Tori Amos for Fingerstyle guitar features solo guitar arrangements for most of the singles (and a few other favorites) from 1992's Little Earthquakes through 1998's From the Choirgirl Hotel. At its best the book seamlessly combines standard fingerstyle patterns with Tori's most identifiable riffs. The arrangements are mostly faithful to Tori's piano playing - at no point do they composite vocals into the arrangement as other pop fingerstyle books often do, even on repetitive arrangements
You don't have to own a nylon string (classical) guitar or be a fingerstyle player to enjoy this book, but you do need to be able to read chord frames and tab. The tabs are oversized, and extremely easy to read. Note durations are expressed as stems and dots attached directly to the tabulature numbers (i.e. there is no standard notation corresponding to the tab).
If you aren't much of a fingerpicker your learning curve will be slightly extended as you pick up the basics - like Travis picking and alternate-bass rhumba patterns. Only one song ("China") utilizes strummed chords with any amount of frequency.
Some of the songs are in dropped-D tuning ("Past the Mission," among others), with two other tunings employed ("Caught a Lite Sneeze" in EADF#BE and "Talula" in in DGDGBE). If you want to match pitch against the original recordings and the sample audio CD, you will need a capo. A few songs are in the incorrect key to play along with album versions; both "Icicle" and "Winter" need to be played a half-step under standard, while "Blood Roses" fails to mention that it should be capoed at the 4th fret.
"Talula" is the most aerobic workout in the book, with plenty of sixteenth notes and quick scales. "In the Springtime of His Voodoo" translates perfectly to guitar, as do the classics "Silent All These Years," "Pretty Good Year," and "China." My favorite has always been the first song, "Icicle," which combines an inventive voicing of the song's signature piano line with some challenging plucking during compound time segments. Lest you get too excited, a bouncy version of "Cornflake Girl" does *not* include the full piano solos.
None of the arrangements are "bad," though some of the weaker efforts rely mostly on arpeggios or travis-picked basslines ("Jackie's Strength"), which a skilled player doesn't need a fingerstyle book to figure out. "Spark" is the only true disppointment - it doesn't reflect any of the dischordant keyboard work featured in the song. However, its picking pattterns offer a helpful guide to playing the measures of 7/8 and 9/8 correctly. For slightly more dischord, try replacing all the Ds in the verses with x54030.
There are many wonderful passages that hold up simply as instrumentals, including most of "Winter," the choruses of "Little Earthquakes," and much of challenging "Blood Roses." In the absense of composited vocal melody some of the songs with repetitive parts are more fun if you sing along - even though the arrangements are great. This is especially true on "Caught a Lite Sneeze," which is arranged much better than in the piano sheet, and to a lesser extent on "Black Dove."
The included CD features an abridged version of each arrangement that introduces you to all of the major passages while omitting repeats. It's a little difficult to play along with, but an invaluable tool for a quick review of what you're trying to achieve. The book includes a handy list of how to follow along with each abridged CD tracks.
This book is big success in almost every area - from arrangements to song selection. It only skips three big singles ("Crucify," "God," and "Hey Jupiter") and includes some additional favorites ("Icicle," "Black Dove," "Little Earthquakes"), though it could have featured a few more B-Sides, or at least something less obscure than "Black Swan."
If you are a guitar-playing Tori fan comfortable playing without a pick you will reap hours of enjoyment from these arrangements.