Revised Pentatonic Visualization Book Is Out Now

Scott Collins’ Fretboard Visualization Series: The Pentatonic Minor Scale

Hey Everyone,

After several months, I’ve just completed a massive update to my Pentatonic book and the print edition looks great!

This updated edition is almost twice as long as the original Fiver edition and has a complete overhaul of the text and graphics!

The updated version is $15 for the print edition and $10 for the PDF from LULU (The print edition should be up on Amazon in a couple of weeks)

Pent table of contents 1

Pent Table of Contents 2
Pent table of contents 3

You can preview the contents and order it here.

The information on the back of the book follows.

Scott Collins’ GuitArchitecture method replaces the standard approach to learning guitar (rote memorization) with a simple, intuitive two-string approach that anyone can learn. This method, where players can actually see scales on a fingerboard, is called sonic visualization, and it can be applied to any scale or modal system.

In this volume of his Fretboard Visualization series, Scott has used his two-string method to present the pentatonic minor scale in an easy, intuitive and musical manner.  This book not only demonstrates how to “see” the scale all over the fingerboard, but also shows how to use the scale in a variety of contexts and presents strategies that can be applied to making any scale more musical. The Scott Collins Fretboard Visualization Series: The Pentatonic Minor Scale is an invaluable resource for guitarists who are looking to break through to the next level in their playing.

The Print Edition of the book is $15, and the e-book version is $10 on Lulu (the revised print edition should be up on Amazon in the next 2-3 weeks)

The Original Fiverr Edition

In the meantime, for those of you on a budget – the original pdf lesson book is still available for $5 on Fiverr (That link is here).

I’ve broken the book out into six different lessons over 50 pages that covers:
  • how to visualize pentatonic minor scales on the fingerboard positionally
  • how to use the scales over different tonal centers
  • one string patterns
  • cool ways to sequence the melodic cells with combinatorics and…
  • pentatonic harmony (Worth the price of admission alone)


In other words, it’s a series of short succinct lessons to get under your fingers to start playing but with enough meat on their bones to keep you busy for a while.

Here are some reviews from Fiverr:

“super fast [delivery]. looks good – now i have one more reason to hide and play. thanks!”

“Excellent value! look forward to putting it into practice.”

“Very useful guide for those interested in the material. Great seller!”

“This is the way it should be taught! This method helps you to arrive at a good understanding very quickly. Thank you very much!”

“Fantastic book. Looking forward to checking out your other stuff. Glad I came across this!”
“Great course. I didn’t realize it was this much info. Thanks a lot.”
Thanks Everyone!  Keep an eye out for my new Pentatonic Extraction Book which should be out this fall!!!!

How (Not) To Write A Book

Hello everyone!  I hope this finds you well!

“Oh wait…this is an open mic comedy night now?”

There’s a joke I was told years ago that acts as a surprisingly apt metaphor for creating a book.

A man dies and when he wakes up he’s greeted by a demon who tells him that he’s died and gone to Hell.  On the plus side, there is one last choice that he’ll be able to make – namely which of the 3 rooms in Hell he’ll be in for all eternity.

The man is taken to the first room and peers into a vast number of people standing on their heads on a hard wood floor.  It looks very uncomfortable.

At room number two, there is an equal number of people standing on their heads but this time instead of hard wood, it’s a solid rock floor.  It seems substantially worse than the first room.

The final room is filled with even more people than the first two rooms combined.  In this room, everyone is knee deep in the most foul and putrid liquid imaginable, but they’re all drinking coffee.  It seems completely disgusting, but at least they’re drinking coffee and that might be the easiest of the three to deal with for eternity.  The man chooses this room.

As the demon locked the door behind him, a voice over the intercom barked out, ‘Coffee break’s over!  Back on your heads!”

As I write this I’m taking a coffee break from being knee deep in editing my Symmetrical 12-Tone Patterns book and smiling at the parallels.

How Not To Write A Book Or A Blog

Anyone with any productivity training would tell you that my method of creating books  (getting inspired, doing all the necessary research, writing a draft and then tackling re-writes, editing, revisions and layout simultaneously) is insane.  And from the standpoint of someone thinking in terms of high output writing like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), they’d be right.

But for me, writing in a purely “efficient” manner doesn’t work that way.

I don’t plan out my blogs (beyond a topic and a point of view) because when I write spontaneously, I can help create the immediacy of conversational speech.  That’s the good side of working in that manner.

On the down side, writing that way means that I’m perpetually editing posts, cleaning them up and working endlessly to keep the energy level high while adding some artistry in how I’m conveying ideas.

In other words, I write quickly and edit as long as I’m able.  The editing may be where the actual craft comes in, but without that initial energy of getting the ideas on the page the clean up is useless.

This idea is expressed more succinctly in the familiar adage, “You can’t polish a turd.”

Modular Conventional Wisdom

I’ve written before about the differences between data and knowledge and on the importance of common sense,  as a means of negotiating the constant overwhelm of data. But what this process has taught me is that most conventional wisdom is really best applied in a modular and contextual manner rather than as an absolute.

It’s easy to grasp onto advice and, in an effort to shorten a learning curve, grasp it as gospel – but the real knowledge you gain in life comes from that learning curve.  I’ve learned much more from my mistakes than from my successes, and without those mistakes my successes never would have happened.

Tim Ferriss talks about four hour mastery.  That might get you to an avenue to manipulate your way through a martial art competition, but it’s going to get your ass handed to you in street fight.

There are shortcuts for work, but there are no shortcuts for understanding your own OS.  There are no shortcuts for finding out what works for you and finding out the best way for you to negotiate the world around you.

Put In The Work But Respect The Process

How I create my books is incredibly time consuming and almost infinitely frustrating in the number of times specifics have to be revisited because of how I re-work the material.  But it is only in that re-working that I can see the deeper connections.  It’s in that revision that the work adds clarity  to strength and it’s in going back and sweating minutiae that the work goes from, say, 95% to 98%, and from 98% to 98.4% or 99%.  The agony and the ecstasy both come from working towards those final percentages.

And Don’t Fixate on TIme

So, yes the 12-Tone book is late (Draft one was due Christmas Day!) but more importantly, it’s already the best book that I’ve written thus far and it’s only in the last month that all the substantial changes have happened.

Should I work on being more efficient?  Absolutely! But rushing the book out would have made it a much more inferior experience for the reader.  Instead of thinking about how much time I’m losing in yet (another) substantial revision, I’m focusing instead on what is coming from investing time in this way.

In writing a book, in playing guitar, in enjoying a walk on a brisk day, the magic is in the details.  In being fully engaged in the present.  Don’t be in a rush to gloss over them.

As always, thanks for reading.


p.s. – for a limited time (1/21/13 – 1/25/13) my shortest Kindle title, An Indie Musician Wake Up Call is free on Amazon.  You can find that book here and download it for free starting on the 21st.  (If you don’t have a Kindle the Kindle app is free on Amazon).  If you do happen to download it, please drop me a line and let me know what you think!  If you like it, please make sure to check out my other Kindle title, Selling It Versus Selling Out (Applying Lessons From The Business Of Music).

An Indie Musician Wake Up Call Is Now Available on Kindle

Hello everyone!

My first Kindle book, “An Indie Musician Wake Up Call” is now up on Amazon!   (If you have Amazon Prime, you can read it for free!) If you don’t have a Kindle, the Kindle app to read it on your mac/pc/iPad, etc. is free from Amazon.  The book description from Amazon is below.

An Indie Musician Wake Up Call (aka What Louis CK, Amanda Palmer, David Lowery and Emily White Really Means For The Working Musician) is a prog rock manifesto delivered as a punk rock intervention.

The book is comprised of two extended (but related) essays that address the real impact that Amanda Palmer’s recent Kickstarter campaign and Louis CK’s crowdfunding release has on working musicians (hint: not much), and the REAL problem musicians face with the David Lowery/Emily White NR debacle (hint – it’s not strictly file sharing).

“An Indie Musician Wake Up Call” is a rallying cry for real steps musicians will need to take in the 21st century to move forward and establish their careers.

Wait…”first kindle book”?

In related news, there will be a book of music business essays up on Kindle soon, as well as Nothing Ever Got Done With An Excuse, the book on project management I’m currently editing.

Additionally, the current book on Fiverr (,

will be serialized and expanded on in a series of Kindle guitar lessons.

Kindle and GuitArchitecture Books

For those of you who have asked about the GuitArchitecture reference books getting moved over to Kindle, I should talk about the Kindle platform, porting the reference books and other materials over to that medium.
When I saw that the Kindle was the number one selling item on all of Amazon earlier in the year, I knew that I could reach a lot of people by moving my content there.
Files for the Kindle reader work on a proprietary format called .mobi.  Amazon has a converter that will work with a variety of formats (including .doc), but I’ve had better success with the final version looking like what I actually output in my exporting files as HTM (or HTML).
The first problem with the Kindle option for the GuitArchitecture books is that while Kindles can read pdfs, Amazon won’t sell pdfs on their store.  From a marketing point, Amazon’s store front is the biggest reason to move the books over so that plan of action won’t work for me.
The death knell, however, of porting the books over in their current form is that I would go broke doing so.
First, full disclosure.  If you go to sell Kindle titles on Amazon, there are two revenue options for the author (depending on the pricing of the book).  You can sell with a 70% rate of return or with a 30% rate of return.  Now your initial response to that might be, “Well of course! Take the 70%!” – but hold it right there partner!  If you take 70% option, you also pay the transmission costs for the book to people’s kindle.
The reason for this is that Amazon has a server that holds and sends those titles.  With the 30% rate of return, they’ll pay the data transfer rates (up to a certain point) but at 70% the author pays them.  Believe it or not, my rate of return is actually better at 30% than it is at 70%!
However, the GuitArchitect’s Guide to… books are SO large that even at the lower rate, I’d have to pay the transfer rates on each book.  This means that  I’d either need to sell them for MUCH more money than the current versions are selling for, or actually lose money at the current rate of sale.
This doesn’t mean that the project is doomed, but it does mean that the Kindle Editions of the GuitArcitecture books will have to be radically altered.  They’ll be more list oriented with less graphic representations.  Which will still be a good and useful thing, but it will be a very different book for the ones that have currently been released.
For those of you with the current PDF, I’d recommend sticking with it because the Kindle will have way less graphic information on it.

Again…Why Kindle?

For those of you doing the math, may wonder why someone would even take the time to port to Kindle at such a low rate of return.
In a word, volume.
Amazon is the largest online retailer on the planet (and probably the largest single retailer by now). Putting something in the Amazon pipeline means that it’s potential exposure to people who don’t know you is huge.  People who have readers want to read books.  They’ll look on Amazon to see what to read.  If people have to make more than one click to buy something, it’s all over.  So if you want to sell to people using Kindles – you have to sell on Amazon.
The downside is that the market is a million times bigger but there are also a million other fish in the pond.
Volume is a necessity for the author then as well.  The only way to make money at a venture that involves selling books at the $1.99 price point is to have multiple downloads on multiple titles.  If someone like a book generally the first thing they’ll do is see what else you’ve written.
Anyway, his is the rationale behind the efforts to release multiple titles on the platform.
I’ll have a lot more up about Kindle and branding and the GuitArchitecture site implications in all of this in a future post, but I thought that you might find the behind the scenes interesting.
In the meantime, I hope you can check out the books, and as always – thanks for reading!




PS – as a reminder you can find out about my other books (Including my new $5 Pentatonic Visualization Lesson Book on Fiverr) here.

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Chord Scales Is Out Now (As Well As The New 4 Book Pdf Bundle!)

The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Chord Scales


Update – 2/3/2013

Hello everyone!  As of 2/1/2013, all of my books are available for order exclusively on my page and on Amazon which means that while I may run an e-book  bundle offer directly in the future as of right now, unfortunately, no bundle options are available.

I’m leaving the page up for archival purposes but if you go to the Books link at the top of the page, you’ll find more detailed information about the books below and the other books in the GuitArchitect’s Guide To:  series.


I’m happy to announce that the Chord Scale book is done (with the help of massive edits from John Harper and Doug Kearns – thank you both!)!  


 I’ll talk about it a little more below – but as a shortcut there are now 5 ways to buy the book.

(based on the 6/5/12 – pricing model)


  • If you would like to purchase the Chord Scales pdf (or any other individual book pdf)  for $15 (usd) please click the PayPal link below.  (Also, when ordering, please specify which book you’d like – The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes: Melodic PatternsThe GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes:  Harmonic CombinatoricsThe GuitArchitect’s Positional Exploration, or The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Chord Scales).

 Any 1 GuitArchitecture pdf for $15

  • If you would like to purchase any two book pdfs for $20 USD (and save $10 off of individual orders) please click the PayPal link below.  (Also, when ordering, please specify which 2 pdfs you’d like – The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes: Melodic PatternsThe GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes:  Harmonic CombinatoricsThe GuitArchitect’s Positional Exploration, or The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Chord Scales).

  Any 2 GuitArchitecture pdfs for $20.

  • If you would like to purchase any three book pdfs for $30 USD (and save $15 off of individual orders) please click the PayPal link below.  (Also, when ordering, please specify which 3 pdfs you’d like – The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes: Melodic PatternsThe GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes:  Harmonic CombinatoricsThe GuitArchitect’s Positional Exploration, or The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Chord Scales).

Any 3 GuitArchitecture pdfs for $30. 

  • The  Four-book PDF bundle (which includes The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes: Melodic PatternsThe GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes:  Harmonic CombinatoricsThe GuitArchitect’s Positional Exploration, and The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Chord Scales) is available for $40 USD using the PayPal bundle button below.  (A $20 savings off ordering the books on their own).

4 GuitArchitecture books for $40. 


  • If you’d like a paper based version (and save yourself printing and binding costs), you can go to the link here ( ) to buy a nicely bound version of any of the books.


Please note:

I turn all orders around within the same day I receive payment notification.


Chord Scales is 190 pages of instruction and reference.  It’s the shortest book I’ve written, but it’s just as deep as any of the other books.  The big difference between this book and the other books, is that this book starts by taking one chord scale and really putting it through the ringer and demonstrating how to use it in ways that are intuitive and musical.   Once the process for what to do with a chord scale is demonstrated, the book  then goes on to outline all the unique chord scales from 3-12 notes!!!


The book has a lot of performance insights and presents the material in a way I believe to be truly unique (at least I’ve never seen it dealt with this way before).  It’s incredible exciting to me, and while it’s been written as a soloing, compositional or improvisational resource for guitarists – it could be invaluable to musicians in general.


Here’s the front  cover (more jpegs of the book can be seen below).

For more information about ordering, just skip to the bottom of the page.  For those of you who want to know more about the book, just keep reading.There are a couple of posts that I’ve put up that excerpts and adapts material directly from this book.  To get a sample of the book’s style you can check out :




Making Music Out Of Scales


The page includes a preview option for the first 12 pages of the book, but I’ve included some additional jpegs of some of the Chord Scales book  pages below.  Since the jpegs were converted from the pdf of the book, there’s some pixelation in the jpegs that’s not present in the pdf,  but these will still give you an idea of what’s in the book.






More Information:

If you’d like to find out more about the other books in the GuitArchitecture series, you may want to check out this post as well:




As I said about the books, I’m striving to create content that represents something I would be psyched to find on the web and hopefully it evokes a similar reaction in you as well.


Thanks for reading!