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Guitar Fretboard Workbook Paperback – August 1, 2003

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Frequently Bought Together

Guitar Fretboard Workbook + Music Theory for Guitarists: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask (Guitar Method) + Guitar Aerobics: A 52-Week, One-lick-per-day Workout Program for Developing, Improving and Maintaining Guitar Technique
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Product Details

  • Series: Musicians Institute: Essential Concepts
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Musicians Institute Press; Workbook edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0634049011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634049019
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A progressive teaching method that offers a clear roadmap through the tangles of the fretboard maze. —Gary Joyner, Acoustic Guitar -- Acoustic Guitar Magazine, July 2004

From the Author

This book clearly relates the fretboard to the same musical principles all professionals on any instrument use, teaching the practical hands-on basics without glossing over the theory every guitarist should know. It does not invent its own terminology or pattern numbering system, a problem that has lessened the value of many books like this in the past. The CAGED-based fretboard system used has world-wide recognition and a long historic basis, refined and tweaked in Musicians Institute curricula since 1977 by hundreds of instructors after its introduction by Howard Roberts in the early 1970s.

You'll cover everything you need for a rock-solid foundation, including modes and slash chords. You'll understand and play (anywhere on the neck!) any scale or chord you encounter or imagine. Besides offering you a chance to completely grasp the guitar, this method assures you will be able to communicate with other trained musicians no matter what their instrument.

The book was designed for use in three arenas: private lessons, classroom instruction, and personal study by the motivated individual. There are 22 short chapters of very gradually increasing difficulty, suitable for teaching in 20-30 minute time frames. Each chapter has modest written and playing assignments, with all the answers in the back of the book. The text was written specifically to be concise, informative, and fun, yet easily understood by non-native English speakers.

After over a year of intense work, I'm happy to present this book. Please use and enjoy it.

More About the Author

Barrett's books don't always appear in Amazon categories, so please check his Author page to find the latest titles:

Interval Studies and Lead Guitar Technique
Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, and Diminished Scales
Guitar Reading Workbook

Barrett Tagliarino has been a full-time instructor at Musicians Institute in Hollywood since 1989. His books are popular choices for course syllabi at other universities, vocational, and high schools. Barrett's books are designed to get you playing the music you want with a clear understanding and no time wasted.

The same engaging and lucid teaching style in his books makes Barrett's classes at MI often fill to capacity with a waiting list. His current schedule includes Blues Level II, Reading Level III, Technique I, and Performance I. Barrett was Rock department head at Hohner MusikSchule in Vienna in 1995. His traveling work as a performer and clinician has taken him around the world.

Barrett has two CDs showcasing his rock guitar style with blues and jazz influences: "Throttle Twister" and "Moe's Art," both available here on, and has made numerous guest recording contributions as an LA session guitarist.

Guitar magazines such as Guitar Edge, Guitar Player, and Guitar World have featured Barrett's full-length article contributions on technique, styles, and phrasing. He also works as an editor for the Hal Leonard Corporation, adding his knowledge and insight to over 100 books like "Jazzology: The Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory," and "Music Theory for Guitarists: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask."

You can find his latest works, video clips, free lessons, and blog posts at his website,, which he started in 1996.

Customer Reviews

This is a great book for learning to really understand the fretboard.
Harrison Wolstein
I wasn't sure how I felt about that approach at first, but I realized this is quite possibly the best way to learn it all like it needs to be learned.
S. Le Maire
I've been playing guitar a long time and this book really helps you get an idea how the fretboard works.
K. Scott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 146 people found the following review helpful By "wm_burke" on December 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have been using this book with my students since Barrett started putting together the opening chapters. I first used it with my advanced students, those who already had some experience with the 5 patterns of major scales. Immediately they returned saying that it helped them understand the scales and visualize the fretboard more easily.
Having my students walk in with diagrams of scales and intervals for me to check has been an incredible reversal of roles. Normally I would draw diagrams for them to study and play. Going over a chapter and sending them home to complete and play the exercises gets the student involved in a way that the normal draw, demonstrate, "see ya' next week" cycle never really reaches. It gives the student an opportunity to take home and digest the information that was normally only available during the lesson.
Teaching people to operate a guitar and teaching music on a guitar are almost completely different tasks. I found the first six chapters to be very helpful when initiating beginner and intermediate students into the world beyond the 3rd fret and power chords. There is something in this book for nearly anyone interested in knowing how to play the guitar.
If you are an instructor you will find the comprehensive, organized approach very thorough and focused. If you are self-studying the instrument or a student seeking more than just another tabbed-out solo this is a book you can keep coming back to throughout your journey. I highly recommend it.
Billy Burke
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282 of 295 people found the following review helpful By Steven Stathatos on January 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have read countless testimonials about guitar books that guarantee results I never was able to achieve. This book actually delivered for me, and it has done so in a big way. My ambition, which previously eluded me entirely, has been to become fluent on the fretboard--to be able to improvise, follow changes, structure complex chords on the fly and the like. I tried so long in vain I decided I must just lack the necessary ability.
This book changed all that for me. I am doing things now I only dreamed of before. I don't know how the author figured it out, but he has come up with a way to communicate an understanding of music and the fretboard to both your head and, probably more important, your hands. Simple things like combining diagram exercises and playing, reinforced by having you speak the information out loud, really work to imprint the material on your fingers. The book walks you one step at a time, fairly painlessly, from simple to very complex. This thing is a gold mine. No kidding.
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127 of 136 people found the following review helpful By E Scott on January 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I've ever read for guitar. I have always had trouble finding my way around the fretbaord, but after working with this book I have no trouble at all. There are so many helpful tips and exercises that you can't help but become ultra fluent on guitar. And unlike most books, the material in this book is presented in a manner that is easy to understand. It's all connected perfectly, instead of YOU having to piece things together. I would recomend this book to anyone.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Angus on July 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a "middle aged" student that has been playing cowboy chords for years, but never got much beyond first position. I've wanted to learn scales, arps, triads and other techniques to bring out more expression and to be able to solo anywhere on the neck with confidence. I started and stopped several other guitar courses because at some point the author made leaps or assumptions I simply wasn't ready for. This is by far the most logically designed and naturally progressing course I've seen for learning the fretboard. It's very well written and very clear in communicating the unique structure of the guitar. I would strongly recommend this to any beginning or intermediate student--or even those who have been playing awhile--but want to go back to basics and relearn it the way it should be learned. There's a lot of material here, so don't expect to complete it in anything short of many months to a year. I'm about six weeks into it and have already learned basics about root and chord positions, scales and theory that other courses--and several teachers--have not been able to make clear to me. I don't know if it's a function of age, limited practice time or sensory overload from job and household duties, but retaining a lot of abstract information does not come as easy as it used to. But using the author's methodical way of learning this material, it gets dialed in pretty quickly and it stays there! Highly recommended!
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Sachin Agarwal on December 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was great going, till it hit chapter #7. Suddenly, without explaining as to how, it asked to create boxed major scale patters on root pattern theory , and i was all lost.

I would still recommend this book to everyone, as it really gives you confidence that you know something about theory, and gives you a feel for your fret board. But, be aware, that sections of this book might require some external personal lessons, or online research.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A. Hebert on June 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tagliarino does something very few authors of guitar books have done - he puts the entire fretboard within reach of the guitar student. About 99 percent of the guitar players I know panic when they get beyond the fourth fret. But all of these players absolutely love the guitar and truly desire to learn the instrument - all the way to fret 12 and above. They have all kinds of musical notes and guitar riffs in their heads, but can't reproduce them on the fretboard. That is the worst kind of pain.

Fortunately, Tagliarino's method is the "wonder drug" that takes the mystique out of the guitar fretboard and makes it all come together. Please be advised however, that getting this book doesn't reduce the necessity of practice. What students should experience is an increased desire to practice more! My advice to any guitar player, or instructor for that matter - get this book and the boxed set of Fretboard Logic (with DVD) by Edwards - and get to work! Within six months: you, your friends, your students, your teachers - eveyone - will be absolutely amazed at your increased level of knowledge. Take the plunge and buy this book! You won't regret your investment!
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