Rock Guitar Exams

These officially accredited and internationally recognised exams offer a formal recognition of the specific talents of rock guitar players.

Exam Levels

10 exam grades are available, ranging from Step 1 (for beginners) up to Grade 8 (for aspiring professional musicians). Find out more from the Exam Information Booklet.

Download a Rock Guitar grade exam Information Booklet to see the requirements of each grade exam.

Rock Guitar Performance Awards

Candidates who prefer not to take a full grade exam can instead opt for a Rock Guitar Performance Award, which focuses entirely on the performance of prepared pieces. Performance Awards can be performed at an exam centre, or alternatively candidates can submit a video recording of themselves playing the pieces.

See our Rock Guitar Performance Awards webpage for more information.

What Happens During A Rock Grade Exam?

The core of all RGT@LCM rock guitar grade exams is the Prepared Performance section, where you perform the rock pieces you’ve chosen to play in the exam.

From Step 2 onwards, the examiner also tests your aural ability to reproduce riffs and recognise chords.

From Grade One onwards, there is an improvisation section where you improvise a lead solo and then a rhythm guitar part to a backing track.

Grade Exam Handbooks

RGT@LCM publishes a course handbook for each grade that provides detailed information and examples of the Improvisation and Aural Assessment sections of the exams.  All the scales and chords that would be useful for each exam are provided in the grade handbook.  There is no requirement to read traditionally notated music as all music is also provided in easy-to-read TAB or fretboxes.

The books also include helpful guidance about the performance pieces required for the exam. For Step 1 and Step 2 the notation and CD demos and backing tracks are included in the handbooks. From Grade One onwards, the notation and audio is in separate publications.

The RGT@LCM series of rock guitar grade handbooks provide a unique and structured way to develop and improve your rock guitar playing.  They are available from many good music/book stores or online at theLCM shop

Alternative Pieces

Here are some alternative choices for some grades:

Grade 4

  • Heart Breaker - Led Zeppelin
  • Black Night - Deep Purple
  • Sliver - Velvet Revolver
  • Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
  • Jessica (Allman Bros)
  • Fire (Jimi Hendrix)
  • Becks Bolero – Jeff Beck

Grade 5

  • Life in the Fast Lane - The Eagles
  • FBI – The Shadows
  • The Riverboat Song - Ocean Colour Scene
  • Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith
  • Keep on Swinging - Rival Sons
  • 1612 - Vulfpeck

Grade 6

  • Jessica - The Allman Brothers
  • Hideaway - John Mayall/Eric Clapton
  • This Charming Man - The Smiths
  • Parisienne Walkways - Gary Moore
  • Sir Duke/Master Blaster - Stevie Wonder

Grade 7

  • YYZ - Rush
  • Phantom of the Opera - Iron Maiden
  • The Beast and the Harlot - Avenged Sevenfold
  • Affirmation - George Benson
  • Room 335 - Larry Carlton
  • Crossroads – Cream/Robert Johnson
  • Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd

Grade 8

  • Satch Boogie - Joe Satriani
  • Country Boy - Albert Lee
  • Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson
  • Eugene's Trick Bag - Steve Vai
  • Tumeni Notes - Steve Morse
  • Reelin' In The Years – Steely Dan
  • Peaches En Regalia – Frank Zappa
  • Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
  • Bent Nails – Snarky Puppy

Benefits of Taking an RGT@LCM Exam

  • Gain a useful and internationally recognised qualification.
  • Find out, via a reliable and independent assessment, what standard your playing is.
  • Achieve your playing potential by setting yourself a clear target to aspire to.
  • Preparing for the exam will help you develop all aspects of your playing in a structured way, increase your knowledge of guitar techniques and music theory.

Exam Accreditation

RGT@LCM rock guitar exams are organised by London College of Music Exams (one of the world's most respected music examination boards, established since 1887) and certificated by the University of West London, resulting in a recognised standard by which the skills and abilities of rock guitarists can be assessed.

RGT@LCM graded exams, from Grade One onwards, are regulated by Ofqual and have been placed on the Qualifications and Credit Framework. UCAS points towards university entrance are awarded from Grade 6 onwards.

General Enquiries: 020 8231 2751 -
Membership Enquiries: 020 8231 2055 -

RGT@LCM, University of West London, St Mary's Road, London W5 5RF


Honorary Patrons

Sir Paul McCartney, David Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Ronnie Wood, Suzi Quatro, Carlos Bonell, Neil Murray, Gordon Giltrap, John Etheridge, John Illsley, Glenn Tilbrook, Dave Kelly

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