I know this is a book review… but I gotta give some context before I start talking about the book.
Let’s go back seven years…
On Saturday, 3 September 2016, 2pm (Berlin time), I took a private Skype guitar lesson with Martin Miller.
Here’s a photo I dug up from the archives:
I found out about Martin’s amazing playing via his interview in Troy Grady’s Cracking The Code series. I remember being completely mind blown by Martin’s cross picking approach… and adopted that as part of my technique soon thereafter.
I also became the kind of fan that bought all three of his JamTrackCentral masterclasses (all of which I strongly recommend by the way!).
Anyway, when I found out from Luke Lewis (of GuitarVivo) that there was a new book from Martin Miller, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
Which brings me to my thoughts about this book…
- Sometimes a book is not a book.
- Sometimes a book can be many books in one.
- Sometimes a book is actually a course but is presented as a book.
In the case of Martin Miller’s first book, Modern Rock Guitar Soloing – you are getting many things that go beyond it just being a book… even though it looks like a single book.
Let’s get into Part I…
Firstly, the book has licks. Lots of licks.
To be exact, for each chapter you get five licks in the style presented. With the four styles covered, you get twenty licks in total.
You also get a video of Martin performing each line at performance tempo along with the backing track and a slower version with any backing track so you can clearly hear what he play.
Looking at it as a “lick book” you could certainly open the book and learn a lick or two. In addition to the explanation and breakdown of the Martin graciously credits his influences in many of the licks. Martin recognizes a wide range of influences from Andy Timmons, Eric Johnson, Mike Stern, Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen, Pat Metheny and many more.
The licks are challenging and have all sorts of techniques & concepts in them… but more on that later.
Then you have both intermediate & advanced versions of guitar solos in 4 different styles:
- Chapter 1: Melodic Hard-Rock Soloing
- Chapter 2: Modern Funk-Rock Soloing
- Chapter 3: Emotive Blues-Rock Ballad Soloing
- Chapter 4: Contemporary Rock Soloing
You have a chance to see how someone like Martin approaches different styles of music and how he develops a solo coherently and musically.
Martin explains the scale choices available and what he chooses. There’s also in-depth explanation of what is happening in the different sections of the solos.
Also, in each chapter you get a “Quick Start Guide”. This basically gives you a practical strategy of what scales you can use to “quickly start” improvising or jamming to the backing track for that chapter. For anyone who just want to get a vibe of the backing tracks, this is a great way to start jamming away.
This kind of reminds me a little bit of what I’ve seen on the online courses by Berklee professor David Fiuczynski on pimpmylicks.com except that with David’s material he includes the scale, chord diagrams. With Martin’s Quick Start, you get suggested scales & arpeggios listed along with explanations of things to look out for so that you make the chord changes. It really does feel like Martin telling you what you can try out… which makes it kind of like a mini private lesson to be honest!
Then in Part II, you get Martin’s theoretical and stylistic process which explains what he uses again and again in part one of the book.
Martin explains 32 key concepts in this part:
- Concepts 1-7: Improvisational Tools
- Concepts 8 – 9: Articulation and Technical Concepts
- Concepts 10-18: Chord Tone Soloing and Changes Playing
- Concepts 19-28: Scales, Shapes & Melodic Cells
- Concepts 29-32: Harmonic Concepts
The concepts presented tie back to the licks and solos presented in the previous part of the book. Martin wanted to format the book in this manner so that you can see how the same concept is used in different styles, licks and solos.
To be perfectly honest, part two could have been a standalone book and it would have been still worthwhile to get.
In some ways, this book could have been made into three separate books or a whole series (of shorter eBooks) and it would have still worked. The fact that it’s all in one book is really a testament to both Martin Miller & Guitar Vivo’s dedication to creating a quality product to help guitarists become better players.
Closing all of this up are 3 video masterclasses from Martin. Two of the masterclasses are from the GuitarVivo Summit 2021 & GuitarVivo Summit 2022.
The third one will be a final bonus masterclass that is slated to be recorded live with everyone who has purchased a copy prior to the masterclass invited.
Between this and all of Martin’s previous three releases on Jam Track Central (Hybrid Picking, Improvisation Masterclass & Guide to Picking), you have more than enough core material to develop your rock guitar chops & understanding of the fretboard.
In conclusion, if you love Martin Miller’s playing, this is the book for you. If you want to get new ideas for modern rock guitar soloing, this is worth checking out. And… if you are stuck in a practice routine rut, this might give you A LOT of ideas of what to practice. Cool stuff basically. Strongly recommended!
And… to circle back to what I wrote earlier… this is more than just a book… it’s like getting a few books in one… and a whole lot of videos… and in fact you can even look at it like a course.
How cool is that?
Pros: High quality educational material at a bargain price. Well presented, lots of great ideas, licks and concepts.
Cons: You might have too many things to work on… yikes!
TLDR: If you like Martin’s guitar playing, you gotta buy this now and work on it immediately. I mean, why wouldn’t you?
Thank you Luke Lewis & Guitar Vivo for the advance copy of the eBook!
[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?