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The Guitar Handbook Paperback – October 20, 1992

162 customer reviews

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The Guitar Handbook + 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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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The most comprehensive resource available for beginning and experienced guitarists alike, whether acoustic or electric. Completely redesigned and with many more full-color photos than the original, this new edition surveys recent models and profiles current masters, includes an expanded lesson section, and encompasses 10 years of technological change in recording and amplification.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; Rev Sub edition (October 20, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679742751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679742753
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 96 people found the following review helpful By T. B. Vick on January 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
When I first started playing the guitar 2 decades ago, a friend had a copy of an earlier edition of this guide and he gave me the book to use while I was getting started. Using the book, and I mean really reading the book thru thoroughly, I learned a whole lot about the instrument itself and the music that could be produced from the guitar and that really helped my performance as I developed on the instrument.
The book begins with guitar innovators, those guitar players who have had a serious impact on the way the instrument is played, etc. This section was actually fun to read and was quite informative about several guitar players who had influenced my own playing.
The following two sections of the book cover acoustic and electric guitars. These sections detail how each instrument (acoustic and electric) are put together, how to set the action, the various types of each style of guitar, how pick-ups are put together, etc. This is a helpful and technical section which instructs the reader on the ins and outs of the make-up of his instrument.
From here, the book moves into actually playing the instrument. It begins with the beginner, teaching good practicing habits, what to practice, improving fingering, chord progressions, reading tablature, tuning, action, right and left-handed techniques, etc. Then this section moves into chords (with photos), three-chord theory, flatpicking and strumming and other various fingerstyles, barre chords, and even how to transpose songs. Inside this section there is also a sub-section on rhythm guitar, setting tempo, time signatures, using chord charts, time values, etc. Essentially everything you would need to know to be a well rounded guitar player is included (including slide guitar).
The final section deals with the maintenance of the guitar.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Randall Black on October 26, 1997
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While refurbishing a used electric guitar (a Gibson Flying V), I needed circuit diagrams and a friend lent me his copy of The Guitar Handbook. After reading a few pages, I didn't want to give it back! The book's brilliance lies in its economical use of language, diagrams and photos. It's as though Ralph Denyer and his editors are telepathic; knowing exactly what the reader needs and wants to know about guitars and guitar playing. Every page is a gold mine, illuminating topics I thought would be boring -- for example, complex music theory. Truly inspirational, the book unveils the once-daunting mysteries of music, including technical vocabulary, and still manages to stay down to earth. Listen to this quote: "Many guitarists--especially those that are self-taught--are suspicious of scales and regard them as an unattractive and unnecessary discipline. This is untrue." I've been rocking for 20 years and now my 16-year-old daughter is teaching me to sight-read music! One word of advice: if you expect to keep your copy of The Guitar Handbook, don't lend it to a guitar player.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Bill Furry on July 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Everyone here is giving five stars, but I recently bought this 1992 (revised) edition off amazon, replacing the previous edition that I had 20 years ago which was nicked by one of my friends.

If you really know music, you will see that there are now lots of editorial errors. for example, on the MODULATION page, it says:

"You could change straight from C to G, since the vertical columns show that G is both the dominant (V) in the key of C and the root (I) in the key of C and the sub-dominant (IV) in the key of G.."

I assure you that:

G is the dominant (V) in the key of C
but

G is not the root (I) in the key of C
and furthermore

G is not the sub-dominant (IV) in the key of G..

the author meant:

"You could change straight from C to G, since the vertical columns show that G is both the dominant (V) in the key of C and the root in the key of G.. and C is the sub-dominant in the key of G"

These errors are perhaps to be expected in our age of computer grammar check. If you know your chord theory you can sort that out with a red pen after scratching your head for a while, but if you don't, you are going to be lost.

I also find mislabeled chord diagrams like the seventh augmented fifth fingering on page 127. It says root note on the 5th string but the root is on the second (A) string, and the intervals are labeled upside down. from top 3rd,b7th,#5th,1st? No: 1st,#5th, 3rd, b7th.

What can I say? it is disappointing and again a beginner is going to be stuck here. Nevertheless it is and has always been a great book.

If you are a beginner and purchase it, just keep in mind that there are errors, but if you are buying this to replace your old copy, maybe better wait till a new edition comes out, and I hope the publisher doesn't make the cover any thinner.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Chris White on November 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I got this book to learn more about theory and scales and things like that. I got this book for the right reason-this book has everything a beginner would need to learn about scales, modes, chord theory and construction, harmonics, guitar anatomy and more. This book outlines the basics of everything a beginner should know. Even learn about sheet music. I recommend this book to any beginner or intermediate player--for acoustic OR electric.
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