Guitar Theory – Great Books for Beginners

Knowing guitar theory is an essential skill every serious guitarist should have. Understanding how all the pieces fit together will benefit you for years to come.  But with so many resources available today, choosing a good source to learn guitar theory is a big challenge. In this article we hope to provide some direction by exploring some excellent books in the subject.

Guitar Theory for Dummies

Don’t let the title fool you. This book is very well put together and explains music theory in plain english. If you need things explained in simple terms, and don’t want to dive into a more difficult read, look no further. Popular songs are used throughout the course to keep things interesting, and to add perspective to the lessons. Plus, video demonstrations and audio tracks. A very useful work by author and long-time guitar instructor Desi Serna.

Guitar Theory for Dummies

BUY – Guitar Theory For Dummies: Book + Online Video & Audio Instruction

Music Theory for Guitarist

Hal Leonard is a leader in the music publication world. This book is packed full of all that you will need to achieve a good understanding of guitar theory. Like our previous pick, this book is explained in simple terms via the use of diagrams and musical examples. A very complete, and well written guide by Tom Kolb – veteran Musicians Institute instructor.

Music Theory for Guitarist

BUY – Music Theory for Guitarists: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask (Guitar Method)

Fretboard Theory

This is another publication by Desi Serna, and perhaps the most complete guitar theory book series that we’ve found. This series has the most useful examples to help you put what you’ve learned to good use. If you learn by doing, rather than by lectures, this is the series for you. The series below includes 2 books in the series. Book 1 takes you nice and slow through basic concepts, and book 2 takes you into a level that will open many musical doors.

Fretboard Theory

BUY – Fretboard Theory (2 Book Series)


If you want to learn guitar theory, the above recommendations will surely get you there. Learning from online resources is always an option, but the advantage of a quality publication cannot be ignored. Having a reference guide to come back to from time to time is essential, and the flexibility and portability that books offer is a proven a true delivery method.

Until next time,


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