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Below is a concise list of some of my favorite books that I believe help better illuminate the rich history and performance of fingerstyle guitar. 

  1. Ulrich Adelt, Blues Music in the Sixties: A Story in Black and White (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011).

  2. Bruce Bastin, Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1986). 

  3. Daniel Beaumont, Preachin' the Blues: The Life & Times of Son House (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). 

  4. Stephen Calt, I'd Rather Be the Devil: Skip James & the Blues (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2008).

  5. Stephen Calt and Gayle Wardlow, King of the Delta Blues: The Life and Music of Charlie Patton (Newton, NJ: Rock Chapel Press, 1988).

  6. James Revell Carr, Hawaiian Music in Motion: Mariners, Missionaries, and Minstrels (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2014). 

  7. Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2019).

  8. Dave Evans, Big Road Blues: Tradition & Creativity in the Folk Blues (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1982).

  9. John Fahey, How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life/Stories by John Fahey (Chicago: Drag City Incorporated, 2000). 

  10. Benjamin Filene, Romancing the Folk: Public Memory & American Roots Music (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2000).

  11. Thomas Forest Kelly, Capturing Music: The Story of Notation (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2015).

  12. Elaine Gould, Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation (London: Faber Music, 2011).

  13. Claudio Guerrieri, The John Fahey Handbook With a Complete Illustrated Discography and Labelography of Fonotone & Takoma Records, Volumes 1 & 2 (Claudio Guerrieri, 2013/2014).

  14. Philip F. Gura, C.F. Martin and His Guitars: 1796-1873 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003).

  15. Colin Harper, Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2000).

  16. Robert Carl Hartman, The Larsons' Creations: Guitars & Mandolins (Anaheim Hills, CA: Centerstream, 2007).

  17. Roger House, Blue Smoke: The Recorded Journey of Big Bill Broonzy (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2010).

  18. Steve Lowenthal, Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2014).

  19. Barry Mazor, Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2014). 

  20. Chas McDevitt, Skiffle: The Definitive Inside Story (London: Robson Books, 1997).

  21. George T. Noe and Daniel L. Most, Chris J. Knutsen: From Harp Guitars to the New Hawaiian Family: History and Development  of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar (Everett, WA: Noe Enterprises, 1999).

  22. Jeffrey J. Noonan, The Guitar in America: Victorian Era to Jazz Age (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2008).

  23. Hubert Pleijsier, Washburn Prewar Instrument Styles: Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos and Ukuleles 1883-1940 (Anaheim Hills, CA: Centerstream, 2008). 

  24. Philip R. Ratcliffe, Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2011).

  25. Bob Riesman, I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011). 

  26. Lorene Ruymar, The Hawaiian Steel Guitar and Its Great Hawaiian Musicians (Anaheim Hills, CA: Centerstream Publishing, 1996).

  27. Robert Sacré, ed., Charley Patton: Voice of the Mississippi Delta (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2018).

  28. Robert Tilling, "Oh, What a Beautiful City": A Tribute to the Reverend Gary Davis (1896-1972): Gospel, Blues, and Ragtime (Paul Mill Press, 1992). 

  29. Merle Travis and Deke Dickerson, Sixteen Tons: The Merle Travis Story (BMG, 2022).

  30. John W. Troutman, Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

  31. Harvey Turnbull, The Guitar: From the Renaissance to the Present Day (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974). 

  32. James Tyler, The Early Guitar: A History and Handbook (London: Oxford University Press, 1980). 

  33. James Tyler, A Guide to Playing the Baroque Guitar (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2011). 

  34. James Tyler and Paul Sparks, The Guitar and Its Music from the Renaissance to the Classical Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). 

  35. Stephen Wade, The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2012).

  36. Elijah Wald, Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues (New York: Amistad, 2004).

  37. Ben Wynne, In Tune: Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Roots of American Music (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2014).

  38. Ian Zack, Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015).

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