5 Best Intermediate Guitar Books: The Essential List (2024)

Best Intermediate Guitar Books

Looking for the best intermediate guitar books to take your skills to the next level? Then check out this comprehensive list of top-rated books that will help you improve your playing technique, expand your musical knowledge, and unlock your full potential as a guitarist.

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As an intermediate guitar player it can be hard to figure out what you need to learn next.

Thankfully, there’s a plethora of great intermediate guitar books available to you, and I’m going to show you my 5 favorites.

And the best part? These books work for any guitarist, because they all cover very versatile and broad topics.

Let’s check them out.

5 Intermediate Guitar Books Quick Glance

  1. Hal Leonard Guitar Tab Method by Jeff Schroedl
  2. Music Theory for Guitarists by Tom Kolb
  3. Guitar Aerobics by Troy Nelson
  4. The Definitive Guitar Handbook by Rusty Cutchin, Paco Pena, Cliff Douse, and multiple other authors
  5. Hal Leonard Guitar Method – Complete Edition by Will Schmid and Greg Koch

Hal Leonard Guitar Tab Method

Hal Leonard Guitar Tab Method by Jeff Schroedl

The Hal Leonard Guitar Tab Method books 1, 2, and 3, are perfect for moving from a beginner level to an intermediate level.

I use all 3 books from the series with all of my new guitar students.

Throughout the books you’ll learn a wide variety of songs, riffs, and licks that will improve your repertoire as an aspiring intermediate guitar player.

As you learn the music in the books, you’ll be introduced to a wide variety of guitar techniques, guitar theory, and other relevant guitar topics.

The thing that makes this series so good is how it teaches you. Rather than learning a platter of random licks and lines, you’ll learn music that’s actually fun to play! This will encourage you to actually practice your guitar, unlike boring guitar method books that make you want to throw your guitar across the room.

Music Theory for Guitarists

Music Theory for Guitarists by Tom Kolb

Music Theory for Guitarists is one of the best books on music theory for guitar!

The book starts by taking you through the fundamentals of the musical staff. This includes learning about time signatures, the treble clef, rhythms, and more.

From there, you’ll learn about the major scale and chromatic scale, and how they are the mothers of scales, harmony, and Western composition.

After learning about scales, you’re going to take that scale knowledge and learn about harmony! 

Harmony pertains to building chords, creating arpeggios, and understanding why notes sound certain ways together. So, if you have any questions about chord construction and chord formulas, this portion of the book will most likely be able to answer them for you.

Overall, this is one of the best intermediate guitar books for learning music theory, and it will build up the foundation you need if you want to become a full-fledged musician.

Guitar Aerobics

Guitar Aerobics: A 52-Week, One-lick-per-day Workout Program for Developing, Improving and Maintaining Guitar Technique by Troy Nelson

Guitar Aerobics is a one-of-a-kind method that gives you a fun, one-lick-per-day guitar practice routine.

The licks you’ll practice will ensure you’re working with the wide variety of techniques and genres available to you on the guitar. This includes working with licks and exercises that apply to both lead guitar and rhythm guitar.

The arpeggio and legato workouts are my personal favorites, and I encourage you to check out the book so you can come up with your favorite exercises.

And if you want to see some real dedication to this book, then check out this guy who documented all 52 weeks of practice on his YouTube channel.

The Definitive Guitar Handbook

The Definitive Guitar Handbook by Rusty Cutchin, Paco Pena, Cliff Douse, and multiple other authors

The Definitive Guitar Handbook is exactly what it sounds like: a book full of summaries, examples, and concepts about every single thing you need to know about guitar!

The book covers:

  • Chords
  • Scales
  • Musical styles
  • Guitar players
  • Rhythm guitar
  • Lead guitar
  • Basic techniques
  • Advanced techniques
  • Guitar effects
  • Reharesing
  • Playing live
  • Famous guitarists

And so much more!

As an intermediate guitarist, you’ll find a lot of useful sections.

For starters, the section about playing live. You’re probably not going to play in live settings much as a beginner.

Secondly, the advanced techniques section. Yes, it says advanced, but advanced and intermediate are somewhat similar terms. In this section you’ll learn about alternative tunings, arpeggios, harmonics, tapping, whammy techniques, and other cool techniques!

And if you want to write your own music, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the section about recording music.

Overall, this is one of the most complete books for guitarists, especially for intermediate players.

Hal Leonard Guitar Method – Complete Edition

Hal Leonard Guitar Method – Complete Edition by Will Schmid and Greg Koch

The Hal Leonard Guitar Method – Complete Edition is a compilation of 3 guitar books, diving into everything from the fundamentals to improvising.

And yes, it does sound mighty similar to the Hal Leonard Guitar Tab Method books that I mentioned earlier, but this series of books is much different.

Hal Leonard Guitar Method Complete | My personal copy

The Hal Leonard Guitar Method book starts by teaching you how to read sheet music for guitar. This isn’t common for most guitar books nowadays, as most guitar books teach using tablature.

Learning to read music can give you a serious advantage as a musician, and put you in a position to accept more gigs and communicate better with other musicians. This makes it worthwhile, depending on what your goals are as a player.

But don’t fret, because the book quickly dives into chord charts and guitar tabs. The guitar tabs are used in conjunction with the sheet music, which is nice, because you can see the rhythmic note value for each note/chord in the tablature.

As for the music in the book, there are dozens of examples, many of which use popular songs, melodies, and riffs that you’ll be familiar with.

Each example has a specific purpose, and will certainly expand your improvisational and musical palette as a player. The section about the pentatonic scale has my favorite examples, and includes lots of fun licks & riffs!

Honestly, there’s not much that this guitar book doesn’t cover. That’s what makes it ideal for an intermediate guitarist.

If you want to learn more, you can read my full Hal Leonard Guitar Method Review.

5 Intermediate Guitar Books Conclusion

Now you know the 5 best intermediate guitar books that I recommend.

The thing that’s great about all of these books is the fact that they’re useful to darn near any guitarist.

So, whether you’re just having fun as a bedroom shredder, expanding your repertoire, looking to write music, or wanting to know more about playing live, these books have your back.

Final note: if these books seem to easy for you, then check out these advanced guitar books.

Until next time, rock on!