San Francisco Bay Area-based impressionistic guitarist Hristo Vitchev has been one of the most prolific jazz guitar education product creator of recent times. It seems like he’s releasing something new every week (or sometimes it feels like twice a week). However, this is a good thing since Hristo’s output reflects both his clarity of thought & virtuosic perspective on the instrument.
It’s been awhile since I reviewed anything from Hristo so I’m excited to share with you in this review (as well as others to come), my take on his series of books, videos, etudes and courses that break down aspects of jazz great Pat Metheny’s playing.
Although Pat has been a huge part of the jazz guitar world since his earliest releases in the late 1970s, there still isn’t that much material that addresses HOW he does what he does. Of course, we are blessed with the Pat Metheny Songbook (a great collection of his original compositions) and also Pat Metheny Guitar Etudes – Warmup Exercises For Guitar (a cool collection of transcriptions of his warmups during a concert tour in Italy back in Summer 2010), but still… we don’t have that much material explaining Pat’s signature phrasing and melodic vocabulary.
This is why I’ve been excited to see Hristo embark on this series. For the first review, we’re looking at Chromatic Methenyisms. This is more than just an eBook or video lesson.
In fact, you get:
- The CHROMATIC METHENYISMS book (a 36-page PDF file)
- HD tutorial video “Chromatic Methenyisms Explained” (Modal Architecture) (a 2.3 GB M4V file that goes on for 32 minutes & 26 seconds)
- Chromatic Methenyisms (Short Phrase Samples) HD Video (a 144.9 MB M4V file, 2 minutes and 2 seconds long)
- Two backing tracks: D9sus4 harmonic background and Amin9 harmonic background. (these are two WAV files, 45 seconds & 56 seconds long each)
For me, the core of this package is the tutorial video. Hristo explains how he thinks of guitar scale fingerings on the guitar (it’s a modified take on the standard 3-note per string system). This fingering concept is very important if you want to master any of the exercises and phrases that Hristo demonstrates.
He also explains how to take the “Methenyisms” and transpose them within his fingering system. The most important I feel is when he explains how to modify the phrase to end on the right note in the system. He also demonstrates an example taking the first Methenyisms on a Amin7 chord.
The book gives us 8 different “Methenyisms” and takes them through all the positions in the key of G Major. Hristo labels each position according to the 7 modes (starting on G, it’s G Ionian, starting on A, it’s A Dorian etc.).
The atual “Methenyisms” are notated with the articulation Hristo uses (pull-offs, hammer-ons, slides and hammer-ons from nowhere) but the actual exercises give the notes & tab without articulations. In one sense, this keeps the notation cleaner but some guitarists may want to add additional markings for practice. I recommend printing out the PDF for easier study/marking (or you can also put it on your tablet if you’d like).
Personally, I would consider the entire package as almost a masterclass in Metheny’s approach to chromatic lines… and watching Hristo break it down, another masterclass in HOW TO PRACTICE this material systematically.
Many guitarists would benefit from understanding (and applying) the method of how Hristo practices. This alone is additional benefit from studying any of Hristo’s materials.
Virtuosos are virtuosos not only because they play well but because they see the instrument differently (usually in a more logical manner). When a virtuoso musician is also a great educator, we benefit from it. This book & video set is a great example of high quality jazz guitar education material.
Thanks Hristo Vitchev for his continuous work enriching the jazz guitar education world.
In conclusion, if you dig the sounds that Hristo gets (watch the video above for a preview of what he covers), get this book & video set now. As far as I know, there is nothing quite like this in the market. Strongly recommended for jazz guitarists who are already bored of more conventional jazz guitar books/material out there.
Pros: High quality, unique jazz guitar instruction that I have not seen explained like this (ever!)
Cons: Some guitarists may require additional help to study this material (there’s a lot to digest conceptually + technically), this is just the nature of this level of material.
TLDR: If you want to sound jazzier (get some Metheny vibes) and improve your single note soloing chops by A LOT, invest in this right now & start shedding.
How to Buy:
You can get the book & video here: https://gum.co/VXwiF
Thank you Hristo for the complimentary review copy.
And here are the links to all of Hristo’s related products in this series:
Hristo’s main website: http://www.modernjazzguitarbooks.com/
VOLUME 1: CHROMATIC METHENYISMS
Get the Book (TAB and standard notation + HD Tutorial Video + Two backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/VXwiF
VOLUME 2: CHROMATIC METHENYISMS ii-V7-I Application (Chromatic Melodic Ornamentation in the Style of Pat Metheny)
Get the Book (TAB and standard notation + HD Tutorial Video + backing track) here: https://gum.co/KrzHB
VOLUME 3: CHROMATIC METHENYISMS (Imaginary Triads)
Get the Book (TAB and standard notation + HD Tutorial Video + backing track) here: https://gum.co/cvTVd
VOLUME 4: CHROMATIC METHENYISMS (Pentatonics Uncompromised)
Get the Book (TAB and standard notation + HD Tutorial Video + backing track) here: https://gum.co/FYCLQ
CHROMATUDE #1: (Solar) – Chromatic Methenyisms Technical Studies: melodic/chordal
Get the Study (TAB and standard notation + backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/GUesG
CHROMATIC METHENYISMS (Lines You’ve Heard #1) – Short Melodic Phrase Example (FREE DOWNLOAD)
Get the Study (TAB and standard notation + HD Video/Audio + backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/IxGVV
CHROMATIC METHENYISMS (Lines You’ve Heard #2) – Short Melodic Phrase Example (James by P. Metheny)
Get the Study (TAB and standard notation + HD Video/Audio + backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/LkMQd
CHROMATIC METHENYISMS (Lines You’ve Heard #3) – Short Melodic Phrase Example – Minor Blues in “D”
Get the Study (TAB and standard notation + HD Video/Audio + backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/JAGZo
CHROMATIC METHENYISMS (Arpeggios ala Matini)
Get the Study (TAB and standard notation + HD Video/Audio + backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/AKbvDa
CHROMATIC METHENYISMS (Arpeggios ala Matini) Volume 2
Get the Study (TAB and standard notation + HD Video/Audio + backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/NkMyL
CHROMATIC METHENYISMS (Arpeggios ala Matini) 2516 Illustrations
FREE DOWNLOAD – Get the Study (TAB and standard notation + HD Video/Audio + backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/yppyt
CHROMATIC METHENYISMS – Wild Triad Quilts (3 Ornamentation Techniques)
Get the Study / Video Masterclass (TAB and standard notation + 30 mins. HD Video Masterclass + backing track) here: https://gum.co/lhcwx
DIATONIC METHENYISMS (Volume 1) – Diatonic Melodic Ornamentation in the Style of Pat Metheny – Video Masterclass
Get the Book / Video Masterclass (TAB and standard notation + backing tracks + HD Video Masterclass) here: https://gum.co/uhgkp
DIATONIC METHENYISMS (Methenycise #1 – C minor blues)
Get the Study (TAB and standard notation + HD Video + backing tracks) here: https://gum.co/jmmtf
I wrote a lot of other book, course and video reviews too.
Check out the rest here:
[Read more reviews]
[Submissions for Review Consideration]
- Are you an author who wrote a jazz, guitar or music book?
- Have you created a DVD or an online video course or subscription based website?
- Would you like me to review your book/course?
Please send me a message at azsamad3 at gmail.com with:
For courses: a link to the course/video/product + access info etc.
For books: a link to the book (Dropbox) or PDF attachment (if it’s small) for review consideration.
Depending on whether I dig the book/course, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!
I cannot guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p
NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig?