Check out this comprehensive list of the best guitar chord books available, designed to help beginners and experienced players alike master guitar chords and expand their musical repertoire.
There are so many guitar books on the market, which makes it difficult to choose a book.
Luckily for you, I’ve read dozens of guitar books, which made it easy for me to find and recommend the best guitar chord books around today!
So, whether you’re:
- Learning your first guitar chords
- Looking for new chord progressions
- Learning advanced guitar harmony and chord shapes
Then you’ll love the guitar books recommended in this guide.
Let’s check them out.
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My top picks for best guitar chord books
Here’s a quick glance at the guitar books I recommend the most.
Best advanced guitar chord book
Jazz Guitar Harmony teaches everything you need to know about harmony for guitar.
Best guitar chord book for beginners
In The First 100 Chords for Guitar, you’ll learn exactly what the title says, and how to apply those 100 guitar chords.
Best guitar chord progressions book
Blues You Can Use: Guitar Chords will take you from novice chord progressions to session-level chord progressions.
Best guitar chord book for all levels
The Guitarist’s Chord Book is jam-packed with high-quality fret-hand images, showcasing an incredible variety of chords.
Intro to the best guitar chord books
It’s not easy to make a list of the best guitar books, because there are so many of them!
So take any list you read with a grain of salt. Use your guitar goals and musical style to decide on the guitar book(s) you want.
With that out of the way, let’s look at my favorite guitar chord book.
Jazz Guitar Harmony
by Jody Fisher
This is my favorite guitar chord book. I have ranted and raved about this book to all of my friends, all of my students, and probably some people who don’t even play guitar.
You see, this book is so simple, yet so jam-packed with information. It is seriously a one-stop shop for all guitar chord shapes, jazz guitar harmony, and even advanced guitar chord ideas such as Coltrane changes.
My favorite part of the book is chapter 5, titled: “Expanding Your 7th Chord Vocabulary”. This section makes it very easy to grasp seventh chords on sets of 4 adjacent guitar strings. Once you understand 7th chord inversions, everything else in harmony becomes easy, and you can quote me on that.
Another cool thing about the book is the Jazz N’ Java practice jams. Make sure you get it with audio, so you can listen to the jam practices.
The First 100 Chords For Guitar by Joseph Alexander
by Joseph Alexander
Joseph Alexander is one of the busiest guitar book authors in today’s world of guitar playing, and he delivers.
Even though guitar teaching and guitar theory principles have remained relatively the same for the past 30 years, The First 100 Chords for Guitar presents guitar chords to beginner and early intermediate guitar players in a very understandable, contemporary fashion.
One of my favorite things about books published by Fundamental Changes (Joseph Alexander’s Publishing company), is the fact that all of the books come with audio.
This book also gives you tablature on top of the audio and chord diagrams.
Lastly, this book dives into basic, necessary harmony for beginner guitar players.
Overall, if you’re looking for one of the best guitar chord books for beginners, for yourself or your guitar students, I’d recommend The First 100 Chords For Guitar.
by Ted Greene
You can’t have a list of the best guitar chord books without mentioning Chord Chemistry by Ted Greene. Afterall, it’s Steve Vai’s favorite guitar book.
Chord Chemistry is the best book for guitar players looking to experiment and freshen up their chord vocabulary.
It is genuinely a book jam-packed with chord ideas. If there’s any guitar chord book that will spark innovation, curiosity, and plain ole’ harmonic fun, it’s Chord Chemistry.
The Guitarist’s Chord Book by Peter Vogl
by Peter Vogl
Peter Vogl’s The Guitarist’s Chord Book contains over 900 guitar chord diagrams.
What I love about this book is the photos showing the fingerings for each chord. Above the photo is the name of the chord, and to the right of the chord fingerings is a chord diagram.
It’s akin to this:
Of course, Peter Vogl’s fret-hand photos are much better than mine, which is all the more reason to buy the book!
The Guitarist’s Chord Book is in alphabetical order, and it’s basically just a book full of chord diagrams. What more could you ask for?
Lastly, “Peter’s Picks” is a section where he shares his favorite guitar chords. It’s a unique spin and something you’d only find in one of the best guitar chord books.
This book is truly an awesome reference for all guitar players, beginner to advanced.
Hal Leonard Pocket Guitar Chord Dictionary by Andrew Dubrock
by Andrew Dubrock
Touting its small size in its title, measuring just 4 x 6 inches, this is arguably the greatest small guitar chord book. Funny, right?
The Hal Leonard Pocket Guitar Chord Dictionary is a comprehensive, yet compact guide to chords.
It’s not the first book that comes to my mind when I think of the best guitar chord books, but it’s not a bad book by any means.
The book’s straightforward presentation, diverse chord coverage, and portability make it a pretty cool and unique book, honestly.
Sure, it may not replace more extensive guitar chord books, but its ability to swiftly provide chord information on the go makes it a fun addition to the everyday guitarist’s gig bag.
However, if chord diagrams are all you’re looking for, and you want them on the go, then you’ll be very pleased with the 2,700+ guitar chord diagrams inThe Hal Leonard Pocket Guitar Chord Dictionary.
Guitar Chords for Beginners
by Gareth Evans
There are a lot of best guitar chord books for beginners, and you could say that Guitar Chords for Beginners is one of them.
You see, this book is short, 33 pages to be exact, and gets straight to the point: playing easy guitar chords for beginners.
The book only has 65 chords, but they’re all simple and very applicable.
And if you’re an intermediate or advanced guitar player it can be fun to revisit the basics because you may not realize what chords you’ve been leaving out of your playing.
Lastly, the book includes audio and a variety of different chord fingerings, both of which are meant to make your learning and playing experience more interactive and fun.
The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart
by Hal Leonard
A simple book, geared towards beginners, The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart is a simple reference guide showcasing 120 of the most commonly used guitar chords.
It’s one of the least expensive books on this ist, which is great for newbies.
On top of this, it’s published by Hal Leonard, and they almost always deliver great material.
While it’s a great book, it’s not worth it for any intermediate or advanced guitarists, though.
The Ultimate Guitar Chord Book
by Karl Golden
Believe it or not, this book is way different than The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart, so don’t mix them up.
The Ultimate Guitar Chord Book uses the CAGED system to teach you 240 different guitar chord shapes. It prides itself in the fact that all of these guitar chords are movable, which is a pretty cool way to present and teach guitar chords.
These 240 movable guitar chord shapes make it easy to play in all 12 keys, ultimately unlocking over 2880 possibilities. Playing in all keys is one of the best guitar skills you can have, and necessary for any aspiring musician.
The Chord Factory: Build Your Own Guitar Chord Dictionary
by Jon Damian
The Chord Factory is one of the best guitar chord books for advancing guitarists wanting to take harmony seriously.
If anything, this book will make you think, because you’ll be filling in 5-part chord templates, ultimately constructing your own guitar chord dictionary.
And being written by Berklee’s Jon Damian, you know you’re in good hands. He was one of the best guitar players and teachers Berklee ever had. His experimentation with the guitar was legendary.
Blues You Can Use: Guitar Chords
by John Ganapes
Blues You Can Use is one of the best guitar books, and yet it’s so underrated. It’s the most underrated book on this list, in my opinion!
The chord exercises are what makes this book so fantastic. Some of the exercises included are:
- A wider variety of 12-bar blues exercises than you’ll find anywhere else
- Creating melody with chords in the blues
- ii7-V7-Imaj7 Progressions
- Diminished Seventh Passing Chords
- Resolution exercises
- Jazz-style blues
And a whole bunch more, all of which are great for jazz, blues, R&B, and rhythm guitar as a whole.
Honestly, you’d be one of the best session guitar players in the world if you memorized this book front-to-book. It sounds crazy, but that’s just how good this book is.
My only problem with this book is the fretboard diagrams. They’re annoying from time-to-time, but you’ll get used to them. You can turn them into guitar tabs if they bother you too much.
There you have it, the best guitar chord books. Just pick one or two books and get to work!
Speaking of guitar chords, here are some guitar chord lessons.
Are you a newcomer to guitar chords? If so, then check out these 8 guitar chords you must know.
Want to learn how chord progressions work? Get started with them by learning the I-IV-V chord progression.
Looking to move past beginner guitar chords? Then learn 7th chords.
Thanks for reading!