Beginner Classical Guitar - Lesson 1: Notes on the E string

All these free beginner classical guitar lessons have the same format. Have a look at how this page is layed out and become familiar with where things are. The heading tells you what the aim of the lesson is and the coloured box contains tips and guidelines. Below the coloured box are your guitar pieces that support the aim of the lesson and supporting resources which include accompaniment in mp3 format and free sheet music in pdf format.These lessons, designed for the beginner classical guitar player, build step by step with each lesson building on the previous lesson in the following ways: (i) knowledge of guitar technique; (ii) familiarity with music reading and (iii) strengthening - and in a safe way - your hands. Try and play through all the exercises provided at the bottom of the page. Remember that the house with the solid foundation is stronger in the long run.

Beginner Classical Guitar - Lesson Aim

  1. Become familiar with and practice using the notes located on the E string.
  2. Learn the whole note.
  3. Become comfortable with placing the left hand in the correct fret.
  4. Start using alternating i-m-i-m-i-m fingers on the right hand.

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Exercise 1

Play along accompaniment

Two mp3s are provided for this lesson. The one contains both parts of the music (called Exercise 1 Both Parts and the other contains the accompaniment (called Exercise 1 Accompaniment). Practice by setting your metronome at a very slow pace. Once you can play it confidently at a metronome speed of 100 you can play it with the accompaniment provided.

Listen to the song by playing this midi Play along with the accompaniment >

A good metronome is the Korg TM-40 which combines a metronome with a tuner.

Place your left hand fingers right behind the frets to get a good, clean sound. If you are hearing a buzz then your finger is probably not correctly placed.

- Use the correct fingers in the correct fret (see the diagram)

- Alternate between the i-m-i-m-i-m fingers of the right hand when plucking the strings

See the diagram below for notes on the E string and check which fingers to use in each fret.

Alternately, review the notes on the fretboard provided.

Notice the note values. If you need to revise this aspect go to music theory. In Exercise 1 you will be playing Whole Notes; in Exercise 2 & 3 half notes and in Exercise 4 quarter notes.

Great! Let's keep moving forward.

Okay, now you know the drill. The exercises provided below aim at developing the i-m-i-m movement of your right hand and your familiarity with the E string. Play through them by listening to the song and then playing along with the accompaniment. The sheet music can be downloaded by clicking on the PdF.
For tips on how best to positon and use the left hand see for great advice and images.

Exercise 2 Listen to the song Accompaniment
Exercise 3 Listen to the song Accompaniment
Exercise 4 Listen to the song Accompaniment

Well done!

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  1. You've finished your first lesson in this beginner classical guitar series.
  2. You are now familiar with and practiced in using the notes of the 1st string.
  3. You've practiced alternating between i-m-i-m-i-m with the right hand.
  4. Also, you've become familiar with and used the whole note, half note and the quarter note.
That's great progress.

If your hand is feeling tired you can use the left hand exercises provided. Dan provides some great chromatic exercises using barres. Let's move on to the next lesson, Lesson 2, where you'll learn the notes of the B string.

Click to move to the next lesson from Beginner Classical Guitar - Lesson 1.


Alternately, look through the lessons below and move to your preferred lesson

Lesson 1 - The E String: Start by familiarising yourself with the notes on the E string (1st String) by playing the pieces provided with the MP3 accompaniment. Practice alternating the i-m fingers of the right hand.

Lesson 2 - The B String: Learn and practice the notes on the B string (2nd string) by following the guidelines and playing the pieces with MP3 accompaniment provided. This lesson will help your fingers strength and the i-m right hand alternation will start becoming a little easier too.

Lesson 3 - The E and B String Together: Consolidate your learning of the E and B string by playing through the exercises which provide the opportunity to practice these notes to music arranged with accompaniment in MP3 format. Progress from whole notes, half notes and quarter notes which were used in previous lessons to dotted notes in this lesson.

Lesson 4 - The G String : Learn and practice the notes on the G string (3rd string) by following the guidelines and playing the pieces along with MP3 accompaniment. Enjoy your first introduction to playing music in two voices while allowing the i-m right hand finger combination to become second nature.

Lesson 5 - The D String Together: Become familiar with the D string (4th string) by playing the exercises with the accompaniment provided. Consolidate further working with dotted notes and working with music in two voices. Practice the p-i-m and i-m-p right hand combinations while using the quaver note for the first time.

Lesson 6 - The A String: Become familiar with the A string while you consolidate further your work with two voices and begin, for the first time, working in a new time signature. Practice the p-i-m and i-m-p right hand combinations while using the quaver note for the first time.

Lesson 7 - The E String: Your final lesson. On completion of this lesson you should be ready to prepare for your classical guitar examination Grade 1.

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