The Advancing Guitarist

miscellaneous Feb 11, 2015

by Mick Goodrick

The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick has become a classic: it's an essential reading for any serious jazz guitarist. It has opened the eyes (and ears!) of thousand of musicians since it's publication. And you're next!

the advancing guitarist mick goodrickAnd the best part is: this book is not so much about the small technicalities of playing the guitar! Instead of the traditional "play this and try that" approach found in most method and techniques books, Goodrick focuses on widening your musical horizons.

So, the chapters of the book are nothing usual (like "scales + arpeggios + exercises). The author gives suggestions, applications, facts and clearly states at the beginning "This is not a method book [...] You provide the method".

Goodrick puts the music and the human first. He made me think out loud: "In fact, what I'm really interested in is not what I can play ... it's really the 'What else can I play now?!' that is the most interesting!" The Advancing Guitarist also brings you to very deep changes in perspective(s): you may start to see many aspect of your life (and your musical life) differently, from interesting angles.

Personally, I came up with some fresh practicing and performing ideas just by reading it and thinking for myself. In short, this whole approach really helped me to develop as a guitarist, as a musician, as an artist and a human being. Here's where your playing may particularly benefit from reading The Advancing Guitarist: (this is only a partial list)

  • Fretboard knowledge
  • Theorical understanding
  • "Big Picture" of music
  • Phrasing / Dynamics / Nuances
  • Timing and Rhythms
  • Harmony: triads
  • Harmony: voice leading (lots)
  • Composition
  • Fingerings and "fingerboard mechanics"
  • Pentatonics scales, modes and derivatives
  • Harmony : quartal voicings, clusters and "modern" chords
  • Playing with others
  • The life of an artist and musician
  • Single-String, Positions and Diagonal playing (guitar)
  • Finding "another way" to do the same music
  • Finding "many other ways" to do the same thing (!)
  • Recording in studio
  • Psychological aspects of playing
  • etc.

Honestly, most of the above topics I read about in the book had (and still have) a huge impact on me and my playing. This book is a must! For example: As I'm writing these lines, I'm in a musical phase where I've been working on some advanced harmonic concepts from Mick Goodrick for a while. I always discover something new in there!

In short, get this book, there's surely something in your playing that needs it. I would be surprised if it wasn't the case! Most people I know that have read it for the first time feel like The Advancing Guitarist was a revelation! (no kidding). In closing, here's a great quote from the book:

"Student : Should I do A or B?
Teacher : Why not do both!?"


Click to see the full list of my favourite jazz guitar books!



For intermediate guitarists ready to "crack the code" in jazz


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