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!
Now the exciting bit:
If you're keen to have a structured, step-by-step approach to learning jazz guitar, it might be worth checking out my online learning system, the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy.
Here's what you get when you join up:
- Detailed step-by-step video lessons on new classic jazz tunes and essential jazz guitar skills added to the club website each month. Includes listening recommendations, demonstrations of the melody, analysis of the harmony, and detailed explanations on how to solo over the tune.
- Key improvisation concepts and techniques for soloing, and classic licks and example solos that relate to each tune, so you can continue to expand your jazz vocabulary and have more options when it comes to soloing.
- Detailed comping ideas to suit the style of each jazz standard covered
- Lessons on how to make chord melody and solo jazz guitar versions of tunes featured - play a complete jazz standard completely on your own like Joe Pass!
- Members only forum - A worldwide community of jazz guitarists from all around the globe.
- Regular workshops, masterclasses, and Q & A Sessions - get direct answers from me on anything holding you back in the practice room. Replays of all sessions are available to access for all members even if you can’t make it live.
- Massive searchable database of jazz licks and soloing concepts - the ultimate idea "grab bag" for your solos.
- Optional monthly challenges where members participate to get feedback on their playing, reach new milestones and be eligible for cool prizes.
The best part:
You can access this all of this and more for just $1 by signing up to a 14 day trial. Go here for more info: https://www.fretdojo.com/signup-offer
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