The Guitar Lesson Companion by Susan Palmer

On the surface Susan Palmer’s The Guitar Lesson Companion seems to be a throwback to the Method books of old. You know the ones, “this is the sixth string, this note is E, it’s played like this, here is what it looks like on the musical staff.” And as a reward you learn to play “She’ll be coming round the mountain” Ah, but to dismiss this gem of a book as that beginning guitarist’s nightmare would be foolish. This book is more of a hybrid of lesson companion, instruction manual and method book.

This book is presented as a method book to guide teachers and students on a logical path through the learning process. The Guitar Lesson Companion isn’t really a book for beginners to use on their own; the material needs to be supplemented with direction and exercises from a teacher. But what if you don’t have a teacher? Well the book does come with a CD with tracks to supplement your learning experience, but here’s an extraordinary value for you, Susan has put together a companion website for the book with video lessons that match the book. Videos are no substitute for a teacher, but these videos with Susan, who has been teaching guitar in Seattle, Washington for 10 years, are a close second. If you are looking for a method book to teach yourself to read and understand music, look no further.

Be aware that the book is written in standard notation and if you have no intent of learning standard notation you won’t find much use for the book.

Who is it for?

  • Teachers who want a thorough method book for their students.
  • Students who want to learn standard notation
  • Students who want their current teacher to take a more methodical approach to their lessons

Who isn’t it for?

  • Tab readers who are happy with tab

What’s in the book?

  • Standard Notation
  • Major Scale Theory
  • Reading studies
  • Chord Changing exercises/Barre Chords/Jazzy Barre Chords/ Chord Formulas

You can check out the video lessons and buy the book from

It’s a well thought out book, easy to use with the CD and an excellent value with the videos.