THE TOOLS YOU NEED TO SUCCEED
Welcome to the Smart Classical Guitar Resources section, a curated list of the tools I strongly recommend for taking your guitar playing to the next level. I have tested every recommendation on this page. Many of the resources listed here are an important part of my guitar playing and guitar teaching.
Before digging into the awesome resources I know and trust, an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Parkening Guitar Method Vol. 1
This is the method book I learned from as a child, and I still use it with my students who need an introduction to classical guitar. It is not nostalgia that keeps me using it. I have used many other great method books over my years of teaching. And some of them have strengths that the Parkening method does not have. But what keeps me coming back to this method are the following: 1) good introduction to basic classical techniques, 2) good introduction to music reading, 3) repertoire drawn from great music rather than only from compositions by the method book author and friends, 4) good sequencing and pacing of concepts.
This guitar technique handbook came out when I was a college student. I devoured it at that point and have used it in my guitar playing and teaching ever since. It is by Scott Tennant, virtuoso classical guitarist and long-time member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Scott offers great technique advice, an efficient Daily Warmup Routine, and outstanding exercises for all kinds of different techniques. Scott’s pragmatic personality and sense of humor come through, making the book fun to read. I think every guitarist should own this one.
The Carcassi 25 Melodic and Progressive Etudes, op. 60, are some of my favorite studies. I went through them many times as a student. I still enjoy playing them to keep my technique in shape, and I teach them to my students. I find studies 2, 3, 4, and 7 to be especially useful. I play and teach many of the others as well. This is a good solid edition of these classic studies. Matteo Carcassi – 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies, Op. 60: Book/Online Audio
Bridges Guitar Technique
The Bridges Guitar Technique book, also known as the Royal Conservatory Guitar Technique book, is published by Frederick Harris and edited by faculty from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. This book structures technique exercises in 10 levels preceded by a preparatory level. Each level includes scales and arpeggios. Later levels include slur scales and scales in 3rds and 6ths. Assigned fingerings and tempo markings are provided. This book is carefully structured to facilitate steady progress from level to level. The level system provides the student a clear way to measure their progress. I recommend this book and have been using it with my students for several years. Check out the Bridges Guitar Technique book.
Bridges Guitar Repertoire Series
The Bridges Guitar Repertoire Series, also known as the Royal Conservatory Guitar Repertoire series, is the companion of the Bridges Guitar Technique book. Like the technique book, this series of repertoire books is published by Frederick Harris and edited by faculty from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. There are books of repertoire and studies for each level of development from 1 to 8, preceded by a preparatory level. Suggested fingerings and tempo markings are provided. This series is carefully structured to facilitate steady progress from level to level. The level system provides the student a clear way to measure their progress. These books provide useful repertoire for students. For advanced players, they provide good sources of music for sight-reading practice.
Here are links to each book in the series:
Here is a photo of Book 1 of the Bridges Repertoire Series: