Composer, author, lecturer, guitar teacher

Readers’ comments

Quotes from reviews on Amazon UK and USA follow. Thank you to everyone who has posted helpful comments on my books at Amazon – please keep them coming!

How To Write Songs On Guitar

“As a keen songwriter, I have found this book invaluable. This is the sort of book where you can turn to any page and you will find something vital to making music.”

“The section on how to go about using inversions and keychanges in the real world is worth the price just for this info.”

“No book can really make you a top songwriter but if your goal is to write quality songs that you can be proud of, whether or not they make you an instant millionaire, this book will teach and inspire you.”

“I have bought lots of books about music ranging from songwriting to playing techniques and this is the only one I would buy again if I lost it. It is as though I was writing songs in the dark and all of a sudden Rikky Rooksby walked in and said, “Hey there’s a lightswitch here! Let me turn the light on for you.”

“I’ve had the book a fortnight & am delighted yet have barely grazed its surface. Rooksby – I salute you. BUY THIS BOOK!”

“This book is a veritable goldmine of information for anyone interested in the hugely underrated art of songwriting. Worth every penny for the fantastic table of keys it features alone, it offers much, much more besides: the sort of book you can delve into anywhere and find engrossing, with nearly every page affording some valuable insight.”

“This is a really good tool for anyone wanting to write on guitar, regardless of their current standard. Fun, interesting and inspiring.”

“This book is probably the most informative book I have ever bought. It teaches you EVERYTHING about creating good harmony in a song!! Chord progressions, inversions, sequences are all looked at in depth but easy to understand. Clever songwriting tools are also developed as are basic song structures!!”

“At five times the price, it would still represent excellent value.”

“If I work through this book I’m sure I will not only vastly improve my playing and understanding of chords and why they exist but I may even have the tools at hand to write a song.”

“Whether it be constructing your own, or dissecting your favorite songs, this book offers valuable insight.”

How to Write Songs on Guitar has been an indispensable resource for me, and I credit it for my maturation as a songwriter.”

“Just the table of chords and keys (page 33) has been worth the price of the book!”

“I strongly recommend this book to any beginning songwriter, but I’m sure it would be useful for experienced songwriters as well. I’ve had the book for a long time now, and I’m still reading it and learning new things.”

“As you progress as a songwriter, you progress further along in the book, making it relevant for years. I now have a bookshelf full of songwriting books, and this is the only one that I keep turning to time after time.”

“If you are a serious student of guitar, and especially if you want to write music and /or lyrics. It is a must have.”

“I especially applaud the manner in which he presents music theory. I have had several teachers but none of them put it as succinctly or clearly as Rikky Rooksby.”

“Great book.”

“It’s a small price to pay for some good knowledge.”

“I use this book quite a bit when I am lacking in inspiration. I wish I had had it 10 years ago when I started writing songs. Instead I had to learn a lot of what is here the hard way.”

“This is one of those books that is almost all killer and no filler.”

“… full of exciting ideas for every aspect of songwriting.”

“You won’t just sit down and read this book once. It’ll be a longtime companion.”

“… the real strength, in my opinion, lies in the musical ideas Rooksby so efficiently imparts and the respect he shows for great songs and the artistry behind them, not just of-the-moment ‘hit’ songwriting. What a refreshing change from the vast majority of songwriting books on the market!  It would be a bargain at twice the price!”

“I can’t recommend this book highly enough. An enthusiastic five stars!”

“Until reading this book, I wrote songs using only intuition and experimentation. This method worked fairly well, but I often found myself at the end of a dead-end street, with no clue of how to get to where I wanted to go… this book has given me a GREAT resource for extricating myself from those dead-end situations… It honestly changed my approach to songwriting.”

“It’s as if all my meditating for the perfect guitar book came true when I bought this book. I don’t learn very quickly but I learn completely.”

“Buy a tuner, an amp, a beginning guitar, this book, some pics and I swear that’s all you’ll need.”

“If my studio burned down, this would be one of the first books I’d replace. If you are a guitar player and are interested in expanding your knowledge of songwriting, this book is GOLD.”

“This is the best (and most comprehensive / complete) songwriting book in existence.”

“If you are new to song-writing or self taught intuitively this is a great introduction. An experienced, knowledgable, well-read songwriter may find it less valuable, but might learn something. I found it interesting and a couple of songwriter friends have been itching to read it too!”

“I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s so dang COMPLETE. I’ve never seen anything like it! If you’re a songwriter this book is a MUST HAVE.”

Inside Classic Rock Tracks

“Rikky Rooksby has created a book that is both absorbing in itself and likely to be a very useful resource for music teachers needing to cover the history of popular music. I will find it very useful to support my work as a tutor on Edexcel’s AS Music Technology syllabus, but also an enjoyable and useful read in its own right.”

“The writer has very excellent insights about the music tracks spanning four decades, and he peppers his writing with biting wit. Definitely recommended!”

“Rooksby does a great job of analyzing notable songs from the last few decades and explains what makes them effective. Some of his observations are funny too. I recommend this for anyone who is interested in songwriting and production, but is bored with the usual ‘How to Write Massively, Successful Hit Songs in 27 Easy Steps’ format.”

The Songwriting Sourcebook

“I bought this book along with the recommended Melody book also by Rikky and together they are simple amazing, though I would have liked the two to have been one!”

“… pop in the cd and listen to no less than 20 beautifully recorded pop tracks (sans vocals) written in various styles which apply the book’s teachings. But you aren’t just listening. You’re following along with the cd section of the book, which shows every chord used and an accounting of every measure in every track recorded, along with comments on the most significant events. I came away with a much greater appreciation of popular song and its potential.”

“I am finding this to be a very useful book. It is packed full of information about chords and chord sequences. It is well laid out, and in a useful format. It actually lays flat on the table (or music stand) while you have your guitar in your hands.”

“If you want to learn music theory in a formal way this is not a book for you. But if you want to have a broad vision of the practical use of chords into songs, buy this one.”

“This is the best book I’ve read on using chords in songs.”

“… this book has been a godsend. I’d been looking for a book like this for a long time, one that explicitly shows you the techniques that popular music has been using for years, techniques that someone like me, who does not come from a musical background, can try out and run with.”

“I’m a pretty experienced songwriter, and I already intuitively do much of what the book describes, but now I know why what I do works or doesn’t work, and also have a palette of new ideas.”

“The layout and graphics are excellent, and I also appreciate the glossy paper stock — the publishing work is beautifully done.”

“If you enjoy writing songs, particularly if you’re a guitar player who enjoys writing songs, and you want to better understand the foundations of popular song structure conventions, I heartily recommend this book.”

“Rooksby has a style that is uniquely his own.”

“… not only is the book’s content solid, the writing is clear as a Miles Davis solo. A great job, all around.”

“I can’t praise Rikky’s books enough. I have all of them (at least the ones that are still in print). He knows his stuff. Get this book, and its companion How To Write Songs On Guitar and you’re well on your way to making great music… seriously, the amount of knowledge you will get from his books (this one especially) is priceless. You’ll never get writer’s block again. GET HIS BOOKS. No others come close.”

Chord Master

“After twelve years of playing, I thought I’d come across all the chord books I’d ever need. I was wrong. Rikky Rooksby’s Chord Master is probably one of the most informative books of its kind …”

“For the experienced player this book is interesting as it contains many different inversions of common and not so common, chords. For the beginner it should prove to be an insightful, interesting and useful book.”

“I thought I’d seen it all, but I’ve been proved wrong. This book isn’t a nice-to-have-book, it’s a must have, regardless of your experience as a guitarist.”

“In the first 30-40 pages, this book clearly explains a lot of information on musical theory very clearly. In my opinion, this is worth the price of the book alone. I’ve never seen this information presented so concisely in any other book or website.”

“Compared to your standard chord dictionary, this book provides so much more information for only a few extra dollars. I’d definitely give it 5 stars!”


“To me this book is really helpful because it allows me to understand how to link melody and harmony, how we can avoid monotony, develop rhythm skills, how to dare with dissonance and syncopation if we want to be creative, or how to work with intervals and notes that are not part of a scale. The accompanying CD is really good… Rooksby’s books are really excellent for aspiring songswriters like me.”


“Glad I found this one for myself. Riffs is not a book of sheet music for other people’s riffs, tho’ it has lots of famous rock riffs described… This is a great book for anyone who wants to understand riffs, not just copy them.”