Since I'm looking to start a career with this device, I thought I should do my homework on its history.

When I was in high school, a good friend of mine gave me a book called Guitar, by Richard Chapman. It's a rather thorough reference book on the history of the instrument and its players. Sections on classical, flamenco, blues, country, folk, jazz, rock & poop pop, and latin & world are included.

The book is informative, but the author regularly attempts to describe pieces of music with words, a practice I despise. I'd rather just listen. While there is too much music mentioned to fit on an included CD, I fortunately have a better solution: subscription music service.

When I began my subscription to Rhapsody earlier this year, my listening horizons shot out in all directions. I discover old and new artists every day, and I frequently look up genres I've never heard of, just for something completely different.

As I read this book, every time I come across a guitarist's name, I look him/her up in Rhapsody and save their top tracks to a playlist. I currently have a massive playlist for each genre in the first half of the book.

The process is a bit tedious and makes for really slow reading, but the payoff is unbeatable. I'm listening to all the most significant, monumental guitar music in history. I've never had a better homework assignment.