The Practical Jazz Guitarist

Essential Tools for Soloing, Comping and Performing

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  • Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
  • Format: Book/CD
  • Pages: 176
  • Dimensions: 9 x 12
  • ISBN: 0-87639-124-2
  • SKU: 50449618
  • Publication Date: June 29, 2012

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Learn the essential tools and skills for playing jazz guitar.

This practical guidebook will help you master the theory, technique, and conceptual framework for how to play jazz: comping chords, soloing, and playing with expression, facility, and good hand health. The accompanying recording provides demonstrations of key technical concepts with play-along tracks to help you develop phrasing and location concepts on the fingerboard. It also provides examples to train your ear with call-and-response exercises similar to what you might be asked to perform at an audition or jury. A unique section on audition preparation for colleges and professional music programs, with an extended interview with Berklee College of Music’s director of admissions, will help you advance in your career.

You will learn to:

  • Use and organize scales, modes, triads, tertian-based chords, and quartal structures to create an emblematic jazz harmonic context
  • Create and play guitar-friendly jazz chord voicings, and use them in context
  • Navigate jazz progressions and song forms
  • Fulfill the different roles a guitarist performs: soloist, accompanist, and ensemble member
  • Explore concepts to improvise a solo and “make” the changes, develop appropriate “comping” techniques for accompanying soloists or playing in an ensemble
  • Audition successfully, understanding what is likely to be required at an audition and what the judges are typically looking for in awarding admission and scholarships
  • Improve your ear by practicing the CDs call-and-response and enclosed ear-training exercises


“Mark White is committed to understanding and teaching the complete guitar. His book is all about crafting the technique and language of jazz guitar, along with providing keys to preparation for college auditions. The book even includes a short reference history of jazz guitarists. I recommend The Practical Jazz Guitarist as a single place where questions about learning jazz guitar are answered.”

—John Pizzarelli

“Mark White has outdone himself with this incredible text for the advanced as well as entry level jazz guitarists. The chapter on preparing for the college audition is extremely valuable. I have not encountered another book that covers so many topics explained so beautifully.”

—Vic Juris


Mark White

Mark White is a performing jazz guitarist and educator, who has worked in various professional capacities with artists such as…