Adam’s fingering logic (or any other logical fingering choices, depending on your technique).
In conclusion, this is a good book if you’re looking for technical exercises and melodic ideas… but more so for intermediate or advanced guitarists who already have an idea of how to approach left hand fingering. If not, you’re probably better off getting another book by a guitarist first before using this book.
Pros: Good exercises, value for money, tons of melodic ideas for technique building.
Cons: Fingerings can be confusing, no tablature.
TLDR: Even though it says it’s for the beginning to professional guitarist, I recommend this book as a supplementary book for intermediate to advanced guitarist. Beginners would probably benefit from the book IF you have a good private instructor to guide using the book.
[Where to buy the book]
You can get the book from Amazon and other online book sellers.
I wrote a lot of other book, course and video reviews too.
Check out the rest here:
[Read more reviews]
[Submissions for Review Consideration]
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