Best Guitar Theory Book – Our 11 Best Picks

by Alex Winnerman  - November 1, 2023

We rely on the support of our readers. If you make a purchase through the links provided on our website, we may receive a commission as part of our affiliate program at no additional charge to you. Thank you!

Finding the best guitar theory book that fits your skill level and learning style may not be an easy task but it's not impossible. Trust me, I've been there too. 

That's why I did the legwork to uncover 15 top picks of best guitar theory books that cater to various needs - from beginner music theory fundamentals and essential jazz chord theories to complex scales in modern music.

Stay tuned; this blog could change your path toward mastering the guitar!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Guitar Theory Book

When choosing a guitar theory book, it's important to consider factors such as skill level, learning style, and the content and structure of the book.

Skill level

Choosing the right guitar theory book largely depends on your skill level. Beginners might find a basic music theory book more useful, as it lays down the foundation of musical knowledge necessary to advance in playing guitar.

For those at an intermediate level, a specialized book that explores further scales and chord progressions offers valuable insights into progression. 

Advanced players may gravitate towards books delving into theoretical concepts such as improvisation and jazz chord theory to enhance their skills.

Therefore, identifying your current skill level is crucial to selecting the most effective and suitable guitar theory book for you.

Learning style

Everyone has a unique way of absorbing new information. This is no different when it comes to learning guitar theory. 

A book with complex terminologies may work perfectly for some. In contrast, others might be more comfortable with easy-to-follow diagrams and illustrations.

The best guitar theory books cater to a variety of educational approaches.

For instance, visual learners could benefit most from "Hal Leonard's Music Theory for Guitarists b" due to its in-depth pictorial presentations. 

On the other hand, if you're an auditory learner who retains knowledge better through listening, consider investing in the applied guitar theory course that usually comes with audio materials alongside printed texts.

Next time you're looking at jazz or bass guitar theory books, keep in mind your preferred learning style, whether it's reading dense content or following visually illustrated practical applications like scales, music theory, and basic chord theories on the pages.

Recognizing how your brain processes information effectively can make studying seemingly heavy topics like modern music theory much more manageable and enjoyable.

Content and structure

As a guitar lover and music enthusiast, I can't stress enough how crucial the content and structure of your guitar theory book are.

It would be best to have a book that gradually progresses from basic concepts to advanced ones, offering clear explanations at each stage.

The best guitar theory books often begin with elementary topics like scales, chords, and music notation before delving into more complex areas such as jazz chord theory or applied guitar theory.

These books don’t just dump information on you; they guide you through each topic in a structured manner.

For beginners especially, look for a beginner music theory book that introduces key concepts in an easily digestible format.

This way, your understanding grows alongside your ability to apply the knowledge while playing your instrument. 

A well-structured content layout simplifies learning by consistently reinforcing previous lessons as new ones build upon them.

Comparison Table

Product Name


Publication Date

Print Length


Guitar Fretboard Workbook by Barrett Tagliarino


August 1, 2003

80 pages

Musicians Institute Press

Hal Leonard Guitar Method: Complete Edition by Will Schmid and Greg Koch


January 1, 1977

144 pages

Hal Leonard

Music Theory for Guitarists by Tom Kolb


May 1, 2005

106 pages

Hal Leonard

The Guitar Grimoire: Adam Kadmon's "A Compendium of Formulas for Guitar Scales and Modes" 


January 1, 1991

211 pages

Carl Fischer Music Publisher

Guitar Theory For Dummies by Desi Serna


October 18, 2021

368 pages

For Dummies

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory by Michael Miller


September 6, 2005

336 pages


The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists by Joseph Alexander


March 23, 2013

114 pages

The Guitarist's Guide to Music Theory by Peter Vogl


September 3, 2017

88 pages

Independently published

Peter Vogl's The Guitarist's Music Theory Book


September 3, 2017

88 pages

Independently published

The Practical Guide to Harmony and Theory by Jake Jackson


February 5, 2020

130 pages


The Everything Music Theory Book by Marc Schonbrun


May 18, 2011

304 pages


How to Play Guitar: A Beginners Guide to Learning Guitar by Joseph Alexander


March 22, 2013

51 pages

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Basic Music Theory for Beginner Guitarists by Joe Doran





Guitar From Scratch by Bruce Emery


January 1, 2010

90 pages

Charles Dumont & Sons

Best Guitar Theory Book

Let me review the best guitar theory book one after the other in the section below. I believe you will be able to make informed decision going through the short review of each book.

1. "Guitar Fretboard Workbook" by Barrett Tagliarino

Master the guitar fretboard and enhance your musical understanding.
Guitar Fretboard Workbook

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • A comprehensive workbook for mastering the guitar fretboard
  • Part of the Essential Concepts series from Musicians Institute
  • Suitable for beginners to advanced players
  • Provides exercises and techniques to improve understanding and memorization of the fretboard
  • Includes diagrams and charts for easy reference and visual learning
  • Written by renowned guitarist and instructor Barrett Tagliarino

Mastering the fretboard is essential for anyone looking to play the guitar proficiently. 

That's where "Guitar Fretboard Workbook" by Barrett Tagliarino comes into play. 

This workbook presents an easy-to-follow, step-by-step approach that lets you quickly understand and get familiar with your guitar's fretboard. 

The concepts in this book are broken down into manageable chunks, making it ideal for those who may feel overwhelmed or quickly discouraged.

The standout feature of "Guitar Fretboard Workbook" lies in its interactive exercises, encouraging hands-on learning—an effective way especially helpful for visual learners. 

A notable benefit is how Tagliarino breaks down complex music theory into straightforward language.

He has removed unnecessary jargon, making the process less complicated for beginners while still benefiting more experienced players looking to solidify their knowledge.

We've ranked "Guitar Fretboard Workbook" as No. 1 because it provides an excellent balance between instruction-based content and practical applications

This makes it comprehensive yet easily digestible. 

It truly shines in its ability to demystify the often confusing layout of the fretboard, leaving readers feeling confident and resourceful enough to navigate even advanced scales and chords on their own! 

Now excuse me while I perfect my pentatonic scale...


  • Comprehensive and Interactive Learning: The "Guitar Fretboard Workbook" offers a comprehensive guide to mastering the guitar fretboard. It provides interactive exercises and practical tips that help beginners and advanced players enhance their skills and understanding.
  • Visual Diagrams for Easy Memorization: This workbook includes visually appealing diagrams of the guitar fretboard, making it easier than ever to memorize chord shapes, scales, and patterns. Using these visual aids, learners can quickly grasp key concepts and transfer them into muscle memory.
  • Step-by-Step Approach: With a structured step-by-step approach, this workbook ensures that users steadily progress in their fretboard knowledge. Each lesson builds upon the previous one, gradually expanding your repertoire of chords and scales while boosting confidence.
  • Versatile Applications: Whether you are an acoustic or electric guitarist, this workbook caters to all playing styles. From rock to jazz or country to blues, the exercises provided allow musicians from various genres to improve their improvisation skills across different musical settings.
  • Accessible Language and Clear Explanations: " Guitar Fretboard Workbook" is written in accessible language with clear explanations that break down complex concepts into easily understandable terms. Even if you are new to music theory or have struggled with learning the fretboard, this book promises clarity and effective guidance on your journey toward mastery.

This interactive Guitar Fretboard Workbook by Barrett Tagliarino is perfect for any aspiring guitar player looking to elevate their playing. 

Whether you are a beginner or more experienced, this data guide will help unlock the secrets of the fretboard and deepen your understanding of music theory. 

Take control of your sound today - pick up the "Guitar Fretboard Workbook" now!


  • Publisher: Musicians Institute Press; 2nd edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0634049011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634049019
  • Item Weight: 10.9 ounces
  • Dimensions: 9 x 0.22 x 12 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Publication date: August 1, 2003
  • Part of series: Essential Concepts (Musicians Institute).
  • Print length: 80 pages

2. "Hal Leonard Guitar Method: Complete Edition" by Will Schmid and Greg Koch

Perfect for guitarists of all skill levels looking to improve.
Hal Leonard Guitar Method_Complete Edition

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Comprehensive guitar method covering all essential techniques and concepts.
  • Written by experienced educators Will Schmid and Greg Koch.
  • Includes clear and easy-to-follow instructions for beginners.
  • Suitable for self-study or as a supplement to guitar lessons.
  • Plastic comb binding allows the book to lay flat on music stands.
  • Updated 2nd edition with improved formatting and added content.

I deeply appreciate music and thoroughly enjoy playing the guitar, this is why I can vouch that the "Hal Leonard Guitar Method: Complete Edition" by Will Schmid and Greg Koch is an exceptional resource. 

The book embodies years of expertise from its authors, providing learners with clear and effective methods to master the instrument. 

Its design makes it incredibly user-friendly, allowing beginners to progress at their own pace while steadily building skills.

The Hal Leonard Guitar Method demonstrates key decision-making factors in its thoughtful structure. 

It begins with basics, such as reading music notation, before advancing onto more complex topics like chord progression. 

To help users comprehend these lessons better, the book includes numerous musical pieces across various genres, which bolsters practice - meaning you get to learn and have fun simultaneously! 

The one drawback could be its text-heavy approach which might overwhelm some.

Now comes the explanation behind ranking this product as No. 2 on our list. 

Though comprehensive in content, it falls slightly short compared to our top pick due to a lack of multimedia resources within- no CDs or online audio tracks, for instance (which is true for most books). 

Despite this slight disadvantage, there's no denying how invaluable "Hal Leonard Guitar Method: Complete Edition" is for any aspiring guitarist - including myself!

It remains one of my favorite resources, especially because it offers first-hand supporting evidence from seasoned players. 

I recommend this guide highly enough if you truly wish to achieve proficiency at playing guitar!


  • Comprehensive learning: This complete edition of the Hal Leonard Guitar Method offers a comprehensive and systematic approach to learning guitar, taking you from beginner to advanced levels. With this book, you can trust that you'll cover all the essential techniques and concepts needed for mastering the instrument.
  • Step-by-step instructions: The book provides clear step-by-step instructions on how to play various chords, strumming patterns, scales, and other important elements of playing the guitar. Whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your skills, these detailed instructions will help you progress at your own pace.
  • Interactive exercises: This edition includes interactive exercises such as play-along tracks and online audio examples. These resources enable you to practice with professional musicians and develop your sense of rhythm and timing while making learning more enjoyable.
  • Wide range: From rock and blues to jazz and classical, this method covers various musical styles. By exploring different genres, you'll expand your musical vocabulary while discovering new techniques that can be applied across various genres - making you a versatile guitarist capable of playing in different settings.
  • Access to additional resources: By purchasing this edition, you can access additional online resources such as video lessons and supplementary materials. These valuable extras provide further guidance and support on specific topics covered in the book - ensuring that every aspect of your guitar learning journey is catered for.

This product is perfect for any aspiring guitarist looking to hone their craft and take their playing to the next level. 

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, Hal Leonard's Guitar Method: Complete Edition can help you reach your musical goals. 

So why wait? Pick up this comprehensive guide today and start shredding!


  • Publisher: Hal Leonard; 2nd edition (January 1, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • Plastic Comb: 144 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0881881392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881881394
  • Item Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9 x 0.36 x 12 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Print length: 144 pages
  • Publication date: January 1, 1977

3. "Music Theory for Guitarists" by Tom Kolb

Master music theory and elevate your guitar-playing skills.
Music Theory for Guitarists

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Comprehensive guide to music theory specifically tailored for guitarists
  • Written by renowned guitar instructor Tom Kolb
  • Part of the highly acclaimed Hal Leonard Guitar Method series
  • Easy-to-understand explanations and examples in the English language
  • Covers essential music theory concepts for guitar players at all levels
  • Compact size and lightweight, perfect for carrying on-the-go

"Music Theory for Guitarists: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask" by Tom Kolb is a definitive guide that educates guitar enthusiasts on the core concepts of music theory while focusing specifically on skills and knowledge pertinent to guitar playing. 

Equipped with this book, you'll understand not just how to play but also why certain choices create different sounds, enhancing your creativity and improvisation skills.

Key decisions have been made in the design and content of this resource to gear it toward practical application for guitarists. 

Scales, intervals, rhythm constructs, chord progressions - each concept is explained spot-on with notations unique to guitar tabs apart from standard musical notation. 

It paves the way for players at all skill levels, making it easy yet comprehensive.

Its ranking as No. 3 comes down largely due to its balance between theoretical explanation and practical demonstration—a rare find in most literature aimed at specialized musicians. 

Despite being a treasure trove of knowledge, "Music Theory for Guitarists" doesn't lose sight of its goal—to elucidate theory engagingly without overcomplicating things that tend to intimidate beginners.


  • Comprehensive guide to music theory: "Music Theory for Guitarists" offers a complete and easy-to-understand explanation of music theory concepts specifically tailored for guitar players. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced guitarist, this book will give you the tools to understand and apply music theory in your playing.
  • Practical examples and exercises: This book doesn't just teach you theory; it provides practical examples and exercises that help reinforce your understanding. With over 200 pages of exercises ranging from simple to complex, you can immediately apply what you've learned on your guitar.
  • Clear visual diagrams: Understanding complex musical concepts can be challenging, but "Music Theory for Guitarists" presents them in a visually appealing way. The book is filled with clear diagrams and charts, making it easier for guitarists to grasp the concepts quickly, giving them a visual reference during practice sessions.
  • Application to various genres/styles: Whether you're into rock, jazz, blues, or classical music, this book covers it all. It explores how different music genres incorporate theoretical concepts into their compositions. By understanding these connections, you'll gain valuable insights into how to play different styles more authentically and creatively.
  • Accessible language: Music theory can often feel like learning a new language. However, Tom Kolb's writing style makes it accessible even for those unfamiliar with technical jargon. He breaks down complex ideas into simple terms that any guitarist can understand and apply effectively in their playing.

This book is perfect for any guitarist looking to go beyond the basics of music theory and deepen their understanding. 

It provides comprehensive and easy-to-follow lessons that even advanced guitarists can learn from. 

If you are ready to take your playing to the next level, then Music Theory for Guitarists has everything you need!


  • Publisher: Hal Leonard; Softcover edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 106 pages
  • ISBN-10: 063406651X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634066511
  • Item Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 9 x 0.3 x 12 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Part of series: Hal Leonard Guitar Method
  • Print length: 106 pages
  • Publication date: May 1, 2005

4. Adam Kadmon's "The Guitar Grimoire: A Compendium of Formulas for Guitar Scales and Modes"

Master the Art of Guitar Scales and Modes for Advanced Players
The Guitar Grimoire - A Compendium of Formulas for Guitar Scales and Modes

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • A comprehensive compendium of guitar scales and modes
  • Provides formulas for easy understanding and application
  • Suitable for beginners and advanced guitarists alike
  • Covers a wide range of musical genres
  • Clear and concise explanations with examples
  • Compact paperback format for easy reference

Given my significant experience as a guitar enthusiast, I've spent countless hours using 'The Guitar Grimoire: A Compendium of Formulas for Guitar Scales and Modes' by Adam Kadmon.

This book is an invaluable tool that has vastly improved my understanding of the instrument. 

It offers comprehensive content on scales and modes foundational to becoming a proficient guitarist.

This text skillfully navigates complex music theories in digestible portions, breaking down the science behind creating beautiful melodies or soul-stirring solos on your guitar. 

Its design choices make it easy for any user to understand tough concepts, regardless of their level of expertise. 

For example, each scale and mode has diagrams displaying every possible fingering pattern across the fretboard. 

This feature significantly aids in visualizing finger placements while practicing.

However, despite its numerous benefits, it's worth mentioning that this resource can be overwhelming at first glance due to its massive amount of information; hence requires patience to work through it steadily. 

And with links included for external resources like online tutorials or discussion forums related specifically to topics covered within pages makes it a balanced evaluation before choosing this book. 

So whether you're picking up your first guitar or have years under your belt strumming those strings,' The Guitar Grimoire: A Compendium of Formulas for Guitar Scales and Modes' will undeniably enhance your musical journey!


  • Over 450 pages of comprehensive and easy-to-understand formulas for guitar scales and modes make it an essential tool for beginner and advanced guitarists alike.
  • With the Guitar Grimoire, you'll never have to rely on memory or guesswork again when playing scales and modes. It provides in-depth explanations and precise diagrams that will help you master the fretboard with confidence.
  • This book offers various scale options, allowing you to explore different musical genres and styles. From blues to jazz, rock to metal, the Guitar Grimoire has got you covered.
  • The clear organization of this compendium makes it simple to navigate through different keys and positions on the guitar neck. Say goodbye to confusion as you effortlessly find the formula you need.
  • Not only does it teach you how to play scales and modes, but it also provides valuable insights into their applications within various chord progressions. Expand your improvisation skills by learning how these formulas can enhance your solos.
  • The Guitar Grimoire: A Compendium of Formulas for Guitar Scales and Modes is not just another ordinary music theory book – it's an indispensable guide that will empower you with knowledge, elevate your playing abilities, and unlock endless creative possibilities on the guitar.

This book is the perfect guide for guitarists seeking to expand their understanding of scales and modes. 

It is comprehensive, easy to understand and full of valuable insights that will help take their playing to the next level! 

If you're a serious guitarist looking to expand your musical knowledge, pick up this book today - you won't be disappointed.


  • Publisher: Carl Fischer Music Publisher; Reprint edition (January 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 211 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0825821711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825821714
  • Item Weight: 1.55 pounds
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Print length: 211 pages
  • Publication date: January 1, 1991

5. "Guitar Theory For Dummies" by Desi Serna

Master guitar theory with easy-to-understand language and online practice.
Guitar Theory For Dummies

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Comprehensive guide to guitar theory
  • Written in simple and easy-to-understand language
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate players
  • Covers fundamental concepts such as scales, chords, and progressions
  • Includes practical exercises to reinforce learning
  • Updated second edition with new content

"Guitar Theory For Dummies" by Desi Serna has been an essential resource in my learning journey. 

The book's content is comprehensive yet accessible, explaining everything from the basics of guitar theory to more complex concepts like chord progressions and scale modes.

It draws upon its author's expertise to break down these potentially intimidating topics into manageable chunks that any aspiring musician can understand.

The design choices within this guide make it incredibly user-friendly.

Each chapter progressively builds on previous lessons, allowing me to improve while steadily reinforcing what I've already learned. 

However, its online practice component sets this apart from other guides.

This interactive feature allows users to apply their newfound knowledge in real-time against backing tracks - a vital step for developing practical skills and theoretical understanding.

Some sections may seem too advanced if you're starting or don't diligently follow along with each lesson and practice session provided by the book. 

Overall, however, with a balanced evaluation, "Guitar Theory For Dummies" offers immense value for all players seeking to enhance their musical versatility and overall guitar mastery.


  • Comprehensive guide: "Guitar Theory For Dummies" covers everything you need to know about guitar theory, from basic concepts to advanced techniques. It's the perfect resource for beginners and experienced players, ensuring you have a solid foundation of knowledge.
  • Practical application: This book includes online practice materials that allow you to implement your newfound knowledge. By practicing along with interactive exercises and examples, you'll be able to understand and apply guitar theory practically truly.
  • Easy-to-understand language: Desi Serna uses clear and concise language throughout the book, making complex concepts accessible to everyone. You won't get lost in technical jargon or confusing explanations – instead, you'll be guided through each topic easily.
  • Visual aids: With diagrams and illustrations included in "Guitar Theory For Dummies," understanding abstract concepts becomes much simpler. Visual learners will appreciate these visual aids as they enhance comprehension and make it easier to grasp complex ideas.
  • Progressive learning approach: The book follows a logical progression of topics, starting with the basics and gradually building upon them. This allows for the steady development of your guitar theory skills without overwhelming you with information. Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate player looking to expand your knowledge, this structured approach ensures steady growth at your own pace.

This product is the perfect resource for anyone looking to improve their guitar-playing skills rapidly.

It covers beginner and intermediate concepts using easy-to-understand language.

It provides online practice tools, making it ideal for any guitarist looking to learn important theory concepts quickly.

Here is a book that will take your guitar skills to the next level and pick up Guitar Theory For Dummies today!


  • Publisher: For Dummies; 2nd edition (October 18, 2021)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1119842972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1119842972
  • Item Weight: 1.12 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Print length: 368 pages
  • Publication date: October 18, 2021

6. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory" by Michael Miller

Perfect for beginners wanting to learn music theory easily.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Easy-to-understand guide to music theory
  • Covers all essential concepts in a concise manner
  • Suitable for beginners and those with limited musical knowledge
  • Includes practical examples and exercises for hands-on learning
  • Written by an experienced author with expertise in music education
  • Updated 2nd edition with additional content and improvements

I remember having to struggle for a long time with understanding complex concepts in Music Theory. That's when "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory" by Michael Miller came into play for me.

This book is not only well-structured but also incredibly beginner-friendly.

With its clear language and effective teaching technique, it breaks down intricate musical concepts into digestible bites - making it easy for beginners like myself to grasp.

What sets this guide apart from many others on the market is how straightforward yet comprehensive it explains core elements within Music Theory - from reading sheet music to understanding scales and chords.

For instance, the book devotes whole chapters focusing on major and minor scales and chord construction, including triads & seventh chords, to name a few!

Not only that but there are ample examples provided, which made learning even more interactive for me.

However, what truly sold me was the hands-on experience offered through ear-training CD exercises included in the 2nd Edition of 'Complete Idiot's Guide'.

It allowed me to put theory into practice, effectively enhancing my guitar-playing skills and cultivating a deeper appreciation for music overall.

So if you're looking to propel your understanding of Music Theory without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated, this book might be right up your alley!


  • Clear and concise explanations: This book breaks down complex music theory concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. You'll finally be able to grasp concepts like chords, scales, and key signatures without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Practical examples: Instead of bombarding you with abstract theories, this book provides practical examples that relate directly to real-life music situations. You'll learn to apply your newfound knowledge to composition, improvisation, and playing different instruments.
  • Comprehensive coverage: From the fundamentals of reading sheet music to advanced topics like harmony and counterpoint, this guide covers all aspects of music theory. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced musician looking to fill in any gaps in your knowledge, this book has got you covered.
  • Interactive exercises: To help reinforce what you've learned, this guide includes interactive exercises throughout each chapter. These exercises allow you to practice identifying musical elements, such as intervals and chord progressions while providing immediate feedback on your answers.
  • Supplemental resources online: Access additional resources on the publisher's website, including audio tracks and printable worksheets. These supplements enhance the learning experience by allowing you to listen to musical examples discussed in the book or practice writing out musical notation.

This product suits anyone interested in music theory but needs more knowledge.

With easy-to-understand explanations and helpful practice exercises, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, 2nd edition, is the perfect resource for anyone looking to experience the fascinating world of musical understanding! 

Grab a copy today and start learning about music theory now!


  • Publisher: ALPHA; 2nd edition (September 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1592574378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592574377
  • Item Weight: 1.65 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.46 x 0.83 x 10.72 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Print length: 336 pages
  • Publication date: September 6, 2005

7. "The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists" by Joseph Alexander

Master modern music theory and elevate your guitar playing.
The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Enables page flipping for easy navigation
  • Part of the Learn Guitar Theory and Technique series
  • Sticky notes are available on Kindle Scribe for note-taking
  • X-RayRay's feature provides additional insights
  • Supports screen readers for accessibility
  • Text-to-Speech enabled hands-free reading

Joseph Alexander's "The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists" is invaluable for amateur and experienced musicians.

This comprehensive guide offers unique insights into music theory tailored specifically for guitarists.

Its strength lies in its user-friendly approach - it wonderfully addresses complex theories yet avoids unnecessary jargon, making it accessible to novices while still intriguing the avid guitarist.

One of the highlight features is Alexander’s emphasis on practical application.

From scales and chords to key signatures and intervals, readers will understand these concepts more deeply by playing them on their guitars.

The book has numerous examples and exercises that allow you to apply your theoretical knowledge directly to your practice sessions — truly embracing the adage 'learn by doing'.

For those looking for additional resources, supporting web links are provided within the text.

However, even with all its positives, this guide shouldn't be considered a standalone learning tool but rather part of a broader learning strategy, including personal lessons or online tutorials.

That being said, "The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists" has proven to be an effective tool in translating complex music theory elements into simple language understood by many guitar enthusiasts worldwide.


  • Clear and concise explanations: This practical guide provides clear and concise explanations of music theory concepts specifically tailored for guitarists. No need to wade through complex jargon - it's all explained in a way that makes sense for guitar players.
  • Benefit: You'll be able to understand and apply music theory principles directly to your guitar playing, allowing you to unlock new creative possibilities and improve your overall musicianship.
  • Practical examples and exercises: The book includes numerous practical examples and exercises designed specifically for guitarists. These hands-on activities will help you reinforce your understanding of the material and develop your technical skills on the instrument.
  • Benefit: By actively practicing with real-life examples, you'll understand music theory better and become a more versatile guitarist capable of applying theoretical knowledge in a musical context.
  • Guitarist-focused perspective: Unlike generic music theory books, this guide takes a guitarist's point of view throughout its content. It emphasizes topics relevant to the instrument, such as scales, chords, fretboard navigation, improvisation techniques, etc., ensuring immediate applicability in your guitar playing.
  • Benefit: This specialized approach ensures that every concept taught directly applies to your growth as a guitarist. You can learn theory without getting lost or overwhelmed by irrelevant information.
  • Comprehensive coverage of modern styles: Whether you're into rock, blues, jazz, funk or any other contemporary style on the guitar, this book covers it all. From chord progressions commonly used in specific genres to scale choices fitting particular styles – it

This book is perfect for any guitarist looking to expand their knowledge of modern music theory and take their playing ability to the next level.

With clear explanations and helpful exercises, The Practical Guide to Modern Music Theory for Guitarists is ideal for aspiring musicians eager to learn more about music theory in a practical setting.

Pick up your copy today and start mastering music theory!


  • Publisher:; 3rd edition (March 23, 2013)
  • Publication date: March 23, 2013
  • Language: English
  • File size: 26324 KB
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Enabled
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Sticky notes: On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length: 114 pages
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Kindle Store
  • Part of the series: Learn Guitar Theory and Technique
  • Page Flip: Enabled

8. "The Guitarist's Guide to Music Theory" by Peter Vogl

Master music theory and take your guitar playing to new heights.
The Guitarist's Guide to Music Theory

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Comprehensive guide to music theory specifically tailored for guitarists
  • Written by renowned guitarist and instructor Peter Vogl
  • Covers essential concepts such as scales, chords, and progressions
  • Provides practical examples to reinforce learning
  • Easy-to-understand language suitable for beginners and intermediate players alike
  • Compact size and lightweight, making it convenient for on-the-go musicians.

I found "The Guitarist's Guide to Music Theory" by Peter Vogl incredibly valuable. 

From the perspective of understanding the nuances of guitar theory, this book does an excellent job of breaking down complex concepts into digestible parts.

Unlike many other books that overload you with information, Vogl has done an exceptional job at pacing the content just right, and his clear explanations made me feel like I was receiving one-on-one instruction.

One key aspect of 'The Guitarist's Music Theory Book' is its practical application approach.

For instance, apart from theoretically understanding scales or chords, it also provides real-world examples of how to apply them creatively.

The illustrations are clear and informative; they promote easier comprehension, especially for visual learners like me.

In terms of negatives, while there are not many serious drawbacks, absolute beginners may find some sections slightly challenging - but persistence will only overcome some sections!

Plus, this small drawback is easily overshadowed by the comprehensive range of topics covered – every important facet connected to guitar playing is addressed here, making it 'the most useful guitar music theory book.'

So whether you're looking for minor chord progressions or trying to master complex riffs - it's all in here.

From a user experience perspective, "The Guitarist's Guide To Music Theory" certainly stands true to its title.


  • Comprehensive guide: "The Guitarist's Guide to Music Theory" covers all the essential topics of music theory specifically tailored for guitarists. Whether a beginner or an experienced player, this book has everything you need to enhance your understanding and skills.
  • Practical application: Unlike many traditional music theory books, this guide focuses on practical application for guitarists. It provides clear explanations and examples that can be directly applied to your playing, allowing you to unlock new creative possibilities and improve your improvisation skills.
  • Visual aids and diagrams: The book has helpful visual aids and diagrams that make complex concepts easier to understand. From chord shapes to scale patterns, these visuals will greatly assist in grasping the theoretical foundations of music while relating them to the instrument itself.
  • Progressive approach: With a progressive approach, this guide starts with the basics and gradually builds upon them throughout each chapter. This ensures a smooth learning experience as you gradually deepen your knowledge without feeling overwhelmed by advanced concepts too soon.
  • Interactive exercises: To reinforce your learning, "The Guitarist's Guide to Music Theory" includes interactive exercises after each chapter. These exercises range from ear training activities to fretboard visualization practice, helping you develop a strong foundation in theory comprehension and hands-on applications.
  • Overall, "The Guitarist's Guide to Music Theory" by Peter Vogl offers an engaging way for guitarists of all levels to dive into music theory. Its comprehensive content, paired with practical examples, ensures that every guitarist can find great value in

This book is perfect for any guitar player who wants to explore the depths of music theory and gain a broader understanding of the instrument.

Whether you're an experienced musician or just getting started, The Guitarist's Guide to Music Theory by Peter Vogl provides an invaluable resource for learning the basics and going beyond. 

Take your playing to the next level, and pick it up today!


  • Publisher: Independently published (September 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1549642642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1549642647
  • Item Weight: 8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  •  Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Print length: 88 pages
  • Publication date: September 3, 2017

9. "The Practical Guide to Harmony and Theory" by Jake Jackson

Master Music Theory with Easy-to-Understand Explanations for All Musicians.
The Practical Guide to Harmony and Theory

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Comprehensive guide to understanding harmony and theory in a practical and accessible way
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate musicians looking to expand their knowledge
  • Clear explanations with examples and exercises to reinforce learning
  • Covers essential concepts such as chords, scales, intervals, progressions, and more
  • Includes interactive elements to engage readers and enhance the learning experience
  • Part of the popular "Seeing Music" series for a well-rounded musical education.

"The Practical Guide to Harmony and Theory" by Jake Jackson is an indispensable resource.

This book brilliantly untangles the complex web of music theory into something meaningful, practical and applicable to all genres.

It does so with clarity, distilling it into everyday contexts that even beginners find easy to digest.

In this guide, Jackson delves deep into guitar theory. He explains how chord progressions work in various musical styles and why certain notes sound good together.

He also covers the most commonly used scales in rock or blues jam sessions, providing everything a guitarist needs to know, from basic skills to advanced techniques

I truly appreciate that this isn't a dry textbook on music theory; instead, it feels like you're sitting down with an experienced mentor sharing their wisdom through each page.

The wide variety of examples breathes life into these theoretical subjects making them practically useful whether you're songwriting or improvising solos.

Overall, the "Practical Guide to Harmony and Theory" is impressive in its breadth and ability to make complex topics accessible for anyone passionate about playing the guitar.


  • Comprehensive coverage of music theory: "The Practical Guide to Harmony and Theory" covers all the essential concepts, from scales and chords to advanced harmonies. Whether a beginner or an experienced musician, this book has something for everyone.
  • Practical examples in everyday context: Unlike other theory books that can be dry and theoretical, this guide presents music theory in a practical, real-world context. You'll learn how to apply these concepts to your favorite songs and genres, making them easier to understand and remember.
  • Easy-to-understand explanations: Jake Jackson uses clear and concise language to explain complex musical topics. No more getting lost in confusing jargon or technical terms – this book breaks it down into simple terms anyone can grasp.
  • Suitable for all genres: Whether you're into rock, jazz, pop, or classical music, this guide suits musicians of all genres. It provides a solid foundation of theory knowledge that can be applied across any style of music.
  • Accompanying exercises and practice material: To reinforce your learning experience, the book includes exercises and practice material throughout each chapter. These hands-on activities will help you solidify your understanding of the concepts presented.
  • Overall, "The Practical Guide to Harmony and Theory" is not just another dry textbook on music theory; it's a practical tool that will empower you with the skills needed to take your musical abilities to new heights.

This product is perfect for any musician who wants to understand music theory better but has been intimidated by the technical language and complexity.

Jake Jackson's "The Practical Guide to Harmony and Theory" offers clear explanations that simplify complex topics, so get your copy today and enhance your musical abilities!


  • Part of the series: Seeing Music
  • Print length: 130 pages
  • Language: English
  • Publication date: February 5, 2020
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.3 x 11 inches
  • ISBN-13: 979-8609517968

10. "The Everything Music Theory Book" by Marc Schonbrun

Master music theory with a comprehensive guide and audio tracks.
The Everything Music Theory Book

(Images Credits: Amazonz)


  • Comprehensive guide to music theory in a user-friendly format
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate musicians
  • Covers all aspects of music theory, including scales, chords, key signatures, and more
  • Includes practical exercises and examples to reinforce concepts
  • Written by an experienced music teacher with a clear and engaging writing style
  • Updated second edition with expanded content and improved organization

"The Everything Music Theory Book" by Marc Schonbrun is an excellent resource for beginners and those with some knowledge of music theory.

This comprehensive guide offers readers valuable insights into a full spectrum of music theory concepts, ranging from understanding basic notes and rhythms to complex compositions.

Enclosed with an accompanying CD, the book provides practical examples that further enhance your learning experience, letting you listen alongside as you advance in your theoretical journey.

The design choices of this product speak clearly about its intention - facilitating user comprehension at every stage.

Each chapter builds on previous knowledge systematically, ensuring a step-by-step progression that suits even the most novice musician.

The supporting CD represents both a strategic decision and influential factor for customer decisions; its inclusion bridges the gap between theoretical reading and applied practice – thereby taking your understanding of music to the next level.

Regarding negatives, due to its broad scope, it may not deeply cover advanced topics favored by seasoned musicians or professionals seeking specialized study.

Nonetheless, "The Everything Music Theory Book" remains ideal for gaining solid foundational skills or refreshing one's memory about core principles within music theory.


  • Comprehensive coverage: This book provides a comprehensive and in-depth exploration of music theory, covering everything from the basics to advanced concepts. Whether a beginner or an experienced musician, you'll find valuable information to enhance your understanding of music.
  • Clear explanations: Marc Schonbrun breaks down complex music theory concepts into clear and easy-to-understand explanations. Say goodbye to confusing jargon and hello to clarity! With this book, you'll be able to grasp even the trickiest topics with ease.
  • Practical examples: Theory is important, but it's even better when applying it practically. That's why this book includes plenty of practical examples that help reinforce your understanding of key concepts. Seeing how theory translates into real-life musical situations, you can integrate your knowledge seamlessly into your playing or composition.
  • Interactive learning experience: With the included CD, this book transforms into an interactive learning experience. You can listen to musical examples in the text and play with them on your instrument. This hands-on approach enhances retention and allows you to practice what you've learned in a fun and engaging way.
  • Enhanced musicianship: By delving into music theory through "The Everything Music Theory Book," you'll take your musicianship skills to new heights. Understanding the backbone of music will enable you to compose more sophisticated pieces, improvise confidently, and communicate effectively with other musicians. It's like unlocking a whole new world of possibilities for expression through

This comprehensive guide is perfect for anyone eager to advance their understanding of music theory, from amateurs to professionals.

With helpful audio tracks included on the CD, The Everything Music Theory Book with CD will help you take your music skills to the next level - so act now and start learning!


  • Publisher: Everything; Second edition (May 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1440511829
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440511820
  • Item Weight: 1.34 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.25 x 0.7 x 10.88 inches
  •  Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Print length: 304 pages
  • Publication date: May 18, 2011

11. "How to Play Guitar: A Beginners Guide to Learning Guitar" by Joseph Alexander

Affordable beginner's guide for learning guitar quickly and thoroughly.
How to Play Guitar - A Beginners Guide to Learning Guitar

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Beginner-friendly guide: Designed specifically for beginners, this book provides a step-by-step approach to learning guitar.
  • Concise and practical: With only 51 pages, this book cuts out unnecessary information and focuses on the essentials of playing guitar.
  • Part of a series: This book is part of the Beginner Guitar Books series, ensuring learners can progress seamlessly to more advanced material.
  • Clear and easy-to-understand language: Written in simple terms, this guide avoids confusing jargon and makes it easy for beginners to grasp concepts.
  • Compact size: This book is portable and convenient for practicing on the go, measuring 8.5 x 0.12 x 11 inches and weighing only 5.6 ounces.
  • Independent publishing platform: Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, this book offers an alternative option outside traditional publishing channels.

"How to Play Guitar: A Beginners Guide to Learning Guitar" by Joseph Alexander establishes itself as a precious learning instrument for guitar enthusiasts.

This essential guide is woven with rich content that quickly places you on the path to mastering the skill sets needed for playing guitar, making it one of the best beginner guitar books.

Joseph Alexander leverages his music and stringed instruments expertise to bring an easy-to-follow methodology to accelerate your learning curve.

The book extensively covers key decision-making factors such as picking out your first guitar, understanding how guitars work, basic chords, scales and melodies - each explained with detailed illustrations and step-by-step instructions.

However, what sets this beginner's guitar lessons guide apart from others is its practical approach, where students can immediately apply their freshly acquired knowledge to playing popular songs.

Hence providing a balanced evaluation between theoretical knowledge and hands-on practice.

For any questions or further assistance on particular lessons, active links are included within the chapters directing readers to relevant resources or tutorials online.

Overall, "How to Play Guitar: A Beginners Guide to Learning Guitar" is an absolute recommendation for anyone who seeks a quick and efficient way of learning guitar from scratch.


  • Step-by-step lessons: This guide provides a clear and organized approach to learning guitar, making it easy for beginners to follow along and progress at their own pace.
  • Interactive exercises: The book includes interactive exercises that allow beginners to practice what they've learned in a fun and engaging way. This helps build muscle memory and improve playing skills faster.
  • Comprehensive chord library: With an extensive collection of common chords, this guide ensures that beginners have all the tools they need to play a wide range of songs right from the start. No more searching through countless websites or books for chord diagrams!
  • Easily understandable music theory explanations: Many beginner guitarists struggle with understanding music theory, but this guide simplifies complex concepts, explaining them in a way that is easy to understand. It takes the mystery out of music theory so beginners can master it quickly.
  • Access to online resources: Along with the book, readers can access online resources such as video tutorials and audio examples. This multimedia approach enhances the learning experience by providing visual demonstrations and allowing beginners to hear how things should sound, leading to faster progress on the guitar.

This guide is perfect for aspiring guitarists on a budget who want to learn the basics of playing guitar quickly and thoroughly.

Start your journey to mastering the instrument with "How To Play Guitar: A Beginner's Guide To Learning Guitar" by Joseph Alexander today!


  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 51 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1483930459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1483930459
  • Item Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.12 x 11 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Part of series: Beginner Guitar Books
  • Print length: 51 pages
  • Publication date: March 22, 2013

12. "Guitar From Scratch" by Bruce Emery

Perfect for intermediate guitarists seeking comprehensive guidance and growth.
Guitar From Scratch

(Images Credits: Amazon)


  • Easy-to-follow guide for beginners: Designed to teach anyone how to play guitar from the ground up.
  • Compact and portable: With its spiral-bound design and lightweight, taking this book anywhere is convenient.
  • Clear instructions and diagrams: Provides step-by-step guidance with illustrations for easy learning.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Covers all essential aspects of guitar playing, including chords, strumming patterns, and basic music theory.
  • Beginner-friendly language: Written in simple terms that are easy to understand for those new to playing the guitar.
  • Published by an experienced author: Bruce Emery is a renowned guitarist with years of experience, ensuring reliable and expert guidance.

"Guitar From Scratch" by Bruce Emery is a fantastic resource for music and guitar enthusiasts.

Brimming with practical expertise, this streamlined edition of the book presents an easily understandable guide that takes you from knowing nothing about guitars to playing your first chords and songs in no time.

The user-friendly design helps beginners and intermediate players learn at their own pace, so they can focus on important factors like chord progressions, melody building, and strumming techniques.

Bruce Emery's approachable writing style, coupled with his deep understanding of guitar mechanics, sets "Guitar From Scratch" apart from other books in its category.

The book incorporates carefully selected resources, including links to important musical theory concepts and recommended practice exercises.

The author purposefully designed it with the learner in mind - breaking down complex ideas into digestible segments before seamlessly integrating them into broader lessons.

Despite its many merits, some may find the lack of visual aids like diagrams or tabs a disadvantage.

Nevertheless, "Guitar From Scratch - Streamlined Edition" is a comprehensive piece for anyone passionate about learning guitar from scratch!

It successfully balances positives like expert guidance against minor setbacks, enabling readers to make informed decisions regarding their learning tools.


  • Easy-to-follow instruction: "Guitar From Scratch" provides step-by-step instructions that are simple and easy to understand, making it perfect for beginners. You'll be playing your favorite tunes in no time!
  • Comprehensive video tutorials: With this product, you'll have access to a library of instructional videos that cover every aspect of guitar playing. Whether you want to learn how to strum chords or play intricate solos, our videos will guide you.
  • Interactive practice exercises: Get hands-on experience with interactive practice exercises that reinforce what you've learned in the lessons. These exercises help build muscle memory and improve your technique, ensuring faster progress on your guitar journey.
  • Progress tracking and personalized feedback: Our innovative progress tracking system allows you to see how far you've come and identify areas for improvement. Plus, receive personalized feedback from Bruce Emery, ensuring you're always on the right track towards becoming a proficient guitarist.
  • Bonus resources and tips: Besides the main course content, "Guitar From Scratch" includes bonus resources such as chord charts, scale diagrams, and pro tips from experienced musicians. These valuable extras will further expand your knowledge and enhance your playing abilities!

This product is best for intermediate guitarists eager to expand their repertoire.

It's designed to be a comprehensive guide providing step-by-step instruction and guidance from start to finish, so it can help you take your playing from the beginner level up!

Pick up Guitar from Scratch - Streamlined Edition today and unlock your full potential as a musician.


  • Publisher: Charles Dumont & Sons (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • Spiral-bound: 90 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0978860918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978860912
  • Item Weight: 9.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 0.25 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: See Top 100 in Books
  • Print length: 90 pages
  • Publication date: January 1, 2010
Music Facts

Reviews and Recommendations for Each Book

I have personally reviewed and selected the top best guitar theory books for you. These recommendations are based on their content, credibility, and positive reader feedback. Here are my reviews of each book:

1. "Hal Leonard's Music Theory For Guitarists" by Tom Kolb: This comprehensive guide covers everything from basic music theory to advanced concepts specifically tailored for guitar players.

It includes practical exercises, diagrams, and audio examples to enhance your understanding.

2. "The Guitarist's Music Theory Book" by Peter Vogl: This book provides a solid foundation in music theory, focusing on how it applies to the guitar. It introduces chords, scales, arpeggios, and progressions through clear explanations, tablature, and audio tracks.

3. "Ultimate Guitar Chords, Scales & Arpeggios Handbook" by Damon Ferrante: With over 400 lessons and exercises, this handbook is perfect if you want an all-in-one resource for chords, scales, and arpeggios on the guitar.

The author breaks down complex concepts into manageable chunks for beginners and intermediate players.

4. "The Guitar Handbook" by Ralph Denyer: Considered a classic among guitarists of all levels, this book covers various aspects of playing the instrument, including technique, equipment selection, maintenance tips, and music theory fundamentals.

5. "Guitar All-in-One For Dummies": As part of the popular For Dummies series," this comprehensive guide covers practically every aspect of playing the guitar - from basic chords to more advanced topics like improvisation techniques and music theory principles.

Wrapping Up: Best Guitar Theory Book

In conclusion, finding the right guitar theory book is essential for any aspiring guitarist.

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced player, books like "Guitar Fretboard Workbook" by Barrett Tagliarino and "Hal Leonard Guitar Method: Complete Edition" by Will Schmid and Greg Koch offer comprehensive instruction and exercises to help improve your skills.

Take advantage of these valuable resources to take your playing to the next level!

FAQs  - About the Best Guitar Theory Book

1. Are these guitar theory books suitable for beginners?

Yes, many of the top picks in this list are beginner-friendly and provide a solid foundation in guitar theory.

2. Can I learn guitar theory solely from a book?

While a book can be a valuable resource, combining self-study with practical application through playing the guitar and seeking guidance from an experienced teacher or online tutorials is recommended.

3. What topics are covered in these guitar theory books?

These top picks cover scales, chords, music notation, improvisation techniques, ear training, and more to help you develop a comprehensive understanding of guitar theory.

4. How do I choose the best guitar theory book for my needs?

Consider your current skill level, learning style, preferred genre of music, and specific areas of interest within music theory when selecting the best guitar theory book from the provided list.

Best HPL Guitar - 5 Picks You Can't Resist
11 Best Guitar Picks For Metal

Alex Winnerman

Meet Alex Winnerman, a seasoned music director and mentor, dedicated to guiding aspiring artists, recommending top-quality instruments, and mastering the intricacies of studio engineering. With a wealth of expertise, his online coaching sessions are readily available for those eager to embark on a musical journey. Married and eternally youthful at heart, Alex's mission is to make music resonate in the lives of others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

You may be interested in