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Johnny Smith - Books

Steve Silverman - Johnny Smith Guitar Solos Johnny Smith - Mel Bay's Complete Johnny Smith Approach to Guitar

Shortly after Johnny Smith arrived in New York in 1946, his Guitar Interpretations, Volumes 1 and 2 and Christmas Suites for Guitar were published by Chas Colin, with Harry Volpe credited as the editor of all three publications. Johnny was decidedly dissatisfied with the results as he felt that his arrangements had been simplified and were no longer representative of his intentions.

In the 1950s, Chas Colin published Johnny Smith’s Aids to Technique for Guitar. In this publication, Johnny presented a series of technical exercises which were designed to improve control of the plectrum as much as the fretting hand. While this certainly was Johnny’s work, there were omissions in some of the fingerings. Written in the treble clef, Aids to Technique for Guitar is still available from Chas Colin and is beneficial to any plectrum guitarist who wishes to improve their technique.

In 1971, Mel Bay published the two-volume Johnny Smith Approach to Guitar. These superbly presented volumes were compiled from the course materials that Johnny had written for his pioneering guitar seminars. Notated using his preferred system of concert pitch, they were published together in 1980, and continue to be available, as the Biblical Mel Bay’s Complete Johnny Smith Approach to Guitar. For those who take their jazz guitar education seriously, this book is an essential part of their library, and it provides a considerable insight into Johnny’s melodic and harmonic approach to his music.

September 2015 saw the release of Moonlight in Vermont: The Official Biography of Johnny Smith by Lin Flanagan.

Please click here for further information.

As part of the Artist Transcription series, in 1998, Hal Leonard published 21 of Steve Silverman’s excellent transcriptions of Johnny’s improvised lead lines in Johnny Smith Guitar Solos, which is available from the publisher, Amazon, and several other music retailers.

Johnny Smith - Christmas Suites for Guitar
The Johnny Smith Approach to the Guitar (Part 1) Lin Flanagan - Moonlight in Vermont: The Official Biography of Johnny Smith