Best Guitar Books for Beginners: Reviews and Guide

If you just purchased your first guitar and are a visual learner, then you may want to consider trying to learn techniques, concepts, and theory from a book. Guitar books offer the ability to learn a variety of playing styles, concepts, and theories. With many books out there to choose from, it can be overwhelming.

Incorporating a book into your learning arsenal will really help your guitar playing. So whether you are a true beginner or intermediate player, there are some great options out there for you. What that said, welcome to our guide on the best guitar books.

Best Guitar Books

This guide contains a selection of the best guitar books for beginners and intermediate players that are available. There are many to choose from but we will break it down by selecting our top choices and discussing the pros and cons of each. Let’s take a look at our top choices for best guitar books. 

 

1. Guitar Exercises for Beginners: 10x Your Guitar Skills in 10 Minutes a Day (Guitar Exercises Mastery)

Your success playing guitar early on will rely on the muscle memory you can build in your fingers. This book does just that and all it takes is 10 minutes a day. 

This book emphasizes on finger exercises which will leave you feeling the burn. This easy to follow book helps you sort through and figure out what to practice and when to practice your guitar exercises.

The pictures display a great visual tool that will make learning easy and fun. The art of practice is an important aspect that the book focuses on so you can become a technical and accomplished guitar player.  

Some additional topics the book covers are guitar tablature, melodies and chords, rhythm with time signatures, scales, and more.

This guitar book also includes some bonuses. If you follow the link provided in the book and sign up for the email list, you will receive three bonuses. 

The first bonus is a PDF of the 25 things you are doing wrong with guitar and how to fix it. The second bonus item you will receive are audio, backing tracks, and cheat sheets for the book. The third bonus you will receive will be access to a private community of guitarists which will include weekly blogs. 

Pros

Pros

  • Easy and fun to understand format 
  • Exercises for all areas of guitar playing
  • Discover the “what” and “when” of practicing guitar
  • Learn a variety of chords 
  • 10 minutes a day can 10x your guitar skills 
  • Play guitar with more confidence

Cons

Cons

  • Some exercises may be advanced for a beginner 
  • Must understand to read tablature 

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2. Acoustic Guitar Primer Book for Beginners: With Online Video and Audio Access (Acoustic Guitar Lessons)

The Acoustic Guitar Primer Book for Beginners is very popular and makes our list of best guitar books. The book offers the basics and helps you understand the parts of the guitar, which playing position is best, the concept of strumming, chords, and guitar tablature.

The acoustic guitar may not seem the most fun option compared to the electric guitar in the beginner but I feel it’s best to learn on an acoustic guitar. After these concepts are learned, then you will learn how to play easy songs.

This will help you build your confidence which is crucial for a guitar player when they are just beginning. 

Chord charts are also included which is great to visually see where the chords on the guitar neck are formed. An hour of video instruction is also which acts as a nice companion piece to the book. Some more advanced topics are also discussed such as alternative picking, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. 

Pros

Pros

  • Step-by-step on many aspects of guitar playing
  • Helps you learn the fretboard
  • Straightforward lessons that are easier to understand
  • Teaches guitar tablature 
  • Dives into more advanced topics 
  • Book and DVD can be used in combination with each other 

Cons

Cons

  • May be too advanced for beginners 
  • Songs taught may be boring to learn 

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3. Guitar: The First 100 Chords for Guitar: How to Learn and Play Guitar Chords: The Complete Beginner Guitar Method

The first 100 chords for guitar is a great book for new guitar players, experienced guitar players who want to expand their chord knowledge, and those dedicated to rhythm guitar. This is not just a list of chords, it’s the teaching and the application of these chords in theory that will help your playing immensely. 

From basic chords, minor chords, barre chords, and more advanced pairings you’ll learn the proper fingering so you can build smooth transitions for your chord progressions.

Learning each new chord helps build muscle memory and more importantly helps you see how everything is connected. Prior knowledge in musical theory isn’t needed as you will then understand how the chords are created and that will be easier for you to visualize chords on the fretboard.

This book also helps you develop a sound practice routine which will assist your fingers to adjust to the new shapes without even thinking about it.

The routine will be essential as it’s something that can be confusing with regards to what to practice and when to practice it.   

The book’s content is presented in a clear and concise manner that with dedicated practice, your playing will improve in no time. 

Pros

Pros

  • Learn how to play all the essential guitar chords.
  • Understand how chords are connected and work together.
  • Clear and concise instructions with suggested practice schedule.
  • Builds your technique.
  • Contains audio samples to assist with your learning.
  • Introduces theory which leads to application and creativity. 

Cons

Cons

  • Could use more visuals of the exact fingering on the fretboard.
  • Audio files may not always work. 

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4. Guitar Scales for Beginners: How to Solo Effortlessly and Create Your Own Music Even If You Don’t Know What A Scale Is

This is the second book from Guitar Head. Unlike the first book that we mentioned where it focused on practice, melodies, and chords, this book hones in on guitar scales and guitar solos. 

As a guitar player since 15 years old, I can tell you that I wished I focused on scales and soloing early on in my playing days. Learning chords is one skill set and learning the scales is a whole other skills set.

The two learned together really brings everything together and adds a lot of clarity to theories that may seem not to make sense. 

This book breaks down scales and solos in a step-by-step manner and really eliminates confusion and the intimidation factor of guitar scales. This book helps with creating a mental mind map of the fretboard which is essential to progress your guitar skills.

To be able to see the fretboard from a distance and understand where notes are supposed to go really connects guitar playing to guitar theory.  

The book is harnessed on a method/secret where showing you one scale which will then be the method to learn the other scales. The understanding of how the scales are formed will be able to expand your knowledge very fast.

Learning that will help you play those in a variety of places on the fretboard.   

Pros

Pros

  • Learn how the fretboard works. 
  • Focuses on comprehension instead of memorization. 
  • Breaks down scales to be easy to understand.
  • Gives you exercises that you play to enhance playing.
  • Audio tracks to play along to via downloadable content.
  • Easy to follow and understand.

Cons

Cons

  • No glossary of terms. 
  • May create an overwhelming feeling for new guitar players.

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5. The Art Of Contemporary Travis Picking

This book is a little bit older (published in 1986) and on a specific aspect of guitar  playing and that is Travis picking. When wanting to explore Travis picking and fingerstyle playing, this book helped immensely.

For those unfamiliar with Travis picking the concept is that you keep a steady beat with alternating bass notes using your thumb. Then at the same time, you use the index and middle fingers to play the treble notes.

This style is used in most folk styles of music.   

In this book you will learn the proper hand positions and basic Travis picking patterns. There are four basic patterns that are shown which really helps you see how this picking style works. Each pattern has exercises and then a song for you to practice with that uses the particular pattern. 

The book then advances the picking by introducing melody playing, six-string style, and slurs. The appendix features a chord chart and glossary which is a nice addition. A CD is also included which is a good audio so you can see how the picking is supposed to sound. 

It’s not a simple book as it requires your time so you will find yourself going through the same sections over and over to ensure your understanding the concepts. Once you have mastered the concepts in this book then you can move on to more advanced books by the same author on fingerpicking. 

Pros

 

Pros

  • Provides patterns and exercises to familiarize yourself with Travis picking style. 
  • Features songs from artists such as Paul Simon, James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, and more! 
  • Advances the basic concepts with more advanced melody style playing. 
  • Features chord chart and glossary of terms. 
  • Comes with a CD to show you how the patterns are supposed to sound. 
  • Great for beginners and intermediate guitar players. 

Cons

Cons

  • May not be for true beginners. 
  • Lack of visuals with regards to finger positioning. 

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6. Beatles Fake Book

The Beatles Fake Book makes our lists for a few reasons. The first reason is because this is the first book that I learned to play guitar from when I was younger. The second reason is because The Beatles were so talented with their songwriting that by learning their songs, it can help advance your guitar playing and knowledge quickly. 

For those unfamiliar with what a Fake Book is, it’s basically a simple version of the sheet music for a song. It contains the melody, lyrics, and chords changes over the appropriate beats.

This book features every song by The Beatles ever recorded. Each song will display the tempo style along with the chords and their charts above the sheet music where the changes would occur. This is not in tablature so you will just be seeing the music notes on the songs. 

This book really assists with your chord knowledge beyond the standard chords. The Beatles used lots of seventh chords and diminished chords which is great for your own individual playing. 

The expansive nature of these timeless sounds makes it fun to play along with the originals and see how songs are structured.  If you are a fan of The Beatles then this book is great for learning all their hits and some deeper cuts. 

If you play the acoustic guitar or the electric, this book is perfect. With the Beatles expansive catalog you will really get a great insight to all the different chords used.  

Pros

 

Pros

  • Features all 174 Beatles songs.
  • Displayed in an easy-to-follow format. 
  • Helps you learn the specific chords for each song displayed with a chart.
  • Learn classic songs by the Fab Four.
  • Helps expand your chord knowledge.
  • Great for practicing and following along with the actual recordings. 

Cons

Cons

  • Some songs may require a change key.
  • Print may be small for some. 
  • Doesn’t feature barre chords. 
  • Capo used is not indicated in the book.

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7. Fretboard Roadmaps: The Essential Guitar Patterns That All the Pros Know and Use (Guitar Techniques)

To look at the fretboard as a map is something that I feel personally will help so many guitarists out there. The book assists with helping to play lead and rhythm virtually anywhere on the fretboard. No matter what key you’ll learn what to play. 

The book features a variety of popular patterns that you can take and play anywhere on your guitar’s fretboard. Filled with diagrams and instructions for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. 

Fretboard roadmaps will also go into the major scales, chord families, moveable scales, blues scales, and pentatonic scales. It’s presented in easy to digest sections. This book really makes you take a moment to think about how everything on the guitar is connected.

No matter your level of playing, there is always an aspect of theory knowledge that we are going to lose sight of. The book really lays down a great foundation. 

The accompanying DVD will also provide some “ah-ha” moments which really will help your guitar playing.

Those are the exact moments where you finally realize how the instrument works. To know where you can go and are headed next on the fretboard will enhance your own creativity as well. 

This will take your familiarity with notes and then moves them into scales, chord patterns, and chord progressions. This will aid you with learning these concepts a lot quicker. 

Pros

 

Pros 

  • Lots of useful information packed into each chapter. 
  • Explains how chords are related in different keys.
  • Helps you to see the fretboard as a map. 
  • Great for beginners and intermediate guitar players. 
  • Helps you understand the concepts as opposed to memorizing them. 
  • Learn patterns that will help you with playing anywhere on the neck and improvise. 

Cons

Cons

  • Production of DVD could be viewed as low quality. 
  • Could be confusing for true beginners.

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Buyers Guide for Best Guitar Books 

So the question you have to ask yourself is what type of guitar book is right for you? That’s something as a guitar player you will need to answer. The books we have featured are for a variety of desired skills sets. From rhythm playing, soloing, fingerpicking, and band specific books there is something out there for everyone. 

Do you need a guitar book to learn guitar?

No, there are so many good resources to help you learn guitar. From videos, books, listening to your favorite guitar player, and one-on-one lessons. However, watching videos and learning from a book is a great combination to help you learn guitar or sharpen your skills if you are an intermediate guitar player.

When guitar books features songs by specific artists, then you can play along with those songs to really help your rhythmic playing.  

What should you look for in a guitar book? 

That is subjective based on what you are looking to accomplish on the guitar. Skill set aside, below are some things you’d want to look for regardless the specific topic:

  • Clear and concise explanations
  • East to follow
  • Frequent use of visuals
  • Examples in specific songs
  • A practice schedule
  • An audio component which helps in training your ear
  • Legible print
  • The building off of concepts learned

All of these listed above should allow you to use the guitar book like a recipe book. You will continue to go back to it for reference and to revisit when needed. 

Best Guitar Books Conclusion 

 These are our top picks for best guitar books. There are many more available, however we feel that these will provide you with all that you need to be a competent guitar player along with the ability to expand your musical knowledge. 

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