A soup-to-nuts guide for guitarists looking for a comprehensive way to name and notate chords.
Music theory and practicality are sometimes at odds. For example, theory dictates that a chord must have three or more notes, but as debut author Davis explains in his introduction, guitarists play two-note formations frequently, which they must then label as chords when transcribing. As one gets deeper into theory, the conflicts can get more complicated in terms of where a “root” note might lay in a chord sequence, or how a chord might fit in a particular scale. Davis seeks to solve that quandary with a practical standard for working guitarists. It’s a complicated task, and this book provides a lot of context for readers to consider, explaining pitch, tuning, scales, and intervals, and even providing information on copyrighting musical works. Along the way, he takes a lot of advanced ideas into account, such as unaltered nonextended chords, unaltered extended chords, suspended nonextended chords, and the like. Chances are that any guitarist who’s attracted by the title of this book already knows enough to follow these theoretical aspects. The author offers a process to make these concepts clearer, but it’s not a basic, numbered list of steps. Readers with no education in theory may have to read passages several times to put the level of detail into proper perspective. A weekend warrior who’s happy banging out basic G-C-D or E-A-D progressions, for instance, won’t find much use for the theory, but those looking to move forward will find value in the first, basic chapters and the massive appendices, which feature definitions of everything from Travis picking to truss rods. For guitarists who write, the most useful aspect of this book may be the chord guide, which includes voicings for both standard and alternate tunings.
A complex manual for guitar players who want to keep learning new things.