The Guitar", Book/CD
Steve Baughman, 2001 Mel Bay
32 pages, 38 track CD
It isn't often a book comes
along that offers a new and unique way to play fingerstyle guitar.
So Steve Baughman's "Frailing The Guitar" book/CD is a
refreshing change of pace. This simple technique in which the
thumb is employed on an upbeat, instead of on its usual downbeat,
creates a driving groove reminiscent of Appalachian banjo. Frailing is a
very versatile pattern that works as well with singer-songwriter guitar
accompaniment as it does with fingerpicking blues and old time fiddle
This book/CD is well laid-out
with numerous examples in both slow and fast versions. Although
each example identifies the associated CD track, the CD directly tracks
the sections in the book. This makes it very easy to work your way
through the examples. Being able to hear the examples makes all
the difference in the world in learning the technique.
The tunes are also graduated
from easier to more difficult to allow a gradual progression as the
technique is mastered. While all
of the tunes in the book use open tunings, Steve does show how it can be
used in Standard tuning as well. This modestly priced book/CD
gives you everything you need to add this great new technique to your
Hear an mp3 sample from Steve's Frailing Guitar Site
American Tablature Songbook"
Mark Hanson, 1999 Accent On Music
Book/CD, 112 pgs. 57 songs
So you've been working on
your fingerstyle techniques and you've seen all the instrumental TAB
around the internet, but what you really want is to sing some songs and
use those new fingerstyle abilities to accompany yourself. Well
the Great American Tablature Songbook is one you should seriously
consider. This book is a collection of American classics with
fingerstyle arrangements designed to serve as song accompaniments rather
than instrumental pieces.
The vast majority of the songs are in standard tuning, but there are a
few in Dropped D and a few in altered tunings (G6 tuning and Open
G-minor). If you haven't seen a lot of Mark Hanson's
arrangements, you'll find them all quite playable. Many are
suitable for beginners but there are also many that are intermediate
level and above.
The CD included with the book
demonstrates all 57 songs and even splits the voice and guitar (right
& left channels) to allow you to practice with one or the
other. One of the biggest hurdles to learning fingerstyle
accompaniment is trying to internalize the guitar part so you can focus
on the vocals. The CD allows you to work on each part separately
until you're ready to do both yourself. It also helps to hear how
the melody should sound in case you haven't heard the song.
I think the CD is big help.
Accent On Music's Price:
112-page Book & 70-min. CD
Standard Notation, and Tablature
Tunings For Solo Guitar"
Michael, 1997 CENTERSTREAM Publishing
Book/CD, 47 pgs. 14 songs in 9 tunings
If you have been wanting to
explore open/altered tunings but have been unable to find a good source
of material to learn from, this book is just what the doctor
ordered. Dorian has transcribed a collection of 14 arrangements
and compositions in 9 different tunings (see list below). What I
really like about this book is that it has tunes appropriate for both
beginners and intermediate players. For example he provides two
versions of his dropped D arrangement for Fishing Blues; a basic version
and a fully adorned intermediate version.
It's my opinion that books
which include CDs are 10 times easier to learn from, and this book is no
exception. Dorian explains a little about each tuning, introduces
the tune, and performs each one. This really helps in getting
oriented to the new tunings. In addition, before each song there
are usually some chord diagrams and other tidbits of useful information
about the tuning. So all together this makes for a great book, and
is one you should consider if you are looking for some tunes to help get
your feet wet in the wonderful world of open/altered tunings.
Order a copy
directly from Dorian
Glenn Weiser, 2000
Warner Bros. Publications
Glenn Weiser has released a
new Celtic book with an included CD...and a great new book it is.
This book/CD set is part of the Warner Bros. "Acoustic Master"
series and is a great sampling of Celtic arrangements in Standard,
Dropped D, and DADGAD tunings. Glenn's playing on the CD is
excellent and it's enjoyable to listen to all by itself.
One of the things different
with this book over Glenn's others is that this one is the first to
include arrangements in DADGAD. There are 40 tunes in the book,
and except for the 6 tunes in DADGAD, they are about 50% standard tuning
and 50% Dropped-D. As shown in the tune list below, the book is
organized into categories.
One thing you should take
note of is that the tunes on the CD are organized in the order they
appear in the book, but the Table of Contents and Index are not and no
cross reference was provided. So you will need to take a few
minutes to mark the tunes and the Index with the CD track numbers.
The tune list below is listed in the order they appear on the CD.
If you love to play Celtic
tunes but have struggled to learn them because you didn't know how
they're suppose to sound, the included CD should help greatly in
climbing the learning curve and have you playing in this wonderful style
in no time.
Order a copy
directly from Glenn
Harp Music of Carolan and others for Solo Guitar"
Glenn Weiser, 1995
The Celtic Guitar style is one of the more popular
styles amongst fingerstyle players. I would venture a guess that
the reason is because this music is so melodic that its appeal is
Glenn Weiser's book of
Celtic music is a virtual gold mine of 45 great intermediate Celtic
arrangements. If you've seen other Celtic
arrangements, you've probably noticed that most are done in open
tunings. The problem that creates with many of these is that to
play a bunch of these, you need to keep changing tunings. So
the great thing about this book is that Glenn did all these arrangements
is Standard Tuning or Dropped D. The thing I like about this
is that I can create medleys of tunes quite easily because of this
tuning consistency. All tunes provide both Standard notation
and TAB, and to help gauge the tempo of each piece, a metronome setting
is also provided. What's also nice is that Glenn provide a
little of the history behind each tune and as you read through each one,
you get a real feel for the times in which they were
written. If you like Celtic music and your playing is at an
intermediate level, you'll enjoy playing the music in this book.
This book is 60% Turlough O'Carolan
tunes and 40% other traditional Irish & Scottish tunes.
Here's a MIDI tune of one of the slow ballads that I like: Eileen Aroon, and the well known up-tempo
O'Carolan tune: Morgan Magan.
Other Reviews from
Glenn's web site
arrangements from Glenn's site (not all necessarily from this book!)
Order a copy
directly from Glenn
Encyclopedia: Fingerstyle Guitar Edition"
Glenn Weiser, 1999 Mel
Bay Publications Inc.
The Celtic Encyclopedia presents an amazing body of
work by Glenn Weiser.
It has over 100 Celtic tunes, comprising the most extensive collection
of Irish, Scottish, and Welsh airs, marches, waltzes, hornpipes, jigs,
reels, and harp pieces that I've ever seen. Together
with the "Celtic Harp Music of Carolan and
others" book, they represent an astounding collection of Celtic
tunes. Also, there is no overlap between books, so if you were to
get both, you wouldn't be buying redundant material!
All these tunes are, like the
Celtic Harp book, in standard tuning or dropped D. Glenn has gone
to great lengths to preserve the original keys and diatonic nature of
the original Celtic music (harps couldn't play accidentals, so all
arranged notes stay "within the scale"). As Glenn so
succinctly puts it:
"I often think of
arranging traditional music as being similar to jewelry making -- the
tune itself is the gem, and the harmonization and fingering are the
setting. To be displayed, the stone needs the setting, and the
setting in turn must do justice to the stone."
Turlough O'Carolan's harp
music is represented with 21 tunes, along with harp tunes from the
Bunting Collection (See Glenn's list of
Tunes). This book will keep your fingers busy for
years to come with some of the most melodic music ever written. If
you like playing the Celtic style of music, you will love this book.
arrangements from Glenn's site (not necessarily from this book!)
Order a copy
directly from Glenn
Guy Van Duser, 1983 Mel Bay Publications
Guy Van Duser is one of the
most impressive guitar players I have ever heard. When I first
heard his arrangement for "Snowy Morning Blues", I knew
immediately I had to learn this tune and more about the stride guitar
style itself. "Stride" is what the post-ragtime style of
piano playing came to be called. The term itself referred to the
pianist's left hand, which moved back and forth between bass and
chords. Guy Van Duser has been successful at obtaining very
effective fingerstyle arrangements of this style by using alternating
and moving bass lines to simulate the left hand of the
These arrangements are very
challenging and are appropriate for intermediate to advanced fingerstyle
players. All but 2 of the tunes are in "Dropped D"
tuning (the others are standard tuning).
"The Stars and Stripes Forever" By
far the most difficult, but also the best.
"Snowy Morning Blues" An excellent
tune, and great fun to play. Guy also has some outstanding
variations to what he transcribed in his recordings of this tune.
"Guitar Boogie Shuffle" One of the
easier tunes in this book. Takes the basic boogie to new
level. Great example of independently moving bass and melody
"Fingerstyle Wizard, The Wizard of Oz for Solo
Mark Hanson, 1996 Warner
I'd been playing my own
arrangement for "Over the Rainbow" for a while when I came
across this book. I remember getting an e-mail from someone, who was a
student of Mark Hanson, telling me how many good books were out there
from Mark Hanson. I new about Mark but until now never had the
opportunity to own one of his books. So now I have one, and this one is
As the title suggests, the
book consists of fingerstyle solos of all the music from the movie
"The Wizard of Oz". The book includes a CD with Mark playing
each tune. All the arrangements are very well done and fully captures
the feel of the music as it was originally recorded in the movie. The
music is appropriate for any fingerstyle guitarist reasonably skilled in
the fundamentals. Unlike some books which have material only an advanced
guitarist could master, these are all tunes that could be mastered. If
you have children or perform for children, these tunes will lighten
their hearts and bring a smile to their face. They are all written in
standard tuning and either the key of C, G, A or E.
- "Ding Dong the Witch is
Dead". This tune is arranged very well. Mark changes
the feel of the song in the second half to keep the overall piece
- "If I Only Had a Brain".
Maybe it's because I can identify with this one that I like it. I'll
probably record this one in MIDI one of these days.
"Traditional and Contemporary Guitar
Happy Traum, 1969 Oak Publications (now Music Sales Corp.)
This book may no longer be commercially available, check
your local library for a copy.
There is more good music in this
one book than any other book I own. If you learn to play most of
these to perfection, you will be a very good guitar player.
- "Fishing Blues"
arranged by Marc Silber
- "Deep River Blues"
and "Doc's Guitar" by Doc Watson
- "Angie" arranged by
Styles for Guitar"
Happy Traum, 1966 Oak Publications (now Music Sales Corp.)
Review by Alex Mogieleff.
This book is somewhat of an instructional book in that
the pieces range, in order, from a VERY simple introduction to
fingerstyle ("Skip to My Lou"), all the way to the most
difficult piece I ever learned to play ("The St Louis
Tickle"). Along the way, it becomes a survey of
some of the (then living) GREATS of fingerstyle guitar, including
Mississippi John Hurt, Tom Paley, Etta Baker, Sam McGee, Elizabeth
Cotton, Merle Travis, Doc Watson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Pete Seeger,
Dave Van Ronk, and Joseph Spence.
There are good bios of each artist and
good introductions to each song, with chord charts and tips on how to
play them. The hard parts, especially, are well
explained. I find that Happy Traum sometimes simplifies his
arrangements of songs too much, probably for teaching and copyright
reasons. I noticed this when I compared his TABs of some
Mississippi John Hurt songs to those of Stefan Grossman.
("The St Louis Tickle", is NOT simplified, nor is "Living in the Country"!)
Nevertheless, this is an excellent study book and a good way for someone
who is familiar with his/her instrument to start learning fingerstyle
and explore its many variations.