Guitar Decoder Ring

The Guitar Decoder Ring is also available digitally for lending to communities and schools through The Palace Marketplace, Odilo, and Borrowbox.

Meet SIGIL—The Language of Guitar

  • 2023 NYC Big Book Award Winner in the category of Music.
  • 2023 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for a How-to Book.
  • Hollywood Book Festival honorable mention, 2023.
  • Global Book Awards finalist, 2023.

Guitarists who want to improvise and compose, from novice to advanced, will find SIGIL works like a decoder ring for the guitar, yet it's simple enough to keep in one's head. Visualize the whole fretboard. Gain portable knowledge of modes, scales, and intervals without wall charts. This is guitar study re-engineered for every level. 

Create more interesting solos. Break through your lull or stall. Decrypt the instrument and unleash your play. The authors are a seasoned musician with albums under his belt and a lively storyteller who walk you through the toolset with eye-opening and sometimes hilarious examples. 

Many of us want to decrypt the instrument and unleash our play, but the study of music, particularly guitar, is fraught with complex theorems and diagrams, rote memorization, arcane reference points, and archaic devices. Most of what's occurring in guitar instruction is not new. There's been very little innovation in almost 600 years. Most guitar books are a rehash of tools invented centuries ago that turn the process into a slog. It's time for a new language.

You will not find chord charts, scale patterns, mode charts, wheel of 5ths diagrams, or similar traditional devices in The Guitar Decoder Ring. This is an entirely new and portable language for the instrument that works everywhere, all the time, and does all of it faster and more simply.  

This book will equip you with a single tool to use in every category of learning and progress to tear up the wall charts. Players will find new avenues for their creative energy and intelligence. Instructors will have a gold-standard go-to book for equipping learners at EVERY level.

Goodreads Reviews

"A total game-changer! When I first picked up this book, I didn't expect it to transform the way I approach playing the guitar. What I loved most is the engaging storytelling approach that accompanies the practical applications of SIGIL. The author's humorous and captivating style makes the learning process enjoyable and rewarding."

"I resonated so much with the perspectives of these authors regarding learning guitar. They share in the same perspective I had as a complete beginner to the instrument. All I wanted to do was pick up the guitar and let my creativity explode through my fingers."

Amazon book reviews

"I have been playing guitar for more than 30 years now, and this book is one of the best I've read. It really does open up the fretboard almost immediately, allowing you to play freely in any key. I thought it was going to be a simple pattern to learn, but it's so much more. It helps you learn the notes build chords, and even learn about intervals, like a major third, and a perfect fourth, while only needing to look at your fretboard."

"HOW FREAKING COOL is SIGIL! I wish I had this book years ago. It introduces SIGIL in a way that's easy to comprehend and follow along. I struggle to learn new things...kind of black out mentally after the first few steps...but had no problem following along with the author. Plus, it was a super enjoyable read! It was humorous and down-to-earth and felt like a friend teaching you."

"I picked up the guitar and tried to learn to play when I was 30 years old. Now its been 20 years and I have not picked up my guitar in over six years. I actually sold all the guitars I had, including the Les Paul that I had coveted for years before I got it. I kept an old fender acoustic around, just in case. Before I had read halfway through this book I had that old fender out making sounds come out of it that I didn't know it was capable of making. Or at least sounds that I didn't know that I was capable of making come out of it."

"This book does an excellent job at creating a completely new way to look at the guitar. As he says "The guitar is not a piano" yet we teach notes the same. The new SIGIL method finally gives a way to think about the guitar so you can more easily get the most out of it. I'd recommend this to novice and advanced players alike since it really creates a better language for the guitar."

"The authors have created a simple, easy to remember and use system for knowing the notes and fingerings of any key on the fretboard of a guitar. There are many such mnemonics out there that try to do this, but they quickly get overwhelming and require a ton of memorization. With this method, you’ll memorize one pattern. If you can remember the word SIGIL, then you know the pattern. That one pattern will unlock all the scales, keys, and modes for you. Amazing. And for those of you like myself, who didn’t take music theory, this book will present all that complexity in an easy to understand form tailored for the guitar."

"As a self-taught and beginner guitar player, I was super happy to stumble across this book! By the first few pages I was already hooked. I resonated so much with the perspectives of these authors regarding learning guitar. They share in the same perspective I had as a complete beginner to the instrument. All I wanted to do was pick up the guitar and let my creativity explode through my fingers."

Study with Barry Gilman. 1:1 virtual lessons or join his learning academy.

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SIGIL merch: includes ethically sourced, sustainably created shirts (or many weights and kinds), notebooks, mugs, wall art (to replace your wall charts), decals (for your case or equipment), and other things. The store is at: | here also is a more detailed list.

Send Coffee: If you dig what we’ve done here, buy the authors a cup of coffee (or two).

Patreon: Asher maintains a virtual community if you’d like to get his insights on art, culture, and the cosmos, ask him questions, and support his fund for ongoing music study and an eight-string guitar.

Guitar Wankers: A podcast featuring the authors. We talk about guitar. No other rules.

GuitaRealm: GuitaRealm Online Learning Academy is a learning community with recorded lesson packages and one-on-one lessons with Barry Gilman. allows for an interactive user-based "academy" experience, with comprehensive, structured lessons and courses that are progress trackable, accompanied by detailed downloadable course materials.

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