The Best Songbooks for Guitar Pop Songs: Learn to Play Guitar Online - Rolling Stone
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The Best Songbooks for Guitar Pop Songs

Easy ways to get started on guitar, whether you want to play familiar tunes or just want to learn the basics

best guitar pop song songbooksbest guitar pop song songbooks

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It’s no secret that learning to play the guitar is a lot more fun if you’re learning songs that you actually enjoy. The best songbooks for guitar pop songs include jams by bands like The Beatles, in addition to songs that teach you the basics of chords and fingering technique.

What Are the Best Guitar Pop Song Songbooks?

Many, perhaps even most, pop songs use just a few basic chords, commonly C, F, G, and A, which means that if you’re looking for a songbook to be able to play most of your favorite tunes, look for books that focus on these four chords, or at least give you a comprehensive look at these chords among others. Here’s what else to keep in mind.

Clarity: Perhaps the most important thing to think about when it comes to songbooks for beginner guitarists is how clear the lessons are laid out. This will of course differ from person to person based on learning style, but in general, and especially for students with little to no musical background, we appreciate simple lessons that begin teaching tunes and songs right away. Another important thing to consider are clear diagrams and included videos or audio that offer examples of how things should look and sound.

Songs: Many of our favorite lesson books include song libraries filled with classic faves, and more than just “Smoke on the Water.” This is mostly a matter of personal taste, of course, but it’s still a good idea to check the book’s song library to determine whether or you’re more interested in learning to play The Beach Boys or The White Stripes.

Focus and Method: Some lesson plans start teaching simple tunes right away, while other focus more on outlining the basics and allowing the learner to take it from there. Both methods will show you the ropes, but it’s up to you to decide which teaching style works best for you.

1. ChordBuddy Guitar Learning System

The ChordBuddy guitar book, which you may recognize from Shark Tank, advertises itself as the easiest way to learn guitar. Guitar students of all ages report being able to play songs within a few minutes of getting started (depending on skill, of course). The kit includes a lesson plan book and companion DVD, teaching four-chord songs in G major using a system of color-coded tabs, which you remove as soon as you’re ready to start playing on your own.

chordbuddy guitar learning


Buy: ChordBuddy Guitar Learning System at $47.95

2. Guitar for Kids: Hal Leonard Guitar Method

Though advertised as a lesson book specifically for children, there’s nothing stopping adult learners from using it as well. The book uses a “learn a little, play a little” methodology, designed to keep kids motivated and entertained, with lessons for popular hits like “Yellow Submarine” and “I’m a Believer.”

hal leonard guitar book kids


Buy: Guitar for Kids: Hal Leonard Guitar… at $14.99

3. Step One: Play Guitar Chords

More of a bare-bones guitar book, we like that the Step One series teaches all essential keys along with handy chord diagrams, creating an essential foundation for any guitarist. The full-length included CD also contains all the music examples and songs played by professional musicians.

step one play guitar chords


Buy: Step One: Play Guitar Chords at $7.99

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