A large part of guitar playing (rhythm guitar styles in particular) is filled with the use of chords. Every guitar player needs to know at least a basic set of chords by memory to play effectively in different situations.
Naturally, there are many books on the market filled with chords and diagrams for the guitar student to use as a reference resource. It is best if the student learns the music theory behind the construction of chords. Simply memorizing forms has its value, but the theory sheds light on the why of chords, not simply the how. Nevertheless, most early students do best when they are given simple forms to memorize and then as the chord forms become more complex, theory is introduced to explain the nature of the more complex chord forms.
Many chord books suffer from one of two problems: (1) too few chords and little lasting value or (2) thousands of diagrams with no immediately apparent application. Mel Bay’s Guitar Chords strikes a good balance between these two problems and provides a simple reference to chords, yet it is comprehensive enough to aid the student that is further along as well. This book claims to be the best selling chord book of all time and I would not doubt that to be a fact.
The value of this book lies in its simplicity. It uses a threefold approach to teach chords. It provides the following information for each chord form:
- Picture of the chord being played.
- Chord displayed on the music staff.
- Detailed chord diagram.
This threefold approach aids a variety of learners in grasping each chord form. This makes the book great for beginners and younger learners. All the basic major, minor and 7th forms are displayed in large print with pictures and diagrams. This is a great way to teach chords to younger students. The book also includes diagrams of more complex chord forms that are useful to the student advancing in their knowledge of chords. Many of these forms are movable and therefore learning one diagram provides the student with a wide range of possibilities and equips them to play in different musical contexts; able to quickly find the chords they need.
This is a great cheap ($4.99) little book that serves as a wonderful teaching aid for students.