From Eric Vandenberg (guitarist and guest writer for iBreathemusic.com):

There's a plethora of instructional books for guitarists out there, and of course, as with everything, there are some really good ones and some rather weak ones. However, there also are some that stand out, and have you hooked right from the start. Like when you get the idea that the author truly has to say something, and has very much to share with the readers.

Chris Juergensen is both a great player and a very experienced instructor, and it's evident that he has a lot to say. Instead of putting your good ol' black and white pics of legendary players" on every other page, he focuses on the actual content, and gets right to the point.


One of the first things that really stands out, right in the introduction is "Practicing should be fun but challenging". That "fun" part is often forgotten about, and keeping it in mind is such an integral part of the psychology behind practicing. Elaborating on easy to remember keywords ("Balance", "Vision" etc.), Chris gives away simple advice that should be of benefit for players of all styles and all ages. The part about "The 5 areas of practice" should be paid special attention to, as variety is something a lot of students seem to miss.

After some more personal words, he dives right in. Chord symbols, a reminder on chord diagrams, and soon Chris starts to explain basic triads, giving away very useable and easy to remember voicings that will prove very helpful if remembered thoroughly. This is a good example of one of the most outstanding aspects of this book... that it's aimed at providing you with information you can actually USE, written by a musician who actually does have to rely on that information on a daily base. Some basic chord progressions are thrown in for good measure and should be quite helpful to get used to actually USING the voicings you learn in this part of the book. After an explanation and similar treatment of sus-chords, Chris leads you through 7th chords. This section is very thorough, and is a very VERY good and usable guide to the voicings for those type of chords. And he doesn't stop here, as 6th and 9th chords are next. It's evident by now that this method is not something to work through in one week... it's something that will and should keep you busy for quite some time, and you should allow yourself that time, learning and digesting ( and APPLYING ) the information provided bit by bit.

After going through several other chord types (i.e. 6/9 chords), Chris gets to slash chords, which often is a topic forgotten about in instructional methods about chords. And slash chords can come in VERY handy sometimes, and are a wonderful compositional tool (used by everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Pat Metheny, to mention just two popular modern examples). This section is a quite elaborate one, and is followed by one on voice leading, which is another topic that often is explained in a way that causes more confusion than anything else, while Chris manages to make it quite easy to understand.

He next tackles contrapuntal movement, and if you're new to that subject I recommend to check out his explanation on it before you attempt to, i.e. try to work with the explanation given by Mick Goodrick in his book. All this would be plenty for a complete book already, but we're not even halfway through yet!


The next subject is scales. Starting with a simple explanation of the major scale, Chris also gives some quite valuable advice on technical aspects, and then moves on to harmonizing the scale. This should help quite a few people to understand the construction of triads and other chords, while working on the scale and improving their technique.

The next section focuses on sequences, and this was one of my favorite parts. It's almost like a "Hanon for Guitarists", but the sequences here can really easily be used in your playing the way they are shown in the book... so you don't have to only use them as mere exercises, which I think again hints at real life uses of the information provided. Once again, this book should keep you busy for quite some time!
This also is evident in the next chapter, "Arpeggios", once again being a very elaborate one. It's amazing how much stuff can be found in this book.

Some other "classic" topics are covered, such as Harmonic and Melodic Minor, Modes, the pentatonic, composition, sight-reading... and I am at the point where I believe a basic review won't be able to truly demonstrate how valuable this book can be to some people, and how much stuff is in there. I remember that, while attending GIT, I noticed that it would take me years after graduation to work on some of the things explained to me there, and this book is like that, too: something that will keep you busy for a long time, and a wonderful source of information, whether you work through it like an actual step-by-step method, or use it as a reference to work on a specific topic.

Bottom Line

I was extremely impressed at the sheer amount of stuff in this book, and considering the fact that it is available for about 25 bucks (15 if you prefer the download-version), this truly is a steal. There are a load of books that cover most of those topics, but the way they are explained here, in a "stuff you can use in real life", without endless scientific, confusing ramblings, in a "cut to the chase", "here's what the chord consists of, and here are some voicings" way... that makes this book stand out. It's obvious that Chris has years of experience as an instructor, and it's also obvious that a lot of thought and a lot of love went into this one.

Recommended for: Beginners and intermediate players, even some advanced players who feel like they haven't thoroughly understood some of the topics

Rating: 5/5

- Eric Vandenberg


From Jennifer Batten (solo artist, guitarist for Michael Jackson, Jeff Beck):

"This book has great sagely advice every creative soul needs to absorb. I wish I'd had this when I was a teen. It's like having your own personal musical mentor!" -Jennifer Batten


Reviews from people who have purchased THE INFINITE GUITAR
 

This guitar book distills at least 20 years of a professional guitarist's experience/insights into organized units of essential concepts that help musicians understand the artistry and craftsmanship behind good musicianship. It dodges the hype that anyone can effortlessly play the guitar without any music knowledge in just 30 days. Instead, the book pops a few user-friendly quizzes to make sure that the reader hasn't flipped through the pages too carelessly. Chris has put a lot of himself into writing this book, so that others can use the guitar to express themselves. Thumb through the preview. You will already get the sense of a superb guitar resource/guide. -Tony Jones


Imagine being so good at something that you can do it with your eyes closed. You're beyond being a master at whatever it is you do. You're very humble about your talents and will teach anyone who wants to learn. You're at that highly-prized elite skill level that garners respect and accolades from everyone at large.

One day there's a workshop on this particular thing that you do so well, and you attend it for no particular reason. Lots of beginners are there as well. The speaker begins, and while everything you hear is stuff that you already know, you've never quite heard it explained in such an easy-to-understand way. Everything sounds so basic and matter-of-fact, and there's actually moments when you go 'aha!' and yes, you actually learn a few things! You can see all the beginners are absorbing everything, and they're eager to learn. You, along with other professionals, are invigorated and refreshed. A good speaker on any subject should inspire beginners, as well as jaded and experienced craftsmen.

This is just such a book, and such an author. No matter what your guitar-playing skill level, you will cherish this read. It outshines every - and I mean EVERY other guitar book on the market. The author uses some very informal chit-chat terminology here and there. It actually helps to soften some of the hard-hitting wisdom that will come at you from every angle as you turn page after page.

Really and truly the best guitar book out there, for beginner and professional players.

I got the coil-bound edition. Nice plastic coil, so it won't bend and snag in the future :) -Redsky


I've played guitar for over 30 years and have worked through a lot of guitar books but nothing I've come across comes close to Chris Jurgensen's achievement with this book.

He has a gift of presenting complex concepts in a very accessible way that even a guitar player can understand -:)

The book presents the material in a non-linear way that lets me learn a few concepts, practice a few exercises and then jump to another part of the book to learn some complimentary concepts. For example I worked on some of the triad exercises and when I needed a change of pace I checked out the material on scales and it helped me understand the triads better and also allowed me to make up some cool riffs using my new found musical chops.

If you like cranking through a book one page at a time there are other books that do that but Chris's treatise on the guitar IS INFINITE in that you could spend years with this thing and never run out concepts to learn and exercises to put together.

Besides all the knowledge this book has, Chris also provides some cool perspective on the guitar, its roots, how to practice smarter and have more fun.

Bravo to Chris for adding this mountain range to the guitar landscape! -Carl Johnson


This is the most comprehensive guitar book that I've ever seen. Chris Juergensen has packed this book with chords, scales, and a great deal of music theory. If you are a serious guitar player looking to learn more about the guitar, this is the book for you. -Rich O'Brien

You would think after buying 30 or so books on guitar that I would have enough and never need another book- well I'd convinced my wife of that at least, but I tell you, I think I've truly found the one book I'd have on a deserted island with my guitar for the rest of my life.

First of all, in case you haven't noticed with Chris's online lessons, he has a way of explaining some of the trickiest concepts on the guitar in a way that clicks immediately and gets you applying it to your playing as fast as possible. I've probably looked at over 100 online lessons in the past 10 years, and I've never found any as good as the ones he post for free. I guess this should be of no surprise since he's a former MI-GIT instructor, and now heads the Tokyo school of music. In other words this guy is not just an amazing guitar player, but a gifted educator- a combination that is hard to find.

The book is extremely well organized, the diagrams are as legible and easy to understand as any I've ever seen, and most importantly he covers pretty much every essential guitar concept you need to know about. Chris even covers traditionally difficult and not-fun subjects such as modes, sight reading and song writing in a way that is so clear and easy to follow, that I just can't believe I hadn't already found this information explained in such a clear manner from anyone else. Again, Im convinced the real difference is that he is an educator and he's spent years teaching people, and has truly found the most efficient methods to enlighten students quickly. After 20 years of playing, Im quite happy to finally have such a quality encyclopedia of information that will keep me busy for the rest of my life. And as if the book wasn't enough, he regularly adds lessons to his site, so Ive already added 2 excellent lessons to the book on practicing modes.

Needles to say, I highly recommend this book- buy it today! -manleyf


This TRULY IS an infinite road map to playing contemporary guitar. This book covers many many important areas such as modes of the major and melodic minore scale, developing a monstrous chord vocabulary, voice leading, sight reading, ear training, harmony, and much more. Click on "Preview Book" under picture of the book cover to read see it's table of contents. All this information is laid out in a very understandable way. It's as if Chris is sitting down right in front of you teaching you this stuff through a casual private lesson. It's very comprehendable - this means its NOT written using a bunch of guitar jargon stating things in overly complicated ways simply to boost the authors own ego. I have recommended this book to many people because it is just so great! And at this price, you're saving yourself alot of money. You would have to buy several books and probably a set of private lessons to have it all explained to you in order to get the same amount of information as you would with the Infinite Guitar. -Ethan Christison

I have only read the preview but I can tell you for certain; This guy is good! He explains harmonic concepts simply. He puts subjects in logical order. He provides examples that any student can use as a creative springboard for effective practice. I have been teaching and playing professionally for three decades and had the honor of studying with Ted Greene while I was a studio musician in Los Angeles. His teaching style is different than Mr. Green's, but I would rate this instructional material up there with Ted's. It is straightforward, clear and fast! I am buying a copy right now. 'Nuff said? -Geo Conner

I bought your book about a year ago. I want to compliment you! I have bought a lot of instructional material as I study jazz guitar. I use The Infinite Guitar constantly as a resource. It is concise, clear and has every topic I have ever looked up. The breadth of knowledge is astounding. Thank you again! -JayaP

Preview PDF >>>

"The Infinite Guitar" - I started adding a new lesson every month to my site. I guess it was just my way of spreading my knowledge of the electric guitar around. After all, I've had the opportunity and good fortune to study and work with some of the best musicians in the world and there are plenty of young aspiring guitarists who haven't had the same chances, either because of financial reasons or other hardships. Let's face it, it takes a lot of money to relocate to Los Angeles or New York to study music if you where born in a far away place. My site is my way of helping out, I added a new lesson every month for free. The response was overwhelming, thousands of guitarists subscribed to my newsletter and before long I was getting a thousand hits a day to my "lessons" page. What ended up happening is that a Japanese publisher asked me to rewrite the lessons for a book that they wanted to publish in Japan in Japanese. I didn't imagine I would get rich or anything but what the hell, sounded like a chance to learn something about the "book" business. I rewrote most of the lessons and added a bunch of other sections too and turned the rewritten 266 page book into them and they had it translated into Japanese and released the book. What I ended up with was an unpublished English version with no place to go. I originally considered searching for an American publisher but decided against it because I knew they would want to shorten it and/or charge too much for it which would make me a hypocrite. After all, I started the whole thing because I wanted aspiring guitarists all over the world to be able to study and grow without having to get themselves into financial ruin. So I decided to publish it myself and offer it for a price that most anyone could afford, $25 for the book and $15 for the PDF. Pretty cheap for a book that I think someone could use for years and years. Was it easy? Absolutely not, it was an enormous undertaking. It erased all my free time but I'm pretty sure it will be worth it. I wish I had this kind of book when I started out. For those of you who use my site as a recourse, continue to do so. The book will simply offer you the expanded lessons in the form of a book. A book is different than the internet, you can read it while you ride the train, lounge around on the beach or in bed. You can leave it on your coffee table and you can also teach from it. Some of the sections are lifted right from the site but there is plenty of new things too.

Available at lulu.com >>>

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