Beginner starting questions

To try my best to keep this a short and sweet summary I have been playing guitar for around 2-3 months but not all at once. I took some breaks and even have fully given up at one point. Went through the first beginner course here on justin guitar and even can play the basic chords well. Started the second beginner course but I started to lean towards wanting to play more blues and jazz things. My question I want to know is, I can easily go and watch videos on how to play pieces and songs from those genres. Is that a good way to go? Like it’s something I really enjoy but at the same time in those videos all I know is what chord to play and the name but I don’t always like knowing WHY? Like not just getting stuck in a monkey see monkey do. But I also really like learning that way it just sometimes gets to me the fact I don’t always why or I get a feeling I am learning the wrong way to play guitar.

3 posts were split to a new topic: Where is the Chord Perfect practice introduced / demonstrated?

Hi @Precise820,

I don’t think the shortest path to learning to play is by watching random videos. You will hear subtle sounds that you won’t figure out how to play unless you have the foundation of Justin’s beginner classwork to build on. I get the feeling you are trying to hurry from beginner to advanced without working through the stages.

So, yes, you can probably learn by only watching song videos and copying, but you will take longer to see results. The shortest path to playing what you want is to learn the beginner material, then branch into the genre you want to play. The ‘why’ behind what we are playing is available. Justin introduces us to music theory with enough to get you understanding what you are doing. The music theory course is a deeper look at the why and how things relate. Once you have a feel for the guitar and can start to understand the ‘why’ part, you will be in a better position to play something that is not just a copy.

I am about 1/3 through both the basic playing classes and the theory classes, so I cannot give my experiences beyond those points. I can tell you that I have a keen interest in blues and grade 3 starts common blues with grade 4 targeting more specific styles of playing blues. For the theory part, I hear and somewhat understand the why, but it isn’t automatic. I have more learning and a lot more playing to do.


Hi Cole,
Justin guitar grade 1 ,2 and 3 the beginners courses are a short cut for the music you want to learn later on :smiley: and during those first lessons you also learn blues etc… :smiley:

Welcome here and have fun and have a little patience with/for yourself :sunglasses:



Welcome aboard Cole :smiley:
Let me see if I have this right-
You took up the guitar 2-3 months ago, took a couple of ‘breaks’, ‘gave up fully’ at some point and now are leaning toward blues and jazz?!? :open_mouth:

You have answered your own question regarding just learning to play the notes/chords of songs from videos but not understanding why.
Justin has laid out a clear logical program on how to learn guitar. If you follow it, you will get where you want to end up. If you devise your own course, you might learn some things earlier. You will definitely have gaps.
I would suggest following the course the way intended and by all means, explore other avenues along the way/in parallel.
It’s important to have fun and enjoy yourself :smiley:


I tried learning the guitar over 10 years ago without knowing Justin guitar and failed by going down your path because I found myself stabbing around in the dark. Quit after a month without being able to play a single song.

I’d suggest you stick with the beginner course and somewhere around grade 2, after doing the blues module, wander for a bit to learn Easy blues/jazz songs that you’ve dreamt of playing. A prerequisite for passing grade 2 is to be able to play 10 songs anyway.

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Hi Precise820 and welcome.
I read all of the replies to your post and couldn’t agree more with the suggestions given.
Roger hit the nail on the head, walk then run.
I have very similar story, random You Tube videos, MSMD passages etc.
Got very annoyed with myself as I was getting nowhere fast.
So, gave myself a severe talking to, gave my head a wobble and decided to start over only this time properly.
I had seen Justins video’s on YT so checked out his site.
Best thing I have done since picking up the guitar.
Structured lessons and goals.
Definitely the way to go and I’m sure you will find yourself progressing much faster.
Enjoy your guitar journey.

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Lots of good advice here already @Precise820
All I will add is that by going through the beginner course you don’t just learn chords, scales, technique, songs etc. you also learn a ‘way’ of learning guitar. Justin introduces that way from the start and it builds through the course and will stand you in good stead later on when you’re learning the stuff you want to get into.

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It’s fine to learn random songs you like on YouTube etc, whatever keeps you playing.

But after only 2-3 months of learning you’ll find it hard without some basic skills

These replies are all amazing and is exactly what I needed, I did do the grade 1 course and even finished it completely, then life and just slow unwillingness to keep going got to me and I ended up quitting for 2-3 months. Now I am starting again because I can’t get the fact that I really want to be able to play out of my head.

And I couldn’t agree more that the whole being where I want to be quickly is a totally unreasonable way to go about it. And funny enough I realized this myself a few days ago. Found a good song/riff I wanted to play that was pretty advanced and started trying to learn the chords, but I felt very weird. Like I knew that I would be able to play it eventually but I would have absolutely no idea on WHY. So yeah I learned where my fingers would go but not the note or the reason behind why that specific note and just all these unanswered questions.

Thank you all for these replies and it makes the decision very easy and which one is clearly the right and smartest way to learn. I am excited because grade 2 from what I can see also by looking is letting me dive into multiple genres. But thank you all so much for the replies, I didn’t expect to get this much!

Being patient is very difficult for me as well. I knew all of the beginner grade 1 chords, most of the stuck 3/4 chords, mini-F succeeded sometimes, easy fingering patterns in 4/4, 6/8, and 3/4 work okay - if with delay on chord changes- “Old Faithful +” had apparently been my selfmade default strumming pattern. And still I will stay in Beginner Grade 1 until the end of week 33.

The thing is, if I will give in to my impatience again, I will again run against walls very soon, and I don’t want to do that. It’s annoying, I know. It’s frustrating and very much so.

But it will make me better at guitar in the end :slightly_smiling_face:

What I mean is: Small sacrifices in the beginning will pay off in the long run :rainbow:

Just to make sure I understand, you feel like you could move up but you are staying and trying to completely iron everything out?

Yes. Exactly that :slightly_smiling_face:

Hey Cole,

If you want to get serious, commit yourself for 1 year to Justins course, starting from the very beginning.
Stick close his lessons in the time frames he suggests, and pick up the guitar every day - even if for 5 minutes.
You will be surprised at where you can be after just one year.

Cheers, Shane

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Before I forget also, would love to know how everyone else goes through each module. Do some of you watch the entire module then start practicing and going back and rewatching if needed? Or watch a video or 2 a day and practicing just those techniques for a little then go to the next videos?

And lastly before I forget one of the “issues” I have come across is I only have an electric guitar and some of these songs are acoustic which I can kind of just use the electric without any fx but can I use a capo on a electric?

Hi Cole,

Early on, I was able to watch and absorb all of a module in one sitting. Later I needed to watch 1-3 lessons then work on what I was taught. It was mostly the complexity of what my hands and head needed to do. Expect to adapt as you work your way through the lessons.

For your acoustic question, yes, you can use a capo. I have only used electric. Set up for a clean amp, and use either the neck or neck+ bridge and you should hear a pretty good tone for practice. You will hear most mistakes better using a clean tone, so consider that when you practice. The only time I dial in distortion is when I am playing a song that needs it, or am working on something that is part of a dirty sound. I often use a very light reverb with short delay (or small room) to give some depth to the clean sound, much like an acoustic body can.

This guy didn’t see any problem with it:

Hi Cole and welcome to the community.
I’m glad the good and positive advice offered (I expect no less from this community :slight_smile: ) has already influenced your thinking.
I have little to add.
Simply take your time and consolidate all the key skills and learn songs, learn songs, learn songs (by which I mean - among other things - songs that use and apply the skills you learn at each stage).

Great advice from the community.

  1. Don’t rush, you’ll pick up bad habits that will be hard to break further down the road.

  2. Learn an easy song that uses the techniques you have just learned from Justin’s courses.

  3. Have a long term song that is harder but is a project rather than learn it quickly. This one where you can stretch yourself and learn it a measure at a time.

  4. It will be easier now if you also start to learn the notes on the fretboard as you progress through each stage. If you know the names of the notes of the chord or scale you are learning and and where they are then eventually you will easily find them all over the fretboard. It’s all about taking baby steps.

  5. Don’t forget to noodle after a practice session, have fun and enjoy the instrument. Even 15 mins a day practice is progress.

  6. Finally, don’t expect to be perfect straight away. It takes time to improve and if you can record yourself once a week, you will see the improvement. Also writing down the bpm you achieve will show you a measured progress. Like I said earlier, just take your time and enjoy the guitar. :slight_smile: