Composer, author, lecturer, guitar teacher

Music publications

Magazine Articles

Over 200 articles for Making Music from 1988-2004. Interviews included Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Robert Smith (The Cure), Tori Amos, Scotty Moore (Elvis Presley), Mike Oldfield, Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), AC/DC, Jackson Browne, Jewel, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Jeff Healey, Throwing Muses, Julianne Regan (All About Eve), Francis Dunnery (It Bites/Robert Plant Band), Jools Holland, Emma Townshend, Gene, John Lee Hooker, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Jack Bruce (Cream), Vic Flick (John Barry / James Bond theme), Izzy Stradlin (Guns’n’Roses), Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Alan Holdsworth, Bill Legend (T.Rex), Earl Slick (David Bowie), Peter Frampton, Steve Craddock (Ocean Colour Scene), Gary Briggs (Haven), and Motown singers Edwin Starr and Martha Reeves.

Articles have also appeared in Guitar Techniques, Guitarist, Bassist, Bass Player, Total Guitar, Sound On Sound, The Band, Encore, Record Collector, Music Collector, Playmusic, and Rumblings.

In 2004-05 published 12-column series called SongSurgery in Guitarist magazine. A second run of this series started in mid-2006.

Wrote the biographical entries on Marc Bolan, Paul Kossoff, Brian Jones, Mick Ronson, Vivian Stanshall, George Harrison, John Peel, John McGeoch, John Barry, Bert Weedon, Keith Emerson, Jack Bruce, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Syd Barrett, in OUP’s New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. In 2020 commissioned to write an entry on arranger Paul Buckmaster.

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Cover of How to Write Songs on Guitar revised edition

How To Write Songs On Guitar
(Backbeat 2000, German edition 2004, revised edition 2009,

20th anniversary 3rd edition forthcoming 2020)

Cover of Inside Classic Rock Tracks

Inside Classic Rock Tracks
(Backbeat 2001)



(Backbeat 2002, revised edition 2010)


Songwriting SourcebookThe Songwriting Sourcebook

(Backbeat 2003, revised edition 2011)



The Guitarist's Guide to the CapoThe Guitarist’s Guide to the Capo

(Artemis, 2003)


Chord MasterChord Master

(Backbeat 2004, revised edition 2016)


MelodyMelody: how to write great tunes

(Backbeat 2004)

Songwriting Secrets: Bruce Springsteen

Songwriting Secrets: Bruce Springsteen

(Backbeat 2005)


How to Write Songs on KeyboardsHow To Write Songs On Keyboards

(Backbeat 2005, German edition 2006)




(Backbeat 2006)


Cover of Arranging SongsArranging Songs

(Backbeat 2007)


Play Great GuitarPlay Great Guitar

(Infinite Ideas, 2008)


The Songwriter's ManualThe Song Writer’s Manual

 (Barnes & Noble U.S. only, 2009)


How to Write Songs in Altered TuningsHow To Write Songs In Altered Guitar Tunings

(Backbeat 2010)




Songs and Solos

(Backbeat 2013)

As contributor

Classic 50s Guitars (Balafon 1996)
Contributed a chapter on rock’n’roll guitar-playing. Re-published as Echo and Twang in 2001.

100 Songs, 100 Years (Omnibus, 1999)
Contributed text on the songs from 1950.

A Guide to the Complete Music of Fleetwood Mac (Omnibus Press 1998, revised edition 2005)

The Guitar: the complete guide  (Balafon 2002)
Contributed chapters on rock, blues and acoustic guitar-playing technique

Roadhouse Blues (Backbeat 2003)
Contributed an essay on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar-playing

Albums: 50 years of great recordings (AMS 2005)
Contributed about one-third of the text

Play Acoustic (Backbeat 2005)

Cover of the Folk Handbook ('The music of English folksong')The Folk Handbook (Backbeat 2007)

Other Guitar Books

[If marked * with CD]

Fastforward series

*Fastforward Classic Blues Guitar Licks (1997)

*Fastforward Killer Metal Lead Licks (1997)

*Fastforward Lead Guitar Licks (1997)

*Fastforward Blues Guitar (1998)

*Fastforward Finger-picking (1998)

*Fastforward Acoustic Guitar Chords (1998)

*Fastforward Lead Guitar Solos (1998)

*Fastforward Rock Guitar Improvisation (2000)

*Fastforward String-bending (2000)

*Fastforward Guitar Scales (2001)

*Fastforward Altered Tunings (2000)

*Fastforward Alternative Rock Guitar (2000)

*Fastforward Slide Guitar (2000)

*Fastforward Funk Guitar (2001)

Chord Songbooks

Oasis Book 2 (1998)

Three Chord Tricks: the blue book (1998)

Three Chord Tricks: the red book (1998)

The Stone Roses (1998)

The Beatles Complete (1999)

Elvis Presley (1999)

The Corrs (1999)

Dire Straits (1999)

Catatonia (1999)

Eric Clapton (1999)

The Who (1999)

Bob Marley (1999)

Kula Shaker (1999)

The Kinks (2000)

Travis (2000)

Bob Dylan (2000)

Great Songs of Bob Dylan (2000)

Bryan Adams (2000)

Leonard Cohen (2000)

Stereophonics (2000)

Simon & Garfunkel (2000)

Paul Simon (2000)

Meat Loaf (2000)

The Beatles 1 (2000)

The Big Acoustic Guitar Songbook (contributor) (2000)

The Big Acoustic Guitar Chord Songbook Platinum (contributor) (2001)

David Bowie The Collection (2001)

Elvis The 50 Greatest Hits (2001)

The Stone Roses Complete (2001)

The Police (2001)

Sting (2001)

The Big Guitar Chord Songbook: the Sixties (2002)

The Big Guitar Chord Songbook: the Seventies (2002)

The Big Guitar Chord Songbook: the Eighties (2002)

C21st Century Rock (2002)


Slash for Guitar Tab (text introduction) (1995)

*You Plus Sting (1996)

*First Guitar Blues (1998)

*First Guitar Power-chords (1998)

*First Guitar Lead (1998)

*First Guitar Rhythm (1998)

The Little Book of Musical Terms (1999)

The Little Book of Guitar Tips and Tricks (1999)

The Little Book of Theory (1999)

The Little Book of Chords (1999)

Guitar Case Guide to Left-handed Chords (2001)

Guitar Case Guide to Left-handed Scales (2002)

Books for Artemis / Hal Leonard

The Essential Acoustic Playlist (2002)

The Essential Acoustic Playlist, vol.2. (2003)

The Eagles Chord songbook (2003)

The Classic Acoustic Playlist (2003)

The Classic Acoustic Playlist, vol.2 (2004)

Dido (2004)

The Strokes (2004)

The Darkness (2004)

The White Stripes (2004)