Best Guitar Books: All Time Favorite of Guitar Players

Best guitar books that cover a range of styles and subjects, for beginners and for more experienced players. Learning to play the guitar from guitar books is still quite popular, despite the availability of the more modern form of learning guitar, such as online video tutorials and learning software. Its because some of these books can cover specific topics quite in detail. Here we have listed popular guitar books, from beginner to advanced, perfect for the self taught guitarist. These books focus on not only making you a better guitar player, but a better musician overall. Some of these books are considered to be classics.

The Best Guitar Books: for Beginners & Intermediate Players

Best Guitar Learning & Playing Books There are hundreds of books on the guitar out there. Although most are beginner books, the ‘teach yourself guitar’ types, there are also good informative books about the instrument, playing technique and on top guitar players.

Here, we have included method books for beginners and for more advanced players in a number of styles. You will find guitar books on beginning guitar, music theory, jazz guitar, sight-reading, lead playing, and more.

Although taking music lessons with a guitar teacher is often considered to be the best way to learn, self-study is also an effective method nowadays for most students. It’s flexible and also turns out to be less expensive.

Because no single teaching method can cover everything and doesn’t suit all students, over a period of time it makes sense to own a few of these guitar books. It will help you to become a better guitarist, and also to become a more thoughtful musician.

After all there’s a lot to be learnt – Chord Voicings, Arpeggios, Two-Handed Tapping, Fingerpicking, Slide Guitar, Walking Bass Lines, Improvisation, and more. Then there are various styles of music – Rock, Blues, Classical, Jazz, Funk, Metal, World, Ragtime, Flamenco, Bluegrass, Gypsy Jazz, Pop, Latin, Fingerpicking, Country, Fusion, Texas Swing, and more.

Here are some of the best guitar books if you are looking for guitar instructions on various topics such as music theory & guitar practice. You’ll also find instruction books on guitar technique such as riffs and how to play guitar in various genres of music such as rock, shred, classical, jazz, pop, etc.

A Modern Method for Guitar

A Modern Method for Guitar - Volumes 1, 2, 3 Complete
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You can now buy all three volumes of this classic guitar method in one convenient book! The earlier versions were extremely popular with guitar players, which prompted the creation of this all-in-one book. This method book is used as the basic text for the renowned Berklee College of Music guitar program.

Full of innovative solos, duets and exercises that teach melody, harmony and rhythm.

This is one of the best guitar method books out there. Anyone interested in doing some serious improving on guitar needs to invest in this book. Great for serious guitar students and instructors. Its not for someone who wants to learn the easy way though.

Hal Leonard Guitar Method, Complete Edition: Books & CDs 1, 2 and 3

Hal Leonard’s series of books are the most popular books for learning the guitar. This book starts with the beginner topics like how to read music, chords, different scales and keys, and then moves on to advanced techniques and music theory in the later books. Even though you can buy just one book from the series, we recommend the 3 CDs that come with the book, which makes it quite useful for practicing. This book series is meant for beginners and intermediate players who want to learn guitar (beginning with notation and strumming patterns).

After a week or two, you should be able to play some songs using just a couple of strings and only 6 notes. The diagrams in the book are large in size (beginners love it), and there’s lots of useful information in it, the play along CDs are useful too.

Even for those players, who know to play the guitar (some what) but never really bothered to learn how to read music, this is a good book. Like everything in life, you stick with one thing for some time, and it becomes easier.

Fretboard Logic SE: The Reasoning Behind the Guitars Unique Tuning + Chords Scales and Arpeggios Complete

Fretboard Logic SE: The Reasoning Behind the Guitar’s Unique Tuning + Chords Scales and Arpeggios Complete (The Fretboard Logic Guitar Method Volumes I and II).

This is another very popular guitar book.

This is not a typical guitar method book, it focusses on the several practical application of learning guitar. This book explains the fretboard layout by focusing on the five basic chords and its root notes. The chords are C, A, G, E, and D, (“CAGED” method).

The book also includes enough information on arpeggios, tunings, and scales that will ensure you also brush up on music theory.

The 50 Greatest Guitar Books

The 50 Greatest Guitar Books
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One of the best guitar books around, that not only provides excellent information on playing the guitar, but also offers some excellent advice on music in general. Find the best guitar exercises & lessons in various popular genres of music. I highly recommend the book, and myself have purchased several copies as gifts for my guitar playing friends.

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, a hobbyist or a professional, every guitarist feels that he/she can get a little better. The authors of this book will enlighten, educate, entertain, and inspire you, it will further your guitar education, no matter your level of ability.

The 50 Greatest Guitar Books is part guitar instruction, part music appreciation, and part literary criticism.

The 50 Greatest Guitar Books is a superb reference book, and also a great tutorial book. Over hundred guitar lessons – in all styles – provide beginner, intermediate, and advanced players with knowledge, insight, and inspiration. You’ll also find helpful insightful commentaries.

Guitar Mastery Simplified (Kindle Edition)

Guitar For Dummies

Now you can quickly become a Strumming, Chords, and Lead Guitar Ninja. Learn to play the guitar like a guitar master and eliminate all the doubts that have been holding you back.

Guitar Mastery Simplified, is packed with easy & important guitar lessons that will help you take your guitar playing ability to a much higher level.

Guitar For Dummies

Have you always wanted to play guitar? Who wouldn’t? Think of Jimi Hendrix wailing away on his Stratocaster. . . Chuck Berry duck-walking across the stage to “Johnny B. Goode”. . .B.B. King making his “Lucille” cry the blues. No doubt about it—guitars are cool.Guitar For Dummies 2nd Edition tells you everything a beginning or intermediate guitarist needs to know: from buying a guitar to tuning it, playing it, and caring for it, this book has it all—and you don’t even need to know how to read music.

Hal Leonard Guitar Method, Complete Edition

The Hal Leonard Guitar Method is designed for anyone just learning to play acoustic or electric guitar. It covers some of the best teaching ideas from around the world. This super-convenient Complete Edition features the new and improved method books 1, 2 and 3 spiral-bound together, with CDs.

Ukulele For Dummies

Ukulele For Dummies covers all the basics—from chords and strumming patterns to guidance on finger-picking. The print version of the book includes a CD with audio tracks of the entire musical notation in the book—creating a total musical instruction package. The enhanced ebook contains 30 in-line instructional videos and offers instruction in a variety of styles—including pop, folk, holiday favorites, and Hawaiian music.

Guitar Aerobics

A 52-Week, One-lick-per-day Workout Program for Developing, Improving and Maintaining Guitar Technique. The guitar exercises cover several musical styles including rock, blues, jazz, metal, country, and funk. Techniques taught include alternate picking, arpeggios, sweep picking, string skipping, legato, string bending, and rhythm guitar.

KindleChords! For Guitar – 125 Essential Chords

KindleChords! is the ultimate chord book for guitar players on the go. Everywhere you take your Kindle you’ll also take your chords. Using clear, sharp Kindle ready images, this book is by far the easiest to read chord book that you can get for your Kindle reader.KindleChords! contains 125 of the most used chords in popular music and country songs.

The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart

The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart
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This handy booklet includes 120 of the most commonly used chords, as well as information on chord theory and easy-reference diagrams.

Guitar Fretboard Workbook

Guitar Fretboard Workbook
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Navigate the guitar neck better than ever before with this easy-to-use book! Designed from Musicians Institute core curriculum programs, it covers essential concepts for players of every level, acoustic or electric. A hands-on guide to theory, it will help you learn to build any scale or chord on your own and unleash creativity. No music reading is required.

Music Theory for Guitarists

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask (Guitar Method). Guitarists of all levels will find a wealth of practical music knowledge in this special book and CD package. Veteran guitarist and author Tom Kolb dispels the mysteries of music theory using plain and simple terms and diagrams. The accompanying CD provides 94 tracks of music examples, scales, modes, chords, ear training, and much more!

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory

This book breaks down a difficult subject in a simple way, even for those who think they have no rhythm or consider themselves tone deaf.

How to Play Guitar

Everything You Need to Know to Play the Guitar. In How to Play Guitar guitar players of all levels will find a wealth of instruction and inspiration. Whether you want to play pop, folk, country, rock, blues, jazz, classical, or any other style of music, you will pick up the basic techniques without tedious drills and exercises. Using real music and a step-by-step approach, How to Play Guitar will teach you about: Choosing and buying a guitar, Tuning your instrument correctly, Reading sheet music, guitar music, and tablature, playing melody and more.

The Beatles Complete Chord Songbook

This great collection features all 194 songs written and sung by The Beatles, specially transcribed here for strumming guitarists, from the actual recordings, in the original keys. Each song includes chord symbols, guitar chord boxes and complete lyrics. Also features a helpful playing guide and a full discography.

Beyond Basics Fingerstyle Guitar (The Ultimate Beginner Series)

If you’re a beginner who can play a few chords, this book will help you take your skills much further, especially if you want to get into fingerstyle guitar playing. This book starts with simple exercises and moves onto the more complex patterns that can be used in songs.

And the best part is that when you learn to play the songs included in this book, the people around listening to you are bound to get mesmerized with your playing.

Written by one of America’s premier fingerstyle guitarists (Mark Hanson), this book introduces you to the world of fingerpicking.

Beyond Basics Fingerstyle Guitar (The Ultimate Beginner Series)Fingerpicking and fingerstyle usually mean the same thing, and that is to play the guitar by plucking the strings with the fingers.

What Does it Cover?
Here’s what this book & CD package includes:

  • Feature standard notation and tablature
  • Quick review of open-position chords and proper right-hand position
  • Introduction to basic accompaniment patterns
  • Learn picking with the thumb and three fingers
  • Mark also covers the famous ‘Travis’ alternating thumb pattern as well as some great chord moves.
  • Learn solo guitar and how to use it in folk, blues, ragtime and new age styles
  • Learn how to use beautiful chord voicings.
  • Tab booklet included. (70 min.)

The Acoustic Guitar Method: David Hamburger

Got yourself an acoustic guitar? Make sure you get this DVD guitar course by David Hamburger. Its a best-selling guitar instruction method and recommended for beginners as well as intermediate levels players.

Although the package may look like a book, the two disc set is like a complete 6 month course in guitar learning. Yes, that’s right! And if you look at its price, its perhaps the cost of a single guitar lesson, and for that much you get around 6 months of lessons from a low-key, funny, and talented guitar teacher. Its a must for beginner guitar students.

The Acoustic Guitar MethodFeatures

  • Clearly organized
  • Graded set of lessons
  • DVD 1 covers all the basic chords and flatpicking techniques
  • DVD 2 gives you a solid start on fingerpicking along with more advanced flatpicking styles.

You don’t have to worry if you’re an absolute beginner as this course takes you right from the basics. The first DVD covers topics such as how to tune up, use the capo, play bass runs, vary your strumming patterns, and how to form important chords and chord progressions.

The DVD-2 covers topics at an intermediate level, especially useful for those with prior guitar playing experience. It teaches basic fingerpicking patterns, provides an introduction to more advanced flatpicking styles, including scales and single note playing. It also shows you how to play melodies, and hammer on, how to slide and pull off embellishments. Simple folk tunes are used to illustrate all of the material.

This is arguably among the Best DVD’s that you’ll find on learning to play the guitar, suited to most beginners players. However, if you already know how to play basic major, minor, and seventh chords, how to keep a rhythm, and already know to play some basic fingerpicking patterns, then this may not be the course for you.

The best part about the Acoustic Guitar Method is that it teaches you guitar techniques, and also helps you learn songs as you go along.

Also checkout the Best Guitar Magazines.

  • Find books to learn Guitar, Bass – both for Kids and adults
  • Find fretboard diagrams, tablatures, examples using pictures, hand drawn illustrations.
  • Find musical pieces to make the learning process practical and enjoyable
  • Find advanced playing techniques, different types of chords (power and barred chords) and their construction
  • Learn how to strum, do rhythm reading, understand music theory, learn lead playing, and more
  • Most books also provide demo/backing tracks for the musical pieces, in various genres such as Rock, Blues, Pop, Jazz, Country, Metal, Cajun, Motown, Classical, Bossa Nova and Funk.

So get hold of these excellent Guitars Books & Magazines right away.

Guitar Books PDF

You can do a google search to pond PDF files of guitar books. Most of them however are pirated versions of popular guitar books that you can buy on sites like Amazon.

Instead of PDF files of guitar books, you can buy them online. You will find a variety of books – guitar theory books, acoustic guitar books, jazz guitar books, classical guitar books, bass guitar books and so on.

Guitar Books: Why Use Them?

Most guitar books nowadays come with supplemental CDs and DVDs for an enhanced learning experience for users.

Pros of Guitar Books

  • Always available, no dependency on internet connection or DVD player
  • We all are used to reading books, so there’s this feel good factor. Besides, books have a structured flow of lessons.

Cons of Guitar Books

  • Can be a challenge learning music from books as a beginner, since you can’t hear what you’re reading right away. Good thing is that most books have supplemental CDs nowadays.
  • Books have lots of pictures to complement your learning, but it is not the same as having an instructor right in front of you showing how to move along the fretboard, form chords, etc.
  • No personal feedback to the student.

Types of Guitar Books
Here are two important types of guitar books that you can buy, and why you should have them in your library.

Music Tab Books
Great for learning popular songs. What makes these instructional guitar books better than online tab sites, is that these are published by a professional publishing company and contains musical notations (if you decide to do away with the guitar tablature).

Benefits of Music Tab Books:

  • The songs are almost exactly the way the artists played them.
  • You can learn the artist’s stylistic features.

Method/Skill Books
Now, if you’re not quite ready for songs and tunes, or you think you need another lesson in technique, skill books are your way to go. Veteran guitarists are out there to try and make a buck or two from their skills, but in the process, you get to acquire their knowledge and learn how they became so amazingly great.

Benefits of owning a guitar skill book:

  • Learn the basics, lear a bit about lot of things
  • Comes with lots of photographs and diagrams.

Best Online Merchants for Buying Guitar Books

Guitar Books: Final Thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed the recommended guitar books, try adding a few to your music library every few months.

Do you agree or disagree with the names of the guitar books listed here, let us know in the comments below. Did we not mention any guitar book that should ideally be listed here? Please let us know in the comments below.


  1. Reply
    stringtring March 19, 2017 at 8:14 am

    There are several good guitar books out there. But you have to choose depending on your level you’re at as a player. For beginners, the old Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method book is a book. Advanced players should get The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick. The Ultimate Guitar Workout (Mark Nelson Chris Connors) has lots of exercises to improve your hand strength, dexterity, skills and knowledge.

    Having said that, there isn’t just one best method book. Every book has pros and cons.

  2. Reply
    GuitarBookie April 19, 2017 at 6:16 am

    50 Greatest Guitar Books is a good book.

    Master guitarist and teacher Shawn Persinger shows you how to become a better guitar player in The 50 Greatest Guitar Books. The book also includes contributions from legendary guitar players and educators: Rik Emmett, Henry Kaiser, Steve Kaufman, Wolf Marshall, Tim Sparks, and many more.

    The mp3s that accompany the book’s lessons are available in a single zip file. These are free, no codes or emails necessary. Click here to: Download Audio Examples. All examples are performed by Shawn Persinger.

  3. Reply
    fretty April 19, 2017 at 7:44 am

    These books are perfect for anyone just starting to play acoustic or electric guitar. If you have some experience in reading music, you can make the most out of these. Even if you have no experience in music (reading music, playing an instrument etc.), or a teacher or friend that you can turn to for help, you can still learn from these resources.

    Re-learning guitar after several years, these are good refresher books on how to read music. These books are great for the beginner guitarist, and even for those who’re re-learning. Learn to play actual notes, learn to read music, you can learn much more from these books.

    The Hal Leonard Guitar Method books include popular sheet music songs, have nice diagrams, teach you where to put your fingers on the frets, how to hold your hand over the neck of the guitar, provides hints on shortcuts to tuning, and more.

    Guitar tabs are all well and good but reading music gives you a better understanding of “why” things work.

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