Learning to play the Guitar from Books: What Kind of Books Are There?

For this article a short brief about what kind of books you can use for learning to play the guitar. Let us have a look at the kind of books you may find:

Tutor Books:

These are the kind of books which teach you how to read music. They will teach you how to use the open strings and they will get you to play in the first position. There are often sections about basic music theory such as simple rhythms and rests and names of various notes.
The song material found in these books often contain traditional songs and well-known classics. Often songs are given different titles for copyright reasons.
Most tutor books are aimed at the complete beginner and anyone who wants to brush up on their reading skills and music theory.

Resource Books:

These books come in a variety of forms: Some of them may just contain chords in many different shapes, some of them may just contain scale patterns, some of them may have titles like “fretboard basics”. All of these books are resource books, they can be seen as additional material you can dip into when you need some extra help with regards to a type of chord or a different kind of scale. Most of these books assume that you do have some guitar playing skills.

Style Books:

Books which want to teach you a particular guitar style such as blues, country folk or finger style guitar or classical guitar. Some of these books are aimed for beginners, most of them are for intermediate players and more experienced players. These kind of books are often good to get a head start into a new style of music you have never played before. Often these books will start from zero with regards to the particular style they want to teach. To get the most out of these books, it does help if you do have some understanding of basic music theory and also have some reading skills as well. Most books will come with a CD, but still being able to read does help as well as you can both see and hear how a particular musical example sounds like.

   Song Books:

These come in a variety of styles, some of them may contain a whole album of a particular band, others may be just a collection of songs by different artists. Some of these books are aimed at the beginner to guide them with their playing repertoire.
Song books may come with just chords and lyrics, others also show the musical notation alongside the lyrics and chords. If you want to learn how to play songs from your favourite artist I would suggest you using tabs, Youtube and maybe some of the songbooks. Try to learn songs by ear as much as you can.
Songbooks may be good as additional material but they are not good as a starting point, use them alongside other material as an extra. Some of the music notation may also put the beginner off, as these books may not be graded.


Experienced players will find use in any kind of book. Some of them may be good for additional sight reading material. Sight reading can be improved by reading any material which contains G-clef, and you can use any material for any instrument, as long as it is written for G-Clef.

Enjoy and hope to see you soon again,