The Jazzmasters’ Favorite: Mickey Baker’s Complete Jazz Guitar

Mickey Baker's Complete Course in Jazz Guitar

Mickey Baker’s Complete Course in Jazz Guitar has been around for over 50 years. It’s definitely an “old school” style of music book. But if you’re an intermediate player, can read standard notation, and want to get started playing jazz guitar, this book will get you started.

Watch the video briefing for Mickey Baker’s Complete Course in Jazz Guitar.

 Title  Mickey Baker’s Complete Course in Jazz Guitar Book 1
 Author  Mickey Baker, born in 1925, began playing guitar professionally at the age of 19. He worked with Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald, Dina Washington, Ruth Brown, and others.
 Pages  64
 Recommended for  Intermediate guitar players who want to learn to play jazz guitar.
 Prerequisites  Readers will need to know how to play advanced chords such as barre chords and “broken” chords. This book does not have tablature, students will have to know how to read standard notation.
 Contents  The book includes 52 lessons. Twenty-three lessons cover jazz chords and rhythm playing. Lessons include:

  • Chord Exercises
  • Harmonic Structure of Chords
  • Vamps and Fill-ins
  • Be-Bop Progressions
  • Common Chord Sequences

The other 29 lessons cover single-note playing and solo improvisation.
Topics include:

  • Scales and Exercises
  • Wrist Development
  • Bridge Solos
  • Building a Solo Around a Melody
 Suggested Study  Mickey Baker suggests that the student augment book study with written exercises. He also recommends that the student apply the lessons learned by playing along with recordings, and with live musicians. (Note that the book was written before the advent of computerized accompaniment software such as Garage Band and Band In A Box.)
 Recommendations  This book is an excellent resource for the intermediate guitarist serious about getting started with jazz guitar.
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