recommended guitar books

On this page I will recommend educational books, CDs and other stuff, to further your ability, knowledge, technique and repertoire. However I will not recommend anything I do not use personally, to great success, with my own students. Over the years I have wasted a small fortune on books that claim to do everything but are next to useless, I am trying to save you money doing the same. I do not make any money from these books or their sales, I just think they really work.

rhythm and lead guitar books

  • rhythm guitar playing
    A series of 3 books, beginner to advanced, with insightful tips on how to improve your rhythm playing, in various time signatures. These books are essential if you are thinking of taking an RGT electric guitar grade exam, but very useful for improving your rhythm guitar playing even if you're not. Learning songs is great, but playing rhythm charts develops your technique and creativity.
  • improvising lead guitar
    A series of 5 books, beginner to advanced, covering all the requirements of lead guitar playing from preliminary grade to grade eight. These books contain insightful tips on how to create phrases, and incorporate specialist techniques (slurring, slides and string bending) into your lead playing. The advanced edition also teaches you how to solo over, and identify, modulations in key. These publications can seriously improve your lead guitar playing even if you are not studying for an exam.

repertoire books

  • the classic collection
    This book contains a collection of famous classical pieces, from intermediate to fairly advanced level. All pieces are shown in standard notation and tab. The book is accompanied by a CD containing all the pieces; there is also historical information and playing tips in the text. Not only is it ideal for studying classical guitar, it is also ideal for electric and acoustic guitar players who don't read music but want to have a repertoire of classical guitar 'party pieces'.
  • ten best tracks for acoustic guitar
    This book contains ten original pieces composed by Chaz Hart LRAM. All pieces are written in standard notation and tab, and range from novice to fairly advanced. They employ a range of techniques, and although aimed at acoustic guitar players, sound equally good on electric guitar. All pieces are ideal for the 'free choice' section in the RGT acoustic guitar examinations at various grades. This book is available from Chaz's website. Tracks from the CD are also available for free download.
  • ten best classical tracks
    A collection of famous classical pieces by a wide variety of composers, some outside of guitar circles. The pieces are arranged by Chaz Hart LRAM and are presented in such a way to make them playable, challenging and melodic. All are printed in standard notation and tab, and there is an accompanying CD available. You can pick this up from Chaz's website.

sight reading books

  • routes to sight reading
    If you are interested in learning to read music then these two best-selling books are for you. They're designed with classical, electric and acoustic players in mind. Book 1 starts from total beginner and progresses string by string developing your knowledge of rhythm and notes. Book 2 expands on book 1 but concentrates on more advanced rhythms, such as syncopation, triplets and semi-quavers. It also gradually expands your fingerboard knowledge. In my experience of sight reading books, they are normally so basic and unmusical they are not worth buying, or they're so difficult that if you can read them you don't need a sight reading book. Each piece has an accompaniment for tutors to play in standard notation, for classical students or chords for electric and acoustic players.

exam handbooks

  • electric guitar playing
    The most comprehensive, flexible and structured syllabus there is for studying electric guitar. These books contain all the information required for all sections of each examination, including examples of lead and rhythm playing charts. They are an perfect study aid even if you have no wish to actually take an exam, but just wish to expand your chord, scale, theory knowledge and improve your rhythm and lead playing.
  • acoustic guitar playing
    The worlds first and only recognised acoustic guitar exam syllabus. Each book contains all the information required for each exam, and is accompanied with a CD. The CD contains all the pieces and requirements for the exam. These books are a great study aid even if you do not intend to take an examination, there is a wide variety of acoustic repertoire in them. The pieces in each book take into consideration both plectrum and fingerstyle players, and some pieces in the later grades develop ideas of creative, useful tunings.
  • classical guitar playing
    These are the only classical guitar exam handbooks available that contain all the information required in the exam, including examples of sight reading and aural tests, without the need to purchase other expensive publications. The LCM is also the only examination board that requires chords in the technical section of the exam; chord knowledge is equally important in classical guitar but it's neglected by other exam boards. Even if you have no interest in taking an exam, the books contain an excellent comprehensive variety of classical guitar repertoire from renaissance to modern.

Unless otherwise stated, you will find these books available at most good bookshops. The RGT would recommend for residents of the UK and Europe, and MelBay for residents of USA and Canada. If you live somewhere else you might still buy from but you will have to contact them directly.

I don't make any money from these items or their sale.