Chord Khancepts

There are many books out there dealing with guitar chord voicings. There are as many approaches as there are players, and the topic can be a tricky one to teach. The new Steve Khan book, however, is innovative in its method and presentation, making it easy to understand and play many of the most modern sounding chordal ideas on the guitar.

The best thing about the book for me is the inclusion of two play-along CDs that feature Khan playing the exact selections in the book. Each track is followed by a duplicate track sans guitar where you can play the same example. This makes the material in the book come alive. The CDs are well recorded and mixed with a contemporary sound. The tracks are very musical and fun to play. The ideas in them are "real world", the kind you can use immediately at the gig.

Khan does a great job of covering most of the material a player needs to know in this book. It starts with major and minor triads followed by 2-voice guide tone chords, going through several stock progressions, including blues and successive ii-Vs. There's also a useful triad superimposition chart that makes it easy to "fake" most polytonal chords.

I should point out that the book is thorough; Khan doesn't just mention a topic and gloss over it, he covers it in depth. You get to hear ideas in several keys and over various types of grooves. He also deals with a "traditional" approach to an example followed by a more "modern" approach. There are many little gems in here that I stole right away!

Other chordal ideas covered include: Gospel/R&B Voicings, turnarounds over a pedal, modal chord scales, McCoy Tyner-style consecutive 4ths, Bill Evans-style cluster voicings, contemporary voicing comparisons, and more. There is even a useful discussion of George Benson-style octaves with inner thirds. I have never seen that topic anywhere else in print.

The combination of the easy to read examples in the book and the great sounding tracks on the CDs make this an especially effective learning aid. Khan's book not only teaches you great sounding chords, but the theoretical concepts behind them. His writing style is friendly and easy to follow.

Published by Manhattan Music, distributed by Warner Bros. with a retail price of $24.95, this book is a worthy investment for players who want to increase their chord vocabulary. Recommended!

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