Books for Classical Guitarists

These are recommendations for classical guitar books. All links go to For books related to sheet music for guitar technique & workbooks see the sheet music section.

Classical Guitar Books – Discussion, Lessons, Info

Playing with Ease: A Healthy Approach to Guitar Technique by David Leisner – I haven’t read this yet but I’ve heard great things and Leisner is good.

Ricardo Iznaola on Practicing: A Manual for Students of Guitar Performance – A great but little book on how to practice well. Many students of guitar are not going to read a huge book so this concise little booklet is perfect for getting a grounding in good practice habits and philosophy. Highly recommended.

On Competitions: Dealing with Performance Stress by Denis Azabagic – via publisher: “advice that relate to guitar performers and their specific ideas concerning competitions and repertoire, but mainly the book focuses on how to deal with the issue of stage fright, self control and how to deliver to the best of your abilities. Self doubt is part of all of us and enclosed are ways to control it, not to eliminate it.”

Classical Guitar Answer Book by Sharon Isbin – Isbin gives advice and answers on a variety of topics. Not my favourite book but still of interest.

Reaching The Next Level A Method for the Experienced Classical Guitarist by Martha Masters – GFA winner Martha Masters gives excellent tips in this book. I don’t much care for the sheet music aspect of the book and there are a number of misprints in the notation but the text is great educational info for students.

Classical Guitar Books – History & Modern/Historical Techniques

The Techniques of Guitar Playing by Seth F. Josel & Ming Tsao – A fantastic book on modern and historical guitar techniques geared toward composers. Read My Full Review Here

The Contemporary Guitar by  John Schneider – One of the most in-depth and knowledgeable books about the contemporary concert guitar and its literature. Read My Full Review Here

Performing Baroque Music on Classical Guitar by Peter Croton – This is more of a period resource book more than anything. But excellent from a period performance practice perspective. You can read my Review of this book here.

A Tutor for the Renaissance Lute (Poulton) – Fantastic! Learn how to read Renaissance lute tablature and the techniques and performance practices that go along with it. This is actually for lute but intermediate students can tune down the 3rd string of the guitar to F# and go for it.

Continuo Playing on the Lute, Archlute and Theorbo: A Comprehensive Guide for Performers by Nigel North. Contains excellent info on continuo playing and realization but also a wealth of performance practice.

The Great Vogue for the Guitar in Western Europe: 1800-1840 by Christopher Page, Paul Sparks, and James Westbrook

Guitar and Its Music from Renaissance to Classical Era (Oxford) by Tyler/Sparks – An excellent history and overview.

Concise History of the Classic Guitar – Very brief overview of the composers…nice reference, enough for some people but not for others.

A Guide to Playing Baroque Guitar by James Tyler – Very helpful resource for tuning and performance practices.

The Guitar in History and Performance by Anthony LeRoy Glise – History and Performance Practice from 1400 to Today: A University Textbook for the Historical Study of the Classical Guitar. Nice Pictures, diagrams, etc. 

Performance on Lute, Guitar, and Vihuela: Historical Practice and Modern Interpretation (Cambridge) – A series of fascinating essays for the more advanced guitarist interested in performance practice. This is a tough read for beginners but a real eye opener otherwise.

Classical Guitar Books – Biography and Interviews

Music Books – Other Books (Non-Guitar Specific)

  • The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green
    • A must have. At times it might seem fluffy but put the exercises to actual use in practice or lessons and it really does work. It’s all about getting in tune with yourself.
  • Musical Excellence: Strategies and Techniques by Aaron Williamon
    • “Musical Excellence offers performers, teachers, and researchers, new perspectives and practical guidance for enhancing performance and managing the stress that typically accompanies performance situations. It draws together, for the first time in a single collection, the findings of pioneering initiatives from across the arts and sciences.” (via publishers)