This book is one of a kind.
It’s literally an improviser’s operating system from the perspective of Wayne Krantz.
Just for the record, this review is for the original 2004 edition of the book. A new edition (the 2nd edition) is coming out on July 25 2019. Since that’s happening, I figured I should review this version before I write a review of the new one!
I love Wayne’s writing style in this book. It kinda reminds me of Mick Goodrick’s writing style in The Advancing Guitarist. There’s a mix humor and pure logical knowledge. Wayne keeps it very practical with his explanations. At the heart of it, the book basically has 2 main sections:
- The formulas (pages 8 to 38)
- The application and/or practice approaches (This is a 10-part FAQ section in the book, pages 40 to 83)
Though the exercises suggested are guitar centric, the concepts are applicable to any instrument in any idiom. I’ve personally used the exercises not only to develop my improvisational skills but also my overall fretboard knowledge. The book is VERY GOOD for learning (or perhaps unlearning) the fretboard.
Wayne introduces a concept that changed my view of the guitar (and improvised/idiom-based music) forever with his explanation of compositional versus improvisational playing. I feel that if anyone takes only one thing from the book, this was personally the most useful concept Wayne shared.
His 4-fret exercise is also an amazingly habit breaking workout that not only gets you out of lick playing but also actually forces you to play real ideas. Of course, you could get into new habits but the actual practice process that Wayne includes helps you prevent any of that (if you want to).
In conclusion, I would recommend this book for any improviser in any style of music, especially if you play the guitar. I’m personally looking forward to the 2nd edition of the book coming up. I’m really excited to see what Wayne is adding to the book, 15 years later.
Pros: Great book, amazing unique take on guitar and improvisation.
Cons: It’s do it yourself. Instructions included but some assembly required. (Actually, this is actually a positive thing and is part of the charm of the book.)
TLDR: Get this book if you’re serious about learning the guitar & exploring improvisation.
The 1st edition is currently out of print. I also couldn’t find any used copies for sale on Amazon, ebay or AbeBooks.
Pre-order the 2nd edition here:
I wrote a lot of other book, course and video reviews too.
Check out the rest here:
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