Berklee Guitar Songbook

"Buy Now" to view and securely purchase the available paperback / digital editions at our publishing partner Hal Leonard LLC.
Berklee Textbook featured featured-textbooks guitar New Arrivals
  • Suggested Retail Price: $22.99
  • Format: Book
  • Pages: 80
  • Dimensions: 9x12
  • ISBN: 9780876392133
  • SKU: 00350814
  • Publication Date: April 15, 2023

Related Online Courses & Programs

Guitar Chords 101

Add more dynamics and expression to your playing and gain a greater feel for your instrument by learning Berklee's approach to the construction of chords and chord voicings.

Classic Rock Guitar

Elevate your playing by learning the styles and techniques of the architects of classic rock guitar: Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, Gilmour, and Page.

Specialist Guitar Skills Certificate Program

If you are serious about studying guitar and taking your playing to the next level, you must possess not just a command of chords and scales but an understanding of improvisation and how to express depth and feeling. This certificate program, taught by Berklee’s world-renowned guitar faculty, enables you to develop your guitar technique and hone your skills in any style, from rock, jazz, and country to metal, blues, and beyond. Upon completion, you’ll be able to recreate parts played by your guitar heroes—but more importantly, you’ll be better able to realize your own unique sound.

Bachelor of Professional Studies: Guitar

Develop the skills to become a professional guitar player. Through private lessons with Berklee's renowned faculty and a rigorous program of study that spans contemporary music styles, you will develop your unique sound, improve your technique, increase your musicianship, and harness technology to create professional-sounding recordings.

Master Guitar Certificate Program

From rock to jazz or folk to metal, what separates the great guitarists from the rest is their mastery of the skills taught in this program. From basics like chords and scales to nuances like improvisation techniques, form, control, and inflexion, this certificate program will take your guitar playing to the next level. Few accomplished guitarists have reached their peak alone, and Berklee’s faculty is unparalleled when it comes to delivering the personalized instruction and feedback that will help you turn the fretboard into a playground packed with unlimited possibilities.

Getting Your Guitar Sound

Learn to use your ears, hands, and the tools of the trade to play jazz, rock, blues, country and other genres, with a hi-quality, authentic and persuasive guitar tone.

Guitar Scales 101

Organize the guitar fretboard, develop your technique, and learn to confidently navigate the instrument by gaining a firm understanding of the pentatonic, blues, major, melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales and their modes.

Guitar Chords 201: Chord Melody and Inversions

Master Berklee's approach to playing guitar chords. Improve your style, intonation, technique, time feel, and tone in this in-depth course. Explore open triads, seventh chord structures, open triadic shapes, and inversions in a variety of musical styles.

Specialist Singer-Songwriter Certificate Program

Great songs don’t write themselves. They come from great singer-songwriters who equip themselves with the skills and tools to make the most of their ideas. That means reaching a level of vocal and instrumental proficiency that allows your songs to shine. In this program, that instrumental proficiency is tailored to singer-songwriters who play guitar. The program culminates with strategies developed by legendary Berklee professor Pat Pattison for writing the brilliant lyrics common to many hit songs. You’ll leave this course with an understanding of how best to create unified, memorable songs.

Learn some of Berklee’s favorite, most popular guitar music. This collection includes some of the most popular songs and repertoire taught by the Berklee Guitar Department faculty. The music is taught and performed in our Guitar Sessions summer programs, global initiatives,
online, and on campus.

By learning this music, you will experience a diversity of styles: classic rock, blues, country, singer/songwriter, jazz, jam band, funk, progressive rock, funk, classical, and contemporary improvisation/microtonal music. Each piece is selected and introduced by some of Berklee’s most popular faculty members. This collection will help you become a well-rounded player and prepare you to participate in Berklee’s guitar programs. Notation varies, depending on the style of the selection, and may include traditional notation, tablature, and chord diagrams.

You will learn to:

  • Expand your repertoire and stylistic diversity.
  • Add new chord shapes and rhythm guitar approaches.
  • Explore fingerstyle techniques.
  • Discover new scales and modes for improvising.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of how chord progressions work.

Selections include:

  • “Hey Hey,” by Big Bill Broonzy
  • “Freight Train,” by Elizabeth Cotten
  • “Wildwood Flower,” by Maybelle Carter
  • “We Gather Together,” 16th Century Dutch
  • “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” by Lennon/McCartney
  • “The Weight,” by Robbie Robertson
  • “Apache” by Jerry Lorden
  • “Two Bones and a Pick,” by T-Bone Walker
  • “Contemplation,” by McCoy Tyner
  • “Watermelon Man,” by Herbie Hancock
  • “Vicki,” by Jimmy McGriff
  • “Summertime,” by George Gershwin
  • “I Think I’m Paranoid,” by Garbage
  • “Fade to Black,” by Metallica
  • “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” by Dickey Betts
  • “Diamond Dust,” by Jeff Beck
  • “Marchinha de Carnaval,” by Celso Machado
  • “Dolor de Amor,” by Frank Wallace
  • “Rockin’ in Rhythm,” by Duke Ellington
  • “One Note Samba,” by Antonio Carlos Jobim

“The Berklee Guitar Department’s commitment to diversity in styles and approaches has been integral to its success over the years and has been a benefit to all of its students. The Berklee Essential Guitar Songbook continues in that approach and is sure to be an important publication in music education, demonstrating the tremendous value of stylistic diversity in developing foundational skills in pursuit of mastery. The Berklee Guitar Department has proven that it has been a leader in what has been deemed essential in ‘all things guitar,’ and this book is no exception!”

—Terri Lyne Carrington, Performer, Educator, GRAMMY-Winning Recording Artist; Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, and Aja Burrell Wood, Scholar, Educator; Managing Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice

“Learning popular compositions is a powerful vehicle to understanding harmony and how it can be used to make the most impact. This book has such a wonderful diverse range of material that I feel any player will benefit, no matter the style or level of skill.”

—Tosin Abasi, Performer and Recording Artist; Founder and Leader of Animals as Leaders;
“Top 100 Guitarists of All Time” Guitar World Magazine

“Amazing! This outstanding book is a compilation of lessons and advice from many of the world’s best guitar teachers, presenting diverse styles of music, helpful background information, and essential elements of technique. If you are looking for a guitar songbook that offers you an in-depth learning experience, this is the one!”

—Tomo Fujita, Performer, Recording Artist, Educator; Professor of Guitar, Berklee College of Music

“This book is a perfect example of the kind of resource I really could have used as I was teaching myself to play. It is a sampler, offering fantastic mini-lessons in an amazingly broad range of styles. The arrangements are at the exact right level of complexity to simultaneously offer accessibility, challenge, and satisfaction. The teachers’ commentaries on each song are wise and inspiring, making me feel as if I got to hang out with a seasoned expert at each style, who knew what to say and how to say it, both to contextualize the style and to help me grasp how to go about exploring it myself. That might include history, specific guitar techniques, harmony, phrasing, the importance of the various parts, the roles of variation and improvisation, step-by-step instructions for going deeper, and even listing the most important recordings, with an appropriately different balance of these elements for each song. As an entry point into a wide variety of styles, as an example of the fact that there are many ways to think about music with the trick being to find the best one for each song, and as a way to have fun while jumping outside of your own box, you can’t beat The Berklee Essential Guitar Songbook.”

—Tuck Andress, Performing, Recording, and Touring Artist, from the Duo Tuck & Patti

“A fascinating educational journey through repertoire into the world’s most expansive and diverse guitar program. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to study at Berklee, this new book will give you a rare opportunity to peek into the various universes of a broad section of the Guitar Department’s faculty. As someone who loves learning new repertoire, I look forward to diving into these pieces and seeing what new insights my colleagues have prepared for us!”

—Nir Felder, Touring and Recording Artist; “Rising Star Guitarist” 2021 Downbeat Critics Poll;
Associate Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music

“I’ve always enjoyed learning songs that introduce me to new styles and techniques, which this book does so well. With valuable insights into musical form, technique, tone, dynamics, reading skills, and performance tips, The Berklee Essential Guitar Songbook is a great tool for guitarists looking to gain further musical depth, and have fun playing a variety of songs, while learning essential skills along the way.”
—Brooks Robertson, Fingerstyle Virtuoso; Finalist in Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition; Assistant Professor of Guitar, Berklee College of Music


Kim Perlak

With performances that are deeply personal and express a breadth of tradition, guitarist Kim Perlak has been recognized as an…