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Welcome to Classical Guitar Shed

what is classical guitarIf you’re a fan of guitar music, and you’re exploring the world of classical guitar, this site is made especially for you.

Whether you’re 9 or 90, you’ll find articles, video tutorials, courses, and programs that take you from the very beginning stages of learning guitar, all the way up to honing your craft as a mature musician and playing beautifully.

As you may suspect, music is more than just learning where to put your fingers, and even if you’re early in your guitar journey, you can practice and play in a way that makes even simple tunes much more beautiful. This site will help you to play more beautifully and find more meaning in your music, from where you are right now.

Learning classical guitar is about curiosity, discovery and small, daily experiences that deepen and expand over time. It’s my goal to help you make guitar practice one of the best parts of your day.

Learn to Play ANY Piece,
in 7 Easy Steps

This simple process will help you make fewer mistakes and master music more quickly.  

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What to Expect

There are 4 main components to Classical Guitar Shed.

1. Free Tutorials, Articles, and Tips

Classical Guitar ShedEvery week or two you’ll find new in-depth tutorials or articles on:

Classical Guitar Technique How to move your hands efficiently and create the habits that will let you play beautifully, without pain, excess tension, or wear and tear.

How to Phrase and Play Beautifully  Beauty isn’t all subjective: there are little-known but extremely effective methods that, when used consistently, make music more beautiful.

Articles Explore many of the ins and outs of studying music and playing guitar. Practice methods, extra skills, and guitar-specific knowledge.

You can find the entire archive here.

Oh, and keep an eye out: many of the lessons have valuable free bonus materials to extend your learning.

2. The Woodshed Program

A complete system to learn classical guitar at home, including:

  • An entire library of guided play-along technique practice videos
  • Access to all CGS courses
  • Unlimited video review and Facetime/Skype check-ins
  • Community forum
  • A progressive, step-by-step path to master the fundamental skills and techniques that will serve your playing for a lifetime.

The Woodshed is one of the most detail-oriented, user-friendly, complete education packages you’ll find anywhere.   Learn more here.

3. In-depth Courses

Find very deep dives into specific skills and repertoire pieces. The courses are designed not only to teach you a piece of music, but to advance your phrasing and musicality, as well as how you approach learning pieces.

These are my best work, and unlike anything else you’ll find on the internet.  New courses are being added all the time.  See available courses here.

4. Weekly Email Newsletter

At least once weekly, on Saturday mornings (PST), you’ll get some food for thought to carry you through your week.  Enter your name and email below to join over 10,000 others who get weekly emails.

How to Get Started

There’s so much material on this site, it can easily be overwhelming. Worry not, you can just dip a toe.

  1. First, sign up for emails so you can stay abreast of news and appropriate resources.
  2. Next, bookmark this page in your browser, so you can find it easily in the future.
  3. Then, peruse a few pages, starting with the Start Here Page. It will point you to a few popular destinations based on your interests or needs.

 

What People Are Saying

ramon martinez pic“I just want to thank you for your full lessons. In those you are helping us to understand how a piece is composed and the parts that we have to analyze and how to do it.  You are teaching a lot about how to read and play and the most important part: PLAY with the music and ENJOY it.”  R. Martinez

classical guitar review“Your videos are great – not too many around with so much clarity.  I’m a Senior Lecturer so I appreciate anyone who takes the time to make good clear instructions.  Thanks to your videos it has really made me look at technical work with a fresh pair of eyes – and hopefully hands!”  J. Washington

Programs and Courses

$39
jesu bach classical guitar

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach

One of the best loved of all classical guitar arrangements.

See more...

$39
read music guitar high positions notes

Play and Read Music in the Higher Positions

Learn to read music and identify notes on the entire neck.

See more...

$39
how to play segovia scales

Better Technique, with “Segovia’s Favorite Scales”

Detailed explorations of this popular technical tool.

See more...

$39
pachelbel's canon

Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Great for beginners to intermediate players.

See more...

$47
how to read music for guitar

How to Read Music for Guitar

A full course to get you started reading music

See more...

$39
malaguena guitar

Malagueña, by Ernesto Lecuona

One of the most fun and recognizable guitar songs in the world!

See more...


See All Courses

Learn to Play ANY Piece,
in 7 Easy Steps

This simple process will help you make fewer mistakes and master music more quickly.  

X

What You’ll Do with Classical Guitar Shed

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I start?

There are tons of lessons, tutorials, articles and resources on the Classical Guitar Shed site.  If you are just arriving, begin with the Start Here page.  You’ll discover how the site is organized, and find some good places to begin your exploration.

What is this site for?

With any luck, you’ll gain not only better facility on your guitar, but also grow as a musician and find new perspectives and deeper layers to the music you choose to play.  So much goes into beautifully played music.  CGS is here to help you on your musical journey.

What if I have other questions?

If you don’t immediately find what you are looking for, have some specific question, or have an issue you don’t really know how to search for, feel free to drop me a line anytime.  I respond personally to all emails containing questions.  If I can help in any way, I would be more than happy to.

Is this site for me?

CGS is for you if you are interested in classical guitar, and would like to explore resources to improve your technical skills, gain musical knowledge, and play more beautifully.  Whether you’re just beginning, or a lifetime player, CGS will have something you.  Age is not important, but love of process is.

What is Classical Guitar?

Classical guitar is a both a specific instrument (with nylon strings), and a style of playing that uses the right hand fingers, and focuses on composed music and refining your technique.  Classical guitar technique can be used beneficially with any type or style of guitar, but is easiest on nylon strings.

I play fingerstyle acoustic; Is this for me?

The word “classical” throws a lot of people off.  Learning classical guitar is all about making the hands move with power, grace and efficiency (in addition to playing composed music and all this entails).  If you want good hands, study “classical” technique (and read this).

About Me, Allen Mathews

allen mathews classical guitarBased in Portland, Oregon in the US, I (Allen Mathews) spend my days studying classical guitar and sharing what I learn on this site. Though I didn’t find classical guitar until I was 25 (I started folk guitar at 18),  I earned a B.A in classical guitar performance, and have been in private lessons with various teachers and coaches consistently for over 15 years, primarily in the US and in Brazil, where I lived and studied.

In addition to teaching privately, I’ve spent many years on the classical guitar faculty at Lewis and Clark College, and Reed College here in Portland.  I’m proud to be able to say that former students have gone on to win college scholarships, regional grants, and competitions (including one national)!

Since 2010, I’ve been working with an internationally renowned concert pianist as my musical coach, honing performance practices and learning techniques passed down from some of the greatest musicians in the piano tradition. (Just to clarify, I’m on guitar, he’s on piano.) I’m grateful for my weekly musical coaching, as it gives me different perspectives, and sets me apart as a teacher and musician.  It also adds immeasurable joy (and challenge) to my daily guitar practice and life.

It’s an honor and a dream come true for me to be able to spend my life studying music and to be of some small help on your personal journey in classical guitar.

You can hear me play on my personal Youtube Channel, here.

Here to Help

If you have any questions or need anything, or if I can help in any way, contact me anytime.

 

 

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Musical Transitions: How to Connect Musical Sections More Beautifully

Save to “My Favorites” When we learn a new piece of music, we often break it in to smaller pieces and learn them one by one. Then we put them back together and smooth out the edges. But to take our music to the next level, we also need to smooth the edges of the […]

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Sor, Fernanado – Petit Pieces Op. 45 No. 1

Save to “My Favorites” You’ve found the free sheet music and TAB for Petit Pieces Op. 45 no. 1 by Fernando Sor. Click the button below for instant access to the free PDF guitar transcriptions. Click here to download and print your free sheet music. Want more free sheet music? Click here to browse the […]

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Sor, Fernando – Etude Op. 60 No. 18

Save to “My Favorites” You’ve found the free sheet music and TAB for Etude Op.60 No.18 by Fernando Sor. Click the button below for instant access to the free PDF guitar transcriptions. Click here to download and print your free sheet music. Want more free sheet music? Click here to browse the full list. Programs […]

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[Quote] Vincent Van Gogh on Inner Doubt and Criticism

Save to “My Favorites” Perhaps it’s our clannish ancestry that makes us fear failure, as if we’ll be shunned and made to live in a far-off cave all by ourselves. Or maybe we forget that everyone wakes up groggy and slow, with mussed hair and gummy eyes. Oddly, we often think we’re different. But for […]

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Sanz, Gaspar – Espanoleta (advanced)

Save to “My Favorites” You’ve found the free sheet music and TAB for Espanoleta (Advanced) by Gaspar Sanz. Click the button below for instant access to the free PDF guitar transcriptions. Click here to download and print your free sheet music. Want more free sheet music? Click here to browse the full list. Programs and […]

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Learn to Play Vacances (Demillac) from RCM Level One on Classical Guitar

Save to “My Favorites” Vacances (“Vacation”) by Yvon Demillac is a beautiful French piece for classical guitar. The RCM Bridges Series has many tunes, old to modern, that are fun to play and musically compelling.  The early levels especially are must-haves for any classical guitarist. Watch the videos below for tips on how to practice […]

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Sor, Fernando – Etude Op. 35 No.13

Save to “My Favorites” You’ve found the free sheet music and TAB for Etude Op.35 No.13 by Fernando Sor. Click the button below for instant access to the free PDF guitar transcriptions. Click here to download and print your free sheet music. Want more free sheet music? Click here to browse the full list. Programs […]

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Sor, Fernando – Etude Op. 60 No.16

Save to “My Favorites” You’ve found the free sheet music and TAB for Etude Op.60 No.16 by Fernando Sor. Click the button below for instant access to the free PDF guitar transcriptions. Click here to download and print your free sheet music. Want more free sheet music? Click here to browse the full list. Programs […]

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[Quote] Francis Beacon on Playing Classical Guitar Naturally

Save to “My Favorites” In his Kitharologous, Ricardo Iznaola offers this quote by Francis Bacon. But as true as it sounds, what does it actually mean? When we talk about learning and practicing classical guitar, what is “Nature”? So much in music is thought to be “in the ear of the beholder”. But Bacon suggests […]

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Sanz, Gaspar – Sesquialtera

Save to “My Favorites” You’ve found the free sheet music and TAB for Sesquialtera by Gaspar Sanz. Click the button below for instant access to the free PDF guitar transcriptions. Click here to download and print your free sheet music. Want more free sheet music? Click here to browse the full list. Programs and Courses […]

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Speed and Precision Exercises for Classical Guitar

Save to “My Favorites” Whether we’re practicing scales, exercises, or a piece of music, it helps to have well-synchronized hands. When our hands work well together, we can play more beautifully, and create more flowing melodies. And to develop solid timing between the hands, we can use specialized exercises.   Precision and Speed Exercises for […]

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Sanz, Gaspar – Rujero y Paradetas

Save to “My Favorites” You’ve found the free sheet music and TAB for Rujero y Paradetas by Gaspar Sanz. Click the button below for instant access to the free PDF guitar transcriptions. Click here to download and print your free sheet music. Want more free sheet music? Click here to browse the full list. Programs […]

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Sor, Fernando – Etude Op. 6 No. 1

Save to “My Favorites” You’ve found the free sheet music and TAB for Etude Op.6 No.1 by Fernando Sor. Click the button below for instant access to the free PDF guitar transcriptions. Click here to download and print your free sheet music. Want more free sheet music? Click here to browse the full list. Programs […]

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