Where to Find Free Guitar Sheet Music Online

Kevin Ott
playing guitar while looking at laptop

Whether you're a beginning guitarist or a seasoned pro, there are times when you need to go beyond basic song sheets that only show lyrics with the letters of the song's chords above the words. You need detailed, reliable sheet music with professionally-written music notation. Fortunately, there are legal free sheet music resources on the internet to help you.

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive, where you can search for guitar sheet music, offers the following genres:

  • Classical
  • Traditional folk songs
  • Jazz pieces from the early twentieth century

To access the music, after conducting a search in the search box on its home page (as demonstrated in the link above):

  1. Click the sheet music you want.
  2. No registration is required, so it will take you directly to its download options.
  3. From the list of format options, hover your mouse cursor over the file format you want and click on the blue download icon that appears next to it.

The file will then automatically download onto your computer.

Petrucci Music Library's International Music Score Library Project

The Petrucci Music Library, which manages a large score archiving project, contains a variety of instrumental works for guitar by contemporary composers including pieces for:

To access the music, after conducting a search in one of the search boxes on its home page (or after clicking on one of the links above):

  1. Click the title of the sheet music you want.
  2. No registration is required, so it will take you directly to its download page.
  3. Click "Complete Score."
  4. Agree to site disclaimers.
  5. Score appears, and you then click "save as" from your browser's "File" menu.

The file will then automatically download onto your computer.

8Notes

8 Notes is a rare jewel on the internet because it offers free sheet music of modern popular charts that are not in the public domain. The site owner has gone to the trouble of staying within copyright compliance so you can have peace of mind knowing anything you download for free is legal to have for educational and practice purposes.

The site features free sheet music of full scores and score snippets in a variety of genres including:

  • Rock
  • Pop
  • Jazz
  • Christian/Gospel
  • Traditional

To access the music, no registration is required.

  1. Go to its free sheet music page.
  2. Click the genre you want at the top
  3. Click the title of the sheet music you want. The site offers a free full version of the score for some songs, and only a free snippet "riff" version for others.
  4. Click on printer icon above score.
  5. Click the "PDF" option in the printer window and select "Save as PDF." Alternatively, you can print the document if you want a paper copy.
  6. Some files require a paid subscription to access certain features, even printing in some cases, but other files are freely available.

After you've completed the steps, the file will automatically download onto your computer.

Sheet Music Consortium

Sheet music consortium has a large volume of over 5,000 scanned scores of historical sheet music for guitar including:

  • Charming traditional American folk songs from the 1800s
  • Jazz standards and world music-influenced popular songs (such as Hawaiian music) from the early 20th century
  • Spanish songs for the classical guitar

To access the music, no registration is required. After you've clicked on the link above:

  1. Scroll through the library and click on the song you want.
  2. The scanned image of the original document appears, and you can browse each page using arrows.
  3. To save it to your computer, click on "More" in top left corner above the score.
  4. Click Print option.
  5. When your printer's window appears, you can either print a hard copy or select PDF, then select "Save as PDF."

After you've completed the steps, the file will automatically download onto your computer.

Digital Guitar Archive

The Digital Guitar Archive has over 1,000 titles of free guitar sheet music, and it is especially rich in international traditional music such as:

  • German folk songs and classical pieces
  • French folk songs and classical pieces
  • Spanish folk songs and classical pieces

It also has American jazz standards and musical numbers featured in Hollywood films from the early 20th century.

To access the music, click on the link above, and then:

  1. Click on the title you want.
  2. Below the image, you will see a download button with the ability to choose either JPEG, GIF, or TIFF. Select the file you want.
  3. Click Go.

After you've completed the steps, the file will automatically download onto your computer.

The Free Scores Music Library

Free Scores is another site that offers free sheet music of modern popular music. The site has gone to the trouble of staying within compliance of licenses and copyright. What makes Free Scores fantastic, however, is its large library and array of modern popular music genres that are difficult to find (at least for legal resources) including:

  • Guitar Sheet Music
    Classic rock
  • Country
  • Bluegrass
  • Blues

However, to access the free PDFs of the scores you must become a member, which is free, and then leave a comment or a "heart" on the score's page before you can download it.

Mutopia Project

The Mutopia Project, which has music from jazz composers like Gershwin, as well as assorted folk and classical songs, is free to use without registration.

To access the music, select your preferred music from the following categories:

  • Latest Additions
  • Instruments
  • Composers
  • Styles

The next screen will feature a list of songs and file formats below each songs. Click the file format you prefer under the song you want. The file will automatically download onto your computer.

Two Excellent Classical Guitar Archives

When it comes to free guitar sheet music, classical guitar music is by far the most abundant on the internet. Besides some of the sites already listed, these two archives specialize in classical guitar music:

  • ClassicalGuitarSchool.net: This site's owner create all the scores available, and they are reproductions of famous concert pieces that most classical guitarists eventually perform or learn. No registration is needed. To access the files:
    1. Click on one of the styles in his list of composition choices in the opening paragraph.
    2. Click on the piece you want in the list on the next screen.
    3. Click on the red download button at the bottom of the screen.
    4. Right click the score, click "Save As," and it will save as PDF to your computer.
  • The Boije Collection: This is a Swedish site that has digitized the guitar sheet music collection of Carl Oscar Boije, who amassed a huge collection of music in the 1800s. This site has hard-to-find classical guitar gems from that period that will expand your repertoire beyond the standard pieces. No registration is needed, and to access the files:
    1. At the top of the site near the middle, click "Language" and change setting to "English."
    2. Click "Download Sheet Music" and then "Boije's Collection."
    3. Scroll to bottom and select a composer using the alphabet search feature.
    4. Select a piece. Then, in your browser's File menu, select "Save As" to download a PDF.

Between those two sites, you should be able to find enough free classical guitar notation to last you for years.

Digital Archives Will Only Get Better

Fortunately, every year libraries and guitar foundations are working to digitize their sheet music collections and add new, exciting works. For this reason, it's always a good idea to bookmark the sites above and check them regularly for new material.

Where to Find Free Guitar Sheet Music Online