Jazz Guitar Books

The Jazz Guitarist's Library
+ YOUR Suggestions

Jazz guitar books and recordings are the two main sources of learning and growth for jazz guitarists. Some teachers may say "don't learn from books," but I strongly believe you should get what you can from any source of information available (including books, DVDs and websites).

*NEW* : You are now encouraged to share YOUR jazz guitar book suggestions. Visitors can now review, discuss and share their favorite jazz guitar books here...

In my humble opinion, every aspiring jazzman should possess at least a few specific texts on music.

They could, for example, consist of: a method for learning the instrument, technical exercises, a good fakebook, transcriptions, a theory (or harmony) book, articles on practice routines, etc.

In this section of the website, I will share with you reviews of the best jazz guitar books on the market (coming strictly from my experience).

Some of these works are masterclass DVD's or come with an audio CD, some others only with plain text and music notation. I'm even starting to include personal development books that have helped me recently.

I hope they are as useful to you as they were to me!

Note: I only review and discuss the books that I personally own.

Jazz Guitar Books (with reviews)

Jazz Guitar Elements (by Michael Berard)
three-note voicings This is a wonderful self-study manual that covers *all the basics* of jazz guitar.

When I first found out about this book, I studied through it during the summer, and then I moved directly to Montreal to start private lessons with the author in September... (read more)

Three-Note Voicings and Beyond (by Randy Vincent)
three-note voicings With endorsements from various jazz guitar greats such as Pat Metheny and Jim Hall (+many others) this book is an obvious must have for serious jazz guitarists ...

The author synthesizes jazz harmony on the guitar in a clear and concise way. Within its 200 pages, it will give any player a few lifetimes worth of ... (click to read more)

A Modern Method for Guitar (by William Leavitt)
A modern method for guitar william leavitt
A Modern Method for Guitar
by William Levitt is certainly the most complete book series on the guitar ever published. It covers ... (click to read more)

Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary (by Rick Peckham)
A modern method for guitar william leavitt
Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary by Rick Peckham is another great book from Berklee Press: a great reference (and exercise tool) to help you memorize a lot of must-know movable chord shapes on the... (click to read more)

The Advancing Guitarist (by Mick Goodrick)
the advancing guitarist mick goodrick
The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick has become a classic: it is essential reading for any serious jazz guitarist. It has opened the eyes of ... (click to read more)

Jazz Guitar Study Series (by Barry Galbraith)
barry galbraith jazz guitar study series
Barry Galbraith books in the Jazz Guitar Study Series are wonderful jazz guitar tools. They are in fact compilations of modern ... (click to read more)

Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony (by Bert Ligon)
connecting chords with linear harmony
Bert Ligon's Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony is my favorite jazz improvisation technique book of all time. It explains and exemplifies jazz lines: their foundation, variations ... (click to read more)

Forward Motion (by Hal Galper)
forward motin jazz guitar
Forward Motion by jazz pianist and educator Hal Galper was another one of these books that completely changed my perspective: it opened my eyes on the ... (click to read more)

The Barry Harris Workshop Video
barry harris workshop
I've been using the Barry Harris Workshop for a few years, and I still do. My teacher, who recommend it to me at the time, said:

"Yeah, I saw Barry Harris at a clinic once. He literally taught us ...
(click to read more)

Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar (Alan Kingstone)
barry harris harmonic method for guitar

This is the book that changed it all for me harmonically speaking. Kingstone wrote a comprehensive volume on the harmonic approach and the best part ... (click to read more)

The Type-Z Guide to Success with Ease (by Marc Allen)
success with ease for jazzers Not a guitar book, not even a music book... but oh-so needed for the average jazz musician. Is it possible to achieve a high degree of success without working until you drop?

The Type Z-Guide presents a way to enjoy success with less stress, less hard work, and much ... (click to read more)

More Jazz Guitar Books (without review)

Modern Chord Progressions (by Ted Greene)

A must for guitarists serious about learning harmony on the guitar. Ted Greene demonstrates hundreds of ways to play simple yet crucial jazz and classical progressions. All in chord diagrams, all in "chord melody" style with clear instuctions. A lifetime worth of practice and inspiration (even within the first few pages!)

Jazz Guitar Voicings Vol.1 - The Drop-2 Book (by Randy Vincent)

This is the prequel to "three-note voicings" book by the same author. An amazing, thorough, yet easy-to-grasp book on the following concept: building effective drop-2 voicings using inversions and passing diminished chords. (Audio CDs included with demonstration tracks)

Effortless Mastery (by Kenny Werner)

The subtitle (Liberating the Master Musician Within) says it all. Provides the reader with a clear approach to achieve maximum potential all the while staying relaxed and focussed. Relax, play great music, improve faster and enjoy the ride!

Patterns, Scales and Modes for Jazz Guitar (by Arnie Berle)

This is a great "entry level" book for intermediate guitarists. Coming from a rock, blues and pop background, it opened the first few "jazz doors" to me. Great techniques (scales in positions, arpeggios, etc.), great lines and chord voicings. It's a nice and smooth introduction to the fabulous world of jazz guitar improv and comping.

Clear Solutions for Jazz Improvisers (by Jerry Coker)

Coker's straightforward reference contains 20 very well written articles on a variety of topics. He chooses to go deeper into some nuanced details of improvisation. Really useful clarifications about melody and harmony and their different manifestations in jazz abound. A must for serious beginners and intermediate improvisers.

Melodic Rhythms for Guitar (by William Leavitt)

One of the greatest book to *improve* sight-reading abilities for jazz guitarists. Super-charge your skills by dealing with the too often overlooked RHYTHMS of written melodic lines. Leavitt organized this book by rhythmic density and made sure that some key 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7-note rhythmic figures are repeated enough times to ingrain them well.

Note: I recommend you have at least a foundation in note reading before using Melodic Rhythms. See "Modern Method" above.

So, what's YOUR favorite
instructional Jazz Guitar Book?

Now that you've seen what I recommend, would you suggest other books, DVDs or instructional material? Let us know here!

You can also add or comment to the reviews above or include books that are not necessarily *guitar* related.

Enter Your Title (ex: "My 3 favorite methods")

Jazz Guitar Books and
instructional material suggestions from other visitors

Click below to see suggestions and discussions from other visitors to this page...

Jazz Improvisation: One of my fav's! 
Hi there! I've studied most of the books you suggest on your site. I have gone through Leavitt's books and I have studied Randy Vincent's three note …

Mel Bay's Rhythm Guitar Chord System 
This is a really old book and I do question the usage and formation of these chords now. There is a great emphasis on forming your chords for the most …

A Rare Jazz Hungarian Guitar Book from 1958 
I´m a William Leavitt admirer thanks to three book method,the- across-the-fingerboard approach of Book II, the more positional fingering and the along …

Pretty Cool Website and eBook About Jazz Improv 
Hello Marc-Andre, I found an interesting ebook on jazz improvisation I thought you might be interested in (assuming you don't have it already). I have …

Tommy Tedesco: For Guitar Players Only 
While not a "jazz" guitar book in the strictest sense, this book presents tons of ways to improve your overall musicianship from probably the most recorded …

William Leavitt Modern Method for Guitar / Reading / Positions 
Hello, My question concerns above mentioned Method. The Leavitt books focus on how to get the student learn sight-reading. The chords are presented …

Adding Interest to Comping Using the Alan Kingstone Book : The Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar 
(View my review of this book here ) ___ Hi Marc-Andre, On your site you specifically say that your comping has radically improved/changed since you …

The Advancing Guitarist's "Jazz Modal Vamps" 
Hi Andre, I LOVE your site! Jazz Guitar is such a complex subject, and I've often felt in my career like I've been spinning in circles trying to …

Question About JG Chord Dictionary by Peckham 
hi, my name is cyril i'm french and i relly like how you explain all the thing of jazz guitare. thank you very much. I want to know if the book "Jazz …

Improvise For Real 
Hello, I recently collaborated on a book that I think some of you might enjoy very much. It's called "Improvise for Real," and I created the illustrations …

The 84 Jazz Guitar Equations - by Steve Crowell 
Steve Crowell has a unique approach to the fretboard and to building a jazz guitar vocabulary of chords, arpeggios, licks, based in part on lessons he …

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