Guitar Method Books: Tips and Suggestions

Elite Music is a music school and instrument shop in Toronto providing guitar lessons with several unique, experienced guitar teachers.

Guitar lessons flow better with instruction books. The sheer amount of guitar instructional books on the market can be overwhelming for guitar teachers and guitar students alike. There are a few ways of narrowing the list down to a more workable number. The first thing to consider is what the needs of the students are when they sign up for guitar lessons.. A beginner needs something that introduces the basics in an easy to understand way. The more advanced student may want to explore jazz, classical, or some other genre of the guitar.

Mel Bay Guitar MethodIntroductory Guitar -Mel Bay
One of the tried and true methods of guitar instruction is Mel Bay. Mel Bay was a St. Louis based guitarist who began publishing his own instructional materials in 1947. Mel Bay’s instructional books set the standard for guitar lessons. Chet Atkins was a product of the Mel Bay approach and guitarists don’t come any better than Chet. The Mel Bay approach gives the beginner a firm theoretical foundation in guitar technique and the basic of music theory. Beginners learn the individual notes on each string by playing simple melodies. This approach helps hone guitar skills, sight reading skills, and ear training. The next step is to learn chords and chord theory. The Mel Bay Method is divided into five inexpensive volumes and it is a great method for teaching the guitar.

Hal Leonard Guitar MethodIntroductory Guitar – Hal Leonard
Hal Leonard is sort of a contemporary version of Mel Bay. Hal Leonard’s guitar instructional books are very popular and range over all genres of the guitar. The “Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book” is popular with teachers and students and is very user friendly. Students often favor the more contemporary approach of Hal Leonard over the more traditional approach of Mel Bay. The Hal Leonard method is designed for electric and acoustic guitar lessons. It emphasizes music reading skills and music theory fundamentals. It also gets into scale exercises and covers the four basic chord groups. These are great tools for guitar improvisation.

Mickey Baker Guitar MethodJazz Guitar -Mickey Baker

The world of jazz often seems inaccessible to many guitar players even if they of years of experience playing other types of music. The truth is that jazz isn’t really as complicated as many guitarists may suspect. It isn’t rocket science. At the same time, jazz does require a firm foundation and grasp of chords and scales. There are numerous jazz guitar books to choose from. Mickey Baker’s “Complete Course in Jazz Guitar: A Modern Method in How to Play Jazz and Hot Guitar” has been around since 1955. The longevity of Baker’s jazz guitar books is testifies to the success of his teaching method for jazz guitar lessons. Many jazz guitarists learned their trade by carefully working through Baker’s books. Baker’s method is short, sweet, and concise. It is an efficient and effective way to learn the fundamentals of jazz including chords, scales, and improvisation. Baker’s guitar lessons are clear and easy to follow.

Aaron Shearer Guitar MethodClassical Guitar – Aaron Shearer

Aaron Shearer’s two-volume, “Classical Guitar Technique,” is a standard text for classical guitar students. It introduces the student to the world of classical guitar without requiring any previous guitar lessons. IProper guitar technique is essential for all genres of the guitar, but proper technique is essential to classical guitar. Shearer’s method takes emphasizes technical development and facility. The student learns to sight read, practice scales and arpeggios, and play traditional guitar pieces by the major composer of the classical guitar repertoire such as Sor, Carcassi, and Guiliani.

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