The Best Books to Go Beyond Basics with Guitar (Intermediate-Advanced Guide)

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. When you purchase any product through those links I earn a percentage of the purchase price. The affiliate link does not affect how much you are charged for the product. Thanks! When beginning your guitar journey it’s easy to feel like you’ll never be as good as the prodigy that you find on YouTube or your favorite artist. But, if you stick with it for awhile you’ll see that things will slowly start to come together.

You’ll start by learning to read tabs and play open chords. Eventually, you’ll learn your first Pentatonic scale position. From there you’ll learn your major scale and a bit of basic music theory.

When you put all of that together you end up with a solid average knowledge of the guitar. But what about that virtuoso on YouTube? What do they know that you don’t?

These books offer the knowledge that you need to get to the next level. Generally speaking, since you already understand your basics you can now choose which of these most appeal to your interests and start there. As you go through this information you’ll also start to notice patterns and places where they overlap.

I’ve provided descriptions of each book to help you get a sense of which will best serve you at the moment, so order the book that you decide and we will break ground on it during your next lesson!



ROCK GUITAR UNCAGED This book is an excellent guide for rock, blues, jazz, and country guitar players. Basically anyone who plays guitar will benefit from this book. The writer walks us through a unique application of the CAGED method so we can learn all 5 shapes of the Blues (Pentatonic), Aeolian, Mixolydian, and Lydian scales.

Rock Guitar UnCAGED is one of my favorite books for learning your basic scales in general. The licks that are provided will definitely test your speed and skill, but I view that as a bonus at this point in your learning journey. GUITAR SCALES IN CONTEXT Once you have an understanding of how scales work, this book will complete your knowledge of all the crazy scales and modes not covered in Rock Guitar UnCAGED. This book is a complete guide and so it will take you through the specialty scales that the aforementioned “YouTube Virtuoso“ likely uses.


Music Theory

THE PRACTICAL GUIDE TO MODERN MUSIC THEORY FOR GUITARISTS Music Theory can be an overwhelming concept. To this day I have a Jazz Theory book that was recommended to me a few years ago. The pages are at least 10 inches tall and the book is two inches thick. It is also filled with thousands of examples and small print. This book is not like that.

Instead of covering everything A-Z, this book focuses on what is pertinent for a guitarist to know. It covers the foundations of the Major scale, how chords are built, how alternative scales are built, and a bunch of other things. It’s just enough for you to know what’s going on when you need it without being overwhelming!

It is recommended that you study this book along with another book because the focus of this book means that you’ll spend more time reading than playing.


Chords and Improvisation

FUNK GUITAR: THE PRIVATE LESSON SERIES So you know your basic open and barre chords, but you would like to take the next step. This is the way to go! This book will greatly improve your knowledge of intermediate chords, scales, and rhythm.

The Funk Guitar guide will help you to bridge the gap between learning the basics and becoming a well-rounded intermediate guitar player. JAZZ GUITAR: THE HAL LEONARD GUITAR METHOD  There is no style of music that more fully explores all of the possibilities of music than Jazz. For this reason, if you want to take an extensive dive into advanced chords, this is the way to go. This guide will also take you through very specific examples of how to apply those chords.

Additionally, this book will dive deeper into the Modes of the Major scale learned in the directly scale-oriented books. Much of the soloing style found in modern rock, metal, and other genres are founded upon the Jazz knowledge found in this book. There is simply no better way to make sure your knowledge of guitar is complete.


Style-Specific Guides

THE HEAVY METAL GUITAR BIBLE I’ve searched through many guides on Metal Guitar and this one checks all the boxes. Mind-melting riffs? Check. Face-burning Solos? Check. The history of Metal? Check. This book simply has it all.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these books! They are all fantastic for expanding your knowledge and enabling your creativity. Check them out and see which one fits! Then, sign up for classes (if you’re not a current student already) and we’ll get to work.

Have fun! Donnie

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