Arpeggios are the cornerstone for jazz guitar technique.
In many ways, in order to develop soloing skills through chord changes, an aspiring jazz guitarist must have solid control of arpeggios. The problem is that arpeggios by themselves do not make you sound jazz or jazzy. You need to be able to play them with the right kind of phrasing or melodic embellishments that fit the style.
With jazz guitar instructional books, sometimes you find books that demonstrate vocabulary in one key and let you figure out the fingerings & transpositions on your own.
Other books choose to demonstrate a line or phrase in every key. There are benefits to both kinds, depending on what kind of guitarist you are.
The naturally organized (systematic) guitar player will be able to figure out exercises that take a phrase into many keys & apply them to jazz standards.
However, someone new to jazz or jazz guitar vocabulary may benefit from some kind of structure.
That’s where Chase Maddox’s (of Jazzmemes.org) latest book comes to play.
In Master Arpeggios Book Volume 1, Chase has systematically written out arpeggios that outline Major7, Minor7 and Dominant7 sounds in each of the 5 positions or shapes specific to the guitar.
The fingerings are what really make this book helpful for practice.
There are of course many different II-V-I guitar lick books, but getting specific fingerings (to this level of detail) are what make this useful. Even though I might initially not agree with the fingering, but as I practiced the phrases, the logic of the fingering become clearer.
Chase has also included The 3 Month Practice Plan at 15min/day to help the aspiring arpeggio master get close to their goals. I find this very useful and in some ways reminded me of a practice schedule that Mick Goodrick once gave me for scale/arpeggio practice. (I really should dig that one out for practice again soon!)
I also started watching specific YouTube videos from Chase after studying the book. I soon realized that his videos are helpful if you want to understand the thinking behind the book & the lines that he has written. I recommend watching these three Youtube videos (at least) in conjunction with studying this book:
In conclusion, if you need more chops (especially when it comes to playing arpeggios in a musical way), this book might be what you’ve been looking for. It’s useful that everything is written out in different key & the notated fingerings are very helpful. Although I’ve only practiced with the book for the past two days, I have already started seeing the technical benefits of it… and that’s a great thing!
Pros: Good book with good exercises, specific fingerings for left hand fretting & right hand picking directions clearly notated.
Cons: Some fingerings may feel counterintuitive depending on what kind of fingering approach you have previously adopted.
TLDR: A good book for jazz guitarists interested in developing arpeggio skills.
You can get the eBook here:
I wrote a lot of other book, course and video reviews too.
Check out the rest here:
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