I'm in the need for a great chord voicing book. There are so many I'm not sure which to buy. My teacher recommended me to buy Chord Connections by Robert Brown, but I want to get some other points of view. There are some great experienced guitar players on this forum that I'm sure could point me in the right direction. Any advice would be appreciated.
Recommended Books for Chord Voicings(17 posts)
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Buy Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry. You will not need another book on voicings in this lifetime.
Brett wilmott has a Mel bay book that shows various tensions through extensions and coloring of chords ; starting from relatively clearly stated chords in a progression and harmonic variations thereof. Rather thick book.
Ted greene's modern chord progressions has great voiceleading examples presented in a rather exhaustive series of treatments of rhythm changes and backcycle-y progressions.
Of course, the harmonic mechanisms series by George van eps .
Mick goodrick ( I haven't seen his newer books ) his classic the advancing guitarist is so excellent. The section on triads over bass notes and the classification of those structures is a neat way to keep busy.
Jon damian's chord palette chart in the composing improvising for guitar ( or something) book is super accessible and thorough .
I recommend beginning with a piano method : "Jazz Keyboard Harmony : a practical method for all musicians / By Phil Degreg". You can adapt the chapter 1 (shell voicing : root and 3rd, or root and 7th), chapter 2 (Guides Tones : Root, 3rd and 7th, or Root, 7th, and 3rd), chapter 3 (Four Voice Shell Extensions : same as guides tones adding one note on the top, most of the time the 5th or the 9, altered if needed), chapter 4 (Three Note Rootless Voicings : same as Four Voice Shell Extensions, but rootless), chapter 5 (Five Voice Shell Extentions : same as in chapter 3 adding one more note on the top), chapter 7 (Four Note Open Position Voicings : same as chapter 5, but rootless, with an interesting mention of what is called here voicing inversions, p. 182, with an exemple of how to use it on p. 160, in order to introduce some diversity in your comping), chapter 8 (Fourth voicings : with some adaptations you can use them on guitar). It has been the book I needed when I began, restricting voicing possibilities that I could play on each chord. This book deals with chords that have the Root (if you don't leave it) and the 3rd and the 7th in the bottom( or the 7th and the 3rd) and eventually some extensions on the top with some rules of leading voicings in the first pages. When you master this concepts, you can focus on rhythm. You'll find exemples on standards progressions.
If you are more experienced with comping, the best book, for me, is "Mel Bay's Complete Book of Harmony, theory & voicing / by Bret Willmott". It deals with Drop 2 voicings for the major part, using root and inversion voicings, on the A, D, G and B strings of the guitar.
Jon Damian's palette chart in 'the guitarists guide to composing and improvising' is very neat and really helps getting intervallic structures together, or ideas for them.
I also bummed a few voicings from Ben Monder's compositions book; that being said, a lot of his chords have so much tension, they're not practically applicable to standards (unless you play them way out).
one thing to remember (and not trying to criticize, just reminding!) is that rhythm is ultimately the most important aspect of comping. it has to be rhythmically fresh, in the pocket, and have regards to the soloist. i loses sight of this sometimes, and my comping gets much to busy.
I really liked Andrew Green's 'Jazz Guitar Comping'.
As the other guys said anything by Goodrick, Damian, Van Eps and Ted Greene.
Also, not actually a jazz chord book/method but, I found studying/writing Bach Chorales and trying to relate it to guitar helped a lot.
I would also recommend Jazz Guitar Comping by Andrew Green and Mel Bay presents Modern Chords: Advanced Harmony for Guitar by Vic Juris. The second is maybe for later. Of course all the other books the rest of the members suggested.
after this thread began a week ago or so, i decided to purchase the wilmott book and go through it thoroughly ( i actually never owned it- i worked through sections of it with a teacher back home who helped edit the book ).
it arrived and i've been going through it and it is a super great book ( the complete book of harmony voice leading yadayada one).
when working with this book and dealing with the various tensions he lays out i will say ( and perhaps this is very obvious to everyone else ) it feels really good and indispensable to be using a loopstation or some recording play back thing so as to best hear what is being illustrated in the examples.
for a few reasons:
we take a certain 7th type chord ;voiced a certain way so that a particular voice is up top; and this is superimposed over a more basic chord .
the 7th type chord placed at a certain distance gives a certain tension and the inversion's top voice show the movement as things go from chord to chord.
i guess i just feel it keeps things musical because i have to be in time and cannot really go faster than i can voice lead ( the tension chords aren't tabbed out or even fully written . only the top voice is shown with a chord symbol atop that - your job is to know the inversion since you are relegated to the inner four strings only!!) to lay down a backing track.this gives an opportunity to really hear the intended tension; making it possible to relate to a perhaps familiar chord in a new setting and see what it's doing and gain access to that ( melodically aswell ).
matt, what you say about rhythm is super true.i'm reminded ( once again)how important it is to be working on stuff against something objective marking time.. otherwise i can get caught up in the static aspects of the structure without getting into music , that this thing is moving through time and dealing with my limits with that.
this seems so basic . it's embarrassing and exciting!
yeah. one thing i will do to simply practice chord voicings that helps to get them under my fingers is, on swing tunes mostly, to play 'freddie green' style - just quarters. and once i get in good time, i try to move the voicings every measure, two beats, one beat, etc.
but the wilmott book is good, eh? i've wanted to perhaps check it out.
Chuck Wayne "Chords" is very cool too. Ben Monder used it.
@ matt: yes, I think it's quite good. Harmonic mechanisms series is more dense perhaps so much so that it may be hard to retain a lot of it ), yet I really appreciate this methodology . I feel like I have a fairly decent sense of 7th chords and inversions and find that this book will be useful to work through... You are able yo see quite a bit of it in the melbay website.
Robert Conti The Chord Melody Assembly Line
Scott Henderson's Jazz guitar Chord System. Different approach and less than 20 pages long. Worth it.
This is also a great book for comping, very organized!
Creative Compoing - Daniel Davis
definitely get the brett willmott book but make sure to secure your head with duct tape to keep it from exploding!
yes , having a sense of drop 2s in the middle 4 strings and their inversions proves to be an invaluable tool ( almost a prerequisite) and there are some qualities(eg:diminished maj 7) that are less familiar to me but yield great sounds. i want to improve in these areas and reading so the layout not having any tabs or graphs and only giving that top note (and making you do the work to know which inversion) i find to be a extremely slick layout,methodology and concept for conveying voiceleading.
just going through the section in the beginning and doing what he suggests as a way to get comfy with those 15 chord types and running them through their inversions is so deep, fundamental and i feel that this is a way to get harmonically warmed up mentally. there is no crutch or graph or shortcut. they are ideas that deal with experiencing the superimposotion and colors with pretty much 1 stipulation-forcing me to think critically about the decision being made, giving me the experience of the distance and color and i have to rely on how well i know the inversions to do it for myself.
oh yeah, in time. no more no metronome or loop of the slowest pulse ever!
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