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How to Play Guitar: Everything You Need to Know to Play the Guitar Paperback – December 10, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 198 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Roger Evans has helped nearly half a million readers learn to play an instrument on their own. His other books include How to Play Piano and How to Play Keyboards

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Product Details

  • Series: How to Play
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Revised edition (December 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312287062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312287061
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I just happened upon this book by chance when first beginning my quest for literature on guitar instruction. Simply put, I didn't want to pay for lessons from the very beginning if all I needed were some basics (holding the guitar, tuning, learning the parts of the guitar, some basic tunes and chords, etc.) to get my feet wet. I was previously intimidated by guitars and guitar playing, sure it was hopelessly complicated. Evans' easy and approachable text, very good illustrations and slow, step-by-step instructions totally changed my outlook. I've learned so much already, and I barely play four chords well! Although most of the tunes you learn early on in the book aren't necessarily "popular" ones, they get the job done. Later on in the book you learn the skills to approach any kind of music. In my opinion, it's the best bargain out there. My only suggestions would be a spiral binding and accompanying CD for future editions.
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Format: Paperback
I wanted to learn to play guitar but had no idea where to start. I didn't even know how to change the strings on my guitar. Luckily I found this book. This book teaches you everything you need to know including how to string, tune, and hold your guitar. I learned to play chords and finger picking faster than I ever thought possible. The slow, iterative approach builds upon previous lessons which give you the skills to tackle the next lesson. A lot of books I have seen throw you right into the deep end which can be frustrating for beginners. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how to play a guitar. If not for this book I probably would have become frustrated and quit playing before I even began.
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Format: Paperback
Most how to books for "beginners" are laced with technical jargon that only someone with a working knowledge of the subject could understand. Not so with this book. I have no knowledge of the guitar and can actually understand this book. A must buy for the beginner.
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Format: Paperback
This book is helping me play notes and chords that sound good and I never have played anything.If looking for the perfect starter book this is it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been attempting to play the guitar on and off for the past five years. During which, I've received casual instruction from friends, and have taken expensive private lessons from guitar teachers.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be useful as I'm a beginner to playing guitar. Near the back of the book there are pages with all the chords, so I can print songs off the internet, and have the chords available in the book so I can teach myself to play. The only negative comment that I would make is that although there are many sample songs in the book to learn, I didn't know many of the songs so I wasn't sure how they were supposed to sound - a little frustrating, but a good book nonetheless.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since deciding to learn to play guitar, I have purchased THREE different books, and this one is the only book I use. Despite the fact that this is the only book that doesn't have an attached CD, it is the most useful!! The author's 30 years of teaching experience shines through, particularly if you allow yourself to read through the text and then try the lessons (don't skip around). Each page builds on the previous lessons, and you'll be playing simple tunes in no time.

I *HIGHLY* recommend this book above all others.
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Format: Paperback
After having my guitar stolen 20 years ago, I lost interest in ever playing again. But now I have rekindled interest to reteach myself to play, most importantly to teach my son to play. This book has helped tremendously in relearning everything that I had forgotten about the guitar.The lessons are simple to follow with step by step finger placements and illustrations.
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