Guitarists are cheap: we try to avoid spending money on things where ever possible. Except for that new guitar, of course.
So when it comes to sheet music, we try to find the free options first. Sometimes this means finding a facsimile or getting someone’s arrangement. Either way, if the piece you’re looking for is in the public domain, it’s probably online.
Here are some places to start your search.
1. The Boije Collection
The Boije Collection is hosted by the Music Library of Sweden. It’s an entirely digitized (PDFs) of the late 19C century insurance salesman Carl Oscar Boije af Gennäs. After Boije died, his collection of printed editions and manuscripts was donated to the library.
This is my go to place to find any 19C guitar piece I’m working on.
2. The Classical Guitar School
ClassicalGuitarSchool.net (formerly “The Guitar School of Iceland”) is run by Eythor Thorlaksson and his son, Sveinn.
Unlike the Boije Collection, the pieces at Classical Guitar School are created by the Thorlakssons. They aren’t facsimiles or manuscripts. Most of the pieces here are your run of the mill standards: the typical concert pieces that get a lot of concert time.
3. The International Music Score Library Project
IMSLP is the most ambitious music digitization project online. It’s home to thousands of composers and (maybe) millions of scores.
There is a fair amount of guitar music here, but it’s usually my last stop to find guitar music. The system is a bit cumbersome, but you can find some real gems on IMSLP.