Brainjo - book review and practical application

Raymond I am not saying don’t use other educators (I do) and Justin’s recommends seeking out other teachers. I just would not rave about or complain about other restaurants when eating in JGCs is all. :sunglasses:

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Justin has a steakhouse??? :laughing::laughing::laughing:

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I apologise in advance as I’m about to bring some negativity in…
For a start, let me state that that’s a great review.

Based on this review, I’m very glad I have not spent any amount of money to purchase Brainjo however cheap or expensive it may be.
The reason being, from what I gather, it just tells the reader how to apply commom sense.

Of course you have to not rely on tabs to play a piece. Tabs are to help learn or jog the memory on a thing or two. But once the components are etched in memory then the tab has no further use. I think key to this is to actually hear the song in your mind to be able to play it.

And that swiftly brings me to the next reason, which has to do with the focusing on listening. Of course one is going to focus on listening. It’s music, that’s the purpose of it, to be listened to. Whether one plays an instrument or not. Even more so if one plays an instrument, I cannot imagine how one can play without listening.
So, I’m not quite sure what or how brainjo helps with in that respect.

When I want to learn a song, even if I know the song and can hear it in my head, I still spend a lot of time listening to it again and again, actually listening to it though!
That helps me learn it. And I may not be able to transcribe (yet) but I can tell when the tab is wrong or is missing a few notes…
And then I have to get creative… Trial and error and fill in the blanks…

I don’t want to blabber for too long but one last thing that’s important for me…
Is that I am not on rails.
Yes, the destination is important (e.g., learning how to play a song) but the journey to learn how to play music/the guitar is much more important. So, personally, I don’t feel compelled to keep learning that measure of the song if while learning it I have an idea to try something else and explore it. Eventually, I learn more that way.
One might say that this is lack of discipline. I would argue that the opposite kills curiosity and creativity which is the penultimate goal (i.e., play and create music, not just play someone else’s song). For me, learning how to play the guitar is not a mechanical process (and mind you, I’m an engineer…) but a more abstract process which has some mechanical components.

Anyway, again, apologies for being negative about this, nothing personal of course! Perhaps I haven’t got it right but that’s how I see it :blush:


Hi Lefteris, such a cool and sincere comment of you!

I would think it is up to personal preference. If someone finds something useful and it happens to be solving their problems, they would be willing to pay for it. In this case for Brainjo it would be a great product.

PS Just got myself hired an engineer and I would like to learn more from you, too!

Hi Vincent!

Yes of course, I’m not attempting to impose my opinion on anything or anyone.
That’s another reason why I said I’m not on rails. I’m open to be influenced as much as I find it nice if I can inspire someone too.

Congrats on landing yourself an engineering job! (Did I get this right?)
Happy to share experiences!

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Also apologize in advance for being negative…

…but I find this kind of comment to be extremely unhelpful.

Speaking as someone who struggled with the basics of guitar playing for many years before disco vering Justin…

…what may be common sense to a more experienced (or naturally gifted) player may be completely inscrutable to a beginner.

On a more positive note…I thought you made some good points in the rest of your post.

:peace_symbol: :peace_symbol: :peace_symbol:

Hi Tom,

I didn’t mean to insult/offend anyone in any way whatsoever. I don’t think I’m gifted and definitely not experienced, in fact I lack both.
What you say is true though and I often tend to forget it.
Perhaps learning is just easier for some and not as easy for others. Food for thought (for me).
Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it!


Yes. Actually i have been wondering what a “Fluid Dynamics Engineer” does xD

Currently in Singapore, just got hired to work in Electrical Engineering locally. I am planning to relocate to UK later, so really appreciate if there is anything that rings a bell in your mind =)

My previous jobs are mere technicians, and on top of of that I am a university dropout lol T.T Hopefully I am going to work on CCNA certification to increase my chance of being employed in UK

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Hey Vincent,

I’ll drop you a message later with specifics as I see this becoming a very different topic from the one this thread is about.
I’ll aim for tomorrow.

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You are lucky to feel this way.

I can shed some light on why not using tab was a revelation for me - I realize it comes across as a blinding glimpse of the obvious for some, but for me this was a light-bulb kind of moment.

When I was younger I played the flute: marching band, then jr orchestras and eventually chamber ensembles. Virtually everything I played was classical. The way I was taught, from the very beginning, was to play the notes on the page. In fact, learning to finger the notes correctly was taught simultaneously with reading sheet music. From basic “beginner” melodies to more advanced pieces, learning to play was 100% done by reading music and playing what was on the page.

This background had an impact on how I approached learning guitar. I relied heavily on notation because that’s how I have been trained to learn an instrument. Of course I also listen to things I’m learning, but when practicing I always got out my binder and made use of the tab. The Brainjo book helped me sort out why this approach was actually holding me back in both memorization and in my ability to improvise (the latter I didn’t mention, but when you free yourself from relying on notation, the goal shifts from replicating what you see on a page to being more creative with expression).

There’s a lot of interesting topics where this discussion could go…the effects of printed music on the ability to improvise, impact on understanding music theory (for a long time I thought theory was less important because you don’t play chords on a flute…I secretly thought theory was more necessary for piano and string players).

The light-bulb moment was in realizing that I needed to take a different approach than I’d been previously taught.


Hi James, nice to meet you!

Could understand you, if I were to be trained classically on piano I would have heavily reliant on reading music sheets… lol. Funny things is, I learn about fingerstyle guitar and I can never sight read a tab xD So in my mind it is “why bother to do it?” And I was amazed by not having to read the guitar tab when I learnt “Drifting” from Andy Mckee, learnt the piece from his instructional vids and listening. To be honest, most of the time, I have no idea exactly what chords or notes I am playing, but to make sure it sounds nice and it follows the “feels”

I guess this applies to other style in guitar, and it is one of the advantages to learn guitar, aka screw the rules! =)

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I see were youre coming from James.
Playing classical musi, that’s amazing.
That’s something that however much I would try I’d never be able to do.
And still having huge difficulties reading sheet music (tab is ok).
So, total respect that you can do that!
Perhaps my inability to read notes on the 5 lines made me better at memorising tabs!

Justin is the man, but he does not always have focused modules for specific genres like rock, country, funk, etc. You have to find a song or riff lesson and then map it to your area of interest. It is what it is. At the end of the day he is like the rest of us, focusing on how to best utilize and monetize his time. He can’t be all things to all people. Truefire is not all things to all people either, but it has a lot of good instructional materials from working pro musicians as instructors. Many of the instructors have done lessons with Justin himself!

I think other message boards, youtube channels, courseware and instructors help support what is going on in the Justin-sphere rather than taking away from it. The message board can rest soundly, there are no hostile takeovers on the horizon. :slight_smile:

I’m not clear on why TrueFire was raised on this thread. I had asked @tony if he would share his experience with the fretboard confidential membership, I think that was misunderstood by @TheMadman_tobyjenner as a request to hear about the David Hamburger courses on TrueFire. It’s all a bit off-topic anyway.


So I’m trying out AnkiApp for practicing - spent tonight learning how to set up and made a bunch of cards. I opted for the name of the lick on the front of each card and on the back I put an audio recording of me playing it along with the tab in case I want to sneak a peak. It could be really helpful, depending on how the algorithm works. I’m using the free version, not sure how it might limit me vs the paid for option.


Note: I’ve opted to go with AnkiMobile instead of AnkiApp, which appears to be a “knockoff” of the original.

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Thanks again for the reference and review, James. I read the book which I found to both and entertaining and informative read, some fresh dieas for me as well as reinforcement/reminder of things I’ve come across in other places.