Best Guitar Books for Beginners to Learn the Basics

So you've bought the guitar, but it's just sitting in your room. It's time to learn how to play the thing with the best guitar books for beginners.

You've finally taken that first step and bought that guitar you always wanted to start playing. You pick it up and try to pluck a few strings and it feels so foreign you put it in the corner of the room and never pick it up again. Don't be that person!

Learning to play the guitar is a bit easier than you might think, but one thing it will require is constant repetition. The best way to get you off and running is to invest in a good resource book on how to play that particular instrument. The best guitar books for beginners are a great place to begin if you want to dust off those guitar strings and finally start using the thing.

Most of these books are written for people who literally just got a guitar, so don't worry about them being too difficult — most of them don't even require you to be able to read music. If Bruce Springsteen doesn't know how to read music, what makes you think you have to? While it can be helpful, there are other ways of learning, and the only thing that really matters is that you know how to play. Not knowing how to read music intimidates many and keeps them from ever trying, but don't let that be you: pick up one of the best guitar books for beginners. 

Teach Yourself to Play Guitar: A Quick and Easy Introduction for Beginners by David M. Brewster

This is a barebones instructional book for the true beginner, and it's simplicity in style makes it one of the best guitar books for beginners. It's less than 50 pages and teaches you simple things like how to hold the guitar, as well as the basics of tuning. 

Teach Yourself to Play Guitar was designed for the student with no musical background, so don't worry if you have no idea about musical terms. It teaches you the Tab form, which focuses on simple beat notation and rhythm execution. 

Painless Guitar by Ted Parrish and Wayne Erbsen

This is another great guide for the absolute beginner. Painless Guitar teaches you the basic chords and then shows you how to convert them into simple melodies. 

It offers you a fun and easy place to start, and it's one of the best guitar books for beginners, because it doesn't discourage the novice player at all. It even comes with the chords to 31 easy to learn classics that will start you on track to writing some of your very own. 


Guitar Chord Bible by Phil Capone

It's amazing how many people say "music is my life" but they've never even tried to learn how to play. The Guitar Chord Bible has you covered with more than 500 illustrated chords in rock, blues, soul, country, jazz, and classical music.

It's one of the best guitar books for beginners because it gives you a nice color illustration of each chord. It's got a spiral binding so you can lay the book flat on the floor while you learn to play. It's a long book, but it's one of the best resources money can buy. 


Hal Leonard Guitar Method by Will Schmid and Greg Koch

Hal Leonard is an iconic name in guitar method, so it only makes sense that one of the best guitar books for beginners sports his name. Everything you need to know is in the pages of this book, but it might be helpful to have an instructor guide you through them. 

It is based on years of teaching guitar students of all ages, and reflects some of the best teaching ideas from around the world. It's convenient to have all that information in one place, and it can also help you learn a bit of music theory. 

Guitar for Absolute Beginners by Daniel Emery

Why study music? Because it can be incredibly rewarding, and Guitar for Absolute Beginners is a great starting point. Learn the fundamentals of guitar in this motivating step-by-step comprehensive book for beginners that's taught at the New York City Guitar School.

It's one of the best guitar books for beginners, because of the sheer volume of information it provides. It teaches you how to identify strings and work the fret board, as well as how to read chord diagrams — all things you will need to know as you advance and slowly learn how to read music. 

Guitarist’s Guide to Scales Over Chords — The Foundation of Melodic Guitar Soloing by Chad Johnson

If you can follow the chord changes with soulful, smooth playing, you will never be boxed in as you advance in your learning. It's one of the best guitar books for beginners who want to learn the foundations of soloing.

It teaches you how everything you play is interconnected, and helps you to create memorable solos. This book will break you out of your rut, especially if it seems like your playing has leveled off and is no longer progressing.


Learn Your Fretboard: The Essential Memorization Guide for Guitar by Luke Zecchin

Playing the guitar is all about memorization, and that's precisely why this is one of the best guitar books for beginners. This book helps you memorize the fret board, something that can intimidate early players.

Confusing the notes on the fretboard is a common problem among beginners that slows down and confuses the learning process, causing the novice to get frustrated. You will never worry about that ever again after picking up this straight forward book.

Guitar All-In-One For Dummies by Jon Chappell, Mark Phillips, and Designer Serna

This is one of the classic go-to books for the novice, so it must make its way onto any list of best guitar books for beginners. Dummies offers a little bit of everything, from music theory to chords for beginners, this is an invaluable resource guide. 

The book is over 600 pages long, so it takes a little bit more of an all bases covered approach. While it's not as compact and easy to use as other books on this list, odds are what you need is in there somewhere. 


The Guitar Grimoire: Beginning Guitar by Adam Kadmon

This is the first book in the respected series to address the needs of novices who want to play right away, without needing lessons or reading music and tab. Beginners will start playing chords and songs immediately, and after the first few lessons, they will be improvising and composing like they've been playing for years.

It's one of the best guitar books for beginners who just want to pick the thing up and play. If you learn this way, then The Guitar Grimoire might be a great book for you.

Idiot's Guide: Playing Guitar by David Hodge

Idiot's Guide is one of those books that's great for people who have never picked up a guitar before — literally. It's one of the best guitar books for beginners, because it takes you on a step by step process through the entirety of learning how to play. 

Everything from tuning to holding the guitar pick correctly is covered over the course of this book. It's definitely for the absolute beginner, but it also has more advanced techniques as your work your way though. It will show you how to read tablature, and will teach you about basic rhythm. It's got all you need to be off and running and on your way to becoming that band that demands to be heard.

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Best Guitar Books for Beginners to Learn the Basics
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