From autumn 2019 there are two exciting new updates to Guitar, offering today's guitarists a broader range of styles and techniques to choose from. In addition to the Classical Guitar syllabus, we have launched a brand new Acoustic Guitar syllabus, which reinvents the successful plectrum exams.
This syllabus reinvents the previous Plectrum Guitar syllabus to recognise the importance of the acoustic guitar in today’s music. We’ve kept the most popular plectrum guitar pieces but added a much wider range of styles and technical work. This ensures that guitarists develop the blend of fingerstyle and plectrum technique they need to play the music they know and love.
This syllabus bridges the gap between classical and electric guitar incorporating folk, acoustic, rock and pop, jazz, blues and country styles. Explore pieces by Ed Sheeran, Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin alongside Django Reinhardt and Chet Atkins - all available in both standard notation and TAB.
The technical work is relevant to a range of popular music styles, including chord patterns and progressions, jazz scales, blues scales and modes, in addition to standard scales and arpeggios. Many of the pieces, particularly at the lower grades, can be played with fingers or plectrum.
Books and backing
There are three books available – for Initial-Grade 2, Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-8 – which contain a wide range of styles, allowing candidates to follow distinct stylistic pathways as they progress. Backing tracks recorded by professional session players allow guitarists to learn crucial ensemble skills by practising as part of a band.
The syllabus is designed to reflect real-life demands and so includes material which features the different roles that an acoustic guitarist can fulfil: as a self-contained solo instrument, as a solo lead-line instrument or as an accompanying instrument. Developed by professional guitarists our online support resources show you what an exam is like, explore professional technique and look at where our exams can take you.
We offer acoustic guitar exams from Initial to Grade 8. The Initial exam acts as an introduction to the exam system for new performers.
Full details (including our procedures, syllabus requirements, what to expect, and what to bring with you) can be found in our Information & Regulations.
The Guitar Syllabus 2016-2019 will remain valid until 31 December 2020, giving a one year overlap. During this time, candidates may enter for exams using the Acoustic Guitar Syllabus 2020-2023 or the plectrum guitar section of the Guitar Syllabus 2016-2019, but not a mixture of both.