This list of books
are ones that have inspired my playing and have given me countless hours
of playing enjoyment. If you're looking for new music to learn,
you may want to consider these. With some of these I have
included samples of particularly compelling tunes for you to check
out. These are tunes that I either personally play or like a great
deal. I will be adding more examples to this page as time goes on,
so check back again to see what's new.
Gilewitz Fingerstyle Guitar Selections"
Richard Gilewitz, 2002,
96 pages, 7 tunes
Many folio books available
today don't have much in the way of instructional material to help the
player figure out how to play the tunes in the folio. They are
basically targeted to players who are already intermediate to
advanced. Richard states that this book was designed for the
"beginner and advanced player". From the Table of
Contents you can see it is part instructional book and part folio of
tunes from which you can learn by doing. It offers instructional
information to develop the needed picking pattern skills and to learn
about the tunings used in the pieces. Many of the compositions are
more approachable for the beginner because they take significant
advantage of open strings and allow you to build off the pattern
studies. Most of the work is getting proficient enough with
fingerstyle arpeggios to play them up to tempo; this makes them ideal
for working on fingerstyle technique. The 7 tunes presented cover
a range of tunings but 2 are in standard and 3 are in Open G. This
book is really ideal if those who are looking for material to build
fingerstyle playing ability and want to explore what open tunings can
offer. The book doesn't include a CD, but most of the tunes can be
found on Richard's CD "Synapse
it directly from Richard's
"Turlough O' Carolan For Fingerstyle Guitar"
William Stevens, 1995 Granger Publications
Review written by: Tim Pike
composed many of the most striking melodies ever written. This
book contains 21 of them. William Stevens has done a fine job
arranging these tunes, they are fairly simple for the intermediate
fingerstylist to capture yet sound full and beautiful in a solo
setting. All but two of the tunes are in standard tuning(the
remaining two in dropped D). A cassette with Stevens performing the
arrangements is included in the package. I find myself going
back to this one quite often!
- "Blind Mary".
Beautiful and haunting!
- "George Brabazon 2nd Air".
Fun and bouncy
"Muriel Anderson, Hometown Live"
Muriel Anderson, 1995 John August Music
a Narada collection of fingerstyle guitar as a gift a while back. Before
looking at the artists, I listened to all the cuts. I was surprised to
find that the cuts that caught my ear were cuts by Muriel Anderson. I
didn't know anything about Muriel back then but I've been a fan ever
since. She is essentially a classical guitar player, but you wouldn't
know it by listening to some of her original music. This book has 12 of
the cuts from her Hometown Live CD, including one of those tunes that
caught my ear on the Narada Collection.
There is something here for
every level of player. There are some that are surprisingly easy to play
like "It Never Gets Easier" (maybe that's why she named it
that), and others that only Muriel or another advanced classical or
flamenco guitarist could master like "Fantasia De Fuego". But
I have yet to learn every song in a particular book. If you're not sure
if this one would be appropriate for you, buy the CD and see if there is
something here you just have to learn. Most tunings are in Standard
tuning or Dropped D tuning.
- "It Never Gets Easier".
This is a Dropped D tuning and is surprising easy to play. When
played like Muriel plays it, it is hauntingly beautiful.
- "Hometown Live".
This is the title cut for good reason and isn't that difficult for a
- "Mister Chester".
Muriel wrote this tune in honor of Chet Atkins and is really a fun
Carnival Anyone? This is a lot more difficult but sounds great
because it's so light and bouncy.
this book direct from Muriel
"Paul Yandell, Going Home"
Paul Yandell, John August Music
title tune in this book "Going Home" was published in
Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine, I new immediately I had to learn it.
That's also when I first heard of Paul Yandell. Once I realized
there was book of his music available, I just had to get it. Paul
is best known as the sideman to the legendary Chet Atkins and Jerry
Reed. But he is a great fingerstyle guitarist in his own
right. This book contains note-for-note transcriptions including
the Reed classic "Rhythm Guitar". Includes
full-length CD. In Tablature & Notation.
Home" I've committed this tune to memory and
play it every chance I get. I has a distinctive Chet Atkins
sound to it, has a great melody line and is just plain fun to play.
Spring Blues" A great example of Country
Style Blues. It has a special flair that sets it apart from
ordinary blues tunes.
"New Acoustic Guitar"
Peppino D'Agostino, 1997 Belwin-Mills Publishing Corp.
What's really great about many
of the new Fingerstyle books coming onto the market these days is that
they come with a CD that has all the music on it. To hear what it's
suppose to sound like before you attempt to learn it is invaluable....or
at least offers you the compelling excitement of thinking that you too
could sound like this someday if you master the music in this book. This
book is one of these...the CD is worth the price of the book by itself.
Most of the music was written by Peppino himself and is targeted to the
intermediate to advanced guitar player (not a book for beginners). There
is music presented in 7 different tunings including: Standard, DADGAD,
and Open D.
- "Walk Away Renee"
(DAC#EBC#). The only piece with lyrics in the book, but as soon as I
heard it I new I would have to learn it.
- "Song for Carol"
(Standard Tuning). This is a duet piece, but the music is hauntingly
- "Acoustic Spirit"
(DADGAD). If you like the Micheal Hedges style, you will like this
piece....but it's not for the faint of heart.
- "Close to Heaven"
(FBbDFCD). Another beautiful piece that shows what can be
accomplished in Open Tunings.
- "Bella Donna"
(DADF#AD). Truly an great composition, it could easily be a closing
piece in any concert.
(Peppino D'Agostino's New Acoustic Guitar). By Peppino D'Agostino. For Guitar. Guitar Method or Supplement; Method/Instruction. Acoustic Masters Series. Acoustic. Book & CD. 100 pages. Published by Alfred Music (AP.EL96102CD)
"Mel Bay Presents The Guitar of John Fahey"
Compiled by Stephan Grossman
John Fahey, more than any other
artist, has inspired my playing the most. Just about all these
pieces are excellent, but for me "When
Springtime Comes Again" stands out over the rest. John has had a
very interesting life; if you want to know more about him, read the article on this site and check out the links
you'll find there.
- "In Christ There Is No
East Or West"
- "On The Sunny Side Of The
17 pieces in standard notation and
tablature. Includes CD
"The Music of Leo Kottke"
Mark Hanson, 1991
Book/CD, 57 pgs. 5 songs in 3 tunings
The first time I heard a Leo Kottke
recording (his "My Feet Are Smiling" album), I couldn't
believe it was ONE guy playing guitar. I've aspired to
play like that since. This recording was a live performance and
had his landmark medley of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring",
"Crow River Waltz", and "Jack Fig". This book
has 5 of his better tunes in it, and contains the two easy tunes from
that medley (which is why I bought it). His rendition of "Jesu,
Joy of Man's Desiring" in open tuning on a 12 string is one of
the best examples of how his style can take a common piece to whole new
dimension. This book includes TAB and Notation, and now also
includes a CD.
"Leo Kottke Transcribed"
Mark Hanson, 1993
Book/CD, 64 pgs. 4 songs in Standard or Dropped-D tunings
This Book/CD contains some of Leo's more
complicated and long pieces; the notation for William Powell goes over
20 pages. The great thing about books being published these days
is that they include CD's which allow the author to provide additional
instruction. Mark has done a great job on this CD in laying out
the details of these tunes. Each tune on the CD contains an
introduction with tuning discussion, a 1/2 speed run-through, a full
speed segment to hear how it should sound, then a detailed
section-by-section discussion. The CD clearly makes this material
far easier to grasp and the book wouldn't be nearly as good without
it. I think it sets the bar for other book authors to match;
especially with more complicated music like Leo's.
The Notation & TAB is quite detailed
and shows chord diagrams, tempo changes, and right hand picking
details. Between the TAB and CD, there is really no guesswork
required. Given the full tempo of these tunes, I also have
to say the 1/2 speed play run-through is much better than trying to
learn it from a full speed rendition.
To many fingerstyle players, being able to
play a Leo Kottke tune is like a "rite of
passage". It's like proof that you have attained a
certain level of accomplishment. Mark has made this goal much
easier than it ever use to be with detailed breakdowns and thorough
transcriptions. Either of his book/CDs are highly recommended if
you aspire to "play like Leo".
A Trout Toward Noon
First To Go
Leo Kottke Transcribed
By Leo Kottke. For Guitar. Music Sales America. Contemporary Folk and Folk. Difficulty: medium to medium-difficult. Guitar tablature songbook and examples CD. Standard notation, guitar tablature, chord names, guitar chord diagrams, guitar tab glossary, performance notes and introductory text. 62 pages. Music Sales #AC72680. Published by Music Sales (HL.14018891)