Thumb Book

On this page you can find links to some of the music in the thumb book, with an accompanying score. To purchase this book please visit our online store.

When downloading the recordings, we recommend that you right click the link and choose ‘save target as’ in order to download the entire file before listening. We have chosen to use *.wav files in order to preserve the original sound of the guitar as far as possible. Due to the size of these files, the download may take some time, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

Pieces marked (*) indicate a split track recording with the student part panned to the right and the teacher’s part panned to the left. Using the balance control on your media player pan to the right to hear just the student’s part. To play along with the teacher’s part, pan to the left.

Purpose of the Downloads

The downloads, consisting of scores and recordings, are intended to provide a standard of comparison to enable the thinking individual to answer questions such as the following:

“How do I know if I have practiced enough?”

“My present assignment is so boring! When can I play more interesting music?”


“When my teacher asks me to repeat an assignment, I panic. I think maybe I’m not progressing fast enough. Am I correct or not?”

“How much of my practice should be devoted to accurate, steady playing, how much to expression?

“As a guitarist with more than ten years of study, I have gone through several methods and learned standard repertoire. Yet, I cannot play even a single piece straight through with confidence. What is wrong with me?”

“I was inspired to take up guitar by the recordings of Segovia. If I practice really hard, how long will it take for me to play like him?”


“I have been playing for six months, why don’t I sound like Segovia?”

Page No. Title Download Download
7 Thumb stroke Recording Score
8 The second string Recording Score
8 Spot has an itch Recording* Score
15 ‘Tock’ Staccato notes Recording Score
16 Study for ‘Ta’ Legato Notes Recording Score
16 Exercise 5 – ‘Tock’ and ‘Ta’ Recording Score
17 Tock and Ta Tune Recording* Score
25 Hover position for A-finger Recording Score
25 Exercise 7 Recording* Score
27 Steps and leaps – exercise 9 Recording Score
28 Study for ringing leaps Recording Score
28 Winner take all Recording* Score
30 3/4 Time Signature Recording Score
31 Sweeping Clean Recording Score
33 Surprise accents Recording Score
40 Thumb plays lower five strings Recording Score
42 Donkey Dance Recording Score
46 Short Phrase ended staccato Recording Score
47 Let’s practice – study 1 Recording Score
47 Let’s practice – study 3 Recording Score
55 Dynamics Recording Score
56 Study for f-mf-p Recording Score
65 Crescendo – Diminuendo Recording Score
65 Exercise 28 Recording 

(Note: Exercise has 5 parts, which begin at the following timings:

Part A: 00.00

Part B: 00.04

Part C: 00.07

Part D: 00.14

Part E: 00.21


68 Exercise 30 Recording 

(Note: Exercise has 4 parts, which begin at the following timings:

Part A: 00.00

Part B: 00.07

Part C: 00.14

Part D: 00.29


68 Syncopation Recording 

(Note: Exercise has been recorded twice, as follows:

Both parts: 00.00

Bass part only: 00.11


69 Syncopations – Alllegro Recording Score
71 Study for forte and piano Recording Score
73 Exercise 32 Recording 

(Note: Exercise has 2 parts, which begin at the following timings:

Part A: 00.00

Part B: 00.09


73 Study Recording Score
76 Waltz Recording Score
77 Study with pianissimo Recording Score
78 The Drunken Sailor Recording Score
81 Willows Recording Score
82 Study (Con Moto) Recording Score
85 Down in the Valley (Theme and Variation) Recording Score
87 Silent Night Recording Score





Continue to Basic Rest stroke

One Response to Thumb

  1. Ken Lee says:

    Hello Robert,

    I hope this email finds you well. I have ploughed through your first method, Basic, Thumbs, and I have found it very insightful and extremely helpful. I note with appreciation the amount of detail that you have put into it. The instructions are clear, the exercises are helpful. The staccato and legato exercises are great, and it covers a great deal of material, despite the fact that it is only Thumb! I think your Method is GREAT! I also appreciate the very colourful, imaginative, and original accompaniments that you have written for your self to play with your students. The chromaticisms, syncopations, etc., are great! Also helpful are the diagrams and whimsical pictures. How I wish I had ordered these books earlier on! But better late than never, I suppose. I look forward to reviewing Thumbs all over again, and then embarking on my next new adventure, Basic Rest Stroke! Nothing’s more important than getting the basics right.

    … Your books are truly lovely and I can almost “feel” your presence, just like those fortunate 10 lessons that you gave me back in 1975. I shall always be grateful. Just Thumbs and Rest Stroke alone have improved my enjoyment of the guitar almost overnight. I can’t believe it.

    Warmest regards,
    Your grateful ex-student,

    Ken Lee

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