In a world where it’s easy to find guitar repertoire (of all qualities!) online, guitar teachers need to have fantastic resources to hand. These books come highly recommended.
The world of guitar teaching is constantly evolving, with new techniques and methodologies emerging every year. However, despite these changes, there are certain repertoire books that remain essential for any guitar teacher’s toolkit. I’ve got five recommendations of books that provide a strong foundation for learning and offer a diverse range of musical styles and genres.
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Back in the day, before YouTube and TAB websites, guitar teachers were solely in charge. They would decide on repertoire and method books. They would make the decisions as to what and how their students would learn.
These days, transcriptions of pieces and video tutorials can be found relatively easily online.
This means there’s more pressure on us as guitar teachers. We feel more replaceable than ever. If students don’t like the music and books you’re providing them with, they can easily find their own on the Internet. They can try and teach themselves.
But teaching themselves is likely to lead to bad habits and confusion. Especially if they find bad-quality transcriptions and videos! They will then need your help to get them back on track.
To skip this step and avoid unnecessary confusion and frustration, educate your students on the importance of sourcing good quality repertoire. Make it easy for them to access it through you.
You will notice that all five recommended guitar books are from the same series by the same publisher.
I have no affiliation with Hal Leonard, and I’m not receiving a kickback or any sort of incentive from them.
These are guitar books I personally use in my own studio. I recommend them to my students when they ask about books. I tell other guitar teachers to purchase these books for their studios.
My bookshelf has over a dozen books from this series and I add to the collection every time they release a new title.
These guitar books have served me well. They’ve saved me countless hours of searching for repertoire. They’ve also been the reason behind countless smiles on my students’ faces as they find some of their favorite songs in the books!
I hope they serve you well too.
This was the first guitar book I bought in the series while on holiday in Hawaii a few years back.
I was amazed at the high quality of the transcriptions, and how many great songs are included.
Another plus for me was the price. $14.99 at the time when the Aussie dollar was stronger than the US. 50 songs for less than $15?! I’ll take that.
After playing through a few songs in the hotel room and really enjoying myself I went back to the store the next day and bought the other two guitar books in the series that focus on acoustic songs.
I’ve used this book on a weekly basis for close to a decade and I highly recommend it to anyone teaching rock music and electric guitar to their students.
This was one of the guitar books I went back for the next day in Hawaii.
What I love most about this book is the selection of songs. They’re 50 songs that most people are familiar with and love to learn and play.
It includes a great blend of both classic pop and rock tunes, with modern hits that are instantly recognizable (an absolute winner with students!)
The fact that each score is a combination of chords, standard notation, and tabs makes it easy for students to follow.
The songs are also easy to navigate and accurately guide the student through as they appear in the recording.
I’ve had several books from Hal Leonard where what’s on the page is very difficult for beginners to navigate. With this series, that is not the case at all. Most people can expect to get through most songs quite easily.
You might struggle to see the difference between songs you should play on acoustic guitar and songs you should strum on acoustic guitar. I wouldn’t blame you.
This book presents easy strum-along repertoire suited to beginner students and anyone looking for songs they can pick up and play easily.
Once again, this guitar book is a great collection of repertoire for acoustic guitar spanning several decades of music. You’ll find both rock and pop hits from the last 50 years that your students will love!
This is actually the guitar book I use the most out of all the recommendations!
I can’t express how much I loved the first three guitar books and how frequently I was using them with my students.
You can imagine how happy I was when I walked into a music shop back home in Australia a few years later and found this title on the New Releases display!
While I can play a few great fingerstyle pieces, I’m not an expert. This meant I didn’t always have great recommendations for pieces for my students to learn.
This guitar book solved that problem! I now have a huge collection of fingerpicking pieces to use with my students… It’s my secret weapon!
My final recommendation is a guitar book that I’ve used to develop my own playing more than any other book in the series.
One of the keys to our students putting on such great shows at our student concerts is having them play really great solo guitar arrangements of contemporary pop songs.
There is something so much more wholesome and fuller about chord melodies and pieces that combine both the melody and harmony together. While it’s very difficult to play (and even harder to find good-quality transcriptions!) this book delivers 50 of them that you and your students will love.
If you’ve never explored solo guitar playing, this guitar book is a great introduction. The contemporary pieces arranged into terrific chord melodies means you’ll be playing them in no time!
These recommended guitar books have saved me countless hours of finding transcriptions for students. They’ve also provided my students (and me!) with hours of enjoyment both learning and playing through the songs.
As I said, I own over a dozen books from this series and I buy every new title as it comes out. I feel I’ve improved dramatically as a guitar player, thanks to these books.
I encourage you to check out all the books available in the series. They even have piano and ukulele books in the same format.
I hope you’ve found these guitar book recommendations useful. If you have any books to add to this list, please let me know in the comments!
I mentioned that these books have saved me countless hours when searching for repertoire. Something else that can save you time is a TopMusicGuitar membership. Stop spending hours figuring out how to teach concepts like the blues, riffs, or chord progressions! We’ve got it all sorted for you with our guides and courses!