By William Leavitt
A Modern Method for Guitar by William Levitt is certainly the most complete guitar book series ever published.
It covers pretty much everything technical any student OR teacher may want to learn or teach, at any stage in the musical development. And I’m not saying this lightly! The three volumes of A Modern Method for Guitar cover all the following topics in depth (and more):
Theory, picking techniques, strumming techniques, scales, scale positions, improvisation, chord forms, voice leading, triads, chord melody, rhythmic styles for comping, reading (and sight-reading), tune playing, arpeggios, composition and the list goes on!
The three volumes in the series are arranged in such a way that the difficulty level is progressively more difficult from page to page. It is appropriate for guitarists of all levels and styles. Yes: even total beginners. As the student progresses through the book, the music gets only slightly more challenging. The result is making progress without even noticing it!
I’ve been using the three volumes for years in my studying and teaching; it has become true classic for me and thousands of guitarists worldwide. William Leavitt’s A Modern Method for Guitar is a genuine method that is still in widespread use today. It is also interesting to note that this comprehensive method is used as the basic text for the guitar program at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.
It introduces to the newbie guitarist to such concepts as open position scales and reading, some position playing and elementary chord forms (shapes). It also contains several duets and solo pieces. The solos all sound so great!
A good place to start for anybody who’s just starting out on jazz guitar (or that is really starting guitar from scratch.) Most of my current students use it.
Volume Two is an intermediate-level book that builds upon techniques found in the first volume. It goes deeper on: melody, scales, positions, arpeggios, chords and begins to cover the entire fingerboard.
New topics are introduced such as: intervals, solo guitar, voicings, improvisation and rhythm guitar techniques.
If you’ve ever wondered where to find out how to play 7 to 12 positions for ANY scale (like jazz guitar masters do), the answer lies in Volume 2, that’s for sure!
One of the solo pieces in the second volume. Solo in D, watch video (well, it’s audio only):
Volume Three is where guitarists will take their skills to a more challenging level. Get ready!
After mastering volume 1 and 2, you will learn more about technique, scales in positions, arpeggios, rhythm guitar and chords / scales relationships. I have to admit: I personally still have some work to do in this one! There’s so much material to practice. Some unfinished business for me here…
The new topics in this volume are: chord construction and voicings, advanced chord melody, tune playing, improvisation, advanced position playing (in all areas of the fretboard) and other more advanced topics.
One of the solo pieces in the third volume. Solo in Bb, watch video (also just audio):
Volumes 1 2 3 Complete
This method is also published in a practical 1-2-3 Complete edition. It is exactly the same text and formatting as the three separate volumes.
That’s the edition that I personally own. I decided to get the whole thing after several years of teaching and studying from all three volumes. This complete volume is definitely a great deal if you plan on spending some time with the three volumes in the series. The bundle costs just a little more than the 3rd volume by itself!
Not sure where to start? Give it a try: buy “A Modern Method for Guitar” Volume 1 now on Amazon and give it a shot. It’s worth it. Honestly, I wish I had started earlier working this method; it changed my musical development and guitar “perception”.