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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation Paperback – July 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha (July 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592572103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592572106
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 8.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Miller is the author of several books, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Singing, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Composition. He has been using Cubase for a number of years. He used Cubase SX to record the audio CD included with the second edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums.

More About the Author

Michael Miller is the best-selling writer of more than 100 non-fiction books. He writes about a variety of topics, including computers, online selling, business, consumer electronics, and music. From his first book (Ventura Publisher Techniques and Applications, published in 1988) to his latest title, he has established a reputation for practical advice, technical accuracy, and an unerring empathy for the needs of his readers.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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A good place to start learning this subject for any instrumentalist who wants to improvise.
Gary W Koepke
Clear and concise explanations: the book opts for clear explanations and illustrative examples, rather than giving technically perfect explanations.
Fly By Light
Just go straight to this section, read it first and then everthing else makes perfect sense.
Francis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Fly By Light VINE VOICE on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
This books covers a world of material on crafting rock/jazz/blues solos for less than the price of a music lesson. You need to have reasonable mastery of your instrument before tackling this book (playing scales, reading music, producing proper tone, etc.). The book will easily take a non-obsessed musician over a year to plow through and absorb fully if they do not have much background in improvisation or theory. The "Idiot" that masters the material would be an amazing idiot indeed. What makes this book stand out from others?

1) The amount of material covered: There are some gaps (like modes of the melodic minor scale), but this book does an incredibly good job of hitting important topics in comprehensive fashion. Its broad scope almost rivals an encyclopedia.

2) Clear and concise explanations: the book opts for clear explanations and illustrative examples, rather than giving technically perfect explanations. Other books deal with topics in exhaustive depth (Bert Ligon's jazz books and Mark Levine's Drop 2 book come to mind); this one presents the concepts and suggests their application, then leaves it to the student to explore.

3) Interviews - there are two very good interviews with pros from jazz and rock

4) Appendices - the appendices have some good scale charts that will be useful for reference and practice.

5) Lots of practice patterns

6) Advice that goes beyond the theory - theory is indispensible, but it doesn't equal music, any more than colors equal art. The real value in this book is the discussion of how to make solos interesting and effective. The advice in this realm is as useful to a reaasonably experienced improviser as it is to a beginner, and trancends all genres.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jsz on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
just the best guide to playing jazz music I ever saw. Comprehensive explanation, good examples, interesting to read. In a short sentence: recommendable in every way.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By SH on February 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow. As a blues/rock guitarist that also dabbled but choked in Jazz and Classical, this book perfectly compliments what all rock/blues guitar books/dvd's seem to leave out - what makes leads work in simple yet true musical language. The author took a ton of info and simplified and organized it for all musicians so that even a lazy guitarist could learn it and not give up. If you are ready to get past flash ONLY guitar licks and learn how to craft nice sounding leads that people will hum to themselves, this is it. It helps if you can read music minimally for some of the less than 10 note examples. The only drawback is the cheapo phonebook paper and binding for the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cmusketball on April 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always wondered how improvision and jazz solo's were done. Music teachers just teach you in the classical way, they don't go into improvision. This book unravels the mystery of how to solo. Although, I feel that musicians should learn to read music and play classical music before learning to improvise. I wish that I had read this book years ago. My advise is BUY IT!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Francis on October 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
There are many great pieces of advice in every chapter but the most powerful of them all is definitely the section, "Playing with-and Against-Your Fellow Musicians". You don't even need to know anything about improvisation to get this. Just go straight to this section, read it first and then everthing else makes perfect sense. You will play better than ever because you are "in the pocket" with the other players.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kendall on March 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This Book has really opened my eyes to want is possible within the confines of a solo. The chapter on jazz and its history was really helpful as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary W Koepke on February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this because I try and buy different approaches to this subject. A good place to start learning this subject for any instrumentalist who wants to improvise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. GALVEZ on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To summarize it: Michael Miller knows how to give clear explanations and tips for the musician. This book is no exception and it is essential reading.
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