Classical Guitar Method Book (Free PDF)

Classical Guitar Method Volume 1 by Bradford Werner. Free PDF sheet music for classical guitar (102 pages). This book teaches beginner guitar skills with a focus on the rich pedagogical tradition of classical guitar. Most learning objectives are covered through pieces and duets with free video lessons allowing students to perform full pieces from the first lesson. A qualified teacher or following the free lesson videos should provide students with a healthy start to playing music on the guitar. This is the 2020 edition. Also see Volume Two to continue learning. If you like the book you can support the site here.

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Free Video Lessons for this Method

Video lessons and articles are an essential part of using my method. Follow the lessons in the order below. Also see the list of additional tips and lessons at the bottom. You can start the technique routines and chords anytime.

Before You Begin

Method Book Lessons

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Visit the Lessons Page for more videos that compliment this book. I have a dedicated beginner lesson page as well. The above video lessons are for the 2019/2020 edition.

Student FAQ

What’s new in the 2020 edition? It’s the same pieces and page numbers as the 2019 edition. I’ve added some extra tips and explanations to help students understand the directions more clearly and updated a bunch of the video lessons.

What books should I use along with your method? My method should have everything you need for now but if you want additional materials here’s a few options. For theory knowledge I recommend the Berklee Theory Book 1 which is pretty good and has an answer key at the end and audio samples to download for listening and musicianship. However, here’s my list of Music Theory Books. Having theory knowledge is really going to help, a lot. But it’s not completely necessary until my Volume 2 book. First, you just want to get playing. For extra reading practice try Sight Reading for the Classical Guitar by Robert Benedict. I also really like The Cornerstone Method by Simon Powis as it does not duplicate material but has a very similar approach.

What is a good daily routine for a beginner? I recommend a technique warmup (included in the back of the book), some review of previous easier material, some sight reading, and then dedicated work on the few pieces that you are currently working on. 15-20 minutes of solid uninterrupted practice everyday is a good goal for a beginner. Anything beyond that is a bonus. As you become more advanced you can increase the practice time. You might also want to watch some lesson videos before you begin to remind you of a few things you might have forgotten or just to pick up tips for the future. Even watching videos that are more advanced than where you are at or something you are not working can still help you learn. You can find tons of lesson at the lesson page. Watching so pros play daily would be good too, absorb the culture and technique just by observing. See my dedicated lesson: How to Practice Music and Organize Your Practice Session

Should I memorize the pieces and should I keep them in my repertoire? Although I’m not strict about memorization with my students, I do believe that we play better when the piece is memorized. Also, our brains seem to get used to it as a habit and memorizes more efficiently if we do it regularly. So, I highly recommend you memorize your pieces but don’t be too hard on yourself, just do a little bit of memory work everyday and see how it goes.

When should I move onto the next piece? Aim for a confident playing of the piece. As a basic check you might put a metronome on and be able to play through it as that is a common issue. Aim for an even rhythm, nice tone, arched phrases, and a prominent melody. I encourage students to stick with pieces for awhile to see how they ‘settle’ into the piece in terms of relaxation. It’s important to dive deeper into musicality after you have accomplished the basic physical movements. A large part of what teachers do is to just raise the musical bar and get students to strive for higher levels of musicality so you’ll want to push yourself in that regard to ensure you are not just settling for a past standard (up your personal level every piece). In the end it’s up to you but try to feel confident and happy with your performance.

Is it okay to make mistakes? Small mistakes are generally fine unless they happen in the same spot every time. You want to correct issues in your playing and technique but as a beginner we can’t let it stop our progress either. Sometimes you need to move on to a new piece and leave that old one behind, just make sure to note what your difficulties were and try to correct them early in the new piece. Each piece is an opportunity to improve something in your playing but as a student you won’t be able to tackle it all. So make some progress and gain some confidence at slow speeds and then move on or come back it later. Give it time though, most students want to move on too fast. Remember that I’ll have students prepare pieces for a recital all year long!

Should I play as well as you in the videos? Don’t feel the need to play it at my speeds or quality level. I try to give a good example of playing to influence certain ideas but it is not necessarily possible to replicate for students. Everyone has their own strengths and things that need work so just use the videos as an initial orientation to the piece or exercise. It’s a way to get oriented and get some ideas flowing before you tackle the work yourself.

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