This guide will help you find the best guitar books for beginners. It can be difficult as a new player to understand what you should be learning. These books will help every new student get the most out of their acoustic or electric guitar.
I’ve been playing acoustic as well as an electric guitar for many years. During that time, I’ve gone through many different books as I learned the instrument. All of the books here would make excellent selections for students.
Quick Look: Best Guitar Books for Beginners
★ #1 Best Beginner Guitar Book: Hal Leonard Chords ★
- Best Chord Beginner Guitar Book: Guitar Chords by Jake Jackson
- Best Scale Beginner Guitar Book: Guitar Grimoire
- Best Lead Guitar Beginner Guitar Book: Blues You Can Use
- Best Songwriting Beginner Guitar Book: How To Write Songs
- Best Exercises Beginner Guitar Book: Guitar Aerobics
You should try to establish a shelf of books that you use to practice guitar. You should have several reference books for guitar, and you can use them at any time to refresh your memory or learn something new.
What Makes a Great Guitar Book?
A great guitar book for beginners has several factors that make it the best. The book has to be easy to read so that beginners can understand it. A lot of books are too complicated, and a beginner will never use them.
The book should cover the basics that the beginner needs to know. Common topics should include basic chords, scales, rhythm, and other aspects of basic guitar playing.
Types of Guitar Books
Here are the common types of guitar books that you’ll find for beginners. Not every book covers all the topics listed.
Every guitar player should have a good chord book or chord encyclopedia. They list all of the basic chords such as open chords, barre chords, power chords, etc. They provide a nice reference for the student.
Should guitar students also have a good scale book? They list all of the basic scales such as the major scale, pentatonic minor scale, blues scale, guitar modes, and other scales that the student needs to know.
Guitar students should also have a good rhythm book. This is a book that shows them how to play rhythm properly. A student may learn about time signatures, counting rhythms, and other aspects of rhythm playing.
Students should also have a book about soloing. It shows them how to put the scales together to make phrases and sequences of notes they can use in solos.
It’s also a good idea to have a few transcription books of your favorite artist. This will give you something to learn, and you can draw inspiration from the book.
While not every guitar student is interested in theory, most students should have a good theory book. This type of book teaches you the musical language, making it easier when you work with other musicians.
10 Best Guitar Books
Here is a listing of the 10 best guitar books all students should own. I have used many of these books in the past and found them helpful during my own musical journey.
1. Chord, Scale, and Arpeggio Finder
- Author: Hal Leonard
- Length: 296 pages
- Topic: Chords/arpeggios/scales
- Style: All styles
I used Hal Leonard books when I was teaching students. These books are excellent reference materials. I like this one because it showcases chords, scales, and arpeggios in one book. Student have a handy reference at their fingertips.
There’s plenty of chords, arpeggios, and scales in this book, so the student will always have something new to learn. This is a reference book that you can use whenever you want and one that belongs on your guitar bookshelf.
2. Guitar Grimoire Scales and Modes
- Author: Adam Kadmon
- Length: 211 pages
- Topic: Scales and modes
- Style: All styles
One of my favorite books is the Guitar Grimoire by Adam Kadmon. This book covers all of the scales and modes, and it’s an excellent reference book. All of the scales are laid out, and there’s various positions that you can learn.
I don’t know where I’d be without this scale reference book. I used this book to teach myself how to solo after I stopped taking lessons. This is one of the best guitar books of all time. It’s one of my favorite reference books.
3. Blues You Can Use
- Author: John Ganapes
- Length: 98 pages
- Topic: Solos and chords
- Style: Blues
One of the best guitar music books I have in my collection is called Blues You Can Use. This book takes the student from the beginning stages of learning to play simple blues solos all the way up to more complex pieces.
There are many different styles in the book, from Texas blues to rock and roll progressions. Students get to learn 21 full solos when they use this book. It’s an excellent book that beginners can follow step-by-step.
4. Guitar Chords by Jake Jackson
- Author: Jake Jackson
- Length: 384 pages
- Topic: Chords
- Style: Any
Guitar Chords by Jake Jackson is for anyone that wants to learn guitar chords. Each page features one chord in a giant diagram. This helps the students learn these chords and gives them a handy reference for all of the basic chords.
I find many guitar books are quite complex, which does not help beginners because they end up being frustrated with the book. This is a nice, handy, easy-to-use guitar chord book for beginners.
5. Guitar Aerobics
- Author: Troy Nelson
- Length: 114 pages
- Topic: Lessons
- Style: Any
Guitar Aerobics is the perfect book for any guitar student that wants to improve their chops. It starts by teaching basic lessons and then students work their way up through more advanced material.
Each lesson helps students improve their overall guitar playing as they learn new techniques. This book covers a full 52 weeks. You’ll have something new to do each week as you work your way through the material.
6. How to Write Songs
- Author: Rikky Rooksby
- Length: 240 pages
- Topic: Songwriting
- Style: Any
Writing songs is one of the hardest things any guitar player can do, but this book makes it easy. It shows students how to create chord progressions and the theory behind them to write their own songs.
The How to Write Songs book also covers other topics such as writing lyrics and song styles. Once you finish this book, you should be able to write a song. This is a great reference book for chord progressions and song construction.
7. Fretboard Logic
- Author: Bill Edwards
- Length: 120 pages
- Topic: Scales
- Style: Any
Fretboard Logic is an excellent book on guitar scales. It covers other topics such as arpeggios and chords, but the scale section is excellent. It makes it easy for the student to learn guitar scales.
Beginners will learn guitar scales from the very beginning, and once they finish the book, they’ll have a solid foundation on how to play guitar. I found this book to be quite helpful, and it’s one of my favorite books.
8. The Heavy Guitar Bible
- Author: Richard Daniels
- Length: 84 pages
- Topic: Scales/chords/technique
- Style: Rock
My invocation when I was learning guitar was the Heavy Guitar Bible. This book teaches the basics of rock guitar. It covers chords, scales, and various techniques such as string bending.
There are a lot of great lessons in this book. Once the student finishes the book, they should have a solid foundation for playing rock guitar. It takes the player from the beginning all the way up to an intermediate level.
9. Hal Leonard Method Book 1
- Author: Hal Leonard
- Length: 48 pages
- Topic: Beginner basics
- Style: Basic songs
When I was teaching guitar students, I used the Hal Leonard Method Book 1. This is an excellent introduction to the basics of playing simple chords and single notes on the guitar. The book gives students a solid foundation.
I like this book because it teaches how to read notes. The exercises and songs in the book are simple, but they lay the basic groundwork. Student will have a great grasp of basic concepts when they finish.
10. Acoustic Guitar for Beginners
- Author: Bert Casey
- Length: 75 pages
- Topic: Beginner acoustic basics
- Style: Basic technique and songs
The Acoustic Guitar for Beginners book teaches the basics of acoustic guitar. Players will learn basic chords, scales, and some simple songs once they finish this book. Everything is laid out in easy-to-follow sections.
I like this book because it teaches the fundamentals. The student learns how to hold a guitar, pick basic strumming patterns, and play simple songs and notes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few frequently asked questions you might ask about the best guitar books for beginners.
What Books Do You Recommend for Beginners?
I recommended all beginners at least have a basic chord book and a scale book. You can refer to them in between your lessons to note things you don’t understand and show them to your teacher.
I spent a lot of my time when I was learning how to play guitar by flipping through the pages of scale and chord books. I supplemented my lessons with this type of books.
Should I Get a Music Theory Book?
It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to study music theory. I find this is one of the best ways to advance as a musician because you’ll understand the language of music.
You’ll find a wide range of books on the market that will show you a lot about music theory. You should know key signatures, how to construct chords and the basics of scales.
How Do I Get the Most out of a Guitar Book?
Many guitar books printed today have links to online videos that show you how to play the parts in the book. You should refer to this as much as possible. It’s a lot easier to learn something when you hear it being played.
Try to digest the book in small chunks. Don’t try to do everything all at once, or you’re going to overwhelm yourself and end up getting frustrated.
Do I Need to Learn Scales?
It’s a good idea to learn as many scales as possible. This will help you when playing a wide range of different types of music. You don’t necessarily have to be a lead guitar player, but learning scales can help you create melodies.
Can I Learn Guitar on My Own with a Book?
Guitar books make great supplemental material. While you can learn how to play guitar through a book, I recommend taking some lessons. Your teacher can show you things in the book that you may not understand.
Here’s a list of some reference materials you’re probably going to want to have on your bookshelf. This will help you become a well-rounded guitar player.
This is especially helpful when you’re new to the instrument.
- A good chord book
- A book covering basic scales
- A book that shows you how to solo
- A book on rhythm guitar playing
- Tablature books of your favorite artists
- A book on music theory
- A book on whatever style you like to play
By having a combination of these books on your shelf, you should have all the reference materials you need. As you progress on the instrument, you can add more books to your shelf.
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Table of Contents
This concludes our guide to the best guitar books for beginners. These books will help you learn guitar and make excellent reference materials for your music bookshelf.
I used these books in the past to help my students when I was teaching guitar, and also to help myself. I hope the material in these books will help inspire you in your own playing.
Please comment, like, and share this article. We look forward to hearing from you at any time. Now, go pick up your guitar and start practicing.