My E-Books

“I am very impressed by Bill Plake’s excellent series of eBooks!  Bill’s books meticulously delve into several areas that will expand an improvisor’s melodic and rhythmic vocabulary.  Many of us find ourselves playing repetitive finger patterns and ‘licks’ while improvising.  Bill’s many notated examples of octave displacements and melodic variations will take you out of those ‘same old’ finger patterns.  With dedicated practice of Bill’s rhythmic concepts, you can find a much greater variety of rhythmic phrasings to be possible in your improvisations.  All in all, Bill Plake’s books contain a fascinating wealth of information that will keep me busy for years!”

Steve Marsh, Lecturer and Woodwind Instructor, California State University, Channel Islands Campus, Freelance Los Angeles Saxophonist

“It is fair to say that MOST Jazz musicians/educators have a litany of various texts on the subject of improvisation. Many of these excellent books, although chock full of information, never give the student a ‘right now’ answer. I don’t mean a ‘magic shortcut to overnight success sans effort’. I mean a practicum with which a student or professional can simultaneously work on strengths and weaknesses in an organized and logical manner, after which immediate results are experienced in real time on the bandstand. Mr. Bill Plake’s text checks all the boxes for what we need to practice at all levels. The novice to the seasoned professional will benefit from all his fine books. Get yours right away!”

– Jacques Lesure, Guitarist/ Educator/Recording Artist

“I just bought two of Bill Plake’s pdf books:  Melodic Minor Scale Jazz Studies, and  Diminished Scale Diatonic Triad Pairs. There are some really great jazz improvisation ideas and concepts here! Going to give me lots of things to practice in the next few weeks…”

– Charles McNeal, professional saxophonist, jazz artist, recording artist and transcriber/webmaster of the internet’s largest jazz transcription Website, Charles 

“Bill’s books are so helpful to anyone wanting to improve their improv game. I’m working out of several of them, and they’re all enlightening, innovative and a must for a better jazz vocabulary.”

– Jim Manley, professional trumpeter and music educator, St. Louis, Missouri

“Bill Plake has really great books for the jazz improviser! Or if you improvise in other styles you will definitely get excellent ideas for your playing from them. Highly recommended!!”   

Nat Janoff, professional jazz guitarist, New York, New York

(Click on the banner for each book to get more information)

I’m pleased to present my latest book, Four-Note Diatonic Triad Cells: Comprehensive Studies in Leading Tones,  released on September 9, 2016!








After considerable years of practicing and performing as in improvising saxophonist, I’ve explored many ways to help me to address specific needs in my playing. My aim as an improvising artist has always been to find a personal means of self-expression, to develop a truly authentic voice. By thinking deeply about the materials of music (pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, form, etc.) and working mindfully with them, I’ve amassed a large collection of etudes and exercises which have helped me move toward my goals. Recently I’ve been collecting, editing and organizing these works into downloadable e-books (pdf format), which I offer for purchase.

These books document (through notated exercises, written instruction and organization of material) my process of going deep into a particular musical subject. The work is best suited for improvisers with a fairly strong basic foundation in jazz pedagogy. It is aimed at getting you to think differently about the materials of music as they apply to improvisation, so that you can further develop your own unique musical vocabulary. I’m continuing to document and organize my work into book form, and I expect to have several more books available in the coming months.

All books are in pdf form and can be printed out (or downloaded onto your tablet device), so you can start practicing right away. Click on the banner for each book to get more information (description and samples) or to make a purchase.

Also, I’m very pleased to have been part of (along with 5 other highly acclaimed saxophonists and teachers) a multimedia educational program entitled Bulletproof Saxophone Playing.

For my contribution, I speak at length about applying the principles of the Alexander Technique specifically to playing saxophone. Click on the banner (upper right side of page) to find out more.

“I own five of Bill Plake’s books and have to say that every one 1) is fun 2) is challenging 3) helps me to grow as a musician. As I am a multi-instrumentalist, I find it helpful to pick any instrument and expand my musical abilities in a short period of time with these books. Just take them slow and you will benefit greatly. Lately, I have been playing the  Coltrane Matrix and find it easier and easier to understand the musicality of these phrases, which makes it easier for me to ultimately hear my own inventions. Also, I have had fun taking a play along, slowing the tempo down and practicing some of the Etudes in  The Vertical Saxophone. That has been a fun challenge. If Bill wrote it, I’m buying it!”

– Jeff Taylor, multi-instrumentalist, San Francisco, CA

“In all of my years producing instructional content for musicians, I can very confidently say that Bill Plake is among the most effective educators I’ve come across. His books take complex concepts and make them crystal-clear, which is reflective of his thought process and in-person teaching style. Bill is in that tiny upper echelon of music educators who have a truly holistic approach to music that takes into account not only the mind and the ear, but also the physical body as well as the musician’s process of finding their true voice as an artist. In a nutshell, when Bill Plake speaks, people listen – and most importantly – learn.”

– Doron Orenstein, Saxophonist and founder at

“OK, so I just bought 3 of ‪Bill Plake‘s books yesterday. I like the way he arranges the books – not just a bunch of transcribed exercises, but brief explanations of what they are in the Key of C. (So you get a basic understanding of the structure and your brain can begin working toward locking this in!) Did a little bit of Melodic Minor Scale Jazz Studies yesterday, and I’m also playing through the intial pages of The Coltrane Matrix: 40 Unique Melodic Ideas. Took Bill’s advice on how to practice this material (Reference 2 Method) and cranked up the backing track! Download the samples and try before you buy! I’m gonna get a lot of mileage out of these books – slowly, but surely!”

Charles Chazz Pratt III, Saxophonist, El Paso, Texas