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The Guitar Handbook

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  412 ratings  ·  32 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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Average rating 4.30  · 
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Todd N
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Bluesshaman
Oct 08, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: guitar
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
Alex Kartelias
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
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.
Cliff
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
Feb 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Useful, but I still can't play for shit
Dave
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you only buy one book as a guitar player's companion, make it this one.
Kevin Crow
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The single best reference book I've found for all things guitar
Kristian
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
I read it through years ago, but this is an essential reference for any guitarist. I can't think of one book that covers as much: the instrument itself, theory, practice, equipment, history, set-up. I can't say I go back to it constantly (I'm a bass player, not a guitarist), but it's a must-have on any guitarists shelf.
Mith Rashleigh
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-guitar
Covers a good amount of info to roughly a intermediate level. It is a highly recommended book. Would be great if they added to it alot more to make it "fully complete"
Tom
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
Hugo Emanuel
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
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
Colleen
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it
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
...more
Jason Das
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Brijesh Kartha
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
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
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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.
40 Forte
Oct 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.

gekko100
May 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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".
Peter
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.

Tom Menner
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ian
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Ravdeep Singh
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Must have for all levels of guitar players.
Terry Belben
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really good, very useful
Beatles1964
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
My first guitar reference book. A classic!
Mike
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
Even after nearly 30 years, I still occasionally use this as a work of reference. highly recommend to advanced guitarists and beginners alike.
Sean Keefe
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Guitarist? The ONLY book you'll ever need. Simple as.
Ron Fitzwater
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A must have for any guitar player.
Janice Marie Foote
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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!
Roger Scanlon
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Comprehensive guide for all things guitar. Covers a wide variety of different musical styles, equipment maintenance, lessons, history. A great read if guitar-playing is your hobby.
Snowywolfowl
If you're a serious student of the instrument, this is a definate must buy.
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