Top 15 Guitar Lesson Books

Start building your library of guitar lesson books today with this top 15 list!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • Our best picks for beginner and intermediate guitar education
  • What each of these books offers
  • Some of our favourite guitar book authors
  • 4 amazing and challenging intermediate guitar lesson books and why we love them so much

Start Building Your Library Of Guitar Lesson Books!

No matter what level of guitarist you are, there’s never a bad time to start picking up a selection of guitar lesson books.

Books are timeless, so long as we hang on to them, and we’ve outlined our own selection of instruction manuals for your favourite instrument below.


The Benefits Of Guitar Lesson Books Over Online Lessons

The best reason to find yourself some effective guitar books is so you can mark them up with notes!

Some e-reader apps may allow us to highlight text and make notes, but nothing beats the feeling of pen-to-paper.

It’s been proven time and time again that writing things down helps us to remember; and with all this technology at our fingertips, it’s important to go about things the traditional way (sometimes).

Pro Tip: Marking up a book with your own notes helps to personalize the knowledge you’re taking in by reading.

  • This is important, and as you progress as a guitarist you will often find yourself revisiting old concepts.
  • Make sure to keep some solid notes in your guitar lesson books.

Now, let’s jump into our list!


Beginner Guitar Lesson Books

We’ve arranged this list into beginner and intermediate sections so it’s accessible for everyone.

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself! If you’re confident in some beginner concepts, it’s okay to jump ahead to try and tackle something more complex.

These books cover key concepts that help to shape us not only as guitarists, but as musicians as well.

Grab your reading glasses and dive on in below.


Guitar Lesson Book: Guitar For Dummies

You can’t have a list of how-to books without listing the For Dummies series.

This book brand is known for writing in-depth instruction manuals for just about everything under the sun, and their Guitar For Dummies book is no different.

  • This book is packed with essential concepts ideal for the beginner guitarist who is looking to sort out a good foundation of knowledge.
  • Another great aspect of these guitar lesson books is that they break down everything from beginner concepts all the way up to style-specific playing and gear selection.

This is a fantastic one-stop shop for the entry-level guitar player.

You can pick up a copy of Guitar For Dummies by Mark Phillips here.


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Guitar Lesson Book: Hal Leonard Guitar Method

Tried and true, Hal Leonard have been a staple in the music education world since 1947!

Their Guitar Method book is a fantastic read that takes you through everything you need to know to get started playing guitar.

  • As Hal Leonard have multiple volumes for many of their instructional books, they take the liberty of packaging them all together in bundles for purchase.
  • This might be a bit more cash up front, but it ensures that you don’t miss out on any key concepts.

Hal Leonard do an excellent job of effectively teaching guitar concepts in this series.

You can pick up volumes 1, 2 and 3 here.


Guitar Lesson Book: The Chord Wheel – Jim Fleser

Learning different chord progressions is extremely important, but even more important is being able to understand how chords work together.

  • The Chord Wheel does an amazing job of teaching us the relationship between different chords, as well as how to write different chord progressions and enhance your songwriting ability.
  • There’s also a massive section on scales, as well as applying theory to improvisation.

Jim Fleser has made a visual representation of music theory with his Chord Wheel guitar lesson books, and this read shouldn’t be missed!Pick up a copy of the Chord Wheel here.


Guitar Aerobics – A 52 Week, One Lick Per Day Program – Troy Nelson

Don’t let the name fool you – These guitar lesson books are perfect for the beginner guitarist.

Troy Nelson presents us with a fantastic workout regimen that will help us learn new concepts while tightening up our playing.

If you’re looking for a program that will move your playing forward at a very quick pace, this is the book for you!

As the title says, we play only one lick per day.

  • The idea with this book is to master each lick before moving on to the next.
  • Spending the entire day playing one thing might sound boring, but this type of practice helps us really work out the details of our playing.

Grab your copy of Guitar Aerobics here!


Guitar Lesson Book: Music Theory For Guitarists – Tom Kolb

We know what you’re thinking.

Oh god, not music theory!

Well don’t worry, this one won’t grill you too hard.

Music theory is a thing we should all have some understanding of.

Although it’s not necessary for being a musician, understanding the language of music can help us become better writers and players.

  • The subtitle of this book is “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask” and that pretty well sums it up. Tom Kolb treats us to an in-depth explanation of music theory that clears up confusion with ease.
  • Guitar lesson books like these with such detailed explanations are hard to come by, so make sure you pick up your copy here!


Guitar For Beginners – Nicolas Carter

This is one of those guitar lesson books that is aimed at mastery of the initial concepts of guitar.

  • This book will lay a solid foundation of knowledge underneath you that you can learn from.
  • It’s important to find guitar lesson books that are packed full of knowledge that you can break down and understand, and this one does just that!
  • From the different types of guitars you can buy and play to tuning, chords, picking and strumming; this book covers it all!

Pick up your copy of Nicolas Carter’s Guitar For Beginners here.


The First 100 Chords For Guitar – Joseph Alexander

This one is pretty straightforward, and keeps it direct and to-the-point.

The point is this: You need to learn more chords!

This fantastic book by Joseph Alexander examines the chords you need to start maximizing your playing at the beginner level.

Having a good supply of chords at your fingertips is far more important than learning how to shred lines right away, so make sure you pick up your copy of The First 100 Chords For Guitar here!


First 15 Lessons – Electric Guitar

Another installment by Troy Nelson, this book is fantastic as a fresh introduction to the guitar.

  • The First 15 Lessons for Electric Guitar covers a lot of important ground such as tuning, reading tabs, reading time and of course, playing fundamentals.
  • Troy Nelson’s guitar lesson books are phenomenal, and this one is no exception.
  • One of the perks of this book is its use of song examples to get your fingers moving. There’s no downtime in this book list!

Pick up your copy of the First 15 Lessons For Electric Guitar here.


Guitar Chords – Easy To Use, Easy To Carry – Jake Jackson

With one chord on each page, this little handbook is especially handy!

These types of guitar lesson books are great to have on hand and in your guitar case, making them ideal for jam sessions (one of the best places to learn!)

They don’t teach you how to play a chord, only what the finger position looks like. This is great because it forces us to do some experimentation to find the right sound.

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to properly learn chords, and neither can the author Jake Jackson.

Pick up your copy here.



How to Read Guitar Tablature: A Complete Guide to Reading Guitar Tab and Performing Modern Guitar Techniques – Joseph Alexander

A most-necessary read, this book pairs learning to read tablature with modern guitar technique.

  • Not only will you effectively learn to read tablature, you’ll also level up your guitar playing in the process.
  • This book also has downloadable audio for free with the guitar lesson books, available through the author’s website. Fantastic!

Pick up your copy here.


Guitar For Beginners: 4 Chord Songs For Guitar – Adrian Gavinson

Sometimes, guitar lesson books with a narrowed focus can be super beneficial to our playing.

Adrian Gavinson’s 4 Chord Songs For Guitar does one thing and it does it well: teach you to play a selection of 4 chord songs. If you didn’t catch it, just read the title.

  • This book also gives us a brief rundown of the parts of the guitar so that we’re tuned up on our vocabulary (get it?)
  • From Pop classics to Rock ballads and even Christmas music, Gavinson really packs it in for this one.

Pick up your copy here.


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First 50 Songs You Should Play On Acoustic Guitar – Hal Leonard

Everybody needs song lists – plain and simple.

  • Song lists are great because they give us ready access to a variety of different tunes in different styles that can enhance our playing quickly.
  • Hal Leonard gives us another great installment with their First 50 Songs series of guitar lesson books.

This book uses plenty of tried and true examples such as ‘About A Girl’ by Nirvana, and ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’ by Green Day. These songs are both relevant and easy to play, making this an ideal book for beginner guitarists!

Grab a copy here.


Intermediate Guitar Lesson Books

Let’s turn the heat up a bit.

We wanted to focus mostly on beginner guitar lesson books, but we need challenges to keep us learning effectively.

These guitar lesson books below focus on more of the finer details of guitar playing than those above. Get ready for some theory mixed in with techniques for effective practice.


The Circle Of Fifths For Guitarists – Joseph Alexander

A necessary evil, learning the circle of fifths takes us up a level in terms of learning how musical keys work.

  • The circle of fifths is known as one of the great secrets of music, and learning it effectively can open us up to all sorts of new musical avenues (especially if you’re an aspiring songwriter)
  • This do-all instruction manual will teach us the essentials of key changing, understanding the relation between major and minor scales, and so much more!

Pick up your copy of The Circle Of Fifths For Guitarists here

Chords For Guitar: Transposable Chord Shapes Using The CAGED System – Gareth Evans

The CAGED system is one of the most used (and most debated) chord systems for guitarists.

  • This principle shows us how to utilize the same chord shapes we already know in order to play a variety of other chords of the same type.
  • For example, our B minor chord can be moved around to play that same minor chord shape in any other key.

Pro Tip: Every guitarist should own some material that covers the CAGED system, as it can open up entirely new worlds across the fretboard.

Snag a copy of this gem here.

Practice Less, Play More – Steve Mastroianni

As we get on with our guitar playing, we will no doubt hit walls in our learning process.

Some musicians think it best to simply practice until they get it right.

Practice Less, Play More introduces us to the concept of effective practicing.

We don’t need to spend endless hours practicing every day, we just need a few solid hours of pointed musical exercises – This book shows us how to make that happen.

Pick up your copy of ‘Practice Less, Play More’ by Steve Mastroianni here.

Scales Made Simple – Scott Harris

Scales don’t have to be frustrating and difficult. In fact, with the right teacher, they can be fun to learn!

  • Scales Made Simple aids in the learning and memorization of scales, as well as how to apply the theory that we learn to other stringed instruments!
  • This book will break down musical modes with diagrams for easy reference, helping you advance your playing to the next level.

Pick up your copy of Scales Made Simple by Scott Harris here.

What To Do With All These Guitar Lesson Books?

Start building your library!

These guitar lesson books are jam-packed with reliable resources that will help push your guitar playing further ahead for years to come.

As well, many of the Amazon links we have included give you the option to read them on a Kindle or E-reader device. This means you can take these good reads anywhere!

So what are you waiting for? Get reading! Here are a few other honorable mentions before we wrap up:

Recommended Resources

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