RGT Acoustic Guitar – Initial Stage – Lesson

For many people, learning a musical instrument has a certain stigma attached to it, a certain level of animosity, because it generally means you are going to have to read music. More specifically; read sheet music. For many people the shear sight of sheet music, with its quavers and semi-quavers and wotsits, can fill them with dread. I am one of these people. here

You will be pleased to know that you can learn the guitar comfortably, to an excellent standard, even completing internationally recognised qualifications, without needing to read traditional sheet music. In this series of articles, I will present the information I will teach you in order to get these qualifications, should you choose to go down this road.

To complete your initial stage acoustic guitar exam, you will need to know the following material:

1. Fingerboard Knowledge

Chords Required

  • C Major chord
  • G Major chord
  • Am chord
  • Em chord

Scales Required

  • C Major scale
  • G Major scale


 2. Performance

  • One Rhythm Playing Study, chosen from the three Rhythm Playing Studies contained in the examination handbook.
  • Two melodies from this list:
    • When The Saints Go Marching In
    • On Top Of Old Smokie
    • Michael Row Your Boat Ashore
    • Kumbaya

If preferred, one melody can be a ‘free choice’ by the candidate of any other well-known melody from 1960 onwards – providing it is of at least similar technical standard and duration to the melodies within the examination handbook. (Candidates should bring copies of the notation of any free choice melodies to the examination for the examiner to view.) Melodies can be played with a pick or using fingers, as preferred by the candidate.


 Fingerboard Knowledge

 E minor Chord

05 - Em Chord 05 - Em Photo


 A minor Chord

10 - Am - Chord 10 - Am - Photo


C Major Chord

01 - C - Chord 01 - C - Photo


 G Major Chord

08 - G - Chord 08 - G - Photo

Unlike this picture, try to make sure your fingers are close to the frets for a better sound.



C Major Scale
C Major Scale - 1 octave

G Major Scale
G Major Scale - 1 octave

Rhythm Section

To score well in the rhythm section, you should be familiar with all four of your chords and be comfortable quickly changing between any combination of two chords. You will play each chord for one bar or 4 beats (play each chord to the count of 1 2 3 4, then change the chord and play the same strumming pattern for another four more beats, counting while you play it, then change again and so on)

Familiarise yourself with these patterns
1) D D D D strumming pattern on the beat of 1,2,3,4

2) D D D _ strumming pattern on the beat of 1,2,3 (4 is a pause)

3) D _ D D strumming pattern on the beats of 1,3,4 (2 is a pause)



In this section, you should be aiming for an accurate reproduction of the pitch and rhythm of the melody including fluency and smoothness of playing and note changing. You must try to keep an even tempo throughout the song. Ensure you play all notes cleanly and without buzzing, with minimal delay in your changing of notes.
Each song is repeated twice.

When the Saints Go Marching In

On Top Of Old Smokey

Michael Row The Boat Ashore


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