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Getting Started on 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.

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. 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.

3. The Woodshed Program

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

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

The Woodshed is one of the most detail-oriented, user-friendly, complete classical guitar programs you’ll find anywhere.   Learn more 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.

Enter your name and email here:

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, explore some of the links in the drop-down menus below.  They’ll point you to a few popular destinations based on your interests or needs.


Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

Lessons in Classical Guitar Technique

Lessons in Classical Guitar Technique

Regardless of philosophies, theoretical understandings, or brilliant inspiration, if your fingers don’t move, the music won’t flow.  Guitar technique is part of the daily endeavor that is the classical guitar.  The main goal is to play beautifully, but to do that we need solid fundamentals and effective technique.

To get you started…..

If you’re truly interested in having beautiful sound and great technique, you may like to explore The Woodshed.

Full Lessons on Pieces of Music

Full Lessons on Pieces of Music

Remember Bob Ross, the painter on TV with the afro who showed step by step the process of creating a painting?  This was my inspiration for these lessons.  Here I take small pieces and go deep into the processes of learning, practicing, and making them beautiful.  From whatever level you currently play, you will gain insight from learning these pieces with me.  (complete PDF music packets are included).

For even deeper, note-by-note explorations of beautiful pieces, tour the Courses Page.  These are my very best teaching, and more in-depth than just about anything else you’ll find for the classical guitar.

Tips and Methods to Play Beautifully

Playing Beautifully

One of my greatest strokes of luck came when I met a retired concert pianist and started taking weekly coaching sessions with him.  After several years, I still see him every week.  He has opened me to long-standing traditions of musical phrasing and ways to practice and organize the music so that listeners can connect with it more easily.  These lessons are sprinkled throughout all the articles and lessons on CGS, but here are a targeted few:

To see these in practice (instead of just in theory), I suggest taking any of the repertoire courses.  You’ll also find many lessons in the category above, Full Lessons.

How to Practice for the Best Results

On Practicing

Of course most of our time studying guitar is spent actually practicing.  Over time, the quality of our daily interactions with the guitar are what shape us as players.  While we are “learning to play guitar” what we are actually doing is learning how to practice.

A few to get you rolling:

In The Woodshed, you’ll find over a hundred guided, play-along practice videos.  You’ll stay more focused and learn even more quickly.  Find out more about The Woodshed here.


Premium Offerings

In addition to all the free resources on CGS, you also have access to one-of-a-kind premium courses, and a complete educational program to guide every step of your guitar journey, called The Woodshed.  

jesu bach classical guitar

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach

One of the best loved of all classical guitar arrangements.

See more...

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...

how to play segovia scales

Better Technique, with “Segovia’s Favorite Scales”

Detailed explorations of this popular technical tool.

See more...

pachelbel's canon

Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Great for beginners to intermediate players.

See more...

how to read music for guitar

How to Read Music for Guitar

A full course to get you started reading music

See more...

malaguena guitar

Malagueña, by Ernesto Lecuona

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

See more...

See All Courses

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.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you enjoy the site.  If you ever have a question or need anything, please drop me a line.  I’m here to help.

All the best,
Allen Mathews