The 10 Best Guitar Chord Books for Beginners and Pros (2022)

Learning chords is vital for playing any instrument, as they are the basis of melodies, riffs, solos, and music. Many great guitar chord books can be a reference guide for beginners as well as pro guitarists to enrich their chord vocabulary and expand their creativity. 

Aside from being chord encyclopedias, these books also provide useful information for guitarists to step up their compositional skills and think beyond their perspectives. While they are perfect for beginner guitarists, intermediate and professional-level guitarists also can benefit from them, thanks to the vast information in these books.

1. The First 100 Chords for Guitar

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“The First 100 Chords for Guitar” by Joseph Alexander is a great chord encyclopedia for beginner guitarists. It features detailed diagrams, different topics on music theory, chord and rhythm progressions, and audio examples. 

The book has clear and concise descriptions, which is great for beginners. However, experienced guitarists can also learn from this book as it successfully explains music theory and covers everything you need to know about chords for a solid foundation.

2. The Guitarist's Chord Book

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Peter Vogl is one of the most successful authors creating guitarist reference books. “The Guitarist’s Chord Book” is a wonderful reference guide with a well-organized structure, a straight-to-the-point approach, practical shapes, chords diagrams, and photos.

The book also features tips on creating new sounds, shapes, and inspirations with chord progressions for song arrangements. This is great for experienced guitarists, who can get inspired and widen their musical perspective. The 144-page book has more than 900 chords, from the most basic chords to advanced chords.

3. The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart

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“The Ultimate Guitar Chord Chart” is a simple yet handy guitar chord book written by one of the world’s largest sources of music performance and instructional materials source, Hal Leonard LLC. The book has 120 of the most common chords and tips on chord progressions and theory.

The book is more like an encyclopedia of chords with short and direct descriptions and tips. It is more suited for beginner guitarists and a great reference guide for experienced guitarists.

4. Picture Chord Encyclopedia

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“Picture Chord Encyclopedia” is another great chord book by the famous publisher Hal Leonard, which covers more than 2600 chords. From barre and open chords to partial chords and movable chord shapes as well as broken set forms, this is one of the greatest chord books ever.

With photos of each chord being played and tips on how to build chords and select the most suitable voicings, the book comes in handy for beginners and pro guitarists. The 264-page book also talks about basic fingering principles and helps you play each chord with a strumming pattern.

5. Ultimate Guitar Chords, Scales & Arpeggios Handbook

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Damon Ferrante’s “Ultimate Guitar Chords, Scales & Arpeggios Handbook” is a complete step-by-step guide for a beginner learning how to play guitar. It features lessons and explanations of guitar chords, scales, music theory, notes on the fretboard, and guitar techniques.

The book comes with 20 video lessons for beginners to build their knowledge of chords, scales, and music theory, as well as practical exercises to solidify playing techniques. The book and the video lessons are easy to follow, with basic diagrams, illustrations, and photos.

6. Guitar Chord Bible

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“Guitar Chord Bible” is a rich source of chords with diagrams, photos, and tips on fingering positions for beginner and pro guitarists. It has more than 500 chords in its 256 pages for different playing styles and genres, including Rock, Blues, Soul, Country, Jazz, and Classical music.

The author, Phil Capone, used an easy-to-understand and follow structure with chord diagrams and explanations for different chord sequences and tips on playing techniques. It is a great book for players who want to enrich their chord vocabulary for different genres.

7. Guitar Chords for Beginners

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As the name suggests, “Guitar Chords for Beginners” is an elementary chord book for beginners to learn how to play some of the most common chords. It comes with diagrams for each chord and some tips for playing them.

Plus, the book has downloadable audio examples for each chord for guitarists to check if they are playing the chord right. From barre chords to power chords, the book has everything for beginners to have a solid chord repertoire.

8. Hal Leonard Pocket Guitar Chord Dictionary

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Another great book by Hal Leonard, “Pocket Guitar Chord Dictionary”, is a rich chord reference guide with more than 2700 guitar chords in 12 keys with four voicings for each chord. It also has explanations, instructions, and descriptions of chords to progress with your music theory knowledge.

It is suited for both beginners and experienced guitarists as it covers most of the chords you will need in your guitar journey.

9. The Guitar Chord Book

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“The Guitar Chord Book” is a practical guide on guitar chords for beginners. It includes the 100 most common acoustic guitar chords with 200 playing tips and practice guides. The chords are explained in detail, and there are alternatives for chords with complex fingering positions for beginners.

The book comes with a step-by-step video lesson guide, making it perfect for beginner guitarists.

10. The Ultimate Guitar Chord Book

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When it comes to learning new chords and shapes to improve your composition and playing skills, “The Ultimate Guitar Chord Book” is an ideal reference guide and practice tool. It has over 30 types of chords and over 240 chords in 12 keys resulting in almost 3000 chords in total.

It also has exercises, explanations, and tips for guitarists to improve their chord vocabulary. The book uses the CAGED system, which is great for familiarizing the fretboard and exploring different chord shapes on the neck.

Conclusion

If you want to be a complete guitarist, your chord vocabulary should be as rich as possible, as chords are the foundation of music. Learning new chords and exploring new chord shapes and possibilities will significantly grow you as a guitarist. That is why chord books are great tools and reference guides that you can use to enrich your chord repertoire and explore new approaches to your playing.

Berk Öztuna is a handpan player, percussionist, and guitarist. He has been playing multiple instruments over the last 10 years. He started his music career as a guitarist, playing with several bands before putting his main focus into playing the handpan.

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