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Is the Modern Method for Guitar by Berklee College of Music a good method?

Guitar Coaching
September 09, 20223 min read

Berklee College of music is without a doubt one of the most prestigious music schools for contemporary musicians. Most guitarists associate Berklee College of Music with Dream Theater and Steve Vai since these are a couple of the most famous guitar players that spent time studying at Berklee.

Modern Method for Guitar by Berklee College of Music is also one of the most popular guitar learning books. I get about it all the time when someone is looking for a book recommendation. So, I decided to address the topic here on

Here’s my take on the subject:

Modern Method for Guitar was developed and released around 1962 to 1963. As you can understand, that’s WAY before Led Zeppelin or even Jimi Hendrix! It was written way before the big explosion of rock music that revolutionized the way we approach the electric guitar. Needless to say, it’s way before heavy metal music and the playing of even Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads.

And this is the reason that, as a professional guitar educator, I do not recommend this book for people that want to become proficient in electric guitar. The things this book can teach you are useful and interesting when it comes to music in GENERAL. However, they are definitely technically and stylistically irrelevant when it comes to electric rock guitar.

Why is the Modern Method for Guitar so famous among musicians?

Well, it’s a good music learning book. Once again, I don’t mean electric guitar learning, but a music learning book. It gives you a good idea about music theory. You can learn scales, modes, arpeggios, and different chord shapes.

Secondly, it was used of course by Berklee College of Music. This gives it amazing credibility which makes it a default choice for many people.

What is the problem with the Modern Method for Guitar?

If someone wants to use a book to learn electric guitar, nowadays there are much better options to choose from. There are methods that are full of relevant examples and include all the advancements in playing, sound quality, music phrases and even practicing that have been done since then.

If you are just starting with playing guitar, without having a specific style of music in mind, this book might be an acceptable option for you as a beginner. When it comes to rock and metal guitar playing, it’s off the table! There are simply way better options.

Why is the Modern Method for Guitar still being used today?

Well, basically the teachers that are using it were actually taught from that specific book through their own teachers. So, they’re still using it with their students because of that. It is a “marriage of convenience”

What Modern Guitar book do you suggest?

There is simply way, way too many choices to recommend when it comes to the best book for modern electric rock guitar. This is way beyond the scope of this post. However, since I get this question A LOT, I will suggest a book for Contemporary Music Theory. I find this a great option for someone who wants to acquire well-established and comprehensive knowledge about learning modern music theory and harmony.

Harmony and Theory by Carl Schroeder and Keith Wyatt. This book contains everything a professional musician needs to have. It covers from the simplest to the most difficult concepts, like modal interchange, etc. that a professional musician needs to know. It covers at least 85% of what a pro needs to know.

After you are done with that, if you want to delve even deeper into music theory and specifically jazz theory, I recommend the Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine BUT I’d suggest starting with the first one, anyway.

I hope this was helpful. You can watch the video below, where I explain this topic in more detail. If you’re interested in developing your guitar skills and reaching your music goals, please check the different Elite Guitar Coaching Academy packages and how you can get private coaching from me.

Talk soon!!

Ioannis Anastassakis

Born in the Greek island of Crete, Ioannis Anastassakis completed his Bachelor’s degree at the American College of Greece and subsequently studied at the distinguished Musicians Institute (GIT), where he remained as an instructor, after graduating at the top 1% of his class. He continued his graduate studies in Music, at the California State University, completing an MA in Guitar Performance, graduating Magna cum Laude.

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