#1
I'm currently working at the city library which means that I have immediate access to a major portion of books that have found their way to Finland. At first I thought that it wouldn't be of much use as I rarely use the library anyway, but recently found out that the library has a nice music section with plenty of potentially interesting books.

What I'm looking at specifically are books on jazz guitar, most of the time I'm completely fine with learning from online resources, but jazz is a pretty complex genre and I could use some extra material. I've seen people recommend books like "Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine, jazz series by Jody Fisher, Mickey Bakers "Complete Course in Jazz Theory" and "The Advancing Guitarist" by Mick Goodrick. Any opinions on these books? I can find all of them in the library. On the other hand I'm a pretty good guitarist and have studied theory as well, but on the other hand I'm still pretty much a beginner in jazz. So it's bit tricky to find material that's fits me

Any recommendations on classical theory books are also welcome. Even though some of them might go right over my head, they're still interesting and might give me new ideas. Books on voice leading and harmony might be most interesting for me.

TL;DR : Recommend me some good books on jazz guitar and jazz theory. I'm also interested in classical theory and harmony. Thanks
#2
Mark Levine's 'Jazz Theory Book' is incredibly good. I'd definitely advice you to pick that up.
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#3
Get Modern Method for Guitar by Berkley press. I think it's from W. Leavitt.
ich bin indeed ein sprechender panda, how are you?
Music student, Jazz/Classical/Prog
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#4
Cool, i'll check Levines book when I get a chance.

But it seems that our library only has volumes 2 and 3 of the modern method for guitar series, which is unfortunate and a bit random But I'll definitely keep it in mind.
#5
I started with 2 myself. It's good enough. It's more focused on guitar techniques (rhythms and reading) and some theory. For theory I only know german books, sorry.
ich bin indeed ein sprechender panda, how are you?
Music student, Jazz/Classical/Prog
Music Man JP6 BFR, Ibanez S7420, Fender American Standard, Ibanez EW35 acoustic, 6505+
#6
Jazz player here.

The only book i swear by is Mark Levine's "Jazz Theory Book". By far the book that helped me get into jazz playing aswell as advancing with it. It's not one of those books you ever get done with, it's more so a book you will revisit every now and then once you find something new.

But yes, Mark Levine's book does a great job at explaining theory from a jazz players point of view, it also helps introduce topics you should practice and how to do so, it is far more than a theory book, jazz musician book would perhaps be a more fitting title. Getting a hold of that book aswell as starting to learn a couple of tunes and jazz language will help you a ton, if you have patience.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#7
Thanks a lot, I'll definitely check the book out tomorrow. As for jazz tunes, I've started learning Autumn Leaves and Summertime (Joe Pass version), but the problem is that there are so many different versions and covers of these songs that it's hard to find correct sheet music. I mostly learn by ear, but I like to use sheet music as a reference to check that everything is all right, but finding the right sheet music turned out to be the real problem here.
#9
Don't worry, I'm not looking at tabs. However, I also feel uncomfortable playing a new genre without actually knowing a single song from the said genre. And I happen to think that both Autumn Leaves and Summertime are breathtakingly beautiful songs, and I wanted to learn them I don't see how it would hurt my playing. Of course, when I'm more used to the genre I could use those songs as bases for improvisation and such, but I'd like to learn them as they are first to get a gist of how things work in the jazz world.
#10
Right, but you won't find any transcriptions of anything other than the heads (main melodies) unless you are very lucky.

The whole point of the genre is to improvise variations on the head. At no point do you want to be recycling licks or thinking that way. Like chuckles said, you want to be thinking of the progression and creating new material over it.

As far as books go, Levine's is great but sometimes his explanations of CST and the related concepts can embrace some of the flaws in the theory and be a little misleading.

I much prefer Bert Ligon's Jazz Theory Resources. There are two of them, but part one, which covers everything up to the post-bebop vocabulary, is more than enough to keep you busy for a while.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#11
Well, I guess I'll have to start thinking like that from now on

Only book that I could find from the library database from Ligon is "Comprehensive Technique for Jazz musicians", but I'll see if I can find the Jazz Theory Resources in nearby book stores, as it seems really interesting. Thanks for the input.
#12
Comprehensive Technique is a masterpiece.

It assumes you already know all the theory and your scales and triads everywhere. The book itself is just thousands of technique and creativity building workouts, supplemented with short transcribed examples. The book was not written to be used linearly, or for a guitar, so your chops will be pushed to the limit.

You basically pick a concept/technique you want to work on, go to that section, and bam! hundreds of exercises.

Ligon prefaces each section with a brief rundown on how and why the technique works, but its nowhere near as in depth as the theory books. If you are new to the genre, it might be information overload.

The theory resources are definitely a better, more in depth place to start.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#13
Yeah, it sounds like I should work through some other books and understand jazz a bit better before I tackle that book, but I'll keep it in mind so that I can come back to it later. I've had some great recs so far so I'm definitely not short on material.

And by the way, before anyone recommends a teacher, I'm working on that, but I am at the moment far too busy and short on cash due to the aforementioned library work. You see, I'm not working there in the traditional sense, I'm going through my civil service at the moment which pretty much means that I have to work with far-less-than-minimal wage. For anyone who doesn't know what civil service is, well, it's a peaceful option to the mandatory army we have here in Finland. So a teacher is out of the question at the moment, but I'll look back into it next year.
Last edited by guitar/bass95 at Feb 9, 2015,
#14
Well you have the records. Those are great teachers.

And you have us, although that jury's still out
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#15
Hey, your Jazz threads here have been a huge help really, I'm not a beginner guitarist or anything so Jet Talks Jazz has been easy to understand and follow, and I've learned a lot about improvisation from it. And it also introduced me to CST in a way that was actually comprehensible.
#16
Well, good to know I'm doing something .
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#17
Quote by guitar/bass95
Thanks a lot, I'll definitely check the book out tomorrow. As for jazz tunes, I've started learning Autumn Leaves and Summertime (Joe Pass version), but the problem is that there are so many different versions and covers of these songs that it's hard to find correct sheet music. I mostly learn by ear, but I like to use sheet music as a reference to check that everything is all right, but finding the right sheet music turned out to be the real problem here.


As others already mentioned, there are really no "correct sheet music" for this kind of stuff. Many melodies for jazz tunes you'll find sheet music for is just an approximation, because they wrote down the "correct version" by listening to many many different versions of the tune being performed. One of the real beauty's of jazz is that you can hear Billie Holiday do one version of "All Of Me" in slow swing style with her own take on the melody, and then later hear Jimmy Rosenberg play a faster, gypsy jazz version of the tune with a completely new take on the melody and improvising over the same changes in a new way.

What i recommend you do when learning a standard are the following points:

1. Find as many recordings as possible of the tune, make sure at least one is with a vocalist. (Spotify/Youtube is your friend. Also there is a site called "jazzstandards.com" that have the majority of all jazz standards ranked by year/popularity/alphabetical order, and it has recommendations on popular versions of the tune)

2. Learn the melody. This is where a recording with a vocalist comes in handy, cause they are less likely to go too far off the melody. Many instrumental versions the soloist may embellish the melody so much so if you don't know how it's supposed to sound you'll just get confused.

3. Learn the changes. Knowing the melody makes this a lot easier, since the melody often follows the thirds/sevenths of the chords it is being played over.

4. Learn to play the changes. This is by far the topic that takes the most effort and time, but each time you learn a new tune, this step will get easier. Learning to play the changes means learning vocabulary from recordings you enjoy (for example you might hear something Joe Pass plays over a minor 2-5-1 in Autumn Leaves, then learn that phrase, in all twelve keys, and play around with it, changing the notes/rhythm/articulation etc, and make it your own), it mean practicing playing the appropriate scales over the changes, it means practicing playing the arpeggios over the changes, it means practicing playing specific intervals over the changes (for example only play thirds or/and sevenths). There are a lot of things you can do to learn to play the changes of a tune, and every time you do it you'll get better at doing it with other tunes as well. If you know how to play really well over minor 2-5-1's from playing a specific tune, when you learn a new tune with lots of them, it won't be as hard.

I hope that helped you with something you didn't already know, otherwise we are a few guys here on the forums who really enjoy jazz that are always open for questions.

EDIT: I'd also recommend you learn points 1,2 and 3 on a vocal tune/a version with a band before checking out a solo guitar version (Like Joe Pass with Summertime). Getting a firm grasp on those points will help you a lot with transcribing and actually understanding the song when it comes to a version with only a guitar.

Cheers.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
Last edited by Sickz at Feb 9, 2015,
#18
Thank you a lot Sickz, there are a lot of useful tips in that post that I haven't yet utilized. I'll have to sticky this thread for all the advice and recommendations I'll try to work on some songs with these points in mind.

Whew, there are a lot of things to work on and read. All of this information should keep me busy for months. And after that, I still probably have years to go. It's a good thing that this is a hobby that I enjoy
#19
don't want to sound like a douche, but books never did anything for me. i view them as a reference tool usable only once you get the basics down. i never got to learn to improvise using a book and ive checked out a lot of them. the way i learned was to get lessons from a teacher and from "virtual teachers" (barry greene and jimmy bruno have excellent online jazz schools)

I am always curious about instructional materials so i checked out what the market has to offer. the only thing that really helped me in the end is stuff i had to pay for, mainly private instrument lessons and university (im enrolled in a jazz program)

after you can play some basic standards, you need to play with real people. no book can teach you how to interact with drummers, how to comp for a saxophonist, etc

for lead sheets, i like to consult the new real book vol 1 2 3 by chuck sher. nicely written and good chord changes usually
Last edited by SuperKid at Feb 9, 2015,
#20
I know that a lot of people think like that, but I'm the exact opposite I learn a lot faster alone, and as I said I really can't get a teacher. Neither can I get a band, trust me, I've tried for years. The city I live in is too small. But maybe books will help me, I don't know since I haven't tried. Even if they don't work for you doesn't mean they wouldn't work on me.

And it's not like I wouldn't have the basics down, I have years of experience in guitar and a about six months in jazz music, however I just recently got really in to playing jazz. But I guess well see if the books work in an another six months, at least it can't hurt, right?