Books that have influenced you as a musician


The "musical direction" thread made me start thinking about how big an impact some guitar books have had on my playing and my growth as a musician and guitarist and I thought it would be interesting to talk about books that have influenced us.

I found this one at the library as a kid and I lost days/weeks pouring over every single page. I was obsessed with it. I learned so much from it, and it was probably the beginnings of my GAS problems as well. I kept it so long the library considered it lost and I later had to pay like $50 for it to get them to let me checkout books again. I still have the copy from the library.


After I heard Metallica's black album I went to a music store and bought the tab book. The guy at the store told me if it was too hard for me I could return it. I took that as a challenge and was determined to learn every note in the whole book!


When I started in the country band I found this book at a friends house (it belonged to his dad). I 'stole' it from him and did my best to learn every lick in the book. I was amazed at Lee's phrasing and seemingly endless inspiration. He doesn't seem to ever have to stop to think about his next notes/lines, it just keeps flowing out of him. It probably did more to move me forward as a guitarist than anything else.


I honestly don't even know why I picked this one up, but it was a huge eye opener to me. It introduced me to chord voicings and extensions I'd never dreamed of before, and really made me think beyond the basic CAGED "shapes" and start to think more deeply about how I could voice my chords and create movement.


The first time I read through the first song in this one I was blown away. Galbraith is so melodic with his chord voicings that his accompaniments almost sound like chord/melody arrangements! I loved the way he thinks about things like voice leading, and creating counter-melodies with the voicings of his chords under the main melody. This has been a huge inspiration to me ever since I first discovered it


And lastly, I'd like to thank this book for smacking the confidence out of me and teaching me that I'll never be a true "shredder".

Completely forgot that I had that Complete Guitarist book! I recall it being a really nice one stop shop for general guitar knowledge.

I didn't have many other books, maybe just a chord book when I first started. I took drum lessons for years and had lots of great books there.

Not a guitar/music related book at all, but this book has been my savior several times in life and I’ve given out 15-17 copies of it now because I truly believe the information in here is life changing. It’s listed as religious science without being religious, you can follow any path/faith and it’ll get the point across. In short, it’s a guide on how to reprogram your brain and gets really into the differences between our conscious and subconscious minds, how/why meditation/prayer works and how what you put into your head is what comes out of your life. I’ve read tons of self-help books and this isn’t really that, it doesn’t feel that way. The biggest difference between it and all the other books I’ve read; this f*ckin’ works.

For a myriad of reasons, I was a wreck in my 20’s in practically every possible aspect of my life. Not really practically, I’d say quite evenly across the board I was a f*ck up in one way or another. I’m still a dumbass, but I’ve gotten REALLY good at not feeling the burn of life when sh*t goes the wrong way and overall, I have no complaints in my life right now and I very much feel this book paved the way for that to happen.

How it’s helped me on a musical level is I just kept feeding my head with stuff I wanted to accomplish and used the tools explained in the book, it worked exactly like it said it would and I was able to start doing the things I wanted to. Everything still required a great amount of physical effort, singing especially, but because of this book I knew I’d get where I wanted to go, I just had to keep at it. (And that’s definitely not saying I’m done growing, I mostly feel like I’m just starting to figure out ‘my thing’)
From "The Infinite Guitar" by Chris Juergensen (my first guitar instructor) ...

Playing vs. Practicing
At a recent guitar seminar held at the school I run in Tokyo, Jennifer Batten said this when asked about practicing and practice routines; "Practice as much as you possibly can stand without it turning into something you hate to do." Practice should be fun but challenging. Practice should be done with specific goals in mind. I know tons of guitarists who think they are practicing but what they are really doing is just playing. Playing is important too but practice is something different. What you practice should come out in your playing. If it doesn't, you're not practicing efficiently. Before you sit down to practice, make sure you know what goals you are trying to reach by practicing, short term and long. It may even help to keep a log of your practice sessions. When, how long you practiced, what specifically you practiced and why you practiced it. The goal must come before the process is determined.