This book is actually a book that combines three different Johnny Smith books.
The books compiled into this one volume are individually are also individually available as:
- Johnny Smith’s Aids to Technique for Guitar
- Johnny Smith Guitar Interpretations, Volumes 1
- Johnny Smith Guitar Interpretations, Volumes 2
These book predate his later work from Mel Bay, the two-volume Johnny Smith Approach to Guitar. In terms of content, the later Mel Bay book definitely covers way more material in an in-depth way.
However, this early book (specifically Aids to Technique for Guitar) is very useful since it’s notated in standard notation and not in preferred system of concert pitch (grand staff, like in piano score notation). The exercises demonstrated Johnny’s fingering choices for playing scales & arpeggios in three octaves. All of this is good stuff, especially if you’re trying to get out from being stuck in position based playing.
I wish someone recommended me this book when I was doing my final few semesters at Berklee since three octave scale fingerings were part of the guitar proficiency exams back then! That being said, I did figure out my own fingerings for those… which I showed to my teacher Mick Goodrick back then… though I don’t remember Mick saying much about my fingering choices.
Back to the books…
The other two books, Guitar Interpretations are useful anthologies of music that Johnny wrote & adapted to pick style guitar playing. There are a lot of lessons in those arrangements, though I have to say at the moment I’m mostly woodshedding using the Aids to Technique for Guitar book first.
Also worth noting is some of the material in the Aids to Technique for Guitar reminds of what Bill Farrish covers in his Long Arpeggio Studies eBook (reviewed here), which makes sense since Bill studied with Joe Monk who was a huge fan of Johnny Smith.
In conclusion, of all these books, I recommend the Aids to Technique for Guitar as a worthwhile addition to your practice routine. It’s interesting to say the least, and probably might open up new ideas if you haven’t played in three octaves as much.
Pros: Good books that give insight into the Johnny Smith guitar style.
TLDR: If you like Johnny Smith’s guitar playing, these might give some insights to his approach
You can get the books here (these are digital versions of the three books compiled in the book I reviewed):
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