William Leavitt

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William "Bill" G. Leavitt (October 4, 1926 – November 4, 1990) was an American jazz guitarist and arranger best known for his long series of guitar instruction books and for developing a related curriculum at Berklee College of Music as chair of the guitar department.[1]

The Method[edit]

Leavitt's books contain no guitar tablature and consist only of standard notation and chord symbols with occasionally written-in fingering numbers, string numbers, and position numerals. They range in level from the beginning reader to the professional.

Emphasis is placed on using a guitar pick, rather than a fingerstyle approach. At the time, although many players were using picks, very few college-level educational materials existed that were specifically designed with the pick-style in mind.

With the exception of Classical Studies for Pick-Style Guitar, all of Leavitt's published studies are originals. This differs from many method books that include "old favorites." Leavitt emphasizes that when learning how to read music, students must be presented with music they don't already know.[2]


Other Materials[edit]

Within the Berklee College of Music Guitar Department, there is a constant circulation of Leavitt's unpublished material for students, ranging from chord solos to arrangements that include over five guitar parts.


  1. ^ [1] Tribute to William G Leavitt
  2. ^ William Leavitt (1966). A Modern Method for Guitar Volume 1. Berklee Press. ISBN 0-7935-4511-0. 

External links[edit]