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4 Best Guitar Chord Books For Beginners

1. “The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart” by Hal Leonard Coporation

Pros: It’s essentially a simple, no-frills quick-reference chart in book form. Because it’s so small and light, you can carry it inside your guitar case. Plus, it’s easy to read while practicing, and the chords are simple enough for beginners to learn quickly.
This book features:
  • All the most-common chords fit on eight total pages of charts.
  • You can play all the chords in the top five frets, which is ideal for new players.
  • The low price makes it highly affordable.
  • When you open the book, it lays flat so that you can read it while playing guitar.
  • It includes the keys A, A# and Bb, B, C, C# and Db, D, D# and Eb, F, F# and Gb, G, G# and Ab as well as traditional major and minor chords.

Cons: This book only displays guitar chords without giving any explanations about the specific techniques on how to play them. Additionally, serious students and aspiring professionals wouldn’t like it because it shows more “shortcut” ways to play chords rather than the formal ways that most teachers present chords. Please note that the e-book version can be difficult to read on Kindle devices due to formatting issues.

See “The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart” on Amazon here.

2. “Guitar Chord Bible” spiral-bound version by Phil Capone

Pros: This bound collection of guitar chords is the brainchild of expert player Phil Capone, who studied guitar theory and performance at the Guildhall School of Music in London. His wealth of teaching experience at the Contemporary Institute of Music Performance in London lies in this book, which explains contemporary guitar styles such as rock, soul, blues, jazz, country and classical music. Plus, the spiral binding makes it easier to study the book directly from a music stand or while it’s laying flat.
This book features:
  • More than 500 fully illustrated chords with photographs showing how to play them
  • Compact size fits into most bags
  • Tips on playing techniques and most commonly used chord sequences for songwriters
  • Explanations of which note forms the “root” of each chord

Cons: This book isn’t the easiest for beginners to understand. It’s also primarily an intermediate book because it doesn’t have the major ninths or augmented and diminished versions of the chords. In terms of learning music theory, this book isn’t a complete guide but rather a short introduction to those core concepts.

See the Guitar Chord Bible on Amazon here.

3. “Picture Chord Encyclopedia: Photos and Diagrams for Over 2,600 Guitar Chords” by Hal Leonard Corporation

Pros: If you want a chord reference guide that really shows almost every guitar-chord variation you’d ever need to learn, then this book is perfect. The detailed introduction even describes how to build your own chords. Real-life photos of each chord clear up any possible confusion about how to play them, and all of the material from start to finish is easy to read and understand for guitar players of all levels. This go-to guide is a favorite of those seeking to devote lots of time to improving their guitar-playing skills.
This book features:
  • 12 different keys of chords, which makes a total of 2,640 guitar chords.
  • Contains information about basic fingering practices and how to play barre chords, partial chords and other variations.
  • Big pages with only two chords per page for easier reading.
  • Standard music notations for each chord to help composers.
  • Both photographs and fretboard charts are available to illustrate every chord.

Cons: Some guitar players wish the book was larger, i.e. more like 8.5 by 11 inches, so that it would be a little easier to see while practicing your guitar. it’s small, so sometimes the diagrams are hard to read while playing. For people who are just learning how to play their very first guitar, they may feel overwhelmed by all of the information in this book. Therefore, if you just want a quick-start chord chart with the easiest possible chords, then you might be better off with a chord-chart app.

See “Picture Chord Encyclopedia” on Amazon here.

4. “Ultimate Guitar Chords, Scales and Arpeggios Handbook” by Damon Ferrante

Pros: You’ll love the well-designed layout of these chart diagrams, and it’s suitable for all levels of guitar students. It includes a video course to help you develop your skills further once you start mastering some key chords.

This book features:

  • 15 free videos that you can play along with to learn how to improvise and sound more professional.
  • More than 200 lessons to help you identify chords and understand how they work in a song.
  • Major chords along with their matching scales, theory and arpeggios.
  • Minor chords along with their corresponding scales, theory and arpeggios.
  • Blues and pentatonic scales.
  • Advanced concepts, chromatic scales and exotic scales.

Cons: If you just want a book with a list of chord diagrams, then you’re better off getting a more simple chord-diagram book. This isn’t the quickest reference guide, but rather it’s an in-depth reference to educate you further.

See “Ultimate Guitar Chords” on Amazon here.