I just came across this book called Teach Yourself Visually - Guitar, which is a book that is supposed to help absolute beginners learn to play the guitar. I read around a little and wanted to give my thoughts about it quickly. Just to warn you, that if you are looking to teach yourself guitar from a book, this will not be pretty. If you are looking for the positive aspects of learning guitar from books, just go ahead and hit the Back button now...

So... I just had a look at this book, searched around for some more guitar teaching books just to have a basis for comparison, and have 2 questions in my mind right now:

  1. In the age of multimedia, DVDs, the Internet, etc. why do publishers still publish guitar learning books, as it is obviously the single worst way to "try" to learn guitar, or any other type of music.
  2. Why do people actually buy these books? Now this is the part that deludes me completely!

To back up my case in point, lets start out with the definition of music:

Music is an art form whose medium is sound.

I think this about says it all. Music is an AUDIBLE experience! You can't read how to learn music, it doesn't make sense, does not compute. It's like trying to divide a number by zero: cannot be done.

You absolutely cannot learn to play an instrument from a book like Teach Yourself Visually: Guitar. If you're an absolute beginner learning the guitar, how do you know what the chord you're supposed to be playing sounds like? Are your strings out of tune? Are you even playing the right chords in that chord progression that the book elegantly titles I-IV-V chord progression? Learning from a book just does not allow you to properly learn what you should be playing, since you have no audible standards to follow, simple as that.

Having books around for reference is another matter. For instance, learning guitar theory from a book is perfectly adequate, but learning music from a book as a beginner is not. If you want to learn to make music, for example teach yourself how to play the guitar, than don't buy books. Get personal or online guitar lessons, as you need to hear what you should be playing, and see the instructors hands move across the fretboard. You can't get the audio-visual experience from reading about it in books.

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