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The world is full of guitar instruction books.
Don’t believe me?
- A search on Amazon.com for “Guitar Instruction Book” returns 5,442 titles.
- “Guitar Chords” returns 3,771.
- “Guitar Scales” finds another 779!
So why do we need more study books? We don’t. What we need are new perspectives and creative ideas to learn from. Guy’s Publishing Group has delivered on both counts.
Last summer, I posted a review of a breakthrough guitar chord reference book titled: “Guys Grids”. If you missed that post, check it out: Guy’s Grids: A Master Class in Guitar Chords.
Guy’s Scales, Modes, and Arpeggios is a comprehensive and integrated presentation of all of the most commonly used guitar scales, modes, and arpeggios in all regions of the fretboard.
Every guitarist knows that playing a solo is a skill that requires a strong working knowledge of scales and arpeggios. This book delivers that information in a very user-friendly format that guitarists of all levels will be able to follow with ease.
The book begins with a simple but well executed 5-page study on music theory and is followed by two-page spreads that show the fingering patterns and the corresponding standard notation. The fingering patterns are presented in a grid format, with each horizontal row showing scale patterns, arpeggios and chords all being played in one region of the fretboard. Then, each vertical column displays the same set of information in seven different regions of the fretboard. In the appendix, Guy presents a comprehensive set of triad studies which follow a similar grid format.
“I wrote this book because I needed a comprehensive resource on scales, modes, and arpeggios and I could not find one that I really liked… What really sets the book apart is its thoroughness and clarity. I believe that it will soon be recognized as the definitive resource book on scales, modes, and arpeggios.”
– Author Guy McRoskey (a guitarist)
Make no mistake, I am very impressed with this book. The print quality is superb. The paper quality is thick and sturdy and yet the book is thin enough to fit inside your gig bag. One thing I really love is that Guy addressed a pet-peeve of mine with most other guitar instruction books by using a spiral binding so the book would lay flat while you are using it. Thank’s Guy!
The book is available directly from the company website for $14.95 and through select retailers. I’d suggest you order one before he realizes he under-priced this encyclopedic reference tool!
To learn more, visit www.GuysGrids.com.
I am always on the lookout for new guitar related web sites. There are thousands of them out there and it’s a full time job keeping track of the new ones!
I think I found one of those today.
Click on the image to link to Guitar Scales V2.
It appears that the site is still in development, but the product that is online now is absolutely killer. Virtually any scale you can imagine is available – Pentatonic, Major, Minor, Dorian, Chromatic, Mixolydian and more. Did you know there was a Persian scale? I counted 58 variations in all – viewable in any key you want! You can configure the display to show dots or notes. You can even set it up for alternate tunings.
Best of all – it is 100% free!
Looks like I may be selling all of those scale books I own on eBay…
If you know of another cool guitar web site, let me know!
This blog was never intended to be a “Guitar Lesson” site. There are lots of those already and I do not want to re-invent a wheel that is already rolling along quite well.
(Coming Soon! A new category that reviews some of the better instruction sites I have seen)
That said, this post is designed to be a “Print Me” kind of post for those of you who want to play lead guitar (read:scales) but hate the thought of learning theory.
So here goes — a simple look at the most common scales known to man… the Minor Pentatonic Scale and the Blues Scale. The key is to FORGET about learning the entire scale and instead MEMORIZE the movable pattern positions.
Here they are:
The Five Minor Pentatonic Positions
A pentatonic scale consists of five intervals (notes) taken from the natural minor scale:
Root (1st), (3rd), (4th), (5th), and the (7th).
The Five Blues Scale Positions
The Blues scale is nothing more than a minor pentatonic scale with an added flat 5th note, which is commonly called the “Blue note.”
There… now that’s not so hard is it?
I used to think that buying another new chord book was like buying the 2009 edition of Webster’s Dictionary (is it really that different from last year’s?). That may be true for “most” chord books, but certainly not for Guy’s Grids. This book is very different from the others and is well worth the $64.95 price (CD included).
To start, this book is massive. I’m talking about 228 spiral bound 11×17 pages! When you open the book and lay it flat on a table it is nearly 3 feet wide! Printed on high quality and heavy paper stock, Guy’s Grids is in itself a stunning work of art. Even my non-guitar-player friends are amazed at the detail when they flip through the pages.
Make no mistake, this is not a large print version of a “pocket-sized” guitar chord book. This is a comprehensive encyclopedia that will guide you along the path of understanding music theory and the relationship between chord families. On his website, Guy says: “I searched for a great chord reference book that would present the most useful chord forms in a manner that would reinforce the chord theory I had just learned… I wanted a book that would help me to recognize the relationship between related chords… I could not find such a book… So, I created my own.”
The book is very thorough and includes over 2,000 open chord forms and over 700 moveable chord forms. The book is divided into four major sections with sturdy tabbed dividers for 1) Open Chord Grids, 2) Moveable Chord Grids, 3) Index of Open Chords and 4) Index of Moveable Chords. Each page is extremely detailed with chord forms illustrating the recommended fingering and the chord tones and scale degrees for each string. Each page is a “grid” (obviously!) with identical column and row formats. The columns are divided into chord families (major, dominant, minor, and diminished). The rows are divided into triads and the variations of the triads that are created by the inclusion of a 7th, 6th, 9th, 11th, or 13th scale degree.
While the magnitude of reference information included in this book may seem intimidating to the new player, it is important to note that the book also contains a section for the beginning student called “Anchor Chords” with grids for the most commonly played chords that every guitarist should focus on first. The book also includes a “Bonus CD” for play-along practicing of the progressions found on every grid.
I ordered my book direct from Guy’s website which arrived quickly, wrapped in bubble-wrap inside a sturdy box. I have averaged spending about 30 minutes a day with the book since it arrived and in less than a week, my eyes have been opened to a fascinating new way of looking at the fretboard. I highly recommend Guy’s Grids to every guitar player who is serious about becoming a better player!
For more information or to order your copy, visit http://www.guysgrids.com/.