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Which guitar book for dummies is best?

Learning to play the guitar is a fulfilling experience, but the guitar is one of those instruments that people feel a bit intimidated to learn. Though the guitar looks complex, it is quite simple once you begin to grasp the basics of playing and theory. Whether your goal is to learn simple tunes or become a master player, the journey is well worth the reward. 

Books allow for those interested in playing the guitar to start learning before even owning one. Their accessibility and wealth of knowledge make them a default choice for serious learners. The Guitar For Dummies book is an updated version of a classic for beginner and intermediate players with additional online instruction.   

What to know before you buy a guitar book for dummies

Skill level

Knowing what level you’re starting at is essential when considering what book you should purchase. There are guitar books made for every level. Also, consider what your end goal is before making your decision. Do you want to be an expert in guitar theory, or would you rather focus on learning basic chords and techniques? Ask yourself these questions early on. 

Type of guitar you want to play

The type of guitar you’re playing matters when considering which book you decide to buy. Shredding on an electric guitar is different from strumming on an acoustic. The two are very similar in the beginning stages of learning the guitar, but you’ll see a difference in technique and playing style as you progress. Additionally, if you’re interested in learning how to play the bass, look for books specializing in bass playing. 

Type of music you want to play

Think about the genre of music you enjoy and want to play. Are you interested in blues, rock, pop, classical, country or something else? Many guitar books cover specific genres for readers to learn and master. Some books cover the basics of several genres that serve as an introduction to learners. These are great ways to experiment and find what you like.  

What to look for in a quality guitar for dummies book

Author credibility

The author of any how-to book should have credentials to support their work. Fortunately, the “For Dummies” book series is written by experts on the chosen topic. Each of the recommended books is written by those with extensive experience and knowledge of the guitar and how to play it. 

Tablature vs. music notation

Most how-to guitar books will have examples of both tablature and music notation. If possible, attempt to learn both as each will be very helpful in your music journey. Tablature is a visual representation of fretboard fingering. It is often easier to learn than music notation because notation requires some knowledge of music theory. There are many books to learn the tablature of your favorite songs once you gain momentum on your guitar. If you have ambitions to work as a professional musician and with, or for, other artists, knowing how to read music notation will be extremely useful, if not essential.


Books come in all sizes. Think about the size of the book you’re buying and where you plan to use it most. Some how-to books can be quite large and heavy and may not be ideal for carrying. Smaller books, however, might be more difficult to read depending on the print. Also, note whether the book is paperback or hardcover. The latter is more durable, while paperbacks are easier to travel with but are more challenging to keep open when playing.

How much you can expect to spend on a guitar book for dummies

The guitar books in the “For Dummies” series range from $15-$25. 

Guitar book for dummies FAQ

Should I start on an electric or an acoustic guitar?

Choosing which type of guitar to learn on is a personal choice. There are pros and cons to each. The acoustic has a fuller body and requires finger strength to hold the strings to produce a clean sound. Your fingers will develop calluses to make this process easier, but it will take time. Also, consider the type of music you’d like to play. Acoustic is ideal for fingerpicking tunes commonly found in folk and bluegrass, while the electric is popular in rock, blues and metal. 

Can’t I just learn how to play online?

There are many resources to learn how to play the guitar. The internet offers countless videos and websites on how to play the guitar. These will also be helpful in your journey. Books, however, offer a wealth of knowledge in one place. Consider that anybody can upload a video or write a blog without any credentials. Books are usually written by experts in their field and have several credentials to support their work. 

What’s the best guitar book for dummies to buy?

Top guitar book for dummies

Guitar for Dummies

Guitar for Dummies

What you need to know: This book has been updated and revised for beginner and intermediate acoustic and electric guitar players. 

What you’ll love: It comes with more than 80 online videos and 95 audio tracks to continue learning off of the page. The book covers everything from how to tune, care and play your guitar. You’ll learn how to shop for a guitar and additional accessories as well as how to make basic repairs to your guitar.  

What you should consider: This book is for beginner and intermediate guitar players. Advanced players likely won’t benefit from this book.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top guitar book for dummies for the money

Guitar All-in-One for Dummies: Book and Online Video and Audio Instruction

Guitar All-in-One for Dummies: Book and Online Video and Audio Instruction

What you need to know: This book is an excellent resource for beginning players who want all of their lessons in one convenient place.

What you’ll love: The book was put together by expert guitarists and music teachers. It covers how to pick notes, theory and composition, different genres and maintain your guitar. All skill levels are encouraged to purchase this book. 

What you should consider: This is a big book with 640 pages of information.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Guitar Theory for Dummies: Book and Online Video and Audio Instruction

Guitar Theory for Dummies: Book and Online Video and Audio Instruction 

What you need to know: This option is perfect for those wanting to learn guitar theory with hopes of understanding the hows and whys. 

What you’ll love: With this book, you’ll learn how to improve your improvisational and compositional skills. The book goes beyond the basics and covers different scales and the CAGED chord system. It will be of great help if you want to create your own original music and master soloing.  

What you should consider: It isn’t for beginners. The concepts in this book are geared towards those who have a basic understanding of theory. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Ashley Willis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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