J.S. Bach – Prelude In E Major Video Guitar Lessons

In this song lesson we will take on my own arrangement of Bach's "Prelude In E Major". This piece is from his Partita No.3 for solo violin. Bach's music has always had a profound effect on me and it has been a hobby of mine since my teen years to transcribe solo violin works of his for pick style guitar. This piece is by far the favorite of all of my private students so I thought it would be great to bring it all to you!

An added bonus to this lesson is that since this is my own arrangement AND Bach's music is public domain I can supply the TAB as well. You are definitely going to want to download this TAB PDF because the note-for-note lessons are intended to show you HOW to play the notes, not help you memorize. That will only come from time spent studying the TAB.

The first video is just the Introduction/Full Performance video. The rest of the videos show you how to finger and pick the entire piece page by page. Have Fun!! 😀

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J.S. Bach - Prelude In E Major TAB PDF (Right-click and save to you computer)

Introduction & Full Performance

Bach Prelude Lesson Part 1

Bach Prelude Lesson Part 2

Bach Prelude Lesson Part 3

Bach Prelude Lesson Part 4

Bach Prelude Lesson Part 5


  1. Ray on December 23, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    That was an amazing performance Carl! Not only did I enjoy it musically but I also enjoyed it visually, watching your hand dance and stretch all over the fretboard. Thanks!

  2. Fionbar Lyons on February 19, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Agreed, that piece is a monster, but it is well worth the challenge! I took it on 18 months ago and only now do I feel that it’s just about mastered. Interestingly the tabs I used are different as my fingers are not long enough to reach across five frets so I had to adapt certain passages.

  3. Riette vdW on June 28, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Fantastic!! I can’t tell you how great your lessons are! You are a great musician and guitarist!

  4. Tommy Rad on December 11, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Wow! I would guess it doesn’t get any more difficult and mathematical than that. How long did it take you to perfect that piece? You are just going, and going, to keep track of where you are?
    Again, wow, I am about to embark on this journey so be nice everyone, I’ll be gone in this composition for years. Ha…Thanks again Carl.
    P.S. when are our yearly fees due?

    • Carl Brown on December 11, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Glad you like the transcription Tommy! I actually transcribed this a long time ago when I was a teenager. I wasn’t all that proficient at sight reading traditional sheet music back then so it took me a while to get the notes all worked out since I worked from the original violin score.

      But when I relearned it probably 18 years later to do this performance and lesson series, it probably took me about a week to get it memorized again. You will find that the more music you memorize, the easier it gets to learn new stuff. Your brain sorta learns how to organize everything. I also study classical guitar daily and have hours of repertoire memorized at all times. There are little tricks like visualization away from the instrument and stuff like that, but most of all, it is just your brain getting used to learning that much info and finding it’s own way to store it. Your’s will do the same if you work at it enough. 🙂

      Oh and it looks like your account would be set to renew on March 3rd. You will get an email a few days before that to remind you to renew.

      Glad to see you back on the site again!


  5. Tommy Rad on December 12, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Thanks Carl:
    Yes I understand! We used visualization for everything in the airline industry when flying complex aircraft. I really is an important tool for learning and storing information in our brains. Also, yes, since I started with you a couple years ago, the more I learn the easier it is to learn and remember new and more complex compositions. I decided to take this Bach composition and learn each lesson (part 1, 2, 3,etc.) a day at a time. I have already finished
    Part 1 after 2 six hours days, and ready for lesson part 2. It is coming much faster than I expected, but for some reason, I just close my eyes and let my finger move to the pattern of what I hear in my head and my fingers just follow. It’s kinda weird, new, but a great new level I’ve broken through to. Thanks again for the challenge and response. It’s good to be back in the studio–Tommy

    • Carl Brown on December 12, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Yeah I am constantly visualizing the repertoire I currently know in my head throughout the day. It is a great way to keep it fresh without having a guitar in your hands.

      If you get to the point that you can visualize and almost feel even the smallest details of a piece of music, like the pick stroke along with all the left hand fingerings at the same time, you are much less likely to have a mental lapse during performance. Many players learn through only muscle memory. This can take a lot longer to get a piece of music memorized, plus in a performance situation, when your brain is going into hyperdrive, you won’t be relying only on muscle memory which is always the very first thing to break down during a performance.

      Glad to see you have experience in using visualization from earlier in life. I am going to be preparing some video lessons on the site to talk about different ways to develop this visualization process on the guitar. It is how the great musicians can have hours and hours of music memorized without having to play through them all every day to keep them memorized. You will get to the point that you can go through this entire Bach piece in your mind visualizing all the picking and fingerings in under a minute. 🙂

  6. Greg Hinkle on December 26, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Carl, that was such an amazing piece of music, and such a beautiful arrangement for guitar!!! I sure don’t think that I want to tackle that one; however, I would like to play it often for inspiration. You can sure see your classical music training shine through. Thank you so much, for all you do for us. I’ve already learnt 6 songs from you, I get from you, by far, more than I ever did from any other instructor on the internet. Please continue to do what you do.

  7. Allan Donovan on June 11, 2020 at 3:01 am

    Hey Carl, in addition to my subscription at 365 Academy I spend a lot of time with these free song lessons. I feel that playing actual songs helps advance my guitar playing and is a good break from all that “learning” stuff lol.

    After listening to and watching this I was just wondering whether you had ever thought about a lesson for Cavatina (The Deer Hunter song), a John Williams arrangement, I believe??

    Just an idea as I love that tune. I don’t think that I, personally, am anywhere near good enough to play it throughout but it would be good to have a stab at it. Thanks – Allan

    • Carl Brown on June 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm

      Hey Allan, that was actually on my to-do list before the nerve damage in my picking hand put the classical lessons on hold for a while.

      I hope to pick it back up and demonstrate The Deer Hunter once my hand is back in shape. 🙂

  8. Allan Donovan on June 16, 2020 at 6:36 am

    OUCH! any damage to either hand must be dreadful for any guitarist. Hope you make a full recovery soon so that you can get back to doing what you love. Will look forward to stretching myself (and my fretting hand) attempting The Deer Hunter. Get well soon.

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