a guitarist is playing fingerstyle guitar

12 Best Fingerstyle Guitar Books

April 11, 2023 Selin Gökova 8 min read No Comments

Are you tired of strumming the same old chords and wish to become a more versatile guitarist? But you also wish you knew how to play fingerstyle guitar? If your answer is yes, we are here today with our list of the 12 best fingerstyle guitar books to help you master this style.

We know learning fingerstyle guitar can be challenging. You might be picking up the guitar for the first time or after years of a hiatus. Or, you might be a strumming guitarist wishing to add fingerstyle to his or her skill set.

Whatever the reason you’re here, you’ll find something on this list that caters to your needs and skill level.

No fingerstyle playing is perfect without a good scales technique! So, after this post, don’t forget to check out our list of the best guitar scales books as well.

Fingerstyle 101

fingerpicking guitar book

Fingerstyle 101 by Dan Thorpe is an excellent all-in-one guide that will teach you fingerstyle guitar in a fun and effective way. From a range of techniques to useful fingerpicking styles, it features everything to teach beginners how to become the best fingerstyle guitarist they could be.

The book is structured in a well-organized, step-by-step, and graded approach that makes it very easy to follow. It also provides plenty of practical advice that you can instantly apply to your playing and get results. Alongside advice and lessons, the book includes a variety of exercises to improve your fingerstyle guitar playing skills and apply the concepts you’ve learned.

Best of all, the author has an incredibly fun and engaging teaching style, which makes learning even more enjoyable.

Fingerstyle Guitar Method: A Complete Guide with Step-by-Step Lessons and 36 Great Fingerstyle Songs

fingerpicking guitar method book

This comprehensive method book by Hal Leonard is perfect for anyone who wants to learn fingerstyle guitar from the beginning. The curriculum contains all essential elements for playing fingerstyle guitar and does a very good job of teaching how to play arrangements complete with the melody, bass section, and harmony.

The book starts with the very basics of fingerpicking techniques and style, providing you with relevant exercises after each lesson. The exercise pieces are selected from popular tunes such as Yesterday by The Beatles,  Imagine by John Lennon, and Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton. Honestly, thanks to these songs, the exercises become incredibly fun to practice and you start to look forward to each exercise.

Overall, the book has a clear, easy-to-follow, and straightforward style that makes learning incredibly easy and effective.

Beginner Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar

beginner acoustic fingerstyle guitar

This one is another excellent book to learn fingerstyle guitar, especially for self-teaching guitarists. Recognizing the common mistakes most self-teaching beginner players make, this book aims to instill good practices from the start to make beginners progress faster and more effectively.

Starting with beginner lessons and simple exercises to build dexterity and speed, each section builds on top of the previous one. Progressing through the book, you will learn different fingerpicking patterns, a range of techniques, songs to play, chord progressions, and embellishments. Eventually, you will learn how to combine these different elements to develop a unique and solid playing style.

Beyond Basics: Fingerstyle Guitar

fingerstyle guitar method book

Mark Hanson is an excellent instructor, and his guitar books have been highly acclaimed by both beginners and advanced guitar players. As one of the best fingerstyle guitar books, this one is no exception.

Featuring a number of fingerpicking styles, pieces, and exercises, this book is packed with all the essentials to get you started on solo guitar playing. You will learn how to apply folk, blues, ragtime, and new age styles to solo guitar playing and also discover beautiful new chord voicings.

This book is best for those who are absolute beginners and want to learn fingerstyle techniques. If you already have basic fingerstyle knowledge, then this book may be a little too simple for you. However, for beginners and self-teaching students, it is the perfect book to start learning this style.

Not only the concepts are explained in a concise and clear way, but the accompanying audio package and Hanson’s encouraging voice make it feel like you are practicing with a personal instructor.

Solo Guitar Playing – Book 1

fingerpicking guitar book

This book is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to sound impressive on the solo guitar with a solid fingerpicking technique. With thorough lessons, exercises, and techniques, this book will help you progress from playing basic melodies to mastering the guitar as a solo instrument.

Even if you have no prior musical training, this book will guide you through the entire process of learning and mastering solo guitar playing.

What’s impressive is that the author knows exactly what mistakes a beginner can make while learning the concepts. He includes clear instructions and advice to prevent those mistakes and help you build a solid technique from the start.

Best of all, the song selection in the book is very interesting and rich, and not quite like the overly basic repertoire that most beginner books feature. This allows you to practice with more complex and diverse pieces that you can add to your repertoire while discovering new styles.

Classic Guitar Technique, Vol 1

classic guitar technique

Learning classical guitar provides a solid foundation for mastering fingerstyle guitar, as the techniques and finger placements required for classical guitar are also essential for fingerstyle playing. When it comes to classical guitar education, Aaron Shearer’s books are highly acclaimed and are a staple in the guitar repertoire.

This one is the first book from his Classical Guitar Technique series, and it is an introductory book that teaches the basic concepts in a step-by-step manner.

It ensures you acquire a solid technique and learn accurate finger placements while introducing you to reading fingerstyle notation. The book also includes a helpful CD to guide you through your journey to mastering the classical guitar.

Fingerstyle Blues Guitar

fingerstyle blues guitar

If you want to learn how to play blues guitar with a solid fingerstyle technique, look no further. This book offers a clear and step-by-step approach to mastering fingerstyle blues guitar. It covers every aspect of the early Delta blues style, including techniques such as alternating, static, and walking bass lines, bends, slides, legato, vibrato, and syncopation.

To improve your finger independence, the exercises are introduced using musical licks and phrases. By the end of the book, you will be able to fluidly integrate chords, bass lines, and melodies into your musical performances.

Overall, this book focuses on building a technical understanding of the style that allows you to create and improvise your own ideas. With the support of over 190 detailed notated free examples provided, you will start to impress other people with your blues playing in no time.

Complete Fingerstyle Guitar Method Complete Edition

fingerpicking guitar method

This is another excellent method book that we highly recommend to any beginner or intermediate player who wishes to develop a solid fingerpicking technique. While taking beginners every step through learning the fingerstyle guitar, it also provides more advanced players with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills.

To get the most out of the book, beginners are expected to be at least familiar with basic chord forms and arpeggios.

The book is organized in a progressive order of difficulty. The starting lessons focus on basic concepts like basic chord theory, modes, alternating bass, and drop-D tuning, while intermediate lessons deal with alternate tunings, fingerpicking patterns, barre chords, and diatonic harmony. Finally, the advanced lessons are dedicated to techniques such as free-stroke, shifting, planting, and tremolo.

Flying Fingers: Authentic & Accurate Fingerstyle Guitar Anthology 

fingerstyle guitar sheet music book

Some call this book the Bible of fingerpicking, and they are not entirely wrong. Spanning from the roots of the fingerstyle guitar like Robert Johnson to the 20th-century masters like Chet Atkins to modern pioneers like  Andy McKee, this book features over 50 iconic fingerstyle artists.

It’s not a lesson book but rather a comprehensive repertoire book that covers a vast range of styles, techniques, and skill levels. If you get this book, I doubt you’ll need any other sheet music book for fingerstyle guitar for the next 10 years. It just provides enough material to practice and expand your repertoire.

What makes this anthology so special is that all transcriptions are faithful to the original songs. Inside the book, you’ll find both easy and advanced songs with special notes on history and performance. All songs are presented both in standard notation and tab, making the anthology a valuable addition to any guitarist’s library.

100 Most Popular Songs for Fingerpicking Guitar

fingerpicking guitar songbook

This is another excellent sheet music book featuring fingerstyle arrangements of well-known songs from a variety of genres and styles. Africa, Dust in the Wind, Imagine, and Fur Elise are only some of the 100 classic songs that you’ll find in the book. In general, you can’t go wrong with Hal Leonard’s books, and this one is no exception.

All songs are presented in standard notation and tab in a well-organized manner. The songs are arranged in different levels of difficulty, so there are enough songs to practice for both beginner and advanced players.

Overall, the arrangements in this book are well-made and incredibly fun to play. I like that the arrangements are faithful to the originals and aren’t overly simplified. This makes it a great repertoire book to develop and solidify your fingerpicking technique while enriching your repertoire.

The Country Fingerstyle Guitar Method

country fingerstyle guitar book

If you wish to master the country fingerstyle guitar method, this book is the only resource you’ll need. It covers the fundamental techniques of country guitar, including pinch technique, alternating bass lines, syncopation, articulation, combining chord and bass lines, and more.

Examining the techniques and styles employed by legendary country artists like Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, and Jerry Ree, the book provides you with an understanding of the evolution of fingerstyle country guitar. Over 190 free audio examples and a complete solo guitar study provided as bonuses mean you will have all the tools to become the best fingerstyle country guitarist you could be with this book.

The First 100 Picking Patterns for Guitar

fingerpicking patterns for guitar

This book will provide immense value to anyone who’s struggling with mastering fingerpicking guitar. It is focused on teaching fingerstyle guitar patterns and skillfully integrating them into your playing.

Offering over 100 fingerstyle patterns and chord sequences, it teaches every essential component of fingerstyle guitar in a structured approach. It also helps you build and improve your fingerstyle technique with graded exercises.

With free audio access to over 170 songs, it’s also a valuable resource for self-teaching guitarists.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these best books to learn fingerstyle guitar. Do you have experience with any of these books? Do you have other recommendations?

Share them in the comments!

Selin Gökova

Selin Gökova is a neo-classical composer and pianist from Istanbul, Turkey. Holding an ABRSM certificate on piano performance, she's been playing the piano and composing for ten years. Wandering Tunes is her side project where she combines her two passions: writing and music.

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Hi, my name is Selin. Playing the piano and composing are my biggest passions. I've founded this blog to share everything I've learned throughout the years about piano playing and learning. I hope you stick around! Read More

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