Top 5 Electric Guitar Books

This week I have deliberately avoided including books dedicated to one particular artist as this is just too subjective. Instead I have concentrated on books that focus on core skills or that I feel have value to a wide audience.


1)RGT Electric Guitar Exam Grades – Even if you do not wish to take exams I find these books a good way of tidying up any gaps in your knowledge, forcing you to spend time improvising, chart reading, improving scale and chord knowledge and your aural awareness. As a frame work for teachers they are brilliant, that’s not to say that I don’t add a lot of pieces and other exercisesto lessons.

2)Mickey Baker’s Complete course in Jazz guitar books 1 and 2 – Any book that gets recommended by Robben Ford deserves to be on a list like this. Full of new chord voicings and rhythm and lead ideas for any player I have spent many hours with this book on my music stand slowly building on core jazz skills. Very well structured, it’s been in print for ever. I know many players wish it came with tab rather than just notation as this limits it’s audience but well worth the money. 

3) Jazzin’ the blues by John Ganapes and David Roos – There came a time in my playing where I felt I was getting stuck in a rutt in blues playing which broke when I bought this book. Crucially this book has a number of lead licks and phrases that lots of players will be able to drop into their own playing and has a great balance between some easier phrasing and some that provide a challenge. Very clear layout and comes with the all important backing tracks CD.

4) Play Guitar With the greatest guitar solos of all time by Wise Publications – I have long since given up on the idea of playing every song in a book but this book has loads of pieces that are really good fun to play and are likely to come up on gig set lists. Backing tracks on CD and clear layout, there are loads of books of this kind but it’s amazing how many miss the mark with unclear notation or even lapses in accuracy, I have found this to be one of the best. 

5) Rhythm Guitar Playing books 1-3 by Chaz Hart – Chart reading is a mainstay of my practice routine, whether it be increasingly difficult charts with dynamic markings, performance directions and chord extensions or looking at relatively simple chord sequences to find new voicings or strumming patterns, it’s such an important skill and the key is quality chord charts in very large volume. I will read a few charts having never seen them before and then pick one or two to practice over and over again to find new rhythms. Transposing a few of these charts into different keys is a great practice and all the charts here are graded. 

Harrison MarshComment