I was sent the book ‘A Guitarist’s Guide to Common Chord Progressions’ by Myron Edwards to check out recently, a huge book, almost 500 pages of chord diagrams and TAB for arpeggio and scale sequences. The book is based around the three most common progressions used in music, the I-IV-V, ii-V-I and vi-ii-V-I and is divided up into sections that utilise these progressions. For instance the book begins with Major Keys – Triads, which is definitely an obvious starting point and then moves on to the Minor Keys. Myron cycles through each key and prints a chord chart showing the I-IV-V chords for that particular key so this is not only a good learning aid for beginners it is also a useful reference for more advanced players or teachers. Once you have mastered the basic triads the book moves on to seventh chords and once again lists all the Major and Minor chords for each key for each of the 3 progressions.
The next sections of the book focus on arpeggios covering the same material as the Chords section, so starting with Major and Minor Triads and then onto Seventh Chord Arpeggios. By the end of this section you are at the halfway mark having covered over 200 pages of chord and arpeggio progressions and patterns. The next section of the book is based around the Major and Minor Pentatonic scale, once again using the progressions as per the other sections so for instance you begin with the key of C and have a first position pentatonic scale for C, then F, then G. At the end of this section Myron then puts a few patterns for all of the keys showing how the scale can be moved up and down the fretboard. Following the book’s structure once you have worked through the Major Pentatonic progressions you move on to Minor Pentatonic scales.
The last part of the book is Modes in Major and Minor keys using both TAB and neck diagrams to illustrate the patterns for each progression. The final Appendices of the book cover some extra chords and scales that you will find useful such as Suspensions and Sixths, Harmonic and Melodic Minor scales, Blues scale, Diminished chords and scale, Augmented chords and the Whole Tone Scale.
This book has a lot of content and it isn’t something you can quickly work through, I would say that you need to be quite structured about how you use the book maybe taking a single progression to start such as the I-IV-V and just working on the Major and Minor Triads for instance. Each week or month you can move onto a different area such as Minor Seventh Chords and Arpeggio patterns. This way you will have time to absorb the information. It should keep you going for a while!