I’ll often use this phrase to describe many of the guitar instructional books that I have purchased over the years so I’d better explain what I mean by it. If I categorise a particular book as “if you’ve got one, you’ve got them all” then I’m not necessarily saying that the book is bad, in fact it could fall under this category but still be an excellent book.
For me personally, I find it quite irritating and frankly amazing why any author would want to rewrite the same book over and over without even attempting to put a new spin on it, yet the guitar instructional category suffers from this terribly. There must be thousands of books that are titled “learn guitar,” “learn blues guitar,” “advanced rock guitar” to describe the typical titles of just a few and they are all essentially the same book, with virtually the same content and almost follow the same order. It’s like every guitarist want’s to write a book and thinks they’re the only one that’s ever done it.
My pet hate is buying a book for advanced guitar only to find the first twenty pages explaining how to tune the guitar and play the pentatonic scale over a I IV V chord progression and then go on to tell me “these are the modes” and “here are some scale exercises that you already know because you bought a beginner book years ago that taught you nothing new and you couldn’t follow anyway!” okay, I’m ranting!
So anyway, whenever I put a book into this category then just take it as a warning that if you have one or two of the typical learn guitar books then you are not likely to find anything new, just somebody else’s spin on the same old stuff.
And here’s my tip for anybody who wants to write a guitar book. Do us all a favour and write something different or useful. The all encompassing beginner to advanced guitar book is an extremely over saturated market, you aren’t going to change the world with your version of the same old thing. If you’re going to write a book for beginners then concentrate on beginners and beginners only, cover only what they need to know, don’t give too much information in one book.
If your writing for intermediates then jump straight in, we already know the pentatonic box and the major scale, if you have to include it then just a recap will be enough or put a prerequisite in the opening page, use the pages for something more relevant. Look through your book collection and find what’s missing, I can assure you there is tons that can be written about that is rarely mentioned in most other guitar books or topics that can be explained better. Look through guitar forums and you will see the same old questions being asked yet hardly any of the popular books answer those questions. If all else fails then just write a book packed with tabbed examples for your chosen genre, now there’s an under saturated market if ever there was one!