What REALLY annoys me…
Do you know what really annoys me, more than anything else?
It’s those huge books that line the shelves in the jazz guitar section of the music shop.
You know, the ones called something like The Complete Guide to Jazz Guitar Soloing, 100 Lessons for Jazz Guitar, The Ultimate Jazz Guitar Companion…
They feature promises on the cover such as:
“384 pages of everything you need to get started soloing today! Over 90 backing tracks, 3000 exercises and the essential scale and arpeggio patterns you need to know in order to completely master the skill of jazz improvisation on guitar!”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that they aren’t telling the truth about what’s in these encyclopedic references.
What annoys me is that…
THIS IS what’s in these books.
Every scale and arpeggio pattern you could ever hope of learning in the short space of one lifetime (or maybe three.)
I’ll be honest with you:
I can’t help laughing when I see books like this.
Because they capitalize on something that you may not realize about my line of work, which is:
It’s REALLY easy for a guitar teacher to make a book like this.
The concept is simple. Just quickly write out a few scale diagrams, press the transpose button in the music notation software, do a few melodic variations and copy and paste to your heart’s content.
Voila! – a hefty looking tome of impressive scale and arpeggio patterns, which should keep the punters happy (and bewildered) for months to come.
Here’s the thing:
Although these might be good reference books to have on your shelf for occasionally looking up some patterns, they will not help you one jot to learn to improvise and actually sound like a jazz player.
Scale patterns and arpeggios, in and of themselves, are NOT jazz vocabulary. They are more like what the alphabet is to languages.
Now let me ask you:
Is the alphabet what we use to talk to each other when we have a conversation?
Here’s what you actually need:
Words, phrases, and ideas that make sense to your listener.
Quality of material is far better than quantity when it comes to learning jazz guitar.
Just because a book has a lot of pages doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s valuable or helpful for your learning.
Now now, don’t feel guilty about all that money you’ve spent on these great wads of paper…
They make brilliant doorstoppers!
But now I want your input:
Let me know what books YOU have actually found useful when it comes to learning jazz guitar.
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Have a great weekend,
Founder, Fret Dojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education