I have recently started guitar lessons. I really love them, but I feel there is something missing. My teacher's approach is "every class, let's learn a new song" but I feel I need some theory, like how to build chords, what note I make if I pulse this or that string, or playing techniques, etc.

That is why I thought I could complement my lessons with a "theory guitar book" where how to play the guitar is explained and with progression of exercises.

Is there such a thing? Or my teacher's approach is the way to learn to play an instrument (It is the first time I ever attempt to learn to play a musical instrument).

Any advice will be welcomed!!


The type of book you're talking about is called a method book and it contains exercises and home work for a student. Method books are meant to be used with an instructor. I personally favor Hal Leonard's method books but there are other good options, too.

However, before you pick one up: If you need more structure, you might start by asking your teacher. A good teacher will be flexible enough to give you what you need. Your teacher's approach isn't right or wrong, many students do better when they learn through songs, but it sounds like you're craving more of the fundamentals. While it is possible that your teacher isn't capable of doing this, it's also possible you simply need to ask.

There are books about theory that you could profit from, but music theory and guitar fundamentals (generally, chords and sight reading) aren't the same thing, quite. Theory is more about describing how music does what it does. You may have picked up some concepts without knowing it.

Working through a method book will give you discipline and a grasp of fundamentals. If you've already learned a lot, you can always skip through some exercises, but the guidance of a teacher will help you here.

| improve this answer | |

Learning a little theory will definitely make you a better musician. Learning to read is also a great skill to have under your belt. Both of these take a little more commitment and take a little longer to bear fruit than simply working out the chords to a tune. Especially learning to read. I had been playing for years when I first started to try to read sheet music. It was a huge step backwards and a humbling experience to say the least but it has been the best thing I have ever done with respect to being a musician. The guitar teacher that pointed me down this road used the "Your in the Band" series to teach reading. They were great! They start simply and progress through a series of small incremental steps that get you reading very quickly. They also have play along tracks that make it really fun and keep you honest.


| improve this answer | |

Personally, I thought that piano-related books tend to present chord construction more clearly, since pianos don't have any ambiguity about where to find a particular note. Then the process of mapping those chord tones and extended voices to the guitar will strengthen your learning. The book that I borrowed decades ago from my local University library was Modern Jazz Piano (subtitled A Study in Harmony) by Brian Waite. It served me very well; your mileage may vary.

Guitarists certainly have it easier than pianists when transposing keys.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.