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The Guitar Book - A handbook for electric and acoustic guitarists by Tom Wheeler
The name Tom Wheeler will be known to many readers for his current connection with the excellent US monthly Guitar Player magazine. This book, however, for which he will continue to be known for many years, has been around for about four years now, and has just been reprinted in the UK under the Macdonald & Jane's imprint.
Basically it's one of the best books available on the guitar - it should repay its price many times over as a reference work which can be consulted on almost any guitar-related problem, or merely as an interesting book to be enjoyed by the curious reader. The large format enables full use to be made of the superb photographs by J. Richard Forbes and, although the actual layout is not always to my personal taste, there can be no faulting the logical continuation of subject matter and inspired use of illustration.
The book opens with a (relatively) short historical glance at the American guitar and then proceeds to consider all the flowerings thrown up from seeds scattered by people like Leo Fender, C F Martin and Orville Gibson. There are thorough sections on Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, choosing guitars, strings (including vibration and harmonics theory), Parts and Adjustments, General Care, and Minor Repairs and Finishing. Part two encompasses amplifiers, speakers, cabinets, effects and PA - it's here that the book veers to a natural American bias that may be a little annoying to British readers; this is only a minor criticism though, and the in-depth coverage of these amplifier-related topics is relevant to guitarists anywhere.
The section on effects in part two does tend to be somewhat dated here and there - for example in the paragraph on Consoles and Synthesizers the last development mentioned is 360 Systems' 1974 introduction of the Frequency Follower - obviously many voltages have passed under the bridge since then.
As B B King says in his foreword, this is 'a book for all guitar players - acoustic and electric, beginner or professional, young or old', and as such what you lose in generalisations you gain in depth of coverage. For a general reference book on all aspects of guitar, look no further. UK price £7.95, US price $18.95.
Publishers: UK — Macdonald and Jane's Ltd, (Contact Details). US - Harper & Row, (Contact Details).
Sound Reports & Views
Review by Tony Bacon
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