Top 10 Best Books Every Guitar Player Must Read

If you are an intermediate or advanced guitar player, by now you know learning guitar is a lifelong process and the more you learn, the more you grow. If you are a beginner guitar player, check out the book recommendations for beginner guitar players here.

Top 10 Books that I recommend every guitar player must read and Four Bonus Books are some of the best guitar books and will help you learn and grow in the following areas:

  • Playing Skills
  • Songwriting Skills
  • Musical Vocabulary
  • Finding Inspiration
  • Learn How to Earn Money and Make a Living by Playing Guitar
  • Financial Management for Musicians
  • Music Business
  • Marketing and Social Media For Musicians
  • Dig Deep Into Music Theory
  • And Above All Grow as a Musician and as a Human

With these books recommendations — I am not just going to dwell over just playing skills, tone, and equipment. Rather, I will also focus on all-round growth as a musician.

The reason I am doing that is — I find most guitar players struggling to make money in the music industry. It is not because they lack playing skills. It is a lack of overall development and understanding of the music business.

So, if you are an aspiring guitarist, and you wish to focus more on making it as a professional musician in the music industry. Do read these books.

At last, you are a professional guitar player or musician only if you can earn a living by making music.

So let's find out the Top 10 Books For Guitar Players

Book 1 — Creative Guitar 1 And 2 By Guthrie Govan

This series of two books aim to provide guitarists with new directions to explore their art.

Armed with the accompanying CD, featuring detailed examples of pentatonic patterns, minor arpeggios and backing tracks, you will be able to do much more than simply learn solos and licks note for note. This book also contains a thorough explanation of music theory.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

The magic that happens when Guthrie Govan plays the guitar, is beyond words. He is a true master at playing the guitar.

In his book series Creative Guitar, Guthrie Govan answer questions about music theory, phrasing and note choice, practising scales, arpeggios, modes, timing, practice habits, creativity and nearly every aspect of playing the guitar.

Creative Guitar books are easy-to-read books, comes along with CDs and you will find yourself going over these books again and again.

I recommend you buy both the volumes of Creative Guitar without any second thoughts.

Who Is This Book For?

This book is for all aspiring guitar players looking to find their style, build a practice routine and unlock the next level of their guitar playing.

This book is not aimed at complete beginners. Creative Guitar books assume you have the basic knowledge of guitar playing and music theory.

If you are a complete beginner and wish to learn guitar, check out my complete free beginner guitar course.

Book 2 — Music 4.1: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age (Music Pro Guides)

In Music 4.1, Bobby Owsinski includes an in-depth look at the economics of streaming music, with the real information about royalties that distributors and record labels don't want you to know and that simply can't be found anywhere else. The book also looks at how revenue is generated from YouTube and other video streaming services, and it provides techniques for optimising both videos and channels for maximum success.

Also included are lists of effective tips (both high- and low-tech) and checklists with every chapter, as well as a reference list of online tools for inexpensive music and merchandise distribution, sales, marketing, and promotion.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

Are you a musician who is clueless about music industry business and how to make money with music?

Music 4.1 will act as a complete action plan or a business plan for you. It is like reading an MBA book for musicians. Believe me, even if you are the greatest guitar player in the world, but you do not know how to sell it, you will be doomed.

Music 4.1 covers topics like

  • How music industry is evolving
  • Understanding the working of music labels
  • Core principles of the music business
  • Marketing strategies for musicians
  • Marketing with social media
  • Publishing and distributing music
  • Monetising videos
  • And also how to make money in the music business.

Believe me, Music 4.1 will help you understand how to make a living as a musician and understand the music business.

Who Is This Book For?

If you are happy playing all those fancy licks, spending hours practising, spending all the money on gear and still a believer that “music is not made for sales”. Do not buy this book.

But If you are a musician who is willing to learn about the music business, earning with music as a product, make a living with your music and is willing to learn how it all works. This book is for you. Buy and Read Music 4.1.

Book 3 — The Beato Book 4.0

The Beato Book 4.0 is a "Music Theory Bible". It follows a creative approach to contemporary music theory and improvisation for all instruments.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

Rick Beato Book 4.0 teaches every aspect of Music Theory, except the beginner basics.

The book is over 500 pages and covers all the advanced topics that one would wish to learn. Advance topics like intervals, chord formulas, scale formulas, triads, linear modal studies, musical palindromes, scale inversions, modal chords and a lot more are discussed in this book.

This book serves as a reference manual for music theory and comes in very handy time and time again.

Who Is This Book For?

This book is for musicians who have a basic understanding of music theory and now wish to explore the advanced concepts that will help them enhance their songwriting and playing skills.

Book 4 — The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness

In The Musician's Way, veteran performer and educator Gerald Klickstein combines the latest research with his 30 years of professional experience to provide aspiring musicians with a roadmap to artistic excellence. This is a three-part book covering topics — Artful Practice, Fearless Performance, and Lifelong Creativity.

The Musician's Way presents an inclusive system for all instrumentalists and vocalists to advance their musical abilities and succeed as performing artists.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

I was sick and tired of hearing “Practice, Practice, and Practice”

No one ever told me exactly how to practice to make a difference. The Musician's Way book did.

From planning a practice session to how you should approach new music, this book teaches you all. This book points out what practice is supposed to accomplish and how to exactly practice. The book also focuses a lot on creativity and becoming a great performer.

The Musician's Way is a very well written book and provides ample advice on practice as well as its reliance on scientific studies about the learning process applied to music.

Who Is This Book For?

This book will give you a new perspective for learning music, how to practice, looking at the big picture, being creative and how you perceive music.

A definite buy for every musician.

Book 5 — The Studio Musician's Handbook (Technical Reference)

What happens during a big-time professional recording session can be easily applied to make even the most casual recording session successful. In The Studio Musician's Handbook, best-selling author Bobby Owsinski and in-demand studio bassist Paul Ill reveal the inner workings of a major Hollywood recording session, including a look at the players themselves.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

A lot of time I come across a guitar player not familiar with how the studio works and what is the studio workflow. They lack basic studio etiquette.

The Studio Musician's Handbook will help you get familiar with studio workflow and achieve better recordings.

Who Is This Book For?

If you wish to become a session guitar player or a session musician, The Studio Musician's Handbook book is really helpful and made just for you.

Book 6 — Neoclassical Speed Strategies for Guitar

A complete guitar picking course that starts from the first principles of movement and works around your own unique body mechanics, illustrated in detail and helps you attain speed.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

Speed and Melody are two crucial aspects that help any intermediate player become an advanced player. This book is all about developing speed.

Neoclassical Speed Strategies for Guitar teaches you how to build speed in a systematic approach. It discusses a system used by some of the best guitarists in the world to build incredible, efficient picking techniques and devastating speed on guitar.

The book incorporates a lot of practise drills and exercise. It is easy to read and follow along and will help you get fast and build your chops.

Who Is This Book For?

Neoclassical Speed Strategies for Guitar book is for all intermediate or advanced level guitar players who are looking to get fast with a proper playing technique.

If you feel you are stuck and not able to get any fast, get this book and witness the magic within.

Book 7 — Great Songwriting Techniques

In Great Songwriting Techniques, veteran composer and teacher, Jack Perricone shares years of experience in the art, science, and pedagogy of songwriting to teach readers the craft.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

Songwriting daunts most intermediate and advanced guitar players. I also used to feel(still feel) stuck while writing music. Having a systematic and clear approach to songwriting helps.

Great Songwriting Techniques book teaches aspects and key elements of songwriting from building blocks like melody, harmony, and rhythm to more advanced topics like lyric placement and tone texture.

The book also deconstructs some of the greatest songs by Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake and others.

Great Songwriting Techniques book is an easy read, give you a structured approach and will help you at all times while you write.

Who Is This Book For?

Writing is a crucial aspect of music. Whether you are an Instrumental soloist or a singer-songwriter, you cannot ignore songwriting.

Great Songwriting Techniques book is for every musician who is looking to write better music.

Book 8 — The Plain & Simple Guide to Music Publishing — 4th Edition

For more than 15 years, The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing has been the definitive guide to music publishing. Music publishing is one of the most complex parts of the music business, and yet it can be the most lucrative area of income for musicians. This book presents a clear concise approach to how music publishing works today.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

For several years I had no clue what music publishing is about and how it works. I was all consumed with music writing, theory, drills and the other fancy stuff. The reason was simple, learning about music publishing and legal stuff is boring.

If you are like me, you might be in the same place.

By chance, I came across The Plain & Simple Guide to Music Publishing book and gave it a read. For me, this book brought a completely different aspect of music to life. I soon realised understanding publishing and the legal aspect is important.

So should you.

This book is based on US music laws and not much helpful for musicians out of the USA but still, it will help you understand a completely different paradigm that you might have ignored for years.

Who Is This Book For?

Everyone who is a professional musician and wishes to get control of their content rights.

Book 9 — Music Marketing for the DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack on a Low Budget (Music Pro Guides)

More and more artists are taking advantage of new technologies to try and build successful careers. But in this expanding competitive marketplace, serious do-it-yourself musicians need structured advice more than ever. In Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, veteran musician and industry insider Bobby Borg presents a strategic, step-by-step guide to producing a fully customised, low-budget plan of attack for marketing one’s music.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

In the year 2022, all of us are capable of creating and releasing our music from our homes. Still what we all lack is a great marketing strategy. The reasons, lack of manpower and generally a low budget.

Music Marketing for the DIY Musician book provides a complete and effective marketing plan while keeping the low budget in mind and the DIY approach in mind.

This indispensable guide reveals the complete marketing process using the same fundamental concepts embraced by top innovative companies, while always encouraging musicians to find their creative niche and uphold their artistic vision

Who Is This Book For?

Nearly every aspiring musician.

Everyone needs a step-by-step marketing strategy to reach a wider audience and Music Marketing for the DIY Musician book will help you achieve exactly that on a low budget.

Book 10 — How To Make Your Band Sound Great (Music Pro Guides)

This book explores every aspect of playing with other musicians, including the equipment, hardware, and software used in today's increasingly complex technological world, and the principles of sound every musician needs to know to work at the level of a professional band.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

There is nothing more embarrassing than getting on stage and not even knowing the basics of soundcheck or hitting a studio without any aid of a basic studio signal chain.

How To Make Your Band Sound Great book provides you with all the basic principles that you need to understand pro audio, as a musician in a band.

The book is well written and easy to read.

Who Is This Book For?

Everyone who is starting out as a performer or playing with a band and wish to streamline the workflow and sound.

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Bonus Book 1 — Deep Work

The Deep Work book is all about how to better manage your time and get more productive.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

Managing time and getting rid of distractions will help you accomplish more than ever before.

I came across Deep Work in the year 2018 and ever since I have followed the Deep Work principles like time blocking, avoiding distractions, deliberate practice, clearly stating your priorities and a lot more.

Once you manage time efficiently - you will not just get more practice time, you will start living a balanced and fulfilling life.

These principles do work and will help you to be a better version of yourself.

Who Is This Book For?

Anyone who is looking to better manage time, find focus, boost productivity and achieve more.

Bonus Book 2 —The Musician's Video Handbook (Music Pro Guides)

The Musician's Video Handbook (another title in Bobby Owsinski's successful Handbook series) describes everything a musician needs to know to easily make any of the various types of videos that are now required of a musical artist for promotion. From creating a club video, shooting a pro-quality music video, or creating an electronic press kit, this book shows you how to do it right by demonstrating the tricks and tips used by the pros to make a professional-looking video – even with inexpensive gear and limited resources.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

Video is the new oil. All of us know that a great video is vital for your next big hit. but few of us as a musician understand how video works. Understanding how video works will help you reach a wider audience and manage your next project a lot better.

The Musician's Video Handbook is very well written and tackles one of the most vital aspects of the entertainment industry. A must-read.

Who Is This Book For?

Anyone who is looking to produce a music video or hiring a third party to get a music video produced.

Bonus Book 3 — The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music

From Grammy-winning musical icon and legendary bassist, Victor L. Wooten comes an inspiring parable of music, life, and the difference between playing all the right notes and feeling them.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music is a story narrative that will teach you the importance of feeling and emotions. A very interesting and engaging book discussing topics that are often left untouched as a musician.

I loved it, I am sure you will love it too.

Who Is This Book For?

All music enthusiasts

Bonus Book 4 — Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, Book & Includes Online Downloadable code

Playing music should be as simple and natural as drawing a breath, yet most musicians are hindered by self-consciousness, apprehension, self-doubt, and stress. Before we can truly express our inner self, we must first learn to be at peace and overcome the distractions that can make performance difficult. Kenny's remarkable work deals directly with these hindrances and presents ways to let our natural creative powers flow freely with minimal stress and effort.

Why Do I Recommend This Book?

Effortless Mastery book focuses on the spiritual side of growing as a musician. While you read and implement this book, you will enter a state of trance and joy.

An easy and effective read.

Who Is This Book For?

Every musician, who believes in spiritual growth and finding balance and harmony through music.

Now you have found a wealth of knowledge that will help you grow and succeed not just as a musician but also as a human.

Read the books, implement the books and above all enjoy the books.

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Udeeksh Sood on

Udeeksh is an Audio Engineer. He loves to produce music, research music gear, play guitar, go on treks and road trips.