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Guitar Theory For Dummies: Book + Online Video & Audio Instruction [Kindle Edition]

Desi Serna
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £16.99
Kindle Price: £11.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Serious about jamming, understanding, and creating guitar-driven music? Easy.

With an approachable and engaging style, Guitar Theory For Dummies goes beyond guitar basics, presenting the guidance intermediate to advanced players need to improve their improvisational and compositional skills. Plus, with access to audio tracks and video instruction online you can master the concepts and techniques covered in the book.

Key content coverage includes: pentatonic and major scale patterns; the CAGED chord system, chord progressions, and playing by numbers; roots, keys, and applying scales, plus modes and modal scales; intervals and chord extensions; popular song references and theory applications that help you understand how to play popular music and contemporary guitar styles, and create music of your own.

  • This title also features companion audio tracks and video content hosted online at
  • The expert instruction and easy-to-digest information provides comprehensive guidance on how to apply music theory concepts to fretted instruments

If you already have a handle on the basics and want to know more about the building blocks and theory behind guitar music, Guitar Theory For Dummies has you covered.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Learn to:

  • Look at theory from a guitar player′s perspective
  • Understand how music "works" on the fretboard
  • Unravel the secrets to your favorite songs
  • Navigate the fretboard like the pros

View video demonstrations and listen to audio tracks online

Serious about understanding and creating guitar–driven music? Easy.

Guitar Theory For Dummies goes beyond guitar basics, presenting information on how music works and gets applied to the guitar fretboard. It provides the guidance you need to play songs and improve your improvisational and compositional skills. Plus, access to audio tracks and video instruction online help you master the concepts and techniques covered in the book. If you already have a handle on the basics and want to take your understanding and playing of guitar music to the next level, Guitar Theory For Dummies has you covered.

  • Guitar Theory 101 find out how guitar theory will change the way you hear and learn music and navigate your way around the fretboard
  • From the ground up discover how major scale triads make chords (and what those little numbers mean in chord names) and play any major or minor chord using the guitar CAGED system
  • Make progress understand where chord progressions come from, how related chords are grouped together, and why musicians play by number
  • Don′t scale back start using popular scale patterns to play guitar solos, melodies, riffs, and bass lines
  • Guitar Theory applications explore popular songs and music to help you with your playing style and in creating your own original music

Visit to: Improve your skills by listening to and playing along with audio tracks and viewing videos demonstrating concepts and examples from the book

Open the book and find

  • Why certain elements of music go together
  • How to form chords, assemble chord progressions, and apply scales
  • Popular song and guitarist references
  • Ways to identify tonal centers, keys, and key changes
  • Ten guitar songs worth learning
  • Sample scale patterns
  • Tips on putting guitar theory into practice
  • Access to audio tracks and video instruction

About the Author

Desi Serna, hailed as a music theory expert by Rolling Stone magazine, is a guitar player and teacher with over 10,000 hours of experience providing private guitar lessons and classes. He owns and operates one of the most popular guitar theory sites on the web, guitar–music–

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GUITAR THEORY FOR DUMMIES 3 Sept. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a lot of Rock/Blues guitar players out there I've never had any formal guitar lessons. I learnt to play "by ear" by asking friends and other guitar players lots of questions.

Now this was back in the 1970's (I'm 56 now and started playing around with the guitar when I was 15) and information on guitar playing was limited to only one or two magazines and the "How to Play Classical Guitar" books in the local public library of which I wasn't interested in learning. How I wish the internet had been around then.

Anyway, I think it was due to pure dogged perseverance that I was able to attain a skill level to play in bands of various styles over my playing career with a reasonable level of success and more importantly to create my own music (which was the reason I wanted to learn guitar in the first place) but, I've never had a basic comprehensive knowledge of guitar music theory with the emphasis on guitar.

Working out other peoples songs has always a laborious process for me, I'd pretty much get there in the end but boy was it hard work. Composing my own music has always been a case of experimenting with chords and notes that work well together with my ideas but not knowing why they do. It always felt a kind of "hit and miss" process. I knew it would be quicker if I had the theoretical knowledge but I couldn't find anyone who could explain it to me in a way I could understand and that related specifically to guitar, until I stumbled on Desi Serna's podcast and then his website.

Then (and I am being genuinely honest here) HIS way of explaining it started shining a light into my deep, dark pit of the mysteries of fretboard theory.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music Theory really Rocks! 21 Jun. 2014
By Ms. Felicia Davis-burden VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Dummies series of books for musicians presents another goldmine. Music Theory textbooks tend to contain dry, repetitive chapters that may seem completely irrelevant to musicians working outside the 'Classical' arena. However, in order to understand guitar music (or if, like me, you are learning ukulele!), perhaps even to compose your own, you really will benefit from getting to know about at least some of the old-fashioned stuff!

This book presents all aspects of Music Theory, ingeniously adjusted to read from a Rock guitarists viewpoint. Imagine your rocking friends' faces when you casually tell them that Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams' is a beautiful example of the F Lydian mode, or maybe you've blown their minds at how Megadeath's 'Symphony of Destruction' rocks out in E Phrygian. The Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' breaks our hearts via Pentatonic... I've always been completely flummoxed trying to hear and understand the difference between the seven modes. Now I'll be able to figure it all out!

Modes are demystified, Pentatonic clarified, keys, chord progressions, chord inversions and much more are unravelled with the help of clear diagrams showing the fret-board, staves and tablature. There are even short lists of tracks that use most of the technical devices. Everything you could possibly need to know is explained in an entertaining, relatable way. You do not have to be a guitarist to benefit from all this brilliant information. This is the clearest and certainly most entertaining Music Theory book I have ever encountered - and this one's the keeper. I cannot recommend it enough - for ALL musicians!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is NOT for Dummies. Anyone thinking that this book will be relevant to beginner guitarists will be disappointed. This is a book for beginner "theorists". The book itself actually admits on page 2 that "you need to know and be able to play and read the following:

- Open chords and open chord songs
- Power chords and power chord songs
- Barre chords and barre chord songs
- Some melodies, riffs and simple solos
- Guitar tab and neck diagrams"

There are some that believe that you should learn theory at the same time as learning how to play as it will make each task a little bit easier. This book appears to address the issues for those that don't. I'd also suggest that the book doesn't lend itself to reading from beginning to end, rather it is a book to dip into and out of and in that regard it is well laid out and readable. There are, however, better books out there to teach you guitar theory from the ground up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 23 July 2014
By Peter Piper TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I obtained this book for my son who has been learning the guitar for over a year now. He has weekly lessons for acoustic Classical guitar and is self-taught on the electric six string. From the moment he opened the book, he was glued to it, reading page after page.

My son’s comments on the book are as follows:
This is a theory book but it makes it easy to apply the theory to making your own music. Although it is a 'For Dummies' book, it is not for complete novices. You need to know how to read tabs, barre chords, open chords, and power chords. You will also need to have the technical ability to play a couple of simple songs.

The book is highly structured and extremely well organised. It teaches you what you need to know about improvisation and how to analyse music, how to write your own music, and how to break down other people's music to see what makes a something sound really good.

From the book I have learned about intervallics and how music is conventionally structured within a piece. There are exercises in the common structures of all seven musical modes Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. Each of these is hugely important in musical theory because together they make up the diatonic scale that almost all Western music is based on.

The book tells you everything but it is then a case of you learning to apply it by trial and error. Even if it seems boring at first learning scales, for instance, it really pays off when you want to create your own sounds and have developed your knowledge with the theory of other techniques.

If you have worked methodically to the end of the book, you should have a wide range of musical skills necessary for improvisation and writing your own songs. I have really enjoyed using this book and I feel my music has progressed enormously because of it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it
Slightly over complicated for me, but I intend to go back through it again to try and solidify.
Published 1 month ago by Tasha G
5.0 out of 5 stars Light-bulb moments for the Intermediate player !
I've been playing guitar for around thirty years, predominantly by ear, and whilst I've been able to figure out most chord-structures and riffs, I've always struggled how to work... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Book with Online Video
A very good seller plus very good price and a quick delivery recommended
Published 2 months ago by Mr. A. Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Nobody ever said learning the electric guitar was going to be easy. This book is purely on the theory side, no songs to play in here but it does sugest a few. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful resource.
A very comprehensive guide to guitar theory, well thought out, well illustrated and clearly explained. I would recommend it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Terence Bowen
5.0 out of 5 stars he is totally pleased, everything he needs to know is in this ...
Was bought as a gift for my son,he is totally pleased,everything he needs to know is in this volume,
Published 6 months ago by George Rowell
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book for some
Its ok I guess !
Published 8 months ago by JKDdaniel
5.0 out of 5 stars Guitar Hero
I'm only on chapter three but so far this book is shaping up to be a winner. Well written and covers everything I need.
Published 10 months ago by MiltonsStapler
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction with enough for those wanting more
A basic yet concise introduction to the world of guitar theory.
I would reccomend studying general theory first before moving to this, but as a standalone product it explains... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Persepolis
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea, but don't expect miracles
Guitar theory sounds pretty boring and I hoped the For Dummies series could overcome my natural reluctance to study dots and chord shapes. Read more
Published 11 months ago by S. Jones
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