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Guitar For Dummies Paperback – September 16, 1998

173 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The "For Dummies" series has moved far from its humble beginnings as an auto repair manual in the late 1970s. This latest hefty offering suffers from trying to be too many things to too many readers. Certainly, the introductory chapters are clear and concise, with enough information to get the beginner started. But it's not clear whether the book is geared toward electric or acoustic guitar?the photo illustrations show chords played on an electric guitar while the reader is learning campfire songs. Acoustic guitars don't make an appearance until Chapter 12. Four additional chapters are devoted to guitar selection, maintenance, and accessories, items beyond the immediate interest of most beginning players. Libraries are already likely to have any number of beginning guitar books, and these need not be displaced. (CD not available for review.)?Eric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“…offers everything the beginner to intermediate guitarist needs in an irreverent and accessible format…” (Harborough Mail, 17th November 2005) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: For Dummies
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1St Edition edition (September 16, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076455106X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764551062
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

218 of 225 people found the following review helpful By Jay on December 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
I will have to disagree with the negative reviews posted about "Dummies". I started learning guitar with no prior knowledge of anything musical. I could not play any musical instrument, I knew absolutely nothing about the world of music theory, notation, nothing. This book explains concepts very well; the lessons are easy to follow. And, I made it past part 1 chapter 3 just just fine, thanks. You won't get stuck, unless you are illiterate. IF you want to study theory, notation and scales (which I suggest you do after this book) then start here. Dummies will introduce to PLAYING, and that is the central thesis to this book. Not too much too soon, I found too little, I understood the music theory concepts perfectly, and found myself looking to the net for further explanations. Just remember that this book is meant only as an introduction, and a brilliant job it does of it.
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131 of 135 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
I recently purchased both Guitar for Dummies and 1st Steps for a Beginning Guitarist by Bruce Arnold. I thought I made a very wise choice for both texts. First let me say that Guitar for Dummies is a great reference text. It has information on so many aspects of playing the guitar like; changing strings, guitar accessories, basic maintenance, etc. All this information was very useful because I'm a total beginner. I felt that as a method to learn to play guitar Guitar for Dummies wasn't that great. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of information in this book about how to play the guitar. The problem for me is that much of this information is nothing I would ever consider playing for anyone. For example "Oh Susanna" and "On Top of Old Smoky" might be great songs for a camp counselor to learn but I'm more into rock and folk music from the 60's to the present and Guitar for Dummies does not contain any music like this. This is were the 1st Steps for a Beginning Guitarist by Mr. Arnold really helped. The chord progressions were challenging, gradually became more difficult and sounded like something I felt good about playing in front of somebody. Mr. Arnold's book also went into much more detail about many aspect of learning to play guitar and music in general. In my opinion these two books make a great combination for a beginner guitarist.
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125 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Looney on December 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Guitar for Dummies is the epitome of learning tools for the guitar. This is the undisputed king of all guitar books.
If you're anything like me, you've given up the guitar multiple times because learning it has always been so boring. Most lame books always start you off with notation reading. Those books teach to read music. Not PLAY music. That's what makes this book so great. You'll be playing Kumbaya within minutes. Not Mary Had a Little Lamb after 4 hours.
The CD that accompanies the book is invaluable. It gives you the ability to track your progress against a recorded version of the song. It's simple and easy to use.
The best part of the book to me is the section on barre chords and power chords. If you have the patience to make it to this section, you will never put the guitar down again. That's because all of a sudden you can play nearly every song you've ever heard.
I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to learn how to play guitar. Once you've studied the book for awhile, the rest gets easier and easier.
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133 of 142 people found the following review helpful By I. Hsieh on March 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Guitar for Dummies definitely was made for dummies. This book was made for people with little to no knowledge of the guitar. Even though it is made for beginners this book has many sections that even a experienced guitar player can learn from. With this book you can learn to buy a guitar, take care of one, learn about famous guitarists, and of course, play one. When I bought this book there was no need to buy any other guitar books. This is simply the best and is really 'The Ultimate Guide to Playing the Guitar.' What the book advertises to teach you, it does. You can learn chords, improvising solos, styles (rock, blues, jazz...), you even have a buyers guide to accessories! The CD that comes along with this is a tremendous bonus. With it you can actually hear what the songs are supposed to sound like. Also with the CD you can train your ear and then learn songs off your own personal CDs! There are some great songs included in this book that it teaches you how to play. You can learn how a guitar is made and how to discern a great guitar from a mediocre guitar. This book can start out kind of cheesy with all the basics but once you learn them you can rock out with all the advanced techniques it teaches you. Excellent book, a must have for beginners and certainly a good read for veterans guitarists.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By N. Malcolm Peterson on May 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
My background:

I am an adult player and have been playing guitar for about a year and a half. I struggled for about 9 months, playing with a friend of about the same ability level. I would share what I had learned and vice versa. I am not "serious" in that I play purely for my own enjoyment and have no aspirations of ever playing professionally. I am "serious" in the sense that I want to sound decent and use proper techniques. My previous music experience on guitar is virtually nil. Prior to this, I basically knew the C, D, and G chords. Other music background; I played snare drum from 4-8 grades. I didn't and still don't know how to read music and although I see that it could be beneficial, would rather concentrate on playing music rather than reading it (at this point in my life).

What the book isn't:

This book is not a substitute for a guitar teacher. It never claims to be and in fact may even state such early on. It is not a music theory book although there is some theory (certainly enough for the recreational player). This will not satisfy a "purist" or someone who is planning on studying music with a focus on guitar. It is not comprehensive in either theory or style.

What the book is:

It gives some background in the beginning chapters, but in the first chapter you actually pick up the guitar (after tuning); you can play a song (Kumbaya). If you're a beginner, that is a real charge (not so much the song itself, but the fact of actually being able to play any song). The book is written in plain language in a style that is easy to understand, interjects humorous antidotes and encourages you to have fun. It is written logically, each skill building on the previous one, but not dependent on it. It is a reference.
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