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how to read music for guitar

How to Read Music for Guitar


Learning how to read music for guitar opens up whole new worlds of musical experience.  It allows you to connect with the brilliant musical minds of composers past and present, and join with others to play music from all times and places.

Musical notation is universal, bridging cultures and generations.  And learning to read music activates your mind in ways nothing else does.

If you wish to immerse in the rich world of music, learning how to read music is a must.




Watch This Video to Explore How to Read Music for Guitar


“Just wanted to say thanks Allen for all this detailed expert training on how to improve one’s skills on guitar. Finally after 60 years of age I’m getting serious about becoming a better guitar player/musician. People like you greatly help improve the world by elevating a person’s consciousness and vibration and appreciation of the good things in the world.” Joaquin K.

The Words and Symbols

This course teaches you to decipher the notes on the page, the symbols, and the musical words that give insight into how to communicate the expressive and emotional ideas of the composer. It gives you the tools to know and think about music in new ways, with more robust representations and greater clarity.

Practical and Immediately Useful

This course focuses on the most useful and appropriate aspects of reading music first.  You won’t be bogged down with random facts or obscure details.  What you get is a framework with which you can immediately start using musical notation and building your musical skills.

Strategic Practice Materials

Becoming fluent in the language of music doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time and attention.  You’ll find loads of practice materials specifically designed to bring you forward in your skills, and lead you to playing the music you want to play.

  • 37 Highly Detailed Video Lessons: Crafted to lead you forward naturally in your learning.
  • 36 Pages of PDF Practice and Reference Resources: So you have what you need close at hand.
  • Unlimited Email Support: You're not alone. Get the answers to any questions you may have.
  • How the Notes Work: How music is put together, and the building blocks of all written music.
  • How the Notes are Arranged on the Guitar: Making sense of the frets and string layout.
  • Guitar Specific Musical Elements: Understand the special symbols used for guitar music.
  • Following Musical Roadmaps: Read the signs that tell you where to go when.
  • Expressive Markings: See into the mind of the composer to create action and emotion.
  • Intensive Rhythm Training: A full bonus course to improve your proficiency with rhythm.
  • Successful Practice Strategies and Tips: How you can set yourself up for continued progress.
  • And More!

“Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities.”    ~Aristotle

“I think the way you structure your courses and the detail you go into is by far the best available.” Graham Y.
“Allen, i love the way you play guitar, which is “beautifully”. I do enjoy your great sense of humour , your enthusiasm and positive attitude – truly inspiring and even contagious!  It helps me not becoming disheartened. yes, following your bite-sized instructions and trusting the process i hear some progress in my playing even after the first few minutes – exceeding all expectations.  Bless you and thanks again!” Annerie R.

“I would just like to say that I really enjoyed the experience of this course. This is down to the structure of the course and your natural ability to communicate clearly. …you are teaching me a whole lot about music, from notation and reading through to get a deeper understanding of what music is. I cannot recommend any of your courses highly enough.” John A.
Many thanks for your kind words and advice. Good music teachers, in my experience, are rare. You are beyond good. You are excellent. Truly you are a gifted teacher, and I’m thankful for having found you on the internet.” Ferris A.
Again, thank you for your excellent teachings and beautiful expressive techniques and I am looking forward to learning more from your courses. You are a truly inspirational teacher.” Ed B.


“Is This Course for Me?”


If you’ve been wanting to learn how to read music for guitar, you are in the right place.

This course is specially designed to take to step by step through the basics of translating musical notation on the page into music that you play on your guitar.

You can be an absolute beginner, or a lifelong player.  There is no previous experience or skill required for this course.

All you need is patience, and the willingness to do a little practice.


“Hi Allen, another collection of very instructional videos. Your ability to get the information across is second to none. I must say again how much my playing has improved since finding your site and following your instruction.” Arthur F.

Thank you. I’m really learning through using your lessons. I was an elementary teacher for 30 years and tried and tested many new, weird and wonderful educational methods in the course of my career. Very few actually ‘walked the talk’. I place your philosophy and methods among the august few that actually do, as the ad goes, ‘what it says on the tin’.” Kevin D


Learn How to Read Music for Guitar Today Only $47

Take the steps to open your musical world and experience the vast array of musical creations.  Join the course and practice regularly, and you’ll find yourself playing and listening to music in completely new and different ways..

**Become a member of The Woodshed and get full access to this and all courses included in your membership.**

Purchase This Course Now and Get Started Purchase just this course.
Join the Woodshed and Access This Course, PLUS Much More
The Woodshed is a complete program to learn classical guitar.

  • Access to every course on CGS.
  • A step-by-step technique program.
  • Access to a massive library of play-along skill-building videos.
  • One-on-one feedback and support included.

The Woodshed is $49/month, billed automatically. Cancel anytime, with no contracts. Full money-back guarantee, plus keep this course for free, just for trying it. Learn more here.

After you’ve paid for the course, you can come back to this page and the modules below should be unlocked. You can view and access all your courses anytime on the My Courses page, found in the top menu bar of any page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I download the course videos or access offline?

Currently, videos only stream and cannot be downloaded. You will need internet access to view the videos.

Does this course include the sheet music?

Yes, you get sheet music to download and print, including standard musical notation and guitar TAB. You’ll also find the music separated into small sections for closer study, as well as any other helpful study-aids.

Are TABs included?

Yes, you get both standard musical notation and TABs PDFs to download, save, and print.

How long do I have access to the course?

Once you purchase the course, you have lifetime access. You can proceed at your own pace. You can start and stop as you wish, and know that it will always be here.

If you mark lessons “complete” as you go, your progress will be saved and you can pick up where you left off.

Can I go at my own pace?

Yes. There is no limit on time, and you can progress at whatever pace is most comfortable for you.

If you need to take a break from the course (to travel, or to focus on other things), you can pick up where you left off.

Move through the lessons as slowly or as quickly as you wish.

How can I tell if this piece is good for my level?

As you watch the video and look and the excerpt above, ask yourself the questions:
“Have I played music using these notes?”
“Do I recognize any of the “shapes in the left hand?”
“Are there markings or techniques I don’t recognize or understand?”
“Does this piece get me excited, and just a little scared?”

Most pieces of music can be a wonderful experience for a wide range of players. If you’re a beginner, your challenge will be getting the notes and controlling your hands. If you’re a more advanced player, the notes may come more quickly, but you may need to work on playing more beautifully (phrasing, connecting the notes, balancing the voices, etc).

There is always more to learn. As long as you take your time and focus on specific challenges one at a time, you can enjoy moving forward and learning a wide variety of music.

Can I view this course on my phone or tablet?

Yes, all courses and videos will work just fine on all common devices.

What if I have questions about the course?

If you have any questions on the course, or on any of the lessons within the course, you can leave a comment on any page. (Comments on the website are best, because others can see them as well.)
If you would rather not leave the question as a comment, you can email me directly. I will promptly do my best to answer any questions you have.

What if I buy this course and it's too hard for me?

If you get in over your head, that’s okay. You can return the course and get a refund, or you can keep it and come back to it later.

If you feel overwhelmed, you can also email me for advice or input.

Also, if you feel like it may be too difficult, you may be able to simplify your practice. Focusing on one small aspect (such as the right hand alone) of one small section at a time is very helpful.

What happens next?

If you are ready to purchase this course, you can click the purchase button above or below this text.

After you complete the checkout, you will have access to the course.

If you do not already have a username and password, one will be emailed to you. (Your username is usually your email address).

You can login at the top of any page.

Once you are logged in, you can find your courses in the “My Courses” tab at the top of any page.

To begin the course, print your materials and progress through the lessons.

If you ever have technical difficulties or something doesn’t seem to be working correctly, you can contact me and I’ll help as soon as I am able.

Take this Course

4 Responses to How to Read Music for Guitar

  1. Alga Ji January 21, 2018 at 3:13 am #

    You are so generous. Such a good Teacher, Mentor. I don’t k now how I have learned things in last 3 weeks that I always considered impossible to do. A

    • Allen January 22, 2018 at 2:29 pm #

      Thanks, Alga!
      I’m happy for you!
      All the best,

  2. Gary Mitchell February 19, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    Great course! I learned a lot and I will definitely be referring back to most of the lessons! Thank You Very Much!

  3. Gerry Phillipson September 25, 2016 at 6:23 am #

    Thanks for this really useful course which I’ve used as revision as I’ve come to it having played clarinet. There are some lessons I’m sure I’ll revisit from time to time.

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