This post reviews the first 6 etudes of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ epic 12 studies, and answers the question: Which Villa-Lobos Study Should I learn First? And you will be surprised by the answer. Hint: it’s not etude no. 1 or 2!
You could also checkout the YouTube Video below which also steps through all the information below, but with way more detail, and with musical examples.
Which Villa-Lobos Etude to Learn First?
This is a tough choice, and generally, one that most first time guitarists don’t always get correct.
It is not Etude No. 1!
That I will tell you straight away. This etude is the boss study for the first 6 in this set. It will help with not only strengthening your RH but also get your LH barre chords, equal strength and slurs strong. If there is one etude from the 12 that everyone should continue to play, that will always help your technique, it should etude no. 1.
So which etude should be first?
Etude no. 6! It is the best introduction to the first 6 studies. It is not overly challenging for the hands, it does have its moments though. It will work your RH planting, along with LH barre and compound chord shapes (so read that as will build up your pinky as well).
So which Villa-Lobos etude should you learn first? Etude no. 6! After that it would be a good idea to follow onto no. 1 and then 2. For the remaining etudes it is then a case of picking the technique you wish to challenge. Etude No. 3 – slurs; Etude No. 4 – chords; and Etude No. 5 – classical music.
So in order, for the first six Villa-Lobos, we have:
- No. 6 – RH workout on static chords, with some LH barre.
- No. 1 – RH work out with LH barre, and slurs.
- No. 2 – RH workout with arpeggios.
- No. 3 – LH workout, with some chords.
- No. 4 – RH workout, with LH compound chord shapes
- No. 5 – Full technique, RH fine control & LH melody + chords.
This is obviously my choice through these Villa-Lobos etudes, which is based on spending last year just playing the 12 studies. Your choice will be dependent on your current technical level, and what it is you wish to achieve with the studies.
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Villa-Lobos Etude No. 6 Lesson
Below are the links to the first three etudes I suggest you take a crack at for Villa-Lobo’ 12. They are fully fledged lessons that step through each study in a structured bar by bar approach. They will help you with fingerings, hints, hacks and with TAB. Not very classical I know, but this music needs all the help it can get to jump off the page. I have done most of the hard work, all you need to do is dive in and learn it. Hope that helps.