Hal Leonard Acoustic Guitar Method

Chad Johnson’s Acoustic Guitar method (Hal Leonard) asserts itself as a ‘Complete Guide with Step-by-Step Lessons and 45 Great Acoustic Songs. 

I don’t know if the word ‘complete’ overstates it, but for 76 pages he takes the player through an impressive collection of approaches to the instrument.

The first chapter begins simply enough with two-chord strumming patterns, followed by examples from songs by Rod Stewart, Wings, Peter Frampton,John Denver, the Who, Hootie & the Blowfish, the Indigo Girls, and Duncan Sheik.

The fingerpicking chapter introduces a couple of basic arpeggio patterns before setting in context with riffs from Jewel, John Denver, Jim Croce, Sheryl Crow, The Beatles, Nuno Bettencourt, and a full transcription of  Kansas’s “Dust in the Wind.”

Chapter 3 introduces possibilities for the capo, with examples including “Landslide,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Norwegian Wood,” and a full transcription of “Here Comes the Sun.” 

The next chapter on Alternate Tunings explores their use in music by the Beatles, Robert Johnson, Dar Williams, Sarah McLachlan, and a full transcription of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Name.”

Chapter 5 tames it down a bit with a focus on Country and Bluegrass, and examples by Bill Monroe, Woody Guthrie, some traditional folk tunes, and a full transcription of the Carter Family’s “Wildwood Flower.” 

Continuing with the roots music theme, chapter 6 digs into blues slide guitar, with some intricately notated transcriptions of Robert Johnson and Son House originals (thank goodness for an appendix at the back of the book – a Guitar Notation Legend that explains how to read notation for half and whole note bends, muffled strings, vibrato bar scoops, etc. etc.

The last chapter takes the player through a variety of acoustic riffs, covering topics like chord patterns with drone strings, and chordal embellishments (sus chords, 7th and 6ths, hammers and pull-offs. 

You can get the book with accompanying CD of course. This book is a great addition to a guitar classroom for any ‘post-beginner’ looking for new directions to explore.