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How to Play Guitar : A New Book for Everyone Interested in the Guitar Paperback – March 15, 1980
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Top customer reviews
This book is better than them all!
Yes, this book is basic. It teaches guitar as if you've never come across one before: from the parts of a guitar, to how to position your hands, to how to purchase your first guitar, and how to keep your nails before playing. It also teaches how to read sheet music and tabs, and offers advice on how to practice (a little each day, never in front of others). This might be a negative for those who already know these things (in which case, 20% of the book isn't useful to you), but I thought I knew these things only to discover my form was off (e.g. position the strumming hand slightly behind the sound hole) and that I should learn to play with my fingers before using a guitar pick.
This book is incredibly comprehensive, with one lesson building on the next. You'll learn basic and barre chords, brush stroking, 3 types of finger picking, and a little bit about hammer ons, pull offs, note bends, and harmonics. What's more, you'll learn how to take care of your guitar (ex. what it means if there are buzzing noises; how to travel with your guitar).
My only tiny complaint is that there are a few exercises with songs I've never heard of, so there was no way to know whether or not I was playing them correctly (ex. Tum Balalaika - Yiddish Folk Song, or Early One Morning- English Folk Song; Yankee Doodle I knew).
If you're a beginner like me with minimal exposure to guitar playing and music theory, this book is for you. Certainly use this before taking lessons (which, from personal experience, is a waste of money until you can't go any further on your own).
Thanks to this book, I am currently at the height of my guitar playing prowess. I will be going back to it for a long time.
An addition a fair time later (added 4-26-2015):
I was looking at my Amazon reviews and decided to do some followup on this book. I've been practicing guitar for awhile now, and I'm now fairly competent! I stalled with this book when it started on the theory, but that's a character flaw more than anything. After using online resources primarily for some time I still reference this book on occasion to see what it has to say. It's still a really trusty reference for me, and I'm happy with the techniques that it introduced fairly early on.
Starting with a 7 chord in the initial set that it teaches is very unconventional, but I can't disagree. 7 chords are versatile and play well in large progressions, especially when used accentually. You'll look cool to the other newbs if you know a 7 chord, though I suggest you look up the more traditional "beginner chords" as well, all of which this book eventually covers.
The classical positioning that is suggests is great for lead guitar (though hardly used by modern rockers) because it allows for easier finger movement up and down the board. I now use more of a hybrid style, but if I were a dedicated lead, I'd definitely stay with the suggested classical positioning (minus the knee-up on the stool, I'm talking hands here).
Overall, still a five star book and a great reference. It should be found in any guitarist's library!
There is nothing flashy about this book, but I have been having FUN going through it- which is pretty important when practicing and the whole point of playing the guitar I think. Rather than just show you where the notes are on the fretboard (which it does in the back as a reference) you learn them by playing simple songs like Beethoven's Ode To Joy. Very cool and I'm already impressing my wife even though it is pretty easy. I also like that it teaches you to read sheet music which I can't wait to learn (once I master the skills deemed necessary to get to that point). So buy this cheap book and have fun!
I am a nearly middle aged woman (yikes, when did that happen) and I just couldn't justify the time or the means for lessons. There was so much else I had to or rather do. But a friend suggested getting a book and after some Internet research, I got this one. SO happy I did. I feel skilled and accomplished and my son who is 7 loves sitting there while I practice. So, yeah, it's a great book. A very worth it $8