This is a brilliant follow-up to Howard’s previous class, The String Trio Approach for Chord Melody & Accompaniment. In this master class, Howard Alden shows us how he plays the seasonal classic, White Christmas. For those who want to have a solid solo guitar arrangement of this piece for your upcoming performances, this is a great video to get. Howard basically guides you step by step on how to play the arrangement while giving tips on musical variations as well.
His fingering choices and chord voicings are awesome so being able to see and hear him with high quality video is very helpful! In addition to the beautifully notated arrangement (PDF with standard notation and TAB with fretting hand fingerings included), the new Soundslice version is great as a way to hear the subtle details in Howard’s playing. A video of Howard is synced together with the notation and you can even slow down the video so you practice any tricky bits. As with any jazz arrangement, there are often slight variations that Howards does. So, for the more advanced guitarist, you will get to learn those by comparing the basic notated version with Howard’s performances on the video.
Again, it’s not just about the arrangement of this specific piece but the lesson that we can learn from the process that’s important. There are some really nice ideas that Howard applies in this arrangement including all the three note voicings that open up possibilities for soli-type movements following the melody. I particularly like how Howard includes little fills and inner moving lines to make the textures more interesting.
All in all, this is a good follow up master class and I hope Howard does more classes like this on jazz ballads as well as mid tempo swing tunes!
Pros: Focused class, high quality video, very useful clearly notated arrangement in the PDF and the Soundslice version is a great plus!
TLDR: If you enjoy Howard’s playing or if you’re looking for a beautiful solo guitar arrangement of White Christmas, this master class is for you.