Top 50 Jazz Guitar Books

The book lists on this page are the result of a poll on our forum, in which I asked everyone to list their favorite guitar books. There are 4 categories: jazz guitar books, guitar books (that are not jazz-related), theory & reference books and other music books (biographies, music psychology, …)

Top 50 Jazz Guitar Books

Here’s the Top 50 of Jazz Guitar Method Books.

Each book is (affiliate) linked to Amazon.

The Advancing Guitarist is on number 1, as I expected. It’s a great book, although not for beginners.


The Advancing Guitarist


  1. The Advancing Guitarist – Mick Goodrick
  2. Complete Jazz Guitar Method – Jody Fisher
  3. Chords and Chord Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar – Arnie Berle
  4. Jazz Guitar Single Note Soloing – Ted Greene
  5. Chord Chemistry – Ted Greene
  6. Best of Wes Montgomery – Wolf Marshall
  7. The Berklee Jazz Chord Dictionary – Rick Peckham
  8. Mickey Baker Complete Course in Jazz Guitar Vol 1 & Vol 2 – Mickey Baker
  9. The Joe Pass Guitar Method – Joe Pass
  10. Linear Expression – Pat Martino
  11. All Blues Soloing – Jim Ferguson
  12. Modern Chord Progressions – Ted Greene
  13. A Guide To Chords, Scales, and Arpeggios – Al Di Meola
  14. Contemporary Chord Khancepts – Steve Kahn
  15. Chord-Melody Guitar – Bruce Buckingham
  16. Jazz Guitar Soloing – Joe Elliott
  17. Voice Leading For Guitar – John Thomas
  18. Jazz Guitar Structures – Andrew Green
  19. Jazz Guitar Technique – Andrew Green
  20. Guitar Compendium – Howard Roberts
  21. Arpeggio Studies on Jazz Standards – Mimi Fox
  22. Pat Metheny Songbook – Pat Metheny
  23. Jazz Guitar Voicings Vol 1 – Randy Vincent
  24. The Art of Solo Guitar – Jody Fisher
  25. Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach – Garrison Fewell
  26. Creative Force – Pat Martino
  27. Power Jazz Guitar – Larry Coryell
  28. Best of Pat Martino – Wolf Marshall
  29. Harmonic Mechanics – George Van Eps
  30. Guitar Style – Joe Pass
  31. Jazz Guitar Comping – Andrew Green
  32. The Jazz Style of Tal Farlow: The Elements of Bebop Guitar – Tal Farlow
  33. Building a Jazz Guitar Solo: a Guide to The Art of Chord Melody Playing – Fred Sokolow
  34. Masters of the Plectrum Guitar – Mel Bay
  35. Mastering the Dominant Chord – Don Mock
  36. Guitar Secrets: Symmetrical Scales Revealed – Don Mock
  37. Guitar Secrets: Harmonic Minor Revealed – Don Mock
  38. Complete Jazz Guitar Method – Mike Christiansen
  39. All The Shapes You Are – Herb Ellis
  40. A Comprehensive Study of Gypsy Jazz Guitar – Romane Sebastian
  41. Lenny Breau Finger Style – Lenny Breau
  42. Intervallic Designs for Jazz Guitar: Ultramodern Sounds for Improvising – Joe Diorio
  43. Giant Steps – Joe Diorio
  44. Jazz Structures for the New Millenium – Joe Diorio
  45. Fusion Guitar – Joe Diorio
  46. Playing Guitar in a Jazz Big Band – Tom Anderson
  47. Almanac of Guitar Voice Leading – Mick Goodrick
  48. Gypsy Rhythm Volume 1: a Tutorial for Gypsy Jazz – Michael Horowitz
  49. Mel Bay’s Complete Book of Harmony, Theory, and Voicing – Bret Willmott
  50. Jazz for the Skeptical Guitarist – Bruce Emery


Jazz Guitar Books For Beginners

A lot of the books listed above are not for beginners. Here’s a selection of books that are great for beginning jazz guitar players.


Beginning Jazz Guitar


  1. Beginning Jazz Guitar – Jody Fisher
  2. Chords and Chord Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar – Arnie Berle
  3. The Berklee Jazz Chord Dictionary – Rick Peckham
  4. Mickey Baker Complete Course in Jazz Guitar Vol 1 & Vol 2 – Mickey Baker
  5. Jazz Guitar Voicings Vol 1 – Randy Vincent
  6. The Art of Solo Guitar – Jody Fisher
  7. Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach – Garrison Fewell
  8. Jazz Guitar Technique – Andrew Green
  9. Jazz Guitar Comping – Andrew Green


Top 10 authors of jazz guitar books

  1. Ted Greene
  2. Mick Goodrick
  3. Jody Fisher
  4. Arnie Berle
  5. Wolf Marshall
  6. Mickey Baker
  7. Joe Pass
  8. Andrew Green
  9. Pat Martino
  10. Joe Diorio


General Guitar Books

The Top 30 of guitar method books.

I never heard about the book on number 1, guess I need to check it out.

I’m surprised William Leavitt books are so popular, I never really liked them.


Pumping Nylon


  1. Pumping Nylon – Scott Tenant
  2. Solo Guitar Playing Volume 1 and 2 – Fredrick Noad
  3. Melodic Rhythms for Guitar – William Leavitt
  4. Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar – Troy Stetina
  5. Advanced Reading Studies for Guitar – William Leavitt
  6. A Modern Method for Guitar – William Leavitt
  7. The Guitar Grimoire: A Compendium of Guitar Chords and Voicings – Adam Kadmon
  8. The Brazilian Guitar Book – Nelson Faria
  9. Fretboard Logic – Bill Edwards
  10. Chord Progressions for Guitar – Tom Kolb
  11. Fretboard Mastery – Troy Stetina
  12. Arpeggios for Guitar – Don Latarski
  13. The Chord Factory – Jon Damian
  14. Blues You Can Use – John Ganapes
  15. Guitar Fretboard Workbook – Barrett Tagliarino
  16. The Guitarist’s Guide to Composing and Improvising – Jon Damian
  17. Modes for Guitar – Tom Kolb
  18. Soloing Strategies for Guitar – Tom Kolb
  19. The principles of Correct Practice for Guitar – Jamie Andreas
  20. Rock Discipline – John Petrucci
  21. Music Reading for Guitar – David Oakes
  22. Classical Studies for Pick Style Guitar – William Leavitt
  23. The Guitar Cookbook – Jesse Gress
  24. Hot Guitar – Arlen Roth
  25. The Guitar Handbook – Ralph Denyer
  26. Guitar Player Repair Guide – Dan Erlewine
  27. Mel Bay’s Complet Book of Guitar Improvisation – Vincent Bredice
  28. Bach Lute Studies for Guitar – Jerry Willard
  29. The Complete Sor Studies for Guitar – Fernando Sor and David Grimes
  30. Diatonic Major and Minor Scales – Andres Segovia


Theory & Reference Books

The Top 25 of Theory and (non-guitar) music books.

Not surprised that the Jazz Theory Book is on number 1, it’s the best jazz-related theory book around.


The Jazz Theory Book


  1. The Jazz Theory Book – Mark Levine
  2. The Jamey Aebersold Series
  3. The Real Book Vol 1 – Chuck Sher
  4. Harmony – Walter Piston
  5. How to Play Bebop – David Baker
  6. Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns – Slonimsky
  7. Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization – George Russell
  8. The Lead Sheet Bible – Robin Randall
  9. The Serious Jazz Practice Book – Barry Finnerty
  10. The Charlie Parker Omnibook – Jamey Aebersold
  11. Jazzmaster Cookbook – Jim Grantham
  12. Best Chord Changes for the World’s Greatest Standards – Frank Mantooth
  13. The Salsa Guidebook – Rebeca Mauleon
  14. The Real Book 6th Edition – Hal Leonard
  15. Jazz Theory Resources – Bert Ligon
  16. Comprehensive Technique for Jazz Musicians – Bert Ligon
  17. Modern Reading Text in 4/4 – Louis Bellson
  18. The Swing Era: 1936-1947 (The Jazz Bible Fake Book Series) – Rob Duboff
  19. Encyclopedia of Reading Rhythms – Gary Hess
  20. Metamorphosis of the Jazz Solo – Sam Most
  21. Music Theory for Guitarists – Tom Kolb
  22. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Compostion – Michael Miller
  23. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory – Michael Miller

Other Music Books: Psychology, Biographies, Guitars, …

The Top 15:

Effortless Mastery


  1. Effortless Mastery – Kenny Werner
  2. The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music- Victor Wooten
  3. The Inner Game of Music – Barry Green
  4. Charlie Parker: His Life and Music – Carl Woideck
  5. Talent is Overrated – Geoffrey Colvin
  6. Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones – Quincy Jones
  7. The Gibson L5 – Adrian Ingram
  8. Blue Guitar (aka the Blue Book) – Ken Vose
  9. All You Need to Know About the Music Business – Donald S. Passman
  10. The Pat Metheny Interviews – Richard Niles
  11. Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation – Paul Berliner
  12. Early Jazz: It’s Roots and Musical Development (History of Jazz) – Gunther Schuller
  13. Gibson Guitars: 100 Years of an American Icon – Calter Carter
  14. This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession – Daniel Levitin
  15. Miles: The Autobiography – Quincy Troupe



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10 thoughts on “Top 50 Jazz Guitar Books”

  1. Anonymous

    Check out “Modern Jazz & Fusion Guitar” by Jostein Gulbrandsen (Hal Leonard)

  2. Charles Hoernemann

    I lost my house with everything in it earlier this year in a devastating bushfire. I lost all my guitars (20) save one, several amps and all my books and recordings (CDs, DVDs, Vinyl Albums). Amongst them was the Pat Metheny Songbook, unfortunately.
    Now, since I am slowly getting back to normal, I have bought the Pat Metheny Real Book, the Hal Leonard “Artist Edition, compiled and gig tested by the composer”!
    What I noticed is that the intro to ‘James”, a song that I perform live, was omitted, also no mention of Lyle Mays as a co-composer.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE Pat Metheny fan, I’ve been following him since 1977 and have seen him in concert 5 times. Also, the last time I saw him in March 2020 in Perth he didn’t mention Lyle, who was his musical Alter Ego, even ONCE!
    Could it be that there was some rift between the two? I find it disappointing, because it withholds musical information from us all and doesn’t shed a good light on PM.
    Just my 2 cents…

  3. Frank Saunders

    Yes Joe Alexander is very good.

  4. Kevin Webb

    Not a book, but Check out Youtube tuition by Barney Kessel on Jazz Guitar playing. A great musician, and so understandable.

  5. Mike

    Anything by Joseph Alexander is good.

  6. David

    Funny I never liked Bill’s Books either but I had the Honor of taking guitar lessons from Mr. William G. Leavitt in the early 80’s and I understand now what he was trying to do. I miss his gentle kindness. He was a truly great guy and an excellent teacher.

  7. smilinbob

    I picked up a copy of “Complete Scale and Chord Theory for Guitar”, by Joe Livoti, off Amazon, on the recommendation of a teacher friend. Not a “Jazz” book, per se, but a very thorough summary of scale and chord theory in kind of a self-teaching format. Pretty amazingly comprehensive book with no fluff. He had some other books that I might check out, and some very impressive youtube vids that I did…

  8. Steve

    Sadly I missed the poll. i would add all of The Carol Kay books, and the Howard Roberts Praxis books to the list.

    1. Jabberwocky

      +1 on Carol Kaye. +1 on Howard Roberts 3-volume Praxis.

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