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Fingerstyle Guitar Solos

As a classical guitarist I use these words deliberately. The word "classical" has connotations for many young people that put them off! What would the average 13 year old pianist rather play? A classical piano piece in the popular or jazz idiom, or a pop or jazz piece? I think it speaks for itself! In the same way "classical guitar"  may seem dull, "acoustic guitar" suggests steel strings and strumming with a plectrum, so I use the term "fingerstyle guitar" instead.

A fingerstyle guitar solo will stand alone without any backing. Even a really simple solo can sound great to family and friends if it has been well written by someone who understands the guitar's capabilities....

Here I will share a few fingerstyle pieces and arrangements.

Arietta - Joseph Kuffner

This piece is for ease of teaching and includes straight notation, notename noteheads and TAB. The student can play from whichever line is most suitable to reading ability. Please note that this edition is unsuitable for use in exams because of the aids to reading!


Link to pdf music Arietta by Joseph Kuffner

branle 2 - guillaume de morlaye

This is a 16th century dance piece originally written for lute and is intended to be lively! Get into your Tudor gear and do ye olde brawl! :)

Branle - Guillaume de Morlaye


Spanish Dreams On Rainy Street

This first piece is a fusion of flamenco and Indie type harmonies. It is simple enough for most grade 1 guitar players. Sorry, but if you need TAB you will have to check out the paid download on sibelius. I want to encourage you to read music! This pdf version is for personal use only, not for posting on line. Dream On Rainy Street.mp3

Right click this link, then left click on "save target as" to download this music in pdf format

Right click, then left click on "save target as" to download MP3


A simple version (music and TAB) of the traditional flamenco tune. This has an introduction with simple rasgueados on E chord and legato runs, followed by the bass tune with simple tremolo accompaniment on string 1.

Click for pdf of Malaguena sheet music and click printer icon.

Click to hear MP3 of this version of Malaguena

Can Can Fun At The Moulin Rouge....


A useful fingerstyle party piece which is very easy to play with mostly open basses. Range extends to top C# and B, but otherwise it is easy, except for the sharps! Therefore a great piece to practice playing in the guitarist's favourite key of A major!

Click here for pdf version of the music

Click here to listen to MP3

Orpheus in the Underworld was composed by Jacques Offenbach in 1858. The Infernal Galop from Act II, Scene 2 is famous outside classical circles as the music for the "Can-can". Saint-Saëns borrowed the Galop, slowed it to a crawl and assigned it to the strings to represent the tortoise in The Carnival of the Animals. It is well worth listening to the original version for orchestra and singers which is as vibrant as ever. Versions are available on Youtube of course!



Andante in C

This is a very simple piece from the early classical guitar repertoire by the composer Carulli. My teacher taught me always to relate to the chords the music was based on. When playing 19th century music by composers like Carulli this is especially important. Familiarity with his teaching method written in 1810 and also of the Carcassi method shows that teaching was firmly rooted in understanding scales, chords and their relationships at that stage. Some modern guitar teachers are so desperate to disassociate with rock and pop that they will not teach beginners about chords. In my view that is sad! music/Andante in C.mp3


Click for free pdf music

Octo-Piece No 1

A simple 2 part solo piece of about grade 1/2 level exploring octaves. It introduces high A and B on string 1 and has two simple pull offs to open strings - otherwise very easy indeed! 1.mp3

Click here for free pdf music


Skye Boat Song

This is a simple arrangement at about grade 2 level, it has one barre chord F passage which occurs twice, other than that it is easy to play. Should be played legato throughout! Boat Song.mp3


Click here for pdf sheet music


The Bells of Paradise

This arrangement in Drop D tuning is of an ancient English carol collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1908. It is around grade 2/3 standard, so not for the complete beginner. A TAB version is on sale at my sibelius page for any non readers, as is the MP3 download. Bells of Paradise.mp3


Click here for free sheet music