The amateur guitarist -- tyro or advanced -- can easily become unstrung by the bewildering array of quality makes, constructions, tunings, devices, care and repair techniques -- especially the proliferation of electronic accessories (amps, power ratings, tubes and transistors, speakers, distortions, failures, vibratos, reverbs, tremolos, wah-wahs, echoes, fuzz boxes, and myriad other special effects). This is a comprehensive guidebook to the instruments: rock, folk, jazz, classical (although, understandably, somewhat weak on the last). Wheeler narrates guitar history from classical and medieval times through popular modern innovations, performers, and the big manufacturers (Martin, Gibson, Fender). Many writers on the guitar fred details such as strings -- round wound, ground wound, flatwound, compound, nylon, light, medium, and heavy gauge -- too insignificant to mention; but not Wheeler. This is not an instruction book, but for the solo performer, the back-up man, or the inchoate rock band, an informative overview and a useful reference.