10 essential books that guitarists must read

GUITAR SHOW 2022: From amazing biographies to thought-provoking teachings and fascinating guitar history, here’s our pick of books that demand your attention…

1. The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Pioneering Guitar Rivalry That Shaped Rock ‘n’ Roll

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Author: Ian S. PuertoFocusing on the mid-20th century showdown between Fender and Gibson, Port’s book The Birth Of Loud tells the story of the electric guitar against a backdrop of rivalry, technical innovation, and some musicians who changed the world.

This takes you not only into the minds and personalities of the greatest guitar designers of the post-war era, but also into the scenes in which their instruments thrived.

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2. Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Postwar Pop

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Author: Charles Shaar MurrayHendrix is ​​often hailed as a mythical boundary breaker, fueled by inherent genius, but Charles Shaar Murray’s excellent investigation of the pop phenomenon dispels many damaging myths surrounding the seemingly supernatural talent of guitarists.

Instead, it focuses on how and why Hendrix did what he did and the possibly greater value of his remarkable achievements as a black artist who penetrated a pop culture dominated by the white hegemony of the 1960s rock scene.

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3. Life

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Author: Keith RichardsKeith Richards’ autobiography Life caused quite a stir upon its release, thanks in large part to a clever PR campaign and a few select morsels of Jagger bait that made headlines.

Yet while rich in juiciness and lewdness, the wonderful thing about Life is the way it captures the languid humor of Richards’s voice: his rumbling interior monologue that explains the thought (and sometimes lack thereof) behind it. their personal and creative relationships. , the highs and lows of ‘Stones and, of course, the addictions he dealt with for decades.

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4. Heaven and Hell

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Author: Don FelderA straightforward rock biography documenting a remarkable life thus far, Felder’s narrative focuses on telling his side of The Eagles’ tumultuous history, with shameful levels of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll throughout.

Plus, six-string connections abound, from giving guitar lessons to an unknown Tom Petty to learning slide techniques straight from Duane Allman, Joe Walsh’s sideline as a prankster, and meeting Keith Richards (passed out on a bathroom floor). ).

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5. When I left home

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Author: Buddy GuyBuddy Guy is one of the best blues guitarists on the planet. He’s also the undisputed first-hand link between Chicago blues founders like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and the showmanship of rock greats like Hendrix, Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck.

All of the above have hailed him as an influence and Guy’s incredible story somehow set the template for blues iconography, literally taking him from an impoverished childhood in the cotton fields of Louisiana, up Mississippi to Chicago, where he made a name, through armed promoters, blues greats and rock icons.

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6. Zen guitar

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Author: Philip Toshio SudoZen Guitar is a manual for six-string warriors of light. Eschewing the typical technical breakdowns and physical approach of the usual instructional titles, Zen Guitar considers instead the spiritual and mental approach of great guitarists.

It’s about improving your mindset as a musician so you can take better advantage of that ‘in the moment’ state of flow so appreciated by the best musicians.

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7. Heavier Than Heaven: The Kurt Cobain Biography

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Author: Charles R. CruzThe main biography of the late great leader of Nirvana. Author Charles R. Cross conducted extensive research, including over a hundred interviews with the Cobain family, as well as Courtney Love, Buzz Osbourne, Krist Novoselic, Dylan Carson, Jessica Hopper, and Curt Kirkwood (to name a small selection).

It is, emotionally, a difficult read but extremely well written and the sensitive subject matter is handled with great care. A revealing portrait of an icon.

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8. Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music

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Author: Rob YoungThis colossal tome (over 600 pages) is the definitive read for fans of the musicians and music of the British Isles.

It’s ostensibly the colorfully told story of British folk music, but its main concern is the folk rock revival of the ’60s and ’70s (with guitar icons galore), including the likes of Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Pentangle (which featured Bert Jansch), and even The Beatles and Pink Floyd.

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9. Testimony

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Author: Robbie RobertsonFew guitarists had better insight into the changing cultural landscape of the 20th century than Robbie Robertson, the linchpin of The Band and Bob Dylan’s first electric guitarist.

From joining The Hawks at age 16 to his first encounters with Dylan and a torrent of anecdotes from a life on the roller coaster, he’s packed with information, even detailing some of the gear used in those iconic sessions.

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10. Takes me home, this curved track

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Author: Ian PenmanThis collection of music writing by celebrated British critic Ian Penman offers a series of portraits of artists who created a kind of shared understanding across racial divides, “black artists who were groundbreaking, white musicians who copied them for the mainstream.”

Not everything is guitar-focused, but there are extensive and insightful pieces on The Mods, Steely Dan, Prince and the hugely influential but under-covered John Fahey.

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Source: www.musicradar.com