Everything is on the Internet and having access to so much information is a problem when selecting the best options for an objective or purpose.
If what we want is to learn to play the guitar in our free time, at our own pace and without private lessons from a teacher, it is important that you have the best resources at your disposal so that you do not give up.
The classes offered by the different “youtubers” are a great alternative to formal education, but my recommendation is that you add a good library of books for your learning.
Next, I propose 5 books that I consider essential to learn to play the guitar in a self-taught way for beginners, according to the following objectives:
Learn music theory: from learning to read a sheet music to knowing the basics of harmony.
Knowing how to form chords: essential for playing your first songs.
Study Blues: every guitarist must have some basic notions of this musical genre, the root of all current popular music.
Scales: it is usually one of the favorite chapters of all learners, allowing you to increase your musical vocabulary enormously and even allowing you to build your own identity as a performer and composer. Buy some Blues Guitar Books here.
1. Music theory and modern harmony. Volume I
It is true that you can learn to play the guitar without having the slightest idea of music theory. But it is also true that, as soon as you learn theory, it will be much easier for you to progress: form chords, build harmonic progressions, modulations.
With this first volume by Enric Herrera, you will learn from reading a staff to even understanding modal exchanges. A dictionary that every musician needs.
2. The first 100 guitar chords
As a music teacher, I must tell you that I prefer you to “understand” how chords are formed and build them yourself.
But if your goal is to learn to play as soon as possible, the proposal of the author Joseph Alexander is a good example of “applied quick didactics”. As soon as you open the pages of this book you will learn the basic chords and play your first songs and melodic progressions.
3. Blues at your fingertips. John Ganapes
In the same way that we all defend ourselves by speaking a little English, every musician must know the fundamentals of at least one musical genre and this cannot be other than the blues: pentatonic scales, standards, techniques.
Using a simple system of scores, tablatures and “backing tracks”, John Ganapes will teach you from scratch all the secrets of the grandfather of rock.
4. Guitar scales in context
If you can’t get enough of the Greek modes and pentatonics, Joseph Alexander has an extensive study of 18 scales using small studies, outlines and “licks” accompanied by melodic progressions.
A book for nerds for those who want to know all the ins and outs of the guitar neck.
5. Ideas, Phrases and Exercises. Toni Lloret
I consider this work by Toni Lloret an infinite book that I still use to this day.
Divided in a structured way by the main electric guitar techniques: alternate picks, ligatures, tapping, “sweep picking” or sweeps, hybrid pick… And with reinterpretations of the exercises proposed in changes of tonality and scale.
One of the best books I have ever owned.
Before concluding this article, I have to say that there are many other interesting books to study. These five selected manuals (plus the sixth bonus) are the tip of the iceberg of what one should learn.
I would like to know if you miss any book that you have used or if you would discard any of the selected ones. I await your comments.