Books

This is the place where you can find a list of books that I’ve used or continue to use. I found them very helpful… Sometimes just to be aware of a different point of view and other times to actually embrace that approach.

Bottom line: I found helpful and I hope you will too!

PS: Buying books from this page won’t cost you any extra money but you’ll help me keeping this site alive!

Transcriptions

Brent Mason / Dario Cortese: Hot Wired Transcription Book

It took me years to get this done and it’s now finally out! It’s a great book full of awesome lines and info (gear used, performance notes, etc). I learned a lot from this transcriptions!

Buy from MusicRoom (nothing to do with me)

Buy from me

Styles

Ross Bolton: Funk Guitar – The Essential Guide

I’ve been using this book with my students for years. It’s a good starting point if you’re learning 16th notes strumming. Very progressive, concise and fun.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Les Wise: Be Bop Licks

This book is a collection of millions of II-V-I licks in the key of C. It’s a great source when you’re looking into learning some jazz vocabulary.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Barry Galbraith: Guitar Comping

Years ago I was trying to understand how to play rhythm guitar in a jazz style and this book helped me a lot. It’s just so musical and full of great ideas. Absolutely the best book for this topic.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Tom Bruner: How To Play Guitar In a Big Band

This book is absolutely fantastic. It talks about working in orchestras (West End, Broadway, etc) and what’s ‘required’ in terms of equipment, skills and knowledge. It’s a bit out of date but some of these concepts are not related to a specific time.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Allan Slutsky: Funkmasters

I’ve been a huge fan of ‘Dr Licks’ books for ages but unluckily they are out of print. This is a great book written with lots of passion. It’s for guitar, bass and drums.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Nelson Faria: Brazilian Guitar Book

Nelson wrote a couple of fantastic book on Brazilian guitar. In this one he focuses on the guitar role in all the major Brazilian styles and not only Bossa and Samba. Very nicely done.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Nelson Faria: Brazilian Rhythm Section

This is the other book. This one is about how to play with the rhythm section and it’s for guitar, bass, drums and keys. It starts with a chart so it’s very interesting for reading as well!

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Real Book: 1st Edition

If you’re studying jazz you probably want to have this one. There are lots of other versions but the first one is still the most used. On Amazon you might find slightly cheaper versions. Check the dimensions because often it’s the pocket version!

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Concepts

Howard Roberts: Guitar Compendium

This book is in 3 volumes. Howard Roberts was a genius. He helped me a lot in opening my mind to a different learning approach that proved to be the best.

Sorry no links :(

Mick Goodrick: Advancing Guitarist

This is another mind blowing book. It just opens doors constantly. Concepts regarding time keeping, chords, harmony, technique, etc… It’s not a beginner book at all but it’s absolutely great.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

David Berkman: The Jazz Musician’s Guide to Creative Practicing

This book is one of the best books in terms of ‘thinking’ for jazz players. David is a brilliant teacher and has a great sense of humor which makes the book really enjoyable.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Bret Willmott: Complete Book of Harmony Theory and Voicing

This book is about drop chords and superimposition. Very similar to my degree program. It’s hard. This stuff is awesome but VERY intense. VERY.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Bret Willmott: Complete Book of Harmonic Extensions

You thought it was all over? That was just the beginning! (I can see the expression on my students faces when they’ll see this one). Good times. :)

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Nicolas Slonimsky: Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns

Don’t buy this book. It’s crazy. Don’t buy it. Wait… think about it! Ok.. your decision… I tried.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Theory

Mark Levine: The Jazz Theory Book

Very good book by Mark Levine. It’s quite comprehensive and you’re most likely to find what you’re looking for in it (..well.. if it’s a theory thing).

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Walter Piston: Harmony

This book is more classical oriented than the Levine book. It’s big (around 600 pages) and really well done. It’s intense so I wouldn’t recommended to a beginner.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Keith Wyatt: Harmony and Theory

This is a very popular book. It’s nicely done, and the explanations are clear, simple and straight forward. Recommended as a first theory book.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Chas Williams: The Nashville Number System

I simply love this book. Chas is a great musician and great teacher. He did a fantastic job here. In my opinion this is THE WAY to put together theory + playing. Buy it.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Improvisation

Les Wise: Jazz Improvisation

A good book to start on jazz improvisation concepts. There a few licks but this is mainly about how to use licks you already know, it’s about how to think things. A good buy.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Frank Gambale: Technique Book I

A very simple, clear and effective approach to improvisation. Frank divides everything by family and suggests Pentatonic, Scales, Triads & Arpeggios to use for that family.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com (sorry couldn’t find in USA!)

Frank Gambale: Technique Book II

The second part of the previous book.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Barry Galbraith: Guitar Impro

This is a collection of improvised solo in a jazz style. Barry had a very strong melodic sense which makes most of his lines singable.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Reading Books

When studying reading you might wanna think about the different areas of reading:

  • Single Notes
  • Double Stops (2 notes)
  • Triads (3 notes)
  • Chords (4 or more notes)
  • Rhythm
  • Specific areas of the guitar (e.g. between XII and XV fret)

If you know what you’re after it’ll be easier to find it!

William Leavitt: Reading Studies for Guitar

William Leavitt needs no introduction. This one takes care of positions I to VII (we’re talking frets here) and it’s really well done. Single notes lines, triads and some chords in all keys.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

William Leavitt: Advanced Reading Studies for Guitar

This book is the big brother of the previous one. It takes care of positions VIII to XII in the same fashion as its predecessor.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

William Leavitt: Melodic Rhythms for Guitar

I’ve had this book since I was 15 and every time I studied it I’ve always discovered something new. I think that’s good for a book! Single notes and chords (names) reading.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

M. T. Szymczak: Reading Contemporary Guitar Rhythms

Tom Szymczak wrote a fantastic book on 16th notes singles notes and chords (rhythm guitar parts). This book follows the same concept of William Leavitt but on 16th notes.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Tom Bruner: Sight Reading for the Contemporary Guitarist

This book is hard. Incredibly useful but really hard. If you wanna work on the ‘pitch’ of single notes and not on the rhythm side then this is the book for you. Incredible.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Tommy Tedesco: For Guitar Players Only

This book is not JUST about reading but there’s a lot of it. Examples from famous sessions (e.g. with John Williams). Single notes, double stops, triads, chords, rhythms, the whole lot. Examples of part for different instruments. Great.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Tom Bruner: How To Become a Complete Professional Guitarist…

This is the same concept of ‘For Guitar Players Only’ but written by Tom Bruner. Really great book. It’s a shame it’s getting really hard to find nowadays.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk (couldn’t find it!)

Buy at Amazon.com

Tom Bruner: Master Pick Style Guitar Technique

Again, this book is not ‘made’ for reading but there’s a lot of it. I just used to pick a random tune and read it through. Really nice studies with lots of values (technically, harmonically, etc…) and great for reading.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Barry Galbraith: Bach Two-Parts Inventions

Well… very simple: you read Bach… in duet! Quite challenging but beautiful. The book comes with a CD or you can practice it with another musician. Very good melodies to be reading. Indeed.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Tommy Tedesco: Anatomy of a Guitar Player

This book is mostly advanced. If you can read this book you are pretty much done with sight reading… It’s hard.. there are weird figures.. it’s designed from a reader who knows the common mistakes… very interesting book.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Gary Hess: Enciclopedia of Reading Rhythms

If you wanna work on reading rhythms (you should!!) this is it. This book is awesome, huge and awesome. Great value for money.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Barry Galbraith: Daily Exercises

In this book you will be reading using Jazz Melodic Minor and Harmonic Minor scales. You review those scales and the arpeggios within them by practicing your reading. A good way to get lots of things done!

Buy at Amazon.co.uk (couldn’t find it!)

Buy at Amazon.com

Barry Galbraith: The Fingerboard Workbook

This is another one of those books that were designed for a different purpose but are great for practicing sight reading. Single note lines (mostly 8ths) all over the fretboard.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Technique Books

Frank Gambale: Speed Picking

This is a great book. Not quite the same as the video. I believe the book was made first (if I know correctly Frank did it when he was a student at GIT. Lots of licks and exercises different from the video.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

John Petrucci: Rock Discipline Book

Modern rock guitar. Alternate Picking and legato. Great and systematic approach.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Mauro Giuliani: 120 Studies for Right Hand Development

If you’re studying classical guitar you’re certainly familiar with this book. 120 arpeggios over C and G7 only. The book that every finger-style guitarist should have done at least once. Great for classical as well as popular music arpeggios.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

William Leavitt: Classical Studies for Pick-Style Guitar

This is not a book to develop speed with the pick and if that’s what you’re after you should be looking somewhere else. I would suggest to get this book if your aim is more dexterity with the pick.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Lenny Breau: Fingerstyle Jazz

This is a fantastic book from a true guitar legend. If you’re looking for a book about harp harmonics, well you found it. You’ll also find Lenny’s fingerstyle approach to jazz.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

David Hamburger: Acoustic Slide Basics

If you’re into acoustic slide guitar this is a good book to study. It teaches you the foundation of Open D and G and all the techniques. Don’t be fooled but the word “Basics”.. it doesn’t mean easy.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

David Hamburger: Electric Slide Guitar

Same author of the previous book who wrote a similar book but for electric slide guitar. You’ll find the same progressive approach which I found very good. Covers most of the slide playing with the exceptions of the most advanced techniques and players.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Classical

Fernando Sor: Twenty Studies

A great starting book if you’re looking into the early period. It’s not a complete Sor book but a great starting point. If you play fingerstyle guitar are looking for a good entrance into the classical style this book is a good buy.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Heitor Villa-Lobos: Collected Works for Solo Guitar

Villa Lobos is awesome! Just buy it. JUST BUY IT. This music is absolutely mind blowing. You will find lots of artists playing pieces from this book. Absolutely terrific.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Francisco Tarrega: The Complete Early Spanish Editions

If you’re looking for a Tarrega book that DOES NOT have tablature this is it. Big, not cheap but you’ve got everything you need. Really what I was looking for.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Scott Tennant: Pumping Nylon

This is a really great book/DVD if you’re into classical. There’s a lot of very interesting sections and very good tips on many subjects. Also, there’s a selected repertoire to study as well!

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Other Instruments

Duran/Pedrotti: Charango Method

If you wanna learn Charango this is it. You’ve got everything you need. This is one the best books I ever come across. Absolutely fantastic! My favorite instructional book.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Rich Delgrosso: Mandolin Method Book 1

This is a nice, simple and cheap book that will guide you through the very early stages of mandolin playing.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Marylynn Mair: The Complete Mandolinist

If you’re practicing your reading on a mandolin (tuned like a mandolin) this book is great. It’s a method really but there’s a lot of reading involved which makes great for this purpose. Scales, arpeggios, double stops, studies… not many chords but lot of everything else!

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Mickey Cochran: Mandolin Crosspicking Technique

Everything you ever wanted to know about Crosspicking on the mandolin. Lots of songs to learn organized by difficulty. The approach is very simple, clear and concise. You won’t find useless words.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Various

Gallwey/Green: The Inner Game of Music

This book is about overcome anxiety and nerves during performances. It’s a really good about how to practice and how to relax while studying/performing. I use it very often with my students. Great book.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com (different cover for you guys)

Spencer Johnson: Who Moved My Cheese

Dealing with change. In life, work, everything. This book puts things in a very interesting prospective. It’s like a child story but it’s what you see in the story that makes the difference. You’ll read it in an hour and will change you.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

Tommy Tedesco: Confessions of a Guitar Player

Tommy talks about his life in the music business. There are lots of stories and anecdotes from sessions… very big, important sessions. It’s a very interesting book for whoever would like to know more about that world.

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com