While there are acoustic guitar sites that also include mentions of the classical guitar, the emphasis here is on sites solely for the classical guitar. Excluding retailer sites and big organizations with courses to offer for all musical instruments including the guitar, the listing here is of classical guitar focussed sites alone.
The following eight sites are great resources with their diverse offerings for today’s players of the classical guitar:
If you’re looking specifically for full-fledged online courses you’d do well check out my review of 5 Structured Online Courses for Classical Guitarists.
classicalguitarshed.com: Free resources plus paid courses
This is a popular site run by classical guitar player and teacher Allen Mathews with a variety of learning resources particularly for the beginner and early intermediates.
While the main purpose of the site is to gain students for Mathews with short, affordable courses and a big expensive course (The Woodshed Program), there is a considerable amount of free resources as well. There is, for instance, a huge page listing free sheet music links for you to download and play. It is a well put together listing, of great value to students of the guitar looking for repertoire pieces.
When you subscribe to the site’s newsletter – a great thing to do, by the way – you get free access to ‘beginner toolbox materials’, with instruction on basics – posture, LH and RH techniques, warmup suggestions, etc. For those who already play the guitar, topics covered include how to learn a new piece, changing strings, a guide to nail care, etc.
Mathews’ newsletters themselves, sent to you on Tuesdays and Saturdays, are thoughtful and engaging. I love reading their insightful content quoting inspirational words of people unrelated to the guitar, yet somehow made pertinent. They provide a student with motivation and inspiration to move ahead on the path of learning.
Free resources on the site are not only in the form of written articles but also short instruction videos by Mathews. While learning the tips, you also get to observe his style of teaching and decide if you wish to progress further with his paid courses.
The site offers numerous paid, short video courses for about $40 each on playing a repertoire piece. Mathews shows you his approach and technique as also how to ‘play beautifully’ as he terms it in these instructional videos. There are pieces aimed at the beginner, early intermediate and the more advanced. And the choice of pieces is quite extensive.
Short courses aimed at the beginner, for example, include a Carulli Waltz or an easy Kuffner Andantino, or even a popular song like This Land is Your Land. Early intermediate songs include Giulianii’s Allegretto, Pachelbel’s Canon in D and Tarrega’s Study in C.
Intermediate pieces include the popular Romanza by Anonymous, Bach’s Air on a G String, Brouwer’s A Day in November and Sor’s B Minor study. Advanced repertoire has Bach’s Cello Prelude, Cavatina, Asturias, Capricho Arabe and the mandatory Recuerdos de la Alhambra.
This can be just the sort of thing you’re looking for – someone to teach you, step by step, how to play a piece you’d love to learn. In addition, there are technique and skill single-video courses on improving your sight reading, learning barre chords, reading in higher positions and so on.
This is a site with a practical emphasis on learning new stuff, with not much in the way of theory.
The chunkier, more expensive course on the site is the Woodshed Program with a yearly subscription of $400. It puts you on a path of long-term learning with free one-on-one video calls to a coach, unlimited access to the short courses mentioned above, self-evaluation tools, more instructional videos and a community of fellow learners who share the journey. There is no formal grading system as such, so no grades are awarded.
thisisclassicalguitar.com: Free courses for online learning
This is a content-rich and popular classical guitar site run by teacher Bradford Werner. He created it for his own students to share instructional videos and articles on repertoire and technique. It is not just the sheer quantity of the resources that is remarkable here but also the fact that a lot of it is for free.
Werner’s approach to teaching anything about the classical guitar is a graded one. He divides all his videos and tutorials into various grades, which makes for a systematic package.
The site mentions it has five main areas of focus:
- Pro Videos
- Free Lessons
- Sheet Music
- Gear and Reviews
- Interest Articles
The Pro Videos section is a constantly updated listing of various video performances of classical guitar repertoire by top artists including Werner. It is a kind of YouTube channel but with handpicked performances curated by Werner himself.
The Free Lessons section is perhaps the most amazing portion of the site. The sheer listing of instructional videos and other educational materials is unbelievable. You can check out this page here and remain immersed there for hours at a time. Everything from guitar basics to learning the tremolo is all there.
The Sheet Music section has well organized listings of sheet music. Werner offers a couple of Classical Guitar Method courses in two PDF volumes containing extensive teaching material including videos. The first volume is free and gets a beginner up to speed in all aspects of playing. It is a well structured course and unusual to find something this extensive and relevant given away for free.
The second volume has to be purchased if you wish to continue your learning. Priced at about $10, this must be the most valuable teaching product on the internet! If you want to learn to play the classical guitar from an excellent and painstaking teacher, just commit yourself to these two volumes. And you’re well set. Both these volumes come with supporting videos that go with each lesson.
Classical Guitar Method Book Vol. 1: This is a 100 page PDF with 20+ free video lessons for beginners. The focus is on reading music and playing melodies and arpeggios.
Classical Guitar Method Book Vol. 2: This book features solos and duets with 15+ free video lessons. The focus is on learning new music, half barres, rhythm, and some upper position playing as well.
While there are ample free resources on the site to learn technical aspects of playing the guitar, I’d very much recommend getting yourself the PDF on Classical Guitar Technique: Essential exercises, scales, arpeggios, and practice routines for various levels. It is about $12 and you can use it in conjunction with the Vol.2 Method.
If interested, you can purchase repertoire lessons for various grades at $10 a lesson. The quality is generally excellent and there is a video to go along with the teaching.
In the Gear and Reviews section, Werner personally writes about various guitars and guitar-related accessories and offers his recommendations. If you’re looking to buy a Cordoba C10, for instance, you may want to check what Werner thinks of it (he thinks of it very highly, if you want to know.) He has reviews on guitar cases, strings, mics for recording, guitar supports and the like. Often there is a video review as well. He also does classical guitar book reviews.
This is a rich site with a lot of helpful information for classical guitarists. I genuinely think we should be grateful to folks like Bradford Werner for sharing their wealth of experience. The free teaching available here is extensive and of high quality. Even when the lessons or teaching materials have to be purchased, the cost is so negligible we shouldn’t really complain.
classicalguitardelcamp.com: A forum for anything classical guitar
Sometimes it’s not about free stuff you can download. Or even paid stuff you can learn from. It’s rather about getting to know real people in the field and hearing them voice their opinions. People like professional players, talented amateurs, composers and luthiers along with weekend players, upcoming guitarists and regular fans of the classical guitar.
When such people come together over a period of years and exchange ideas, it’s a dazzling arena for discovery and self-education. Started by Jean-François Delcamp, the site has well over 1.3 million posts on matters relating to the classical guitar. You become a member for free and observe some basic courtesies of a good forum and you are in for a wide range of resources here.
The biggest thing here is the forum – or more properly, a whole lot of sub-forums that cater to your interest. Like Classical Guitar technique, Reference Library, Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Analysis of Classical Guitar Works, Composers’ Workshop, Classical guitar recording and amplification, Research and primary sources, Historical Background to Classical Guitar pieces and more.
The quality of the discussions in these forums is excellent and will open your mind to new ideas and possibilities. Most forum members are fairly articulate and knowledgeable when it comes to discussing carbon strings or guitars made by Japanese luthiers.
Folks regularly ask for advice on which guitar to buy or a comparison of two brands and there are always lots of suggestions (and some heated debate). There is, of course, a fair share of the highly opinionated and the insufferable few. But there is great humor as well. You can’t be a classical guitarist today at any level and not be a member of the Delcamp forum.
Beyond discussion in the forums, there are tons of free resources in the form of scores, mp3 files and videos. There are structured lessons that lead up to an end-of-year exam.
The guitar lessons are free and “are aimed at the isolated amateur who does not have access to a teacher.” Anyone can join the student group. There is a graded curriculum that has been put up by the founder Delcamp himself and it is a carefully curated one.
There is a “classroom” section for asking technical questions, how-to’s, music theory concepts, etc. There is also a vast library of member performances of classical guitar repertoire: audio and video recordings of romantic and modern music (e.g. Albéniz, Barrios, Coste, Mertz, Llobet); audio and video recordings of classical music (e.g. Giuliani, Carcassi, Carulli); and of works from the Renaissance to the Baroque period (e.g. Dowland, Sanz, Weiss).
There are original compositions and arrangements by members of the forum. If you search for anything on Google relating to the classical guitar, you will invariably find results from the delcamp forum high up in the search results. Chances are you have already visited the forum if you’ve been playing the classical guitar for any length of time.
As an example, search for ‘classical guitar action’ on Google. In the top few results, you will find at least a couple of answers from the delcamp forums. When you have 1.3 million posts about the classical guitar, you are bound to show up for almost any search that has to do with the classical guitar.
douglasniedt.com: Playing tips and more from a master
Classical guitarist Douglas Niedt studied with the legendary Segovia as also with other great masters like Christopher Parkening, Pepe Romero, Narciso Yepes and Oscar Ghiglia. His website is a storehouse of information and tips for guitarists at every level.
Niedt does not offer graded courses or curriculum. His site is perhaps best known for its Tips of the Month series of technical solutions. Each Tip is not a short paragraph. Instead, a Tip discussion generally runs deep down the page, often with 5 or more videos to elaborate on various aspects of the ‘tip’. No topic is treated casually, everything is in depth.
Most of these Tips of the Month are free to the casual visitor of the site. But if you want access to all the Tips, you pay a small access fee ($3 per month). This is very worthwhile and highly recommended because some of the tips he discusses you will not even find anywhere else on the internet. And the price of entry is paltry.
No wonder the site blurb claims this: The Best Classical Guitar Instruction and Classical Guitar Lessons on the Internet.
Like Allen Mathews of classicalguitarshed.com, Niedt offers single-piece guidance videos for a price. His PLAY IT LIKE A PRO series of classical guitar lessons aim to teach you to play pieces at a professional level. Most of the pieces listed here are of intermediate level and above, like:
- Leyenda (Asturias) by I.Albéniz
- Cavatina by Stanley Myers
- Capricho Arabe by F.Tarrega
- Recuerdos de la Alhambra by F.Tarrega
The lessons are in video form with the typical in-depth exploration that Niedt is known for. These are priced at $40 per lesson. Easier lessons for beginners are priced less for pieces like Lesson 1 of Sor and popular tunes like Scarborough Fair.
You can also, if you wish, sign up for one-on-one online live video lessons with the master. I have done so and I can vouch for the quality of the teaching. His attention to detail is exemplary and his tips are inventive while being totally practical. These classical guitar lessons are for everyone, “from the weekend hacker to the advanced player.”
You will have the privilege of learning from a teacher with over 50 years of experience. And he takes on rank beginners too.
The video/audio quality of the lessons is excellent. And you will be sent a recording of the session that you just completed for learning and future reference. The good thing is you don’t have to commit to take lessons every week. You can do it when you feel you need one. An hour lesson is for $60 and a half-hour lesson is $30.
The site also offers of late his consultation service. You can ask questions and receive advice about technique, practicing, music theory and ear training, fingerboard knowledge and just about anything. You can book his time by the hour and ask questions over many sessions that add up to that hour.
classicalguitarcorner.com: An online academy for students of any age
Simon Powis holds a doctorate from Yale and runs an online classical guitar academy which has become renowned for its teaching and guitar-centric publications. The site’s big offering is to invite you to a systematic online educational course, considered probably the best there is.
These – an academy membership plus availability of original guitar publications – are in fact the site’s only offerings. There are no paid-for short courses or paid-for video lessons or anything else.
But there are nuggets of pretty useful information and help for free on the site. Even if you’re not interested in an academy membership, there is stuff to learn. You can join the site’s mailing list and get a free mini-course of your choice – one meant for beginners and the other meant for someone who knows the basics (or comes from playing another style of guitar.)
The practical guidance and playing tips are remarkably useful and an early level guitarist will find plenty of food for thought and action.
There is more free assistance on the home page itself on the various aspects of the instrument:
- Theory and musicianship
- Beginner’s section
The technique section has advice on scale practice (article + videos), arpeggios (a short note with a downloadable pdf on how to play them at a small price), left-hand exercises, vibrato and slurs. All movements are demonstrated clearly.
The repertoire section has 9 video lessons on various pieces by Dr.Powis with detailed and precise advice, including de Visée’s Prelude in D Minor, Bach’s Largo and etudes by Carcassi – all intermediate-level pieces with extensive suggestions for execution.
The practice section has a handful of articles on practicing correctly, including downloadable templates for managing your practice sessions. There are articles on memorizing music, sight-reading and metronome practice.
The musicianship section carries some excellent articles on ornamentation, technique vs musicality, and dynamics on the classical guitar. There are also a couple of harmony workshop videos for applying theoretical knowledge in a practical setting. There is an erudite article on musical analysis – with videos of John Williams, Ben Verdery and David Russell discussing their thoughts on the subject (good stuff!).
The beginner section has tuning lessons, tips on changing strings, 5 common mistakes and beginner lessons. Interestingly, it has a perceptive article on learning guitar at an older age.
The publications here are of excellent caliber and are also available commercially on amazon.com. The 20 Practice Routines for All Levels, Graded Repertoire for 8 Grades, Graded Duets for 1-8 grades are all top notch publications worthy of a place in your book shelf.
Dr.Powis also hosts a popular CGC podcast which is totally worth subscribing to (for free). Besides matters of technique and musicianship, there are interviews with modern greats like Irina Kulikova, Stephanie Jones, David Russell, Uris Baric and more.
And finally there is the academy itself. If you are interested in a well ordered program to learn the classical guitar with attention to performance and musicianship, the Academy may be the perfect choice for you. Full disclosure: I am a member of the Classical Guitar Corner Academy for some years now and I totally recommend it for any serious student.
The site highlights the many features of an Academy education – there are 2 Grade exams every year (optional – you don’t have to take them but it’s fun to do so for the invaluable feedback you get from the teaching staff which is world class).
There are one-on-one coaching calls to discuss your specific issues with a teacher. There are performance seminars and open mics. There are quarterly member challenges that set out particular technical goals to achieve in a few weeks in a non-competitive manner.
There are progress journals you are encouraged to maintain online to keep notes on your development over time. And the learning materials (whether you plan to take the exams or not) are top-notch and personally crafted by Dr. Powis himself.
And there is the yearly Summer School when the members get to meet one another in the real world. Many members (including me) believe that the supportive community itself is worth the price of admission. It’s incredible what the right kind of people around you, in addition to professional teachers, can make you achieve.
This is truly an international group with members from far-flung countries around the globe brought together by the love of the instrument. The fact that many 60+ adults join the Academy to learn/re-learn the guitar is also a heartening thing.
classicalguitarmagazine.com: Articles, news, performance videos and more
The offline, physical magazine Classical Guitar was founded in the eighties and had a successful run until recently. The quarterly magazine, that kept abreast of “the music and the musicians”, ceased publication unfortunately with the Fall issue of 2019. The associated magazine Acoustic Guitar continues to be available though.
The website classicalguitarmagazine.com continues to keep us informed on the stories from the vibrant classical guitar community worldwide. Which is a good thing if you’re into news and developments rather just technical tips and downloads.
ClassicalGuitarMagazine.com and the Classical Guitar News e-newsletter continue to be updated regularly. You can sign up for free and receive a great mix of articles, videos, news reports, and archival stories from Classical Guitar magazine.
The site presents itself in a blog format of article snippets on the front page. A recent update of the site covered topics like:
- 10 favorite albums of 2020
- An interview with John Williams
- Technique notes
- Exploring archives of the magazine
- An article on Segovia’s rhythmic interpretation
- A round-up of vintage Japanese guitars
- A recent duo concert by Sharon Isbin and Colin Davin
- An album review of Xuefei Yang
There are videos to watch of performers recent and old, including a superb guitar-piano rendition of Rodrigo’s famous Concierto de Aranjuez or the Beijing Duo’s magnificent Chaconne by Bach.
There is an online store where you can buy archives of the old magazine. You can also make a small donation to keep this venture going.
classicalguitar101.org: Everything a beginner will want to know
As the site name indicates, this is aimed at beginners to get them started off with a variety of free resources. The site is run by a classical guitar teacher and performer Daniel Nelson who has studied with the likes of Pepe Romero, Bill Kanengiser and Oscar Ghiglia.
If you want to learn classical guitar, this site has all the information and resources you need to teach yourself how to play without overwhelming you with content overload. The kind of practical advice you will need is very evident in this tailored-for-a-novice site:
- Shopping for a guitar advice (tips for buying a guitar at your price range)
- Buying accessories (advice on essential guitar accessories like guitar supports, guitar tuners and more)
- Buying guitar books (how to build your guitar library with recommended books)
- Basic skills of technique (how to hold a guitar, how to pluck the strings, and how to shape your nails, etc,)
- Reading music (learn how to read guitar music through diagrams and exercises)
- Interpretation (learn to play musically with phrasing and character)
- Sheet music (finding free music to play at various levels)
- Memorizing music (tips for memorizing music, a vital skill for performance)
The kind of guidance that a self-teaching student will want is all here, simply presented. It has all the baby steps – like putting on strings, tuning, how to buy your first guitar, what accessories to buy (case, metronome, string winder, humidifier, strings, nail files, etc.)
The suggested method books for self-training include the well-known staples by Charles Duncan, Aaron Shearer and Parkening. The best books on exercises have the highly renowned ones – by Carcassi, Sor studies, Brouwer’s etudes and the famous Giuliani’s right-hand arpeggio studies.
The technique lessons cover the fundamentals well – such things like step by step instructions on how to hold a classical guitar using various guitar supports; how to shape your nails; and basic right-hand and left-hand positions on plucking and pressing the strings.
It doesn’t look like the site is being updated though. Even the comments on many pages are a few years old. However, the site isn’t about the latest news and interviews. It is solely about providing assistance to beginners. And on that count, it continues to do a great job with its evergreen content. This is a must-visit site (with repeat visits) for a newbie, there’s no doubt about that.
nylonplucks.com: Self-help resources for guitarists
You didn’t think we’d leave ourselves out, did you? Nylon Plucks is the child of the 2020 pandemic when most of us including the founder (me!) went into hiding with time on their hands. The idea of providing a useful resource on a variety of topics that matter to today’s classical guitar players anywhere in the world spurred this site into action.
NylonPlucks caters to every level of player – beginner, intermediate and advanced. It does guitar reviews, strings reviews, flight case reviews and the like. We also explore issues like ‘why does the G String sound so bad?’ We provide guidance on high tension vs normal tension strings and what’s so great about carbon strings. We tell you about popular German brand guitars on the market and teach you how to clean your guitar. We pick the best music stands you can get for your money and also tell you about small scale guitars for those with small hands.
These articles aren’t based on our opinion. They are well researched from sources across the web, just as though you’d spent hours researching the subject on your own. Of course, we do value add with observations from our own experience as we see fit.
There’s nothing on sale on the site – no courses to buy, no video lessons to purchase. It’s a free site, chockfull of resources. Join the free newsletter and you’ll get to know (once a month) of interesting stuff happening on the site.
In a related sense, there are other educational resources for the classical guitar all over the web. Read my article on Sheet Music Resources for Classical Guitar as also a review of some great guitar lessons on YouTube.