The Best Guitar Book Ever! (SUPER-CHOPS)

This week on the Guitar Blog Insider I discuss what I believe is probably the best guitar book for learning guitar skills with scales and arpeggios (all over the neck) that has ever been created...

It seems that in recent months, I've been seeing a lot of YouTube videos going up with titles like; "Don't Learn Scales," and "Don't Learn Chords," and there's even a few that say "Don't Learn Theory." 

I'm going to give all of these YouTube video posts the benefit of the doubt in that they're just "click-bait" titles and the authors are not actually serious in truly saying and promoting the idea of don't learn any of this vital stuff.

Daily Deal:

But, what I wanted to get into on this week's episode of the "Guitar Blog Insider" is just how beneficial it is to put in a ton of hours and an enormous amount of very serious guitar practice. And also, how it really changes your guitar playing to go and put in the time to really study chords, and to seriously study scales, and music theory.


Most guitar players begin learning the guitar for fun. Maybe a friend plays, and that inspires them. Or maybe they'll watch a movie and see the guitar featured, or maybe it's a song, and that one song inspires them.

However the interest in guitar "grabs hold" of a person, something in them makes them feel like they've just got to learn how to play guitar. And, after getting their first guitar, and trying to learn for awhile, usually people are pretty blown away with how challenging it is to develop the skills to be able to play well. It is generally around that point when a teacher is called upon to shed more light on details like technique and general skills development.

Once a practicing guitarist begins getting more technique down and they learn several songs, and more about all kinds of other ideas surrounding guitar - like; using a capo, and maybe a slide. And, learning barre chords, moveable scale patterns, arpeggios, and down the road - how key signature theory operates all across the neck, and intervals all of that stuff... they're going to be ready - at some point in there - to organize their study of playing lead, doing improvisation, and learning how to solo.

The whole process of learning "some" information, just bleeds over to learning even more and more until eventually the guitarist pursues advanced material for a much deeper / really in-depth guitar study.

When this happened to me, I asked a teacher of mine what the most complicated, most in-depth book was that he'd ever studied from. I just figured that if I could study from the same book as him I'd get as good as him, (because he was a great player). So, he told me the most challenging book that he ever studied from was by an author named "Howard Roberts," and it was called, "SuperChops."

Now, the benefits of doing the SuperChops program are incredible because the entire process is based around following chord changes in all of the different areas of the guitar neck using scales and arpeggios. So, the SuperChops method takes a very involved chord progression, (that you first need to learn well enough to go and record a backing track of). And then, (once the backing track is organized), you're next goal is to play over the chord changes repeatedly - over and over again - until you can consistently perform the associated scales or arpeggios in time all across the chord progression.

The work involved is nothing less than incredibly, time consuming, but the pay off that you get from studying the SuperChops method is amazing!

Example of somebody doing a Super-Chops exercise:

So, let's do a quick demonstration for how this works using a very basic example. Even if you don't own the SuperChops book, you can still do the concept of the work-out and get some benefit from the concept of it all. Let's begin with a chord progression to use as our backing track. We'll go with a chord progression based from the key of "D Minor."

Example Jam: Key of "D Minor"

STEP #1).
Now, once the chord changes are learned and developed up to a decent tempo, you'll have to record them. Once they're recorded, you'll start phase two of the SuperChops process which is playing over the changes in a very robotic way. You can use scales, modes or arpeggios to cover the chords. The main thing is to play in a simple fashion. Stick with straight 8th-notes or 16th's and avoid phrasing devices like hammer-ons or pull-offs, slides or bends.

STEP #2).
Once you have a handle on this side of playing, start branching out and playing over the changes using a more free improvisational nature. I'm sure at this point you're starting to become aware of how valuable this learning method can be for developing your playing skills.

Doing the actual SuperChops program from the book is a lot more intense than what I've shown you here. The book's progressions are really, REALLY long and they contain very complex chord changes.

The book's examples also include melody lines that you'd need to learn, (and they are written in traditional music notation, [there's no TAB], so good music reading skills are going to be an absolute must).

Now, I know this sounds like a lot of work, but what I wanted to get across in this post, is that there's no substitute for serious guitar study. Great players, don't pass over work on; scales, chords, theory and technical skills. They actually dedicate many many long hours to developing their ability. And, that's why the greatest guitarists are well known as such fantastic players, they've worked very hard and they're very serious about how they Study the Guitar.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed the video above, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube. Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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