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The Guitar Handbook

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  246 ratings  ·  28 reviews
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 ampli ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 20th 1992 by Knopf (first published October 12th 1982)
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My guitar playing is still shit. :) But that's no reflection on this book. The book is alright, though it does seem dated now. To give you an idea, I have the 1993 edition. Bought it new in 2007. It makes no mention of Joe Satriani whatsoever! If updated, it could be a worthwhile buy for those that love having a book about how guitars work, set-up, the various styles and how the electronics work. The chord book towards the end is handy. A very good primer, if you will. Be warned though, it conta ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
A very complete sourcebook and 'owner's manual' for both would-be guitarists and veteran axe-slingers. Perhaps the section on pioneering guitarists could be expanded to include a few more names, and perhaps there are better books to use if you are starting playing from scratch (such as the ones that include CDs etc), but all in all very complete. This book also deals with issues such as adjusting your guitar's neck, the 'playing action' and amplification and should really be on the bookshelf of ...more
Colleen Eren
A very thorough compendium on all things guitar, with sections covering maintenance, guitar care, theory, a chord 'dictionary,' basic how- to play, and 'guitar innovators.'

I bought the newest edition, and it is greatly greatly in need of revision and updates, particularly in the section on guitar innovators. There is not a single woman represented in this list which goes on for 33 pages! Also, the word "Negro" is used--welcome to the 21st century!

For those trying to learn guitar, this may not b
If you only buy one book as a guitar player's companion, make it this one.
Kevin Crow
The single best reference book I've found for all things guitar
Useful, but I still can't play for shit
Marie Axe
it is nice and fun
Todd N
A friend mentioned in his holiday letter that he and his son were learning guitar together, so I bought this as part of a guitar care package I'm sending to them. The other parts of the care package: a capo, a string winder/peg puller, and a CD with a bunch of mp3s representing a range of guitar styles and guitarists that I respect.

I've sent this book to around 5 people who have mentioned they were interested in learning the guitar. (Sorry if I didn't send you a copy. It was because I didn't bel
The best single book on the topic: "The Joy of Cooking" for guitar. A reference to keep coming back to, a really solid foundation for so many things, in terms of playing and the instrument itself.

Why it's not 5 star: I don't love the "Guitar Innovators" section much; the foundation music theory stuff is maybe not guitar-specific enough; some of the the more specialized topics (refinishing, MIDI) aren't don't really work as a half-page; the inclusion of bass guitar stuff is haphazard/unbalanced.
Alex Kartelias
First book I used to learn chords back in 8th grade. Good times. This book helped me learn many things from the different parts of the guitar, different guitars, how to play harmonics, different rhythms, scales, as well as learn the dreaded circle-of-5th's- which was surprisingly very helpful. Good book to get an introduction.
Hugo Emanuel
Great reference book. Not very adequate for learning how to play a guitar, as it has no exercises - it just lays down the theory without any kind of step-by-step exercises or progressive learning curve (altough it does feature a great, complete and handy chord dictionary and charts) but great as a reference book as it has very complete and varied information on guitar theory, equipment, guitar history and even includes small bios on guitar luminaries (it's somewhat crimminal that it does not ref ...more
Janice Marie Foote
You can learn a good amount of guitar music theory from this book. It's really good! Buy it if you're either self-taught or taking lessons. Yes it's that good!
Ron Fitzwater
A must have for any guitar player.
Sean Keefe
Guitarist? The ONLY book you'll ever need. Simple as.
I've referenced this book so many times in 15 years that my copy is duct taped on the spine and soft on the corners. At first, I just needed chord shapes and the fretboard. But over time, I've gone back to it for stringing, alternate tunings, volume and tone pots, extended chords, lead techniques, guitar construction... If you really only want one topic covered, you might want a different book, but this is THE handbook to have.
Brijesh Kartha
A fantastic resource for anyone interested in the electric guitar. One will keep going back to this as it is more a manual than a coffee table book. A really nice reference book for the guitar. In addition to pages on iconic guitar makers and players it has multiple useful charts on scale, chords, progressions etc. A must have for anyone who loves this instrument.
Brijesh Kartha
A fantastic resource for anyone interested in the electric guitar. One will keep going back to this as it is more a manual than a coffee table book. A really nice reference book for the guitar. In addition to pages on iconic guitar makers and players it has multiple useful charts on scale, chords, progressions etc. A must have for anyone who loves this instrument.
Tom Menner
This book is a bit dated now and I think it leans heavily toward electric six string guitars, but it is still an excellent introduction to the instrument: everything from how they are made to famous makes and models to how amplification and effects work to musical theory and chord fingering.
For everyone: Bought the first edition of this book and it just gets better. This is THE book to own. The style is excellent and clear.

A pleasure just to pick up and browse through at any time, practicing or not.

It's a reflection on what sort of kids GJ and I were that I recall a conversation on a bus sometime during high school in which he corrected my mispronunciation of the author's name: "Denyer, not Denver".
40 Forte
Lots of good chord and scale voicings for those of us that need quick reference. And the added benefit of having everything on maintenance from changing strings to building your own guitar from stratch.

Jan 16, 2008 Ian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: guitar nerds
Shelves: music
Best guitar reference book ever. History, construction, playing. A#dim4? Can't remember which way to adjust a saddle to correct intonation? Tuning a Floyd Rose? Its in here.

And its awesome.
Even after nearly 30 years, I still occasionally use this as a work of reference. highly recommend to advanced guitarists and beginners alike.
If you're a serious student of the instrument, this is a definate must buy.
set up guitar, make it sounds better.. rock!!
Ravdeep Singh
Must have for all levels of guitar players.
My first guitar reference book. A classic!
Terry Belben
Really good, very useful
Paul Hanley
Paul Hanley marked it as to-read
May 27, 2015
Akinola Joseph
Akinola Joseph is currently reading it
May 27, 2015
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