Level 1 - List Of Pieces (+ Discussion Space)

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What to expect: 

Within level 1 you will find lessons on elementary repertoire and technique. If you've just begun to play the guitar this is a great place to start! Level 1 lessons focus on the very basics of guitar technique and interpretation.

Description:

If you are still working on the very basics of guitar playing and want to find a variety of pieces that will allow you to focus on specific techniques and ideas then this is the place for you. All level 1 pieces are playable entirely within first position, in keys that are idiomatic on the instrument. These pieces feature simple rhythms and basic right hand finger strokes, allowing you to focus on developing strong basics.

Selection of tonebase Level 1 Courses:

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Questions:

↓ Reply below to ask any questions about this level, or to get a second opinion from fellow users! ↓

42replies Oldest first
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  • May I ask the purpose of setting the level system here? Is it for us to formulate our study plan in a structured way, from one level to one level?

    Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steven Liu You may do with it what you wish - you could use it to advance through repertoire, as you say, or to explore other pieces around a level at which you feel comfortable.

      It also helps users who might not know many of the pieces listed on our site figure out which repertoire is most relevant to them.

      Like 1
  • I have been playing acoustic guitar for 3 years now but am gradually more attracted by classical guitar music.  My first question is simple. Do we really need to grow our nails in order to pursue in this journey?

     

    Thanks

    Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Andre Bernier Hi Andre - a fellow subscriber here, so take this advice on advisement! The short answer is ‘No!’. I used to play with nails (thinking them obligatory) but after taking up the lute some years ago wound up playing both instruments with flesh only. Although my right hand technique is far from conventional, it works well enough I find. I would even say that I manage to produce a better tone without nails than I used to get with them. Historically, a number of well known guitarists played without nails - most famously Fernando Sor (who preferred the softer sound) and, late in his career, Francisco Tarrega (whose nails had become too weak to support plucking). Some modern day professionals also play nail-less. Here are links to two of them explaining their approach to the right hand:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC7tSW1s9tM
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjNFvtRU4Jc&t=239s

      Like 3
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Andre Bernier Hi Andre! Although most professional classical guitar players grow out their nails, you certainly do not have to do so in order to make beautiful guitar music.

      I, myself, have played without nails for the first 2-3 years of my guitar journey, and some players (especially those who focus on early plucked instruments) choose to remain nail-less for their entire professional career.

      It is true, however, that playing with nails will provide you with a louder, more clearly defined sound that projects much farther into your auditorium than going without.

      As a professional guitarist who takes quite a bit of pride in the dynamic range that I can achieve, I still have trouble projecting into some larger halls without amplification, and I play with nails. Playing without nails, those problems would certainly be worse. At the same time, for more intimate performances, you most definitely won't need them.

      So there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to going nail-less, but I assure you that you will be able to play beautiful guitar music without nails.

      If you do decide to grow your nails, here are some resources on tonebase that will help you learn how to shape and use them.

      Like 1
    • Mircea 

      Thanks Mircea for your answer and comments. Over the last 3 years when playing acoustic guitar, I tried a few times to grow nails but every time they start to be a bit longer It just bugs me and they end up breaking before I can even use them.

      At my age, I am playing guitar for my own pleasure and I am not contemplating any performance than playing in my living room for my wife.

      So bottom line, I will not grow my nails and keep learning both acoustic and classical guitar.

      I guess that having fun is more important than trying to be right against your will. 😉

      Like 2
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Andre Bernier That sounds like a great plan, Andre!

      Like
    • Andre Bernier getting nails just right is an ongoing struggle, especially if we damage nails. Are you by chance Andre Bernie’s from K-W?

      Like
    • Robert St Cyr 

      Hello, I am not sure what you mean when you say from K-W

      I am a french Canadian (Bonjour) living in Québec city.

      However, during my long Pulp and Paper career, I lived also in Ontario and British Columbia.

      Anyway, Robert. It is nice to meet you 😉

      Like
    • Andre Bernier Hi Andre - KW is Kitchener- Waterloo, Ontario. I knew an Andre Bernier here many years ago and just wondered,... Anyway nice to meet you too. Hope your guitar journey is going well. I've been at it for about 50 years and I'm still learning and having fun. I play but also build guitars. As an amateur builder -I have been building for 53 years and studied in Spain with Jose Romanillos- I build for the fun and the challenge (although my wife says I'm addicted). I do sell instruments and charge far less than most, since I'd just like to reduce the cost of my addiction, I mean passion;-) I know there are some great builders in Quebec but if you ever are looking to get a handbuilt instrument, let me know. There are some pro players who have my instruments and are quite happy with them.

      Like
    • Robert St Cyr 

       

      Very interesting story Robert. Do you have a web site?

      Like
  • Thanks for this fast reply and advice. I watched the video and will continue with my actual approach using finger flesh.

     

    André

    Like 1
    • Jim King
    • Retired
    • Jim_king
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I'm still new at Tonebase but I believe I have some seen some older discussions in the forum discussions on the possibility of linking lessons to the various levels.  I am wondering if there are still plans to do this or if the idea has been abandoned.  Please advise.

     

    When I review the various levels, I only see a couple of courses such as the Beginner's Courses and the Reading Music course suggested in the levels but none of the other lessons, just various pieces of music.  From my browsing, there are a lot of lessons on the site and the choices are overwhelming.  Being new to Tonebase, and new to classical guitar, I am at a loss as to how to proceed with my studies of classical guitar once I complete the Beginner's Guitar Course Part 1.  I see that the Beginner's Guitar Course Part 2 is not suggested until Level 3 or 4.  Accordingly, I take that to mean I shouldn't do Part 2 right after completing Part 1.

     

    The alternative is that after I complete Part 1, I have already completed the Reading Music course, I would start working on various pieces of music, as suggested by the levels, and then just pick lessons that are tagged as "all-levels" and stay away from the lessons tagged as "intermediate" or "advanced".

     

    Thank you in advance for any guidance provided.

     

    Jim King

    Like
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Jim King I'll answer as a fellow ToneBase subscriber, not an authority of some kind. While ToneBase presents a lot a valuable material, I don't think it is a substitute for a structured learning program, such as is found in a traditional 'method' book. If you've learned the basics (how to pluck the strings, how to play basic chords, how to read music, etc.) it's time to start learning actual pieces of music. There is an enormous amount of pedagogical repertoire for the guitar, so it's mostly a question of finding something that interests you. Broadly speaking, there are two approaches. You can use one of the many method books which include a selection of graded repertoire, usually by the author; alternatively, you can use a curated collection of repertoire intended for the developing player. One such collection, widely used here in Canada, is the RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) graded repertoire series. These can be found in many music stores, or acquired online through the conservatory. (I imagine they also exist somewhere in pdf format, if you look.)

      https://shop.rcmusic.com/collections/books?page=1&sortBy=sales_amount&sortOrder=desc&tags=Instrument%3AClassical%20Guitar

      Another series, available as free pdf downloads, can be found on the Delccamp website:

      https://www.guitareclassiquedelcamp.com

      Here's a link to the volume 01 collection:

      https://www.delcamp.net/pdfsdelcamp/Delcamp_volume_D01_classical_guitar.pdfy

      If you prefer to use one of the single author method books, a variety of these of are available for free, online. Personally, I like those published in the early 19th century, which is when modern guitar technique was established and developed. (There are also a number of more recent methods, though not necessarily available online.) The volume by Matteo Carcassi is perhaps the best known, having remained in use well into the 20th century:
      https://boijefiles.musikverket.se/Boije_1129.pdf

      Whatever you choose, I would suggest you play through as much material as possible. Don't worry at first about learning each piece to a 'performance' standard. Just aim to get through to the end without stopping. If occasionally you encounter a piece that strikes your fancy, try recording it to see how you sound. If you want to share your efforts here on the forum (you can start a 'practice diary') you're sure to get some feedback - hopefully useful!

      Well, that's what I recommend, anyways. If others here have different ideas, perhaps they'll share them ...

      Like
      • Jim King
      • Retired
      • Jim_king
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      David Krupka Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful response.  I do like the idea of the collection from RCM as I am in Canada as well.  I also appreciate your advice on how to proceed.  Your advice makes sense to me.

      Like
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Jim King Hi Jim,

      The level system will be re-integrated into the site soon, and you will be able to once again see those lessons on the library itself, without having to go to these 12 threads you are now viewing.

      That being said, you should absolutely do Part 2 of the Beginner Course right after Part 1. If you look carefully through the level threads, you'll see that the Part 1 is listed in multiple different levels, and Part 2 is listed in the levels immediately above those.

      In fact, when I wrote the course materials for Part 2 back in 2020, I took particular care to start on the very last chord you learned at the end of Part 1. They build on each other like no other two courses on tonebase taught by different teachers. Both are designed to lead you through multiple levels, and therefore, you'll see each of them listed in multiple levels.

      If you choose to watch the entire Part 1 and Part 2, once you are done with those, you should browse around for various other repertoire around the same level where you left off, or check out some of our many technique courses to improve your skills. Hope this helps!

      Like
      • Jim King
      • Retired
      • Jim_king
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Mircea Thank you for your response.

      Glad to hear that Tonebase is still working on the project to integrate its lessons with the various levels.  Being new to site and classical guitar, I find the levels to be very useful as they do help guide me around the site.  Looking forward to the completion of this project as I am sure that I will find this useful.

      Also I appreciate the advice about taking Part 2 of the Beginner Course immediately after completing Part 1.  Makes sense to me. 

      I will, however, suggest that you add links to Part 2 in Levels 1, 2 and 3.  Currently the links to Part 2 do not start until Level 4.  I make this suggestion as it would help better navigate beginners if they choose to use the level system.  For example, I am currently completing Part 1 beginner's course and also working on the first piece from the Landslog collection.  I have already completed the Reading Music course.  From my experience in learning Landslag 1, I can see that the Part 2 beginner's course could be of assistance to me as far as learning about arpeggios and dynamics which are required skills in Landslag 1.  So at the very least, by linking Part 2 in Level 1 would imply that one should do Part 2 after Part 1.  Anyways, just a thought.

      Like
      • David
      • David.39
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Mircea I have a bunch of the repertoire books similar to those listed in a response above. However, I decided on ToneBase to add integrated videos and lessons on repertoire and technique. I appreciate the improving level system and hope for more granular-level guidance as it continues to grow. As a self-teaching adult, I turn to ToneBase lessons to help organize and guide my practice. The production quality and pedagogical expertise, as well as the sense of community, is helping me motivate and grow as a first-time classical guitar student. 

      Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      David I'm happy to hear that, David. We will definitely continue improving the level system and tonebase overall! Looking forward to seeing you around.

      Like
      • David
      • David.39
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Mircea One of the reasons I am learning classical guitar is to expand on my musical experience. I spent my childhood learning violin and completely missed out on the harmonic analysis and applied theory that comes through learning a polyphonic instrument such as guitar or piano. I relied heavily on ensemble playing to gain an intuitive understanding of what I enjoyed most in the realm of orchestration, voice-leading, etc. in classical music, but had no formal training until taking an elective course on music harmony in college. After a long hiatus from music due to... life happening..., I am back to my music, but this time with the guitar (and a keyboard in the background to help in the harmonic/theory underpinnings).

       

      It would be great to have a course, or series of courses, in ToneBase that really goes into depth on taking a musically literate, but otherwise novice at harmony, voice-leading, etc., and develops practical classical and jazz music theory from the foundation of a classically-trained musician. This would help a novice to add this dimension to classical training. A classically oriented musician could have an organized entry into applied theory on the fretboard, perhaps relying on standard notation. The student could strive for achieving a level where figured bass and chord symbols become familiar and accessible.  I watched a event on ToneBase where practical fretboard theory was introduced and think that command of the fretboard would be greatly accelerated for the adult learner through a more expanded course on the material presented there, as well as elements from jazz theory and how to gain basic jazz lead-sheet-reading proficiency.

       

      Guitar is the an instrument that seems to so naturally lend itself to delving into alternative styles from a solid foundation in classical music. There is a lack of material on the web that addresses the specific interest of classically trained musicians wanting to add the aural traditions to their skill-set. I don't know how realistic this request is in the current ToneBase setting, but it would be exciting to see this aspect added without interfering from the core curriculum presented; an additive aspect to serve as a bridge to those other styles, all taught on the classical guitar.

      Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      David Hi David, and thank you for your thoughtful comment! Two courses come to mind here:

      1. The Music Theory Course taught by Head of Piano Ben Laude and me introduces generally applicable concepts of music theory and teaches some of their practical applications on the guitar.
      2. My Reading Music Course helps learners connect the dots between sheet music and where to play things on the guitar. The first few modules here might be too entry-level for you, given your prior experience with violin and piano, but the parts that have to do with learning where to find things on the fretboard should be helpful.

      Hope these help! I would love to record some more music theory courses in the future that can go beyond the concepts explained here, and perhaps even venture into jazz harmony and other genres, given that the current courses are quite classically-minded.

      Like 1
      • David
      • David.39
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Mircea Thank you for the links to the courses. I have started those, and the Music Theory Course is of particular help. I look forward to more music theory courses and jazz/other genre courses in the near future.

      Like 1
    • David
    • David.39
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Yesterday I watched a ToneBase Piano workshop on Hanon's exercises as a "complete" one-stop technique regimen resource for pianists at intro to advanced level. I have many technique books and know there are Level 1 and 2 intro to Guitar workbooks on ToneBase Guitar. For someone already well-versed in how to read music (at the level of being able to play piano, violin, etc.),  what on ToneBase would you recommend for a similar one-book/one-workshop  for RH and LH technique? I own Pumping Nylon, The Path to Virtuosity, Berg's Mastering Guitar Technique, The Bible of Classical Guitar Technique by Käpple, Yates's Classical Guitar Technique from Foundation to Virtuosity, and the classics by Sor, Guiliani, Carcassi, among other materials. It is all a bit bewildering, and many of the "intro to guitar" book mix technique with learning how to read music. I just want help from ToneBase on how to navigate technical books/materials on ToneBase to eliminate the basic musicianship from actually learning the specifics of Guitar Playing. Any guide for the musically literate, but newer to Guitar in terms of a simple daily guide to progressing through technique on the RH and LH will be very helpful.

    Like 1
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Guitar
      • Mircea
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      David Hi David! I recommend the following courses for you:

      Like
      • David
      • David.39
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Mircea Hello Mircea. Thank you very much for the recommended courses. I also just watched the courses on right and left hand preparation. Very insightful and helpful, and wonderfully presented. I look at scores differently now and my study away from the guitar is enriched by anticipating when I might be able to prepare. 

      Like 1
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