When starting as a beginner in music, it can be intimidating to find the correct resources to help you learn best. There are teachers, online videos, subscription sites, forums, and so much more! However, one of the best resources to help you learn the guitar are old-fashioned guitar music books.
Having a library of music materials is a great way to acquire as much knowledge as possible. There are many different kinds of music books including curriculum methods, repertoire books, and music theory workbooks. In this article, I will show you 5 book recommendations for beginner guitarists that you can use to start up your musical library…
Tips for Buying
It is important to know that there are books for almost every subject in music. I recommend searching for resources that truly interest you, whether it is a specific genre of music or even a certain guitar technique.
I also suggest buying used music books if possible. You can get many books for cheaper prices if you buy them secondhand. I have acquired many great books for less than half off the original price. When getting used books, make sure you are comfortable with the condition.
You will also have the option of purchasing a physical copy or an online book. There are pros and cons of each type, and it is up to you to decide which version is best for you. I personally recommend physical books because I encourage my students to write notes in their books with a pencil. However, online books save paper and are usually slightly cheaper than physical copies.
#1: Hal Leonard Guitar Method ($15.29)
My first recommendation is Hal Leonard’s Guitar Method Series. This series is great for absolute beginners who aren’t sure on where to start, and want a curriculum that progresses them gradually. The standard guitar series is compiled of 3 books and covers a wide variety of topics to help start your journey on acoustic and electric guitar.
The best part about their beginner method is that the songs included cover many popular genres including blues, rock, folk, and classical music! This is perfect if you are not sure on what sound you want to specialize in. There are many great diagrams and pictures to help you understand the material.
This book also includes audio access, which allows you to listen to and follow along with the musical examples. The book I am including here is the edition that includes all 3 books in one. It is a spiral bound book which is great for putting on your music stands.
If you have a specific genre you want to pursue, Hal Leonard also has method books for that genre. Other HL methods include blues, rock, metal, classical guitar, flamenco guitar, and even a method made for children! I recommend searching through Hal Leonard’s website to find the method that interests you the most. When I started playing guitar, my first book was actually Hal Leonard’s Flamenco Guitar Method.
#2: Hal Leonard’s Music Theory Method ($17.68)
As a new guitarist, I recommend you spend a good amount of time learning basic music theory. Music theory is the language of music, and learning it will help your understanding of your instrument. This book covers introductory scales, modes, chords, and even introduces you to ear training. This is a short book that is only 106 pages and it also includes online audio.
#3: Classic Guitar Technique Volume 1 ($17.99)
This is a classical guitar book I recommend for all guitarists. Even though this is meant for classical players, it is a great introduction to reading sheet music as well as playing duets. Understanding standard notation will open up a new world to you that will benefit your musical understanding.
My favorite parts of this book are the duets, which my teacher and I used to play in our class. We used to take turns playing the different lines of the duet to practice performance and sight reading. If you do not have a partner to play with, this book also comes with online audio where you can play one line, and then play the recorded track of the second line.
#4: The Total Flamenco Guitarist ($25.99)
As a flamenco guitarist, I can’t help but put this book in this list! Even if you do not plan to pursue flamenco seriously, I highly recommend the Total Flamenco Guitar. If you want to learn unique right-hand techniques and exotic rhythms, then this book is a great introduction! This book includes basic flamenco techniques, history, and progressive flamenco solos to add to your repertoire. The book comes with a CD where you can listen to all the exercises and solos.
#5: Various Song Books!
The best way to build up your musical repertoire is to get a hold of as many guitar music books and songbooks as you can! There are so many different books out there, that I could not decide on one book to include in this number. There are song books written about particular bands or styles. I recommend typing in a band you enjoy and see if you can find a book based on their music! You can also decide if you want to get books based only on chords, or you can look into tablature books.
I hope this list of guitar music books gives you an idea on where to start your journey! I recommend that all players build up a personal library. My library consists of over 40 books, where I can pull information at my leisure based on what I want to work on. Also, you might be able to find some of these books at your local library, which would give you a free option to try these resources before purchase.
Feel free to send me a message through my TakeLessons profile if you would like more recommendations!