New Acoustic Guitar Concert Performance Diplomas – Part 2

In part 2 of the three-part series  RGT Chief Examiner Merv Young provides an overview of these new diploma exams for Acoustic Guitar…


The programme of music that you play is a free choice, but needs to demonstrate a degree of technical and musical complexity that is appropriate for the level of diploma. We will publish a list of sample pieces on the RGT website to give an indication of the approximate technical level expected, however candidates are expected to research and source appropriate music themselves. Some examples of sample pieces are included opposite.

We recognise that an important aspect of contemporary acoustic guitar is composition, so the performance of selfcomposed pieces is most definitely welcome. However, you will be assessed on the standard of your performance of the pieces and not on the composition itself.

These diplomas are primarily designed to be played on an acoustic guitar with steel strings. The use of an acoustic guitar with pick-ups is perfectly acceptable but these diplomas are not intended for either electric or semi-acoustic guitars. The use of alternative acoustic guitars such as a dobro or 12-string is absolutely fine for all or part of the performance as well. Alternate tunings and effects devices such as loop pedals are all commonly used by acoustic guitarists, so these are perfectly acceptable too. In fact, the use of alternate tunings is positively encouraged, specially for the higher diplomas to help demonstrate versatility in your playing. It’s your performance, so make it reflect your own musical personality, influences and playing techniques. Similarly, the use of backing tracks or live musical accompaniment is fi ne for part of the performance, although the majority of your programme should consist of solo guitar pieces that are unaccompanied.

Sample Diploma Pieces


  • Ritual Dance – Michael Hedges
  • Jump – Eric Roche
  • Heard it Through the Grapevine – Max Milligan
  • Another Monday – John Renbourne


  • Nice Feeling – Pierre Bensusan
  • Ocean – John Butler
  • Angelina – Tommy Emmanuel
  • Acoustic Spirit – Peppino D’Gostino


  • Drifting – Andy McKee
  • Caminita – Ralph Towner
  • Superstition – Adam Rafferty
  • L’Alchimiste – Pierre Bensusan


  • Lucifer’s Cage – Gordon Giltrap
  • Mevlana Etude – Ralph Towner
  • Passion Flower – Jon Gomm
  • Desert Pirate – Thomas Leeb

Read Part 1 and Part 3 of the series.

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