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The May to July deadline is 8 April

Electric Guitar Grade 5

At Grade 5, you'll expand your scale, chord and arpeggio knowledge, and tackle more sophisticated theory questions. The five performance pieces are your opportunity to show what you've learned across a mix of Rockschool's, and your own, compositions*.

Key Skills at Grade 5

What you'll learn at Grade 5:

  • Natural harmonics, playing over changes
  • Major and Natural Minor, Major and Minor Pentatonic scales, Blues scales, all in two positions
  • Major and Minor arpeggios over two octaves. Chords in three inversions
  • Playback and performance skills

What You're Marked On

Your Electric Guitar Grade 5 exam lasts 25 minutes and is split into five key sections.

Performance Pieces

At Grade 5:

  • Pieces last up to two minutes 30 seconds. There is further developing and refining of stylistic techniques and sounds
  • Candidates must prepare a total of three pieces for a Grade Exam and five pieces for a Performance Certificate
  • Pieces are over four pages
  • *There is an option of two Free Choice Pieces for a Grade Exam and three Free Choice Pieces for a Performance Certificate

Learn more about Free Choice Pieces...

Technical Exercises

A selection will be asked from four sections:

  • Scales
  • Arpeggios
  • Chords
  • Riff

Sight Reading or Improvisation

At Grade 5 you will be offered either Sight Reading or Improvisation.

Sight Reading
  • Eight bars in F major or G major, E minor or G minor at 80–90bpm
  • ½, ¼ and 1/8 notes with ¼ and 1/8 note rests in 4/4
  • Two bars of melodic improvisation at the end using chord symbols within the piece
  • 90 seconds' preparation and practice
  • Eight bars in major, A major, G major, E minor or G minor at 90–100bpm
  • Begins with two bars of chord-rhythm sight reading
  • 30 seconds' preparation
  • One practice play through, with backing

Ear Tests

There are two ear tests at Grade 5: Melodic and Rhythmic Recall. These help develop the two key electric guitar skills of lead and rhythm playback.

Melodic Recall
  • You will hear a two-bar melody in D Major Pentatonic or A Minor pentatonic, played twice with a drum backing track
  • You will then have a period of practice
  • You will then be asked to play the melody along with the drum backing. The first note will be the tonic, and the first interval will be descending
Rhythmic Recall
  • You will hear the tonic chord of G major and then two bar chord sequence played with a drum backing, made up of the chords, I, IV, V or VI in a given rhythm shown in the Electric Guitar Grade 5 Book
  • You will hear the test twice and then have a period to practice
  • You will then be required to play the chord sequence in rhythm with the drum backing. The rhythm is given in the Electric Guitar Grade 5 Book

General Musicianship Questions

General Musicianship Questions are included to test your musical understanding and further instrumental knowledge. The five questions are broken down as follows:

  • Four questions on the piece, including clef, meaning of the time signature and key signature, note and rest values, all repeat markings, technique markings, construction of major 7th, minor 7th and dominant 7th chords. You will also be expected to know a type of scale used for the solo section
  • One question on your instrument, including parts of the electric guitar, location of volume and tone controls on the electric guitar and the volume/gain controls on the amp with reason for the choice

These files are extracts from Rockschool's Companion Guides for Electric Guitar Book.

Guitar GMQ Sample (137KB, .pdf)


Your Grade 5 exam lasts 26 minutes for a Grade Exam or 22 minutes for a Performance Certificate. Candidates are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before their exam starts.

Get Started Today!

You can start working towards your Electric Guitar Grade 5 exam now! Simply buy or download the Electric Guitar Grade 5 book, and start preparing alongside your electric guitar teacher.

If you don't have a electric guitar teacher, you can quickly find the nearest teacher to you with our handy find a music teacher map.

Books for Electric Guitar Grade 5