Howard Roberts is one of my heroes when it comes to guitar education.
Besides founding Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, Los Angeles, he also wrote a column in Guitar Player magazine, was an accomplished guitarist, wrote many important guitar books and had a book publishing company (Playback Music Publishing Inc.) that released various books from himself & other writers.
This particular book from 1982 is an early document of “The Praxis Collection” that embodies Howard’s philosophy behind learning the guitar.
As far I am aware, few of the intended books were published separately. The culmination of his work eventually became the 3 volume Guitar Compendium (published by Advance Music). Although I haven’t reviewed that work yet on this website, I recommend that strongly if you’re looking to study Howard’s approach.
Back to this book, it is divided into seventeen chapters, each addressing what Howard calls “The Basic Moves”.
These are from the pitch choices you have: Chords, Scales, Arpeggios, Intervals… to guitar techniques such as Hammer-Ons, Pull-Off, Legato, Staccato, Glissando, Bends, Vibrato… to Dynamics, Picking and RIght-Hand Techniques & finally closing with Finger Independence, Stretching, Endurance/Stamina.
In between the chapters covering those, he includes three etudes that summarize the previous “Basic Moves”. These are called Synthesis of Moves (1), (2) and (3).
All in all, the book gives guidance for the serious guitarist to look at the individual elements that make up guitar playing. From that, you can focus on what you need to work on in your practice sessions.
In conclusion, this is a valuable document of Howard Roberts viewed music and guitar playing. Is it for everyone? Probably not… but for the right kind of guitarist, this could be a valuable tool for continous growth over the years. I for one, love the book!
Pros: Good systematic approach to guitar practice & study to develop a personal guitar style.
Cons: This is a more conceptual, do it yourself approach which may be too abstract for some guitarists.
TLDR: A good book for a very specific type of determined guitar player, this is a valuable document of Howard Roberts viewed music and guitar playing.
Where can you purchase this book? This book is out of print, but you may have better luck locating “Guitar Compendium Vol. 1” from Advance Music which has the entire text & musical examples in this book included in Section 1 of that book. There is only some minor differences (formatting, some words changed) that do not affect the educational context of the material.
Read my review of another book in this series here:
Book Review: The Accelerator – The Theory-Fingerboard Connection by Howard Roberts with Charles Fechter and Keith Wyatt
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