Getting serious about learning theory/scales,thoughts on Tom Kolb and Don Mock books

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Matt L, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Matt L

    Matt L Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,596
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Southern Maine
    So I've decided to take a break from G.A.S. and concentrate of my actual playing. I've been working with the Soloing Strategies book by Tom Kolb, and it has helped me immensely. I really never took the time to actually learn and digest scales beyond the basics. I could play by ear fairly well, but more and more I would find myself in ruts using the same shapes and phrases. Tom's book really explains things in a clear manner, and doesn't overwhelm with needless charts or info. I'm still working out of this book, but I wanted to expand on the subject, so I ordered these-


    Modal Mojo-Don Mock
    Fluid Pentatonics and String Skipping books-Tim Quinn (want to expand on shapes and connections for rock playing)


    I plan on adding the other Guitar Secrets books by Don Mock (Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Symmetrical Scales) and his Artful Arps and The Blues from Rock To Jazz DVD once I've devoured these.

    I have several jazz theory books that I flip through here and there (all of Ted Greene's stuff, some Garrison Fewell, a bunch of Signature Licks books), but I'm just not ready for those yet. I'm hoping the Don Mock stuff will be a good gateway between where I'm at now, and those more advanced books. What are your experiences with any of these books?
     
  2. lifeinsong

    lifeinsong Member

    Messages:
    1,847
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Location:
    Collingswood,NJ
    Those books by Tim Quinn are killer! I have the one on arpeggios, the one on chord melody/Hendrix style, and also the fluid pentatonics. You should also check out Carl Verheyen's videos on intervallic playing...unbelievable player and very good teacher as well.
     
  3. shredtheater

    shredtheater Member

    Messages:
    312
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    Location:
    England
    I have the Don Mock books. I dont think ive fully immersed myself in them yet but there is much info to be learnt. I probably should have bought one at a time though. Modal mojo is a good starting book. I would defo head for that first and when your down with the basics try the other modes to taste.

    I will check the tim quinn stuff out myself. Cant recommend SOS enough for breaking out of a rut though. Not easy however but well worth the effort.
     
  4. rbnum1fan

    rbnum1fan Senior Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    the Don Mock books are beyond killer
     
  5. FatJeff

    FatJeff Member

    Messages:
    489
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I have some of the Don Mock books and also the Blues from Rock to Jazz DVD. I like all of them a lot. But I don't see a reason for you to wait until you've finished the books to start in with the blues DVD (if I'm reading you right); in fact, I think that would be a great jumping off point. There's lots of great ideas in that video, and it gets you started on a form you're probably already more than familiar with.

    Have fun with it!
     
  6. Sensible Musician

    Sensible Musician Member

    Messages:
    728
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    LOL congrats. I seem to have that revelation every couple years. All of a sudden I realize I'm in the workshop more than the woodshed; I box up and store/sell everything but one guitar, one amp, one pedalboard and get back to work...

    I just wanted to point out that books are analogous to herbal dietary supplements in a workout routine. Or maybe this is a better analogy: books to inform a music routine are like books to inform a workout routine. Suppose you are a bodybuilder and you spend all day in gyms - you just love that sweaty handful of pennies smell... That's the bulk of your work but there is an acute danger of getting too comfortable with your routine.

    That's where books come in. A bodybuilding book might tell you, "remember to develop both arms..." and you clear that pitfall; or a book might tell you about an alternative bulk-up diet or turn you on to a completely different type of resistance training - e.g.



    I like music books for gathering new ways of thinking about music, but the only thing that can get me to think music is thinking music: gleaning vocabulary from recordings, playing with friends/peers, listening with focused undiluted trance-like clarity of mind, making recordings for fun and profit.

    To me the most useful books are the ones that alert me to things to listen for. E.g. Levine Jazz Theory and the Ligon books, all of which describe in a real general way common practice in a style, but using specific examples. That kind of stuff might be hard for me to grasp all at once when it first hits my ears, but the books introduce me to the sound and the conceptual construct at the same time - not to directly impart vocabulary, but to prepare me to acquire vocabulary.

    I say all this because I myself am natural disposed to bury my head in books. The headspace of books is more comfortable and may always be for me. I am constantly reminding myself that reading books is preparation for doing music, but only doing music is doing music.
     
  7. Neer

    Neer Supporting Member

    Messages:
    12,152
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    NJ
    My recommendation would be to buy some music theory workbooks with actual pencil to paper exercises in them. If you do the work on paper, you will be learning theory apart from your instrument, which I believe will help you understand it better. You can always apply it to the guitar. It really doesn't take very long to get a solid foundation in theory. I really believe you need to do it on paper, learning to read it and write it. It really sticks in your mind better.

    http://www.amazon.com/Alfreds-Essen...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330799224&sr=1-1

    BTW, this is how I learned in high school. I had music theory classes which were considered to be goof off classes for most students. Well, I actually did all the work and finished all 15 or so workbooks and I've been using it all since then, whether applying it to guitar, writing horn charts, transcribing, etc. Invaluable and essential IMO.
     
  8. Matt L

    Matt L Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,596
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Southern Maine
    Ok, I've been digging into these a little, and the Tim Quinn books are really impressive. There is a huge wealth of material in each book, and I really like the look and layout he uses. Huge value, and something that will pay off immediately as well as down the road. Cannot recommend these enough.
     
  9. Matt L

    Matt L Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,596
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Southern Maine

    Thank you both. Great insight and advice.

    I am going to purchase that Essentials Music Theory book. I totally agree that writing things down helps you to really absorb and remember things, as I've seen it happen in the past.
     
  10. johann

    johann Member

    Messages:
    2,675
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Monterrey, Mexico
    the don mock books are amazing, really helped me a lot
     

Share This Page