This book is comprehensive enough for those at a beginner and even intermediate level. Useful for those who are going to buy their first guitar, or those who are looking at upgrading what they have. Of course, it also covers skills and techniques. The coverage includes Classical, Folk and Electric guitars.

Good overall breadth in terms of coverage. For depth of information, there are other books though (so the “everything you need to know claim is subjective). Overall this is a good book. I’ve found this useful myself. The information isn’t new to me, but since I’ve no formal training in playing the guitar, it helps to confirm what I know. I highly recommend it for beginners and even intermediate players.
NLB Call No.: 787.87193 WIL -[ART] (see “Arts & Recreation” section)
ISBN: 0715320564

This book is mostly on the practical stuff, but also contains good background information for those interested in things like the history of guitar developments, or brief overview on “how amps work”, “how strings sound in tune” etc. This book certainly reminds me of how books in the library got me started on things which my friends didn’t teach me, when I was learning how to play a guitar. Wished there was a librarian to ask though. : )

Chapter 1 covers the history of the guitar (p1 – 14).

Chapters 2 to 6 covers musicians of various styles and genres – classical & flamenco, blues, jazz, country & folk, rock & pop (I don’t consider it comprehensive, but it makes a good attempt at bigger & more well known names. Good intro for those new to the genres).

Chapter 7 — how to buy a guitar. Rightly advises people not to buy on impulse. “Hear the sales pitch, and get out!” (p84 – tips on buying a guitar). Also on how to tune & maintain a guitar – changing strings, types & considerations in choosing various string gauges.

Chapter 8 – “How to get a good sound” (choosing amps and effects. P118 – tips of buying an amp).

Chapter 9 – “How to record yourself”. Recording studio tips (p124, 125) – good advice to save time & money! P126 – 130 covers home studio recording (gives an overview of Macs and PCs – I say Mac! I’ve used both and a Mac is much better). The technology is understandably dated. I found this chapter insufficient in depth to what I’d current doing with my Mac. Will have to look for more books on this topic.

Chapter 10 – “How to practice”. There are 10 lessons in this chapter:

Lesson 1 – holding the guitar & writing music (holding the guitar & pick, guitar tablature & standard notation)

Lesson 2 – songs & chords (strumming, playing your first song w 2 chords – twinkle twinkle little star, amazing grace p149).

Lesson 3- picking & open strings (minor chords, elaboration of keys of g,d, f p164, simple blues in e, minor blues p169)

Lesson 4 -basics of reading music (on time signatures, notations, 174 finding the notes on the guitar) – still don’t quite get. I refuse to learn! 😛

Lesson 5 – right-handed techniques (188 basic rhythm guitar, alt bass picking, basic finger picking, folk picking, blues, country)

Lesson 6 – beyond basic & movable chord shapes (semitones, chromatic scales, p203 useful diagram on where the notes are, barre chords – photos & chord shape useful. What strings and fret to press, and how to position your hand and which finger). P202 chromatic scale: E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Dd, D, D#/Eb, (E)
Lesson 7- playing in position (playing scales, shifting centres, key centres) i don’t quite get this at first glance but i’m probably putting it in practice.

Lesson 8 – basic harmony (intervals, scales, chord structures, arpeggios, diatonic chords, std progressions, cycle of fourths & fifths, the blues). This chapter equips you with the language (but for me I tend to play what sounds right. More of an intuitive player).

P.236 has an illustration on the “Cycle of Fourths & Fifths”. I.e. Fourth goes clockwise: C–> F–> Bb–> Eb–> Ab–> Db–> Gb; Fifth goes anti-clockwise: C–> G–> D–> A–> E–> B–> Gb.

Basic blues chords:

And to add variation, we could add 7ths:
C7 F7 C7
F7 C7
G7 C7

C7 F7/F#dim7 C7 Gm7/C7
F7 F#dim7 C7 A7#5
Dm7 G7 C7 G7#5

Appendix C – Covers very briefly on guitar tricks like hammer-on, pull-off, trills, bends, vibrato, slide (just description, no illustrations)

Appendix D – suggests some related websites:
Online guitar chord dictionary –
Progression – playing – guitar:

Appendix E – more scales & chord shapes. review here.

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