One thing I always love about books is to flip back and look at the Recommendations, Bibliography, or Further Reading page.  Pretty nerdy I guess, but hey what can I say!?  Here is my ‘back of the book’ page with all kinds of recommendations for books and more.  Check back often as this page will frequently be updated with different things.

Guitar Books

The Advancing Guitarist-Mick Goodrick
This one is on many lists of great guitar books.  It’s so full of inspirational, usable, and mind expanding stuff that you will never run out of things to work with in this book.  It’s simply amazing.  Check out my post of Mick Goodrick articles to read more of his stuff.  He also released a new book with Tim Miller that I haven’t had a chance to really work with yet, but it’s a really interesting concept.

The Guitarist’s Guide to Composing and Improvising & Chord Factory-Jon Damian
Damian has a similar DIY approach that Mick Goodrick has.  He really just opens doors for you, but you have to do the work.  Again, inspiring and full of great stuff to work with for years.

Approaching the Guitar-Gene Bertoncini
It’s a crime this book isn’t more well known.  It’s an amazing manual on how to actually learn the neck inside and out.  Must-read.

Harmonic Mechanisms-George Van Eps

Wes Montgomery Guitar Folio & Pat Martino Early Years-Steve Khan
Amazingly good jazz guitar transcription books are tough to find.  These are two of the best though.

Guitar Blogs

Matt Warnock Guitar
I don’t know how Matt does it, but he puts up at least one lesson or post EVERYDAY!  And they’re all great to boot.  It’s a site you have to check out, make sure to sign up for his email list, and check out his great resources.  His books are great too, and they’re a bargain.

Jamie Holroyd Guitar
Jamie is a protege of Matt Warnock, and is following in his footsteps.  Jamie similarly puts out several great articles each week.  Great jazz oriented stuff that will help get your playing up and off the ground.  Sign up for his email list to get his free book while you’re there, it’s extremely useful. Stay tuned for another book from him as well!

Joel’s Guitar Lessons
Joel takes a different approach, highlighting mostly rock guitar techniques.  His videos are clear and easy to follow.  If you want to learn some rock and/or roll, he’s the guy to show you. Sign up for his ebook and mailing list too.  Great stuff!

Adam Levy writes for Guitarcana.  It’s a very well done site about some of the same things I write about-Americana music and jazz.  He plays with Norah Jones, so you know he’s legit.  He’s got very interesting stuff up there and one of my favorite series, Guitar on Record.  Awesome stuff.

 Essential Listening

I’ve always been a huge fan of listening lists.  Again, my nerdy side coming out.  My list is based on the style of music I’m drawn to and write about.  It’s where all of the American music styles meet, from blues to jazz to country to roots.  This kind of list will obviously never actually be complete, and is going to be a work in progress.

The section called “Americana” is really a catch all.  There are rock records, folk records, and even some ‘world’-ish ones.

While these albums are all amazing in their own right, oness marked with an * are particularly important or inspiring.  Those would be the best to start with.


Buddy Miller The Majestic Silver Strings (Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot)
Crosby, Stills, & Nash Crosby, Stills, and Nash 
Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young Deja Vu
Derek and the Dominos Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
The Grateful Dead American Beauty
Jim Campilongo Heaven is Creepy *
Little Feat Dixie Chicken 
Little Feat Little Feat
Little Feat Waiting for Columbus
Los Lobos Colossal Head 
Lucinda Williams Essence 
Marc Ribot Muy Divertido
Mavis Staples You Are Not Alone 
Neil Young Harvest 
Neil Young Comes a Time 
Ry Cooder Chicken Skin Music 
Steve Earle Guitar Town 
Steve Earle El Corazon 
Steve Earle Transcendental Blues
Elvis Presley Sun Records Recordings *
Elvis Presley Elvis Presley *
Gene Vincent Bluejean Bop 
Gene Vincent Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps 
The Band The Band 
The Band Music From Big Pink 
The Meters The Meters 
The Meters Look a Py Py 


Doc Watson Doc Watson *
Doc Watson Southbound 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Will the Circle Be Unbroken 

Chicken Pickin’

Alan Jackson Lot About Livin
Alan Jackson What I Do
Alan Jackson Don’t Rock the Jukebox
Alan Jackson Who I Am
Alan Jackson 34 Number Ones 
Alan Jackson Drive
Brad Paisley Mud on the Tires 
Brad Paisley Time Well Wasted 
Brad Paisley Play 
Brad Paisley Fifth Gear
Brad Paisley American Saturday Night 
Emmylou Harris Luxury Liner
The Byrds Live at the Filmore 
Buck Owens The Ultimate Hits Collection*
Merle Haggard I’m a Lonsome Fugitive 
Merle Haggard Branded Man 
Merle Haggard Okie From Muskogee
Merle Haggard Swinging Doors and the Bottle Let Me Down 
Brent Mason Hot Wired 
Dwight Yoakam Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc Etc *
Johnny Hiland All Fired Up 
Danny Gatton Redneck Jazz Explosion 
Jerry Reed The Essential Jerry Reed 
Jerry Reed Me and Jerry (with Chet Atkins)
Jerry Reed Me and Chet
Ricky Skaggs Live in London


The Carter Family Can the Circle Be Unbroken *
Chet Atkins The Early Years * (5 disc box set)
Hank Garland And His Sugar Footers 
Jimmy Bryant Frettin’ Fingers (Check out another Jimmy Bryant album on iTunes)
Johnny Cash The Essential Johnny Cash
The Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo
Keith Urban Get Closer 
Willie Nelson Red Headed Stranger 
Willie Nelson Teatro
Willie Nelson You Don’t Know Me-the Songs of Cindy Walker


Wes Montgomery The Incredible Jazz Guitar 
Wes Montgomery Bags Meets Wes
Wes Montgomery Smokin’ at the Half Note 
Wes Montgomery Full House
Joe Pass Virtuoso
Joe Pass Joy Spring
Pat Martino El Hombre
Pat Martino Live at Yoshi’s
Grant Green Idle Moments
Grant Green Complete Sonny Clark Quartets
Grant Green Alive 
Grant Green Live at the Lighthouse
Jim Hall Concerto
Jim Hall Live! *
Jim Hall Live at the North Sea Jazz Festival 
Jim Hall and Ron Carter Alone Together
Jim Hall and Bill Evans Intermodulation
Jim Hall and Bill Evans Undercurrent
Pat Metheny Bright Size Life 
Pat Metheny Question and Answer
Pat Metheny New Chataqua
Pat Metheny Trio-Live 
Paul Motian Monk in Motian
Paul Motian I Have the Room Above Her
Paul Motian On Broadway 
Bill Frisell Nashville
Bill Frisell East/West 
Bill Frisell Blues Dream
Bill Frisell Disfarmer
Bill Frisell Good Dog Happy Man * 
Bill Frisell History Mystery 
Brian Blade Perceptual (Kurt Rosenwinkel) *
Charlie Christian The Genius of the Electric Guitar *
Kenny Burrell Midnight Blue 
Kenny Burrell Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane 
Kenny Garrett Pursuance (with Pat Metheny)
Kenny Wheeler Angel Song (with Bill Frisell)
Jimmy Raney A 
John Abercrombie Gateway 
John Scofield A Go Go * 
John Scofield Flat Out 
John Scofield What We Do 
Johnny Smith The Sound of Johnny Smith Guitar 
Johnny Smith Moonlight in Vermont  *
Mark Turner Dharma Days (with Kurt Rosenwinkel) *
Ted Greene Solo Guitar


Junior Wells Hoodoo Man Blues (with Buddy Guy)
BB King Live at the Regal
BB King Live at Cook County Jail
BB King Singing the Blues/The Blues
BB King Completely Well
Albert King  Years Gone By
Albert King Born Under a Bad Sign
Albert King King of the Blues Guitar *
Albert King Live Wire/Blues Power 
The Allman Brothers At Filmore East * 
The Allman Brothers Idlewild South
The Allman Brothers Eat a Peach
Elmore James The Best of (any compilation will do)*
Eric Clapton From the Cradle  *
John Mayall and Eric Clapton – Bluesbreakers with E.C.
Freddie King The Ultimate Collection  (any compilation will do)*
Robert Johnson King of the Delta Blues Singers 
Charly Patton Founder of the Delta Blues 
Roy Buchanan Roy Buchanan 
T-Bone Walker T-Bone Blues 
Albert Collins Truckin’ with Albert Collins 
Muddy Waters Folk Singer 
Muddy Waters At Newport 1960 

Just so you know, many of these links are affiliate links where I earn a small commission if you purchase something.  This doesn’t cost you anything extra at all, but is a really great way to support this site while picking up a book or album that you’re interested in anyway!  Thanks for looking.


Back to Top ↑
  • Newsletter

    blues language

  • New to Sam Smiley music? Get started here!

  • Master the Minor ii-V