Bebop Bible by Les Wise

I came across references to this book while searching for material to practice II V I lines. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the book was out of print. After searching all of the common areas that one would look for a book library,, and a few of the online music retailers I settled on calling up a guitar player friend of mine to see if he had a copy of it lying around. Is my great luck that he did and now I have a copy of this excellent book.

The best part about this book is that it is not only for guitar players. It is written well within the range of most treble clef instruments and it’s spiral-bound so that it sits on a music stand perfectly without flipping close like a standard bookbinding. But enough about how it’s produced let’s talk about what’s inside.

The book opens with a section of major ideas. These lines begin on various degrees of the scale until he has created lines that include all the degrees of the scale. The second section features minor ideas and rotates through scale degrees like the first section. The third section like the second and the first rotates through scale degrees but is ideas based on dominant 7. In the fourth section begins ideas based on the II V I movement. In the previous three sections the ideas presented were based on one chord across the entire line whereas this section features the standard progression. The last two sections of the book are dedicated to simple lines and turnarounds

It is my opinion that to gain the most from this book you have to spend a lot of time with it. Mr. Wise did not spoon feed all of the ideas in all 12 keys so you will have to spend the time doing it yourself. Which we all know is the best way to learn any material anyway. With that in mind the 824 jazz ideas listed in this book have kept me occupied for the last two months. Slowly I have seen the material creep into my improvisation I still think I’m several months away from having a firm grasp on a quarter of what is shown in this book.

Take away: this is an excellent reference material book for anyone who wants to learn new material and broadened their bebop vocabulary. The only downside to this book is that it is very difficult to find it in print. On Amazon there’s a single seller trying to sell the book at over hundred dollars. Of course I don’t see this book being valued at $100 but there are many digital versions of this book floating around. See the link below.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to broaden their bebop vocabulary.