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The Martin Taylor Guitar Method

Martin Taylor

I'll admit that I'm a HUGE Martin Taylor fan. The Martin Taylor Guitar Method book confirms what we all know. Taylor is an incredible natural talent.

In his foreword he describes how playing music has always been a natural expression for him. He also talks about how it's always been something that he does. Not something that he studied.

He makes one statement that seems really obvious. Unfortunately, it's something that's usually overlooked. He talks about jazz as being a language. He goes on to say something that I think is right on target. If you want to learn to play jazz (or any other music) you have to listen to it. It's not enough just to learn some scales and chords.

Brass Tacks

Taylor and co-author David Mead immediately get down to brass tacks. After the forewords by both and an introduction, they begin with a section called " Quick Start Jazz ". This includes directions to pick songs to learn and to work on basic fingerstyle technique. The section on tuning is interesting and somewhat surprising.

They then go into scales. According to Taylor, the chromatic scale is the king of scales. He shows how it's notes are used to play over a chord. He also points out a problem that many of us have. Most of us are guilty of learning too much theory and not enough tunes. There is even a list of recommended tunes and guitarists to listen to!

The Martin Taylor Guitar Method doesn't involve page after page of chord forms. In fact, he acts allergic to them. There is a description of his view on chord construction and the CAGED Method. Overall, he seems to view playing more as a series of moving lines instead of a bunch of block chords.

After the chord section there's a section on 10ths and one on basslines. He explains how he views the strings on the fingerboard. This is crucial to understand and learn his style of playing.

Classical guitar teachers must cringe when they see the photos of his right hand position. All of the things that they say not to do, he does. Of course, the results support the means. There is also a section on left hand position with photos.

Music, Music, Music

One of the things that I like the most about the Martin Taylor Guitar Method is the music. To show how his ideas work, Taylor includes several arrangements of the same song. He chooses the old folk song "Danny Boy". He then arranges it in several different ways. It begins as a very straight forward folk song and ends up a swing tune!

The end of the book has a section on the Vanden Martin Taylor Artistry Model guitar. There's also an interview of Taylor by co-author Mead.


The Martin Taylor Guitar Method is an easy to read instruction method. It has good photos and comes with a CD. Brand new players may have problems with the material in the book. More experienced players will be able to use the ideas in this book in their own playing.

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