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72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Don't Make Idiots Like They Used To
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...
Published on May 6, 2007 by Fly By Light

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3.0 out of 5 stars Who is the book for? Save your money.
For the record: I am a pianist and I bought this book so that I could do two things:

1. In a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus song I wanted to be able to embellish the second verse and second chorus (because sometimes a melody is too simple to go through three times in one song).

2. As a lot of songs don't actually have the bridge/...
Published 9 months ago by Lemas Mitchell


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72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Don't Make Idiots Like They Used To, May 6, 2007
By 
Fly By Light (Atlanta, Georgia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (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. Every solo can be analyzed through these concepts to find where room for improvement may be found.

This books has plenty to offer to the budding improviser. Do not be fooled by the bargain price or the title: it is not a half-hearted introduction or a quick fix. It is as jam-packed with information as any book on the subject could be. It will require time, practice and dedication to master the material in this book, but it will produce results if you do your part.

Because of the breadth of material covered, go elsewhere for depth (not a fault, just a fact). That might come in the form of a book on a specific topic or a music teacher. In fact, this book would probably be an excellent text to use with music lessons so that important topics can be identified and expanded, and bad habits can be avoided.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "must have", April 18, 2011
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars What Every Guitarist Needs!!!, February 4, 2009
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book, April 9, 2013
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Go straight to page 153., October 18, 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, March 27, 2013
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice overview of a possibly difficult subject., February 10, 2013
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent educator., November 1, 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation, April 8, 2014
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (Paperback)
Look like a good book, but I need to read it first to write a review. I hope my students will like it. Thank you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book but poor paper quality, November 17, 2013
By 
Sergio Kokitsu (Brasilia, DF BRAZIL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation (Paperback)
The book is very good, and cover a lot ot the subject, My only complaint is the paper quality which seems like a newspaper. Very poor paper for such a good book.
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation by Michael Miller (Paperback - July 6, 2004)
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