Learn Classical Guitar with my Education Series

Learn Classical Guitar
Screen shot from one of my video lessons

Each section below lists the recommended materials that will guide you through my educational books and videos. Complete each section before moving to the next. When you arrive at the grade 1 book you can start my technique book and continue using it through all the remaining grades.

Also visit my Lesson Page to browse specific lessons and topics. My video lessons are a large part of learning from my books so follow the lesson list under the product info for each book. Be sure to join the email newsletter to get my weekly lessons and to get exposure to professional level playing and see my new video lessons. Even if you don’t play the materials in all my lessons just watching them will give you insight into how to study. You can supplement the below books with free and premium sheet music from the sheet music page. I’d also highly recommend you pick up a Music Theory Book to accompany my materials.

Important factors to consider with “grades”

  • There are no grades in music – Play music and play it well. Pros play from all the levels. When a pro plays a grade 2 piece it’s a masterpiece. That said, if a student needs structure and pieces with reasonable technique the grade idea can help.
  • Stay within a level – Students need to stay at the same level for a long time. Just because you finish a graded book does not mean you are ready for the next one. Find additional material at your level and review easier material often. I will often have a grade 4 student play a ton of grade 2 pieces to review and learn to play musically and confidently.
  • Performing well – When you see a student perform a piece well, they might have worked on that piece for a whole year or two years. They will have played the piece in lessons every week and received advice over and over. They will have played it in masterclass, for friends, family, and smaller concerts. They’ve had success and failure and worked through it. So maintain your “concert” pieces while practicing other material.
  • Ambition vs goals – All your ambition and goals should be related to playing music well rather than progressing to the next grade. I’d rather hear a student play a grade 2 piece well than hear them play a grade 4 piece poorly. Finding good music that just happens to be at your technique level is the key. You can be a good musician and guitarist even if you never play past the beginner level.

Absolute Beginner

Proceed through the book and video lessons while simultaneously using the technique section at the back of the book as a technique routine. The exercises might seem simple but they are the foundation of your playing so keep practicing them with more and more refinement.

Everything you need is in the book and all the videos are listed on the sales page (just scroll down to the video lesson list). It’s all free and should get you started with reading and playing melodies and arpeggios. When nearing the end of the book, if you feel confident, you can supplement your studies with my Late-Beginner Collection or beginner pieces on my sheet music page.


Proceed through the book while simultaneously using the technique section at the back of the book for a technique routine. Everything you need is in the book and videos help you with each section. This book teaches you to read and play music in various tonal keys. The Late-Beginner Collection will have additional pieces to study and challenge you.

Early-Intermediate (Grade 1)

When you arrive at the Grade 1 level it’s time to have a dedicated technique book as well. Study both books together using my technique book for your technical routine and the grade 1 book for repertoire. The technique book has multiple technique routines at various levels to limit the material to a manageable amount. Feel free to proceed through the technique levels faster than your repertoire. The supplemental repertoire is optional but most people need to spend more time and play more pieces within a level before moving on.

Early-Intermediate (Grade 2)

As you progress through the grades continue with more difficult technique routines from my technique book. Continue to supplement the experience with repertoire at the appropriate grade level or use my Easy Classical Guitar Vol.1 or 2 collection which contains repertoire between grade 1-3.

Early-Intermediate (Grade 3)

As you progress through the grades continue with more difficult technique routines from my technique book. Continue to supplement the experience with repertoire at the appropriate grade level or use my Easy Classical Guitar Vol.1 or 2 collection which contains repertoire between grade 1-3.

Intermediate (Grade 4-6)

Practice the graded books one at a time while adding appropriate technique exercises. When you complete a book it is wise to play quite a bit more repertoire at the same grade level before moving on. Make sure you are confident with the repertoire before moving on to the next grade. This can takes, weeks, months, or years. Take your time and focus on quality. Professional guitarists play music from all the grades but they play it in a very high quality and musically manner. I’d rather a student plays well at grade four forever than play poorly in a higher grade. There is so much beautiful music to play so enjoy it.

Late-Intermediate to Early-Advanced

After grade 6 it will be time to dive into some etudes and fretboard knowledge books. Another great thing to do is to cover an entire opus of etudes to test and refine your skills in a variety of musical textures. I highly recommend using the entire Carcassi Op.60 etudes for this task. I consider them essential for bridging the gap from intermediate to higher levels. The Sor and Giuliani etudes might give you a good review and encourage you to focus on polishing your performance and refinement skills.

My Books

Recommended Books by Others

  • Scale Pattern Studies by Aaron Shearer – Very comprehensive scale and melodic sight reading. I use this book with all my later level students to make sure they can read tonal music across the entire fretboard. I consider this book an essential part of reading and understanding the guitar.
  • Leo Brouwer Etudes – These are excellent modern studies for students. They start easy but get quite advanced.
  • Villa-Lobos Collected Solos – The etudes are an essential part of the repertoire but are quite advanced so beware.
  • Music Theory Books – Learning and recommended books.

After Grade 8

Play everything. Get every book you can find. Find every explanation from pros you can hear or read. There are also plenty of technique books for advanced players, even my technique book can be used to the grade 10 level.

The Bible of Classical Guitar Technique by Käppel – 245 pages of exercises and excellent text advice. This book is large and can be tricky to organize a routine from but by the time you reach this level you’ll need advanced exercises to tackle your weaknesses and this book provides a wealth and variety of exercises for every technique.

The only method book for technique that I’ve seen for high levels is Kitharologus: The Path to Virtuosity by Ricardo Iznaola. It’s difficult but good. Not for the faint-hearted though. It starts from the beginning with just open strings but progresses very quickly. I recommend starting from the very beginning and using his advice and metronome markings. Don’t skip any pages or you’ll pay for it later. He recommends you stay with an exercise for a least a week or two after reaching the tempo. I find his rest stroke approach, especially during arpeggios, quite intense and not for everyone. I follow the arpeggio rest strokes in the lower levels but don’t always assign it to students in the later levels. I’d recommend having quite a bit of experience before approaching this book. In particular, be cautious with this book if you still have tension and relaxation issues as the technique requirement is so high.


Ask a Question or Leave a Positive Comment

  1. Unbelievable free material thank you so much

    would like to make a donation as it is worth a fortune!

    What is best way of doing that?