A Modern Method For Guitar Volume 1, 2 & 3 Complete
by William G. Leavitt
William G. Leavitt was without doubt one of the greatest educational minds of our century. He opened up new perspectives and dimensions to modern guitar music. As chairman of the guitar department at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he was constantly confronted with the ideas and needs of his students - this led to a series of instructional books which built the foundation for guitar education at Berklee.
With this incredible 3 volume instructional set, Leavitt created the first practical approach to teaching the electric guitar.
While classical music students could take advantage of educational materials that were developed throughout centuries, nothing existed for modern guitar.
Leavitt was the first to fill this gap for modern playing by writing a step by step approach accompanied by original tunes, etudes and exercises. I remember exactly my first impression when I took a look at Volume 1 (published in 1966), it was "Wow, this stuff is kinda old!". What sounds like a negative comment gradually evolved to "Wow, this stuff is really important".
The first part of Volume 1 mainly deals with exploring the open positions of the guitar, while cycling through different keys. Leavitt introduces the reader to technique, sight reading, rhythm and chord soloing. Part two moves on to position playing and movable chord forms while still expanding on the other topics, eg sight reading and technical studies.
Volume 2 takes one further into 5 major and minor scale positions, triads, chords, arpeggios, rhythm. I especially love all of the chord solos as this is a topic which can prove tricky to source decent teaching material.
Volume 3 goes even further by showing all 12 fingerings for scales, triads and arpeggios. Again, very nice chord solos and discussions about improvisation and theory.
These books will always feature in my "all time best" list. Leavitt deals with all aspects of playing: chords, improvisation, technique, sight reading, chord solo, rhythm,etc... All three books should be in every guitarist's bookshelf - in my case they became a musical bible that I will surely use my whole life. To me this is the best overall guitar method I have come across.
One thing: Due to the fact that the books do not include tabs it would be helpful to have basic knowledge about notation, although this should not discourage you to go for it. These books are a great way to get started with sight reading.