Enter for your Electric Guitar exam in four quick steps

The May to July deadline is 8 April

Electric Guitar Grade 1

Electric Guitar Grade 1 covers some key techniques you'll need to become a top rock and pop guitarist. Depending on the exam you choose, you'll show off what you've learned across three or five short performances – a mix of Rockschool's dedicated pieces, and tunes of your own choosing*.

Key Skills at Grade 1

What you'll learn at Grade 1:

  • Double stops, staccato notes, accents and slides
  • Major and Minor scales. Minor Pentatonic scales and chords
  • Playback and performance skills

What You're Marked On

Your Electric Guitar Grade 1 exam lasts 20 minutes and is split into five key sections.

Performance Pieces

At Grade 1:

  • Pieces last up to one minute 15 seconds. They cover simple position work, with basic articulation and simple syncopation
  • Candidates must prepare a total of three pieces for a Grade Exam and five pieces for a Performance Certificate
  • *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 three sections:

  • Scales
  • Chords
  • Riff

Sight Reading or Improvisation

At Grade 1 you will be offered either Sight Reading or Improvisation.

Sight Reading
  • Four bars in A minor at 70bpm
  • ½ and ¼ notes in 4/4
  • 90 seconds' preparation and practice
  • Four bars in C major or A minor
  • Choice of lead or rhythm
  • 30 seconds' preparation
  • One practice play through, with backing

Ear Tests

There are two ear tests at Grade 1: Melodic and Rhythmic Recall. These help develop the two key electric guitar skills of lead and rhythm playback.

Melodic Recall
  • You will hear three notes and will be asked to identify if the second and third are higher or lower
  • Answers can be "higher/lower" or "up/down"
Rhythmic Recall
  • You will hear a two-bar rhythm played with a drum backing on the sixth string (low E) of your electric guitar
  • You will then have a period of practice
  • You will be asked to play the rhythm along with the drum backing
  • You will then be asked to identify the test from a set of two examples

General Musicianship Questions

General Musician 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, time signature, note values and the difference between a major and minor chord
  • One question on your instrument, including parts of the electric guitar, makes of electric guitar and open-string notes

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

Guitar GMQ Sample (137KB, .pdf)


Your Grade 1 exam lasts 20 minutes for a Grade Exam or 15 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 1 exam now! Simply buy or download the Electric Guitar Grade 1 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 1