10 Great Classical Guitar Songs To Make Beginners Improve

Classical guitar is a beautiful instrument that has been around in various forms for centuries. It’s an extremely popular instrument to learn, and it’s an instrument that anyone can enjoy!

10 Great Classical Guitar Songs To Make Beginners Improve

If you’ve ever wanted to learn classical guitar, you may feel overwhelmed. There are so many pieces of music to learn – and some of them are unfathomably difficult!

Being spoiled for choice isn’t always a good thing. Don’t worry, though – here’s a handy guide to 10 classical guitar songs and pieces for beginners!

They cover different genres and eras of music, and are all really cool pieces too! Some are harder than others, but all of them will teach you important skills for playing classical guitar – and are lovely pieces of music too!

It’s part of the guitar family of instruments, which means that many skills on classical guitar are transferable to acoustic, electric, and bass guitar too – and vice versa, of course.

If you already play electric guitar, for example, you’ve already got a head start on classical guitar! However, there are some differences on classical guitar.

Unlike electric and acoustic guitars, which use steel strings, the classical guitar uses strings made of nylon. These are much less tense than steel strings, and are traditionally played solely with the fingers

About Classical Guitars

The classical guitar is a member of the guitar family of instruments, which means that many skills on classical guitar are transferable to acoustic, electric, and bass guitar too – and vice versa, of course.

If you already play electric guitar, for example, you’ve already got a head start on classical guitar! However, there are some differences on classical guitar.

When changing strings on an electric, acoustic, or bass guitar, almost all of the time your string will have what’s called a ball end on it. This is a little plastic or metal ring at one end of the string that holds your string in place at the bridge of your guitar.

On classical guitar strings, however, there is no ball end – the string must be tied onto the bridge, and is held there solely under the tension of the string itself.

Unlike electric and acoustic guitars, which use steel strings, the classical guitar uses strings made of nylon. These are much less tense than steel strings, and are traditionally plucked solely with the fingers instead of using a plectrum.

Bass and acoustic players often play with their fingers too, so that can often be an area where they have an advantage when learning classical guitar.

It’s not that you can’t play with a plectrum – it’s your guitar, after all! However, a lot of music composed for classical guitar can’t really be played with one.

A lot of the time, you’ll need to be playing multiple non-adjacent strings at the same time, which just isn’t possible without using your fingers.

Often, serious classical guitarists will grow out the nails on their picking hand. This is so that they can pluck the strings with their nails, instead of their fingertips.

This produces a much more prominent initial attack to the sound of the string being played. It’s the traditional way to play classical guitar, although those who don’t like to grow their nails might well decide it’s not for them.



It’s hard to pick which tracks might be easier than others – a lot of it is down to the skill of the player. If you’re very new to classical guitar, then these tracks might be very challenging at first – but that’s OK!

We all started somewhere, and things are always hard as a beginner. Persevere on your favorite tracks and you’ll be amazed at the progress that you make!

Each of these tracks will teach you some useful fundamental skills about classical guitar – and if you already know some of these skills, will help you practice and reinforce your knowledge of them!

No matter your skill level, take your time to learn as much about how to play these tracks as possible – finger placement, timing, dynamics, and so on. Start slowly and build up your muscle memory.

Some of these tracks are centuries old pieces of music, so old that nobody remembers who wrote them anymore – and some are popular hits from some of the most famous bands on the planet!

Proof that classical guitar is an instrument that has inspired and will continue to inspire musicians across not just generations, but eras.


Greensleeves is a piece of music that is likely familiar to most readers, even if they don’t know the piece by name! It’s one of the most commonly known pieces of “classical” music, often rumored to have been composed by Henry VIII for his lover Anne Boleyn.

This is most likely untrue, of course. A song with the name “A Newe Northen Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves” was registered in London in September 1580 by Richard Jones, which provides a more likely origin for the song.

This is a great song for a beginner classical guitarist. It’s a lovely, well known melody, and is pretty easy to play! Like most classical guitar pieces, it will teach you how to play bass and melody notes at the same time.

This shows you how to use the classical guitar as a solo instrument – playing both the accompaniment and the melody at the same time!

Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

One of the most famous songs from one of the most famous bands to ever walk the planet, Nothing Else Matters by metallica is many rock and metal guitarist’s first introduction into classical guitar playing.

It’s a beautiful piece of music, and everything but the solo can be played on classical guitar!

This is a great song to learn for beginners. It opens with one of the simplest things that can be played on guitar – just four open strings, up and down – and yet, such a simple figure makes for an unforgettable melody!

It uses some chord shapes that are familiar to rock guitarists, and despite a few tricky bits is certainly something that a beginner can work towards learning.

Not only is this a great song, it’s one that will please both classical and rock fans. Which makes it a great song for anyone to learn – it’s a great addition to anyone’s repertoire!

Minuet In G – Christian Petzold

Minuet in G major by Christian Petzold is one of the most well known pieces for beginners on piano and harpsichord, for which it was originally written.

Along with its sister piece, the Minuet in G minor, they are well known as being great beginner pieces – and great pieces of music in their own right.

However, for many years, the true author of these pieces was unfairly uncredited. Although it’s relatively well known now that both Minuets were written by Christian Petzold, for many years these works were both attributed to the more famous Johan Sebastian Bach.

This was because Bach transcribed them into one of his “Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach” – Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach.

The Minuet in G is a great beginner piece, and will help you get to grips with some common chord shapes. It will also help enhance your skills at playing bass and melody at the same time!

Lágrima – Francisco Tárrega

Francisco Tárrega, or Francisco de Asís Tárrega y Eixea, to give him his full name, has been called “the father of classical guitar”.

Born in Villareal, Spain, it’s said that his father was also a guitarist, and that he encouraged his son to take music classes after an accident that threatened to damage his son’s eyes – thinking that even if his son lost his sight, he could still earn a living as a musician.

Both a skilled composer and player, he’s one of the most important players of the instrument, and Lágrima is one of his most well-known compositions.

While it’s not fair to outright say that it’s an easy piece to play – it certainly has some challenging moments for beginners – it’s not too hard either. It’s a beautiful piece of music too, and well worth learning!

Blackbird – The Beatles

Blackbird – The Beatles

The Beatles are of course one of the most famous bands that have ever existed. They’ve been huge stars and world famous musicians for decades now, and their songs have inspired millions of musicians.

Their song Blackbird has long been a favorite for guitarists to learn – not only is it a great song to listen to, it’s a lot of fun to play too!

You’ll notice it starts similarly to Bach’s Bouree – that’s because Paul McCartney was actually inspired by Bouree when writing Blackbird. Supposedly, he and George Harrison tried to learn Bouree when they were teenagers to show off!

It has some interesting theory elements too – a descending chromatic section that somehow due to the bass line underneath the melody feels fun and jaunty, for one!

This is a great song to learn – and maybe you can use it to show off too!


This is a piece you’ve likely heard many times before, but perhaps didn’t know the name, or the composer.

Romanza, as it is most commonly known, is also sometimes known by the title Spanish Romance – fitting, of course, as Romanza obviously means “romance” in Spanish!

Don’t feel bad if you never learned who composed this piece – nobody else knows either! It’s one of those pieces of art where the original creator seems to have been lost to history. Such a shame – but at least this beautiful piece of music has survived.

There are two sections to this piece. The first section is relatively simple – involving lots of open strings, which is always a welcome thing for beginner players! It has a simple, memorable melody, and an easy picking pattern, making it easy to learn.

The second section is more complex, using barre chords. These can be difficult for beginners to achieve – so, practice will be needed here!

Benighted – Opeth

Swedish metal band Opeth have long been known for stepping outside the usual boundaries of rock guitar, and are known for incorporating many other influences to their music.

Classical guitar is of course one of many influences Opeth have incorporated, and they use some great ideas and playing on Benighted.

Benighted is a great track, and isn’t too hard to play. It’s not easy, but it doesn’t use too many difficult techniques, such as barre chords. It’s a beautiful sounding piece of music, with some great guitar parts – and yet, ample space given to the rest of the band too.

There are some cool glissandi (slides, for you and me) in the intro, which is a great little piece to learn on its own. It uses pretty simple chords, but it’s one you’ll want to take slowly at first to ensure that you play as sweetly and cleanly as possible.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

It’s always nice to have something to play at Christmas that fits the setting, so why not learn one of the most famous Christmas carols?

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is a fun piece to play on classical guitar, and is always good to pull out of the bag during the festive season.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen dates back to at least the 16th century, and is known across the world. It’s one of the most well known Christmas carols that almost everyone will recognize.

There are many transcriptions available for classical guitar, so you should be able to find one with ease. It’s not a very difficult song to play, and you likely already know the melody, which will make learning it easier!

Bourrée In E minor – JS Bach

Bourrée in E minor, by Johann Sebastian Bach, is one of the most well known pieces of classical guitar music. Originally written for lute, it has long been a favorite for guitar players.

Many guitarists who know very little about classical guitar will still know at least a few sections of Bourrée in E minor! There are many cool interpretations of the piece out there too – check out Jethro Tull’s version!

This is perhaps one of the harder pieces on this list, and might be uncomfortable for a complete beginner. It jumps straight into some tricky chords, and is a little faster than other pieces too.

Like other pieces, it asks you to play both a melody and an underlying bass line at the same time, which may be unfamiliar even for people who have been playing a while – much guitar music leaves the bass section to the bass guitar!

However, one of the things that makes classical guitar so great for all guitar players is how even the simplest pieces use this concept – teaching you how to play the guitar as a solo instrument.

Ja Nus Hons Pris – Richard The Lionheart

Ja Nus Hons Pris, which roughly translates to “No man who is imprisoned”, is a song famously written by Richard I of England, also more famously known as Richard the Lionheart.

The song was written by Richard after the Third Crusade, during his imprisonment at Dürnstein Castle in Austria. Richard was imprisoned due to being captured by Leopold of Austria, who accused Richard of murdering Leopold’s cousin.

In Ja Nus Hons Pris, Richard laments his fate at being imprisoned, and bemoans his compatriots who have not ransomed him.

It is known that Richard wrote the lyrics to Ja Nus Hons Pris, but it is perhaps unlikely that he wrote the accompanying music.

Nevertheless, it is a beautiful piece of music, and a great piece to learn too. Some gamers may recognize it from its appearance in the grand strategy game Crusader Kings 2!


Classical guitar is a fantastic instrument to learn – but one that can be daunting to start, even for experienced guitarists!

It has its own fascinating repertoire of techniques, and amazingly beautiful music to play too – whether composed with classical guitar in mind, or written for something else, then transposed to the classical guitar.

Although it can be difficult to know where to start as a beginner, hopefully this guide has shown you some cool and fun pieces to learn! Some of them may take some time to learn, but they’ll all teach you great skills, and sound absolutely great once you’ve learned them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Play Classical Guitar With A Pick?

You can, of course – there’s nothing stopping you from doing it, and a lot of guitarists will feel more comfortable with a pick in their hands. Lots of cool music has been made like this!

However, the vast majority of music composed or transcribed specifically for classical guitar will need you to play multiple strings at the same time in a way that just isn’t possible with a pick.

Therefore, learning how to play without one is essential for learning classical guitar, no matter your experience level on electric or acoustic guitar.

Can I Play Without Growing My Nails?

You can, yes – if you really don’t want to grow them, then that’s perfectly understandable. Some people really can’t stand having long nails!

However, the most serious classical guitarists pretty much universally use their nails to play. They’re an essential part of getting the right tone and attack – playing with the fingertips just doesn’t sound quite the same.

Do I Need A Classical Guitar To Play These Pieces?

No! You can play them on whatever guitar you want! They’ll sound great no matter what you play them on.

Andrew Patterson
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