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Rhythm Guitar the Ranger Doug Way Paperback – May 1, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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  • Rhythm Guitar the Ranger Doug Way
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  • Swing and Big Band Guitar: Four-To-The Bar Comping in the Style of Freddie Green
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  • Ranger Doug Rides the Rhythm Range
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Centerstream Publications (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574242040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574242041
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mr. Burruss S. Williams on August 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book that details how Ranger Doug puts together the rhythm guitar charts for the songs he, and his group, play. It is not a book that explains jazz guitar soloing or his approach to chord soloing. In the first several pages he talks about his career as a rhythm player and his changing interests in music. He then goes on to talk about f-hole arch top guitars and thier application to jazz. The charts presented in the book are titled "could be used over", meaning that the chord progression could be used over the song but they also may be used over many other songs. And the chord passage sections may be applied to many songs. He also warns that this is not a "jazz Chord book" and directs the reader to Chet Bakers Jazz Chord book series (which is very helpful). This would actually be a very good book for someone interested in jazz chord progressions that can be played over familiar songs, to start to teach you some rhythm chops. If you at all like this type of music the book is good buy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Rhythm Guitar the Ranger Doug Way" is an excellent intro to the "less is more" thinking of fine swing guitarists. A bit long-winded on history and short on Ranger Doug or chord-construction theory, it is an excellent resource and motivation to dig deeper into this style of playing. A helpful accompanying book for theory-addicts is "Swing and Big Band Guitar" by Charlton Johnson. Johnson introduces the concept of chord "Extraction," and explains how to reduce a chord to the two or three notes that make up its unique sound. Then he shows you how to inject these essential, harmonic reductions into standard rhythm patterns and progressions. Ranger Doug's book, by contrast, is comprised of 27 standards and arrangements that are lots of fun to play through. "Ain't Misbehavin'," for instance, almost plays itself and gets the fingers moving economically on the neck with an economy of motion and a maximum of "why didn't I think of that before ??!!" delight. "The Ranger Doug Way" teaches by tunes; "Swing and Big Band Guitar" teaches by theory. Great companion pieces.

If you are a multiple instrumentalist, you might like to check out "Swingin' Jazz Mandolin: 12 Great Songs of the '20s & 30's arranged by Aaron Stang." Uke players will also find Robbert van Reneeses's "Understanding Ukulele Chords" a fabulously, simple-yet-comprehensive, and thoroughly approachable intro to jazz theory. This book is ideal for guitar players just skirting the edge of the glorious abyss of Swing, but who are nervous about the theory. Shucks, if Tiny Tim could play it, why not you too? Robbert is not only an accomplished Swing player and Cornell prof, he plays Swing uke while riding through the streets of Ithaca on a unicycle! Let's see Ranger Doug do that with his mighty Stromberg!
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Most guitar players learn chords with five or six strings droning together. The sound so much better, especially in a band situation, if a minimalist approach is taken, and the guitarist plays only the cool sounding notes that define the chord in the context of a progression. Ranger Doug Green explains this in easy to understand language, and then provides a number of songs charted with these simple but effective chord shapes. These simple chords sound cooler, flow better, and are easier to play than the traditional chord shapes. (Go to YouTube, or order some videos of Riders in the Sky for undeniable proof.)

Some of the songs are charted as many as three times, one with a simple structure, one with a moderately complex structure, and and one with a jazzy structure, with the chords changing on nearly every beat. A picture of each chord with fingering is positioned over each chord name.

I'll never play fat, clunky chords again!
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Format: Paperback
Ranger Doug knows his swing comping. This is a great book that has already taught me some new moves (-and I'm not new to this style), so I'm happy about that. Great mix of tunes----"Ain't Misbehavin'", "All of Me", "Along the Navajo Trail," "Sally Goodin", Wah-hoo"---and several are given in simpler and more complex versions, so there's a place to start and a place to move on to!

(As others have mentioned, this book contains ONLY the chord changes (with a diagram for each one) for the songs, not the lyrics and not the melody notes. Start with the tunes you already know and for the rest, find a YouTube version to listen to---perhaps one featuring Ranger Doug himself!
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This is an excellent book. It has good introductory material, well laid-out charts and a good variety of material. Don't be put off by the fact that there is no accompanying CD. An intermediate guitarist with some knowledge of chord theory and a good work ethic should have no problem getting this stuff down in a few weeks/months. If you need something a little more basic in this style, I also recommend Joe Carr's "Western Swing Guitar Style." It starts out with simpler material and has a CD with musical examples.
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All in all, this was a good purchase. The focus is on process rather than content. There appeared to be more standard songs than western swing which was fine with me as I usually concentrate on standards. I did find some of the arrangements to be "strange;" for example "Limehouse Blues." This is to say that I probably wouldn't have selected the chord formations that the author chose; then again, he does tell the reader to utilize whatever chords seem best and that if something sounds good, it probably is good! The book is well written. The author takes a good, honest, common sense approach and is very encouraging.
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