Review of Fretboard Roadmaps, by Fred Sokolow

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Chords and progressions are the bread and butter of guitar playing, without them you have nothing to spread the musical jam on. This review presents you one of the best guitar books out there for learning how to play chords and chord licks in any key, all over your guitar fretboard.

Sounds like a tall order? It is, but this book really delivers lessons that will show you how to do it. It builds your chord vocabulary, showing you how to build chord shapes for any type of chord.

When I came across this book I was stuck in the rut of playing the same boring old I-IV-V chords using bar chords. Mostly I played in only one or two keys in positions that I was familiar with. Playing wasn’t too much fun and certainly didn’t sound much like the interesting and varied sounds I heard in the songs I listened to.

What were those guitarists playing to create those varied rhythm backups? I didn’t know until this great book from Fred Sokolow’s showed me. Fred opened my eyes to a whole world of new chord possibilities. It showed how to use chords from different positions to make up varied accompaniments, even when playing simple progressions like the I-IV-V.

The heart of the book is a simple fretboard roadmap that shows you how to play any chord up and down the fretboard. Using the roadmap you can play progressions and chord based riffs and licks all over the fretboard, regardless of the key.

You can create really professional sounding licks with this roadmap using only a few easy to remember chord positions. Of course, it is up to you to put in the practice time to get your fingers moving smoothly…

The book’s thin size – 64 pages – is no indication of the power packed into its twelve roadmaps. From the beginning the book presents things clearly and concisely and gets you putting the theory into practice with well designed exercises.

The twelve roadmaps take the guitarist from basic chord harmony to playing great sounding chord and lick accompaniments all over the neck. Novice guitarists can follow the book through from beginning to end. More advanced guitarists will find it more helpful to dip into chapters to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.

Each roadmap gives enough material for several days or weeks of study. I find myself coming back to some of the roadmaps often to revise or pick up new ideas.

As well as chord harmony and the roadmap for playing chords and licks all over the neck Fred Sokolow shows you chord progressions to play just about every blues, rock or pop song you’ve heard.

If you are also struggling to break out of the usual pentatonic, or blues, boxes for your solos you’ll also benefit from the patterns presented in this book. You’ll learn how to play your blues licks around the chord positions that you learn. This makes it easy to create great sounds mixing chord and scale sounds, really cool.

The Fretboard Roadmaps book doesn’t come with a CD, so those who like to hear examples might feel a little lost. If you’re one of those people, you might want to console yourself with the DVD edition where Fred demonstrates all the examples.

Should you buy Fretboard Roadmaps? If you already have a basic knowledge of guitar chords and are ready to move onto a new level of understanding and playing ability then I think the answer is a resounding yes. This book will show you how to improve and give you a good foundation for playing rhythm and lead guitar in a variety of musical styles.