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Guitar Theory For Dummies: Book + Online Video & Audio Instruction Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Length: 312 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Guitar For Dummies, with DVD Guitar Exercises For Dummies Guitar Chords For Dummies Guitar Theory For Dummies
Guide Type
Music Instruction
Music Workbook
Quick Reference
Audience Level
Beginner to Intermediate
All Player Levels
All Player Levels
Intermediate to Advanced
List Price
Publication Date
October, 2012
December, 2008
June, 2010
October, 2013
Phillips and Chappell
Phillips and Chappell
For Dummies
For Dummies
For Dummies
For Dummies
Print Book
Kindle Book
Brief Description
A step-by-step guide to guitar basics & beyond. Includes photo-illustrated exercises, and play along audio and video on the DVD.
A practice-oriented playbook with hands-on technique builders, warm-up exercises, scales arpeggios, chords, and much more.
Includes simple & complex chords. Over 600 illustrated & photographed chords of finger positions on a string. Handy & portable.
Everything needed to improve improvisational & compositional skills. Plus, get access to audio tracks and video instruction online.

From the Back Cover

Learn to:

  • Look at theory from a guitar player's perspective
  • Understand how music "works" on the fretboard
  • Unravel the secrets to your favorite songs
  • Navigate the fretboard like the pros

View video demonstrations and listen to audio tracks online

Serious about understanding and creating guitar-driven music? Easy.

Guitar Theory For Dummies goes beyond guitar basics, presenting information on how music works and gets applied to the guitar fretboard. It provides the guidance you need to play songs and improve your improvisational and compositional skills. Plus, access to audio tracks and video instruction online help you master the concepts and techniques covered in the book. If you already have a handle on the basics and want to take your understanding and playing of guitar music to the next level, Guitar Theory For Dummies has you covered.

  • Guitar Theory 101 — find out how guitar theory will change the way you hear and learn music and navigate your way around the fretboard
  • From the ground up — discover how major scale triads make chords (and what those little numbers mean in chord names) and play any major or minor chord using the guitar CAGED system
  • Make progress — understand where chord progressions come from, how related chords are grouped together, and why musicians play by number
  • Don't scale back — start using popular scale patterns to play guitar solos, melodies, riffs, and bass lines
  • Guitar Theory applications — explore popular songs and music to help you with your playing style and in creating your own original music

Visit to: Improve your skills by listening to and playing along with audio tracks and viewing videos demonstrating concepts and examples from the book

Open the book and find

  • Why certain elements of music go together
  • How to form chords, assemble chord progressions, and apply scales
  • Popular song and guitarist references
  • Ways to identify tonal centers, keys, and key changes
  • Ten guitar songs worth learning
  • Sample scale patterns
  • Tips on putting guitar theory into practice
  • Access to audio tracks and video instruction

Product Details

  • File Size: 18204 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (September 24, 2013)
  • Publication Date: September 24, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EFB447U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,624 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Hailed as a "music-theory expert" by Rolling Stone magazine, guitarist Desi Serna is the author of the very popular Fretboard Theory line of guitar instructional material as well as Guitar Theory For Dummies and Guitar Rhythm and Technique For Dummies (a Wiley brand). He is known for his practical, hands-on approach to music teaching, with a focus on the guitar fretboard and emphasis on popular songs. Desi honed his craft through decades of teaching, performing, and publishing. He's online everyday posting lessons to and discussing various guitar music-related topics with his group of social media followers. In 2014, he relocated from his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, to an area near Nashville, Tennessee, to be closer to Music City and its community of guitar players.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been struggling to understand and learn guitar for twenty years. (Not a typo.) In that time I've had seven guitar teachers. Some were expensive. A couple had good technique. All failed to make sense to me. I own a LOT of guitar books - spiral bound books packed with mysterious chord shapes, theory books from famous schools, method books, classical books - all gathering dust. I've tried it all.

Only once I found Desi's book and his free podcasts did it all "click" so I could begin to play. I'm not performing yet, but for the very first time, I understand the full "landscape" of the guitar, why I'm learning scales, why a chord is what it is, how all the pieces fit together.

Words can't describe how grateful I am for this book. I hope it brings you similar joy. (And if, like me, you prefer to "understand" what you're doing, I'm sure it will.)
Comment 46 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First off: If you interested in music theory strictly in the context of jazz or classical music, there are many more in-depth and narrowly-focused texts out there that I’d recommend over this one. For that matter, if you're interested exclusively in a particular genre, such as metal, you'd probably prefer a book that deals just with that in more detail.

But if you’re a ‘by ear’ player of any genre of rock, blues, or pop, or a songwriter who wants to better understand what you’re doing and use that knowledge to broaden your options for writing and improvising, there’s a lot of useful material here, presented in a friendly straightforward way.

The material covered is essentially chords (the commonly used CAGED system of fingerings), chord progressions and scales. The book assumes you already play at an intermediate level and is really about giving you the knowledge behind what you already know and the tools to build upon your current skills.

The book refers to a large number of rock and popular tunes to illustrate chord progressions and the use of particular scales. It seems purposely designed to appeal to a wide range of players, covering titles from the 60’s through the past decade, so you’re bound to find a couple of tunes you know well that really nail down some of the ideas.

The presentation uses primarily chord diagrams and tab, with a relatively small amount of traditional notation that’s always accompanied by tab. The author makes the point (and I strongly agree) that learning traditional music notation doesn’t mean becoming as proficient as an orchestral conductor or a concert violinist. It means, for the most part, understanding rhythmic subdivision up to 16th notes. We all choose the effort we put into music and what we get from it. I’ll just say that if you have the patience to learn tab, you have the patience to learn basic notation, and you’ll never regret the musical doors that open up to you as a result.
3 Comments 23 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I also have his DVD's and his Fretboard Theory book. I am 40+ I've attempted to learn on my own in my early twenties, it was a lost cause back then; we did not have the you tube & all back then. I went through 5 teachers and finally found one that knew what Desi was talking about and took the time to watch his DVD's & look over his book's. I was a beginner about a year ago when I purchased Desi's dvd's and book. By the time I started looking for a good teacher, because of Desi's material, I knew more than some of the teachers. He puts a disclaimer saying that all his materials are for intermediate and not for beginners; yes you have to know a little bit to get his material and his teachings but if you really want to learn to play his teachings makes you more curious and gets you to do more. So if you don't know a think or two at the beginning that is not included in his material they are easy to find on line. I am a equipment junky, I have several guitars and I have books and DVD's up to the ceiling. Nothing comes close to his method. If you can not learn from his material go pick up Golf or something. I highly recommend you to stick with it and apply how he is telling you to apply his material, trust me I play golf too (I don't know why) …
I also studied Bill Edwards Fretboard Logic. One could say Desi makes it a bit more fun and easy to learn.
After owning his material for little over a year I wanted to write this ( I don't much care to do) not so much to benefit him, I think he is doing just fine, but to save some folks the pain, expense and most of all not to quit. I consider myself still a beginner but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not that there is an end to this life long commitment but the tunnel is bright now (Thank you Desi). Some folks may not even need a teacher with this material to learn and get very good. Also a software like Garage band. I just like the enforcement of weekly lessons with a teacher who understands the Desi method.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A friendly and gentle approach to music theory for guitar. However, in spite of the “Theory” in the title, this is a very practical book with a lot of examples and applications. Serna revisits the topics discussed in Fretboard Theory, but not as a repetition. I would say it’s more like a companion and a good one to his previous books. I particularly enjoyed the Chapter 15 “Playing the Blues” and the discussion on improvisation. I have the Kindle version and it is very good, with clear illustrations, and all ancillary material can be downloaded from Wiley website. I rate myself as a beginner and I’m enjoying this book, although the author warns if you don’t have previous experience with guitar playing, you better try other resources before delving into this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
How do I access the online video and audio instruction???
Go to the "Appendix - Audio Tracks and Video Clips." Link to audio tracks and video clips is at the end of the first section. (This is Location 6345 of 6407 on my Kindle Fire HD). The "Play This!" icons were not intended to be links.
May 25, 2014 by R.B. |  See all 2 posts
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