#1
I'm hoping there is not already a thread on this, I did a search and found nothing, anyways...

I'm looking for a great guitar theory book that will help me with my improvisation/song writing. Most books I have looked at in shops and the library have just been like "here's the major scale over the fret board, its great! here's the minor scale, its pretty good too!" but don't tell you where/when to use such scales and such.
Something with backing tracks to practice with would be good too.

Basically I want a practical guide to guitar music theory (with tabs!).

Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
#2
Have a read of Josh Urbans Crusade articles in the columns section and the theory links in Freepower's sig.

you're absolutely right, learning a load of seemingly arbitrary patterns is pretty useless, especially as most of them turn out to be exactly the same.
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#3
thanks for the recommendation, I'm yet to look at the vids from Freepower, but I did check out the lessons from joshurban. Wasn't a huge fan - the first lesson is memorising intervals? I'm sort of after something that will have you learn as you play, rather than just sitting down memorising theory.
#4
If you learn how chord progressions fit with scales you can make your own backing tracks and learn that way...so if you take a Major scale I ii iii IV V vi viio I you can make a chord progression from those chords and then practice improvising over it using the major scale, and you can start writing stuff diatonically using the same scale/chords - dunno if that helps but might suit you better if you don't want to sit down and learn theory...
#5
Quote by leakeg
thanks for the recommendation, I'm yet to look at the vids from Freepower, but I did check out the lessons from joshurban. Wasn't a huge fan - the first lesson is memorising intervals? I'm sort of after something that will have you learn as you play, rather than just sitting down memorising theory.

Unfortunately that's what you have to do - ultimately imporvising is about how you interpret and use the basic building blocks available to you, notes, intervals, scales and chords. Nobody can teach you that, however you can be taught how to better understand those basic components, and that's what the Crusades do.

You don't learn theory from tabs, you learn it with by studying and using your ears - you don't even need the guitar.
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#6
1001 jazz licks by jack schneidman
examples over all (basic) changes you'll ever need

or the joe pass series (w/ bill trasher), they give a very short yet complete overview of basic jazz theory

transcribing coltrane solo's works just as well though
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#7
A couple of my favorites are "Chord Tone Soloing" by Barrett Tagliarino and "Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos & Improvisation." I see them both as "training wheels" for beginning to improvise. If you are more advanced you may want to seek out other books. Please note that "Complete Idiot's" isn't a guitar book, so there isn't tablature. But the examples are pretty easy, so if you read music you won't have any problem. "Chord Tone Soloing" does a good job of describing how to use chord tones for soloing, and tells you some of the prerequisited of soloing, such as knowing your scales and arpeggios inside out. "Idiot's Guide" covers topics outside of just chord tones, such as rhythm. I'd suggest starting out with "Idiot's Guide" first if you are not intimidated by sight-reading because I think it gives a more complete picture.
#8
AB guides to music theory books 1 and 2... they've helped me alot for things about theory but for improvisation I would say get yourself some jam tracks and just try some ideas out... you'll get better over time with it.
#9
Quote by leakeg
thanks for the recommendation, I'm yet to look at the vids from Freepower, but I did check out the lessons from joshurban. Wasn't a huge fan - the first lesson is memorising intervals? I'm sort of after something that will have you learn as you play, rather than just sitting down memorising theory.


You can play intervals.

Have you checked out my vids? Whatchu think? You're basically my target audience, so feedback would be great.

And I'd recommend taking a good amount of time between each vid to let things sink in and apply them to your playing.
#10
thanks for all the replies everyone!

jsepguitar: "Chord Tone Soloing" by Barrett Tagliarino looks like it could be what I'm after, but I'm thinking it could be a little advanced, does it start fairly basically and advance?

Freepower: your videos are really good man, I can see you're a great teacher. The first three vids were pretty obvious stuff I'd figured out myself, but I'm going to mess around this arvo with the 4th video, analysing chords and whatnot. Thanks!
#11
I would consider Chord Tone Soloing to be a very basic improv book, but to get the most out of it going in you should have a basic knowledge of scales & chords. If you don't know scales, chords, and arpeggios I think you'll be at a disadvantage, but the book does a good job of giving you the basics behind those concepts.

The topics covered are:

a section on laying a foundation (practice schedule, metronome, caged patterns, intervals, scales, chords, arpeggios, diatonic harmony, keys, modes, chord extensions) This foundation section is basic, so good for a beginner.

Exercises that target the root, 3rd, 5th and 7th, scalar connections to chords, arpeggios

I'd say if you've been playing guitar for a while and have some of the basics down, this is a good book. I see it as a way to start looking at improvising, certainly not a complete book, but this will get you started in the right direction. The hardest thing is when you start trying to improvise and you have no concept of what you are doing and it all sounds like crap. This book at least gives you a starting point to understand how to construct more melodic solos.
#12
Umm, well, I don't know of any books, but I learned how to improvise my just jamming to albums and making up my own solos.
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#13
Ted Greene Chord Chemistry. Probably the simplest and you can google book half of it.
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#14
Ted Greene Chord Chemistry. Probably the simplest


Not sure ted would agree about that...even though he tries to cover all aspects and connect them...the theory part should have been a separate book...

the chord sections are a bit overwhelming to beginners and to anyone without any theory knowledge...nice enough chords but too many are just finger stretchers and then some...but ted played them like they were common 2nd fret D chords...

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