Christopher's Grand Re Re Re Re Starting

I was going to start with a learning log before I wrote this post, I didn’t because while my goal being here at this time is to formalize my practice routine and make some progress towards my goals and a learning log is an appropriate step I’m not sure what that looks like. I’m writing this instead because I don’t know what should be in that log and I’m hoping to find some guidance.

TL;DR I tried (sort of) Justin’s beginner program up to grade three for a couple years, but didn’t follow the advice to practice with a metronome or work on timing, still suck, trying to figure out how to reset. I am going back and looking at the requirements of each module’s “when you’re ready to move on” and seeing how well I do, digging in where I don’t do well. It’s tedious to be honest, but I don’t know of a better approach. If someone has a suggestion, I am happy to listen!

Guitar Backstory

My first guitar was a dreadnaught given to me by my grandfather when I was in grade school. I broke a string on it rocking out and thought I broke the whole guitar. Hid it away in its case and never played it again. I no longer have it. A sad story to share another time. Kurt blew my mind when he arrived on the scene and inspired me to pick up a guitar. Restart #1. I wanted a strat, cause that’s what my ignorance thought Kurt played, yeah yeah, I know now although he was known to play them occasionally it’s not what he’s known for. Anyway, I ended up with an Ibanez strat style guitar and a Hughes & Kettner solid state with a blue fabric case. I was not a good self-learner and I struggled to get anywhere kinda gave up. Restart #2 Then, a few years later a Canadian band, The Tea Party, released an album called The Edges Of Twilight. It inspired me to try again and to try harder. I even found a “teacher.” A friends older brother. He was the “coolest”. He was a metal dude. He could shred, played all sorts of metal had a flying V. THE COOLEST. He was also a stoner and a high school drop out. I asked if he would give me lessons. “Sure! What do you want to learn dude?” So I played Fire in the Head from The Tea Party in the stereo. He listened once and paused the CD and said “yeah man, you just do this” and he played it back to me perfectly. Now I know it is a power chord with a harmonic percussive across it not unlike in Brain Stew. Not a big deal, but beyond me now and then it looked like magic. Ok, so do this, but what is that…? How? He repeated, “Yeah man, that’s right” and he played it again, but could not elaborate beyond “yeah man, just do this”. I decided I needed more formality in my lessons. I went to an uncle who played. He gave me a photocopied book on the CAGED system and said once you learn this we can start. I didn’t. We didn’t. I sold the Ibanez and the amp.

Restart #3. A handful of decades later my kid is seven years old and I take him to the local music store to explore. He decides he wants Santa to bring him a red strat. Santa delivers a red bullet under the tree that year. To my surprise Santa also delivered an Epiphone SL and Rocksmith for me and the kid to learn guitar together. It was another slow start, but I’m a mature adult now. Well, I’m older at least. I have developed some grit and determination to fulfill this early ambition to learn to play what has remained one of my favourite albums ever.

The kid’s interest waned in and out, but I have mostly kept at it. I discovered Justin’s program and sort of worked my way through up to where he had published at that point, the end of Grade 2 I think. I say sort of because here is the reason behind the Re Re Re starting. I didn’t follow Justin’s advice. I didn’t play with a metronome practicing until I reached his recommended speeds. I practiced strumming with muted strings to make it “feel good” for too short of a time and didn’t use a metronome at all. I didn’t play along with the simplified songs on the app at the beginning for very long. I love Pulp’s Common People, but the simplified wasn’t close enough to the original to engage me, none of the simplified songs were close enough so I either skipped them or spent very little time on them. Enough so I could say “yeah I get it”. I didn’t. I didn’t spend the time getting the rhythm and feel Justin repeats to work on again and again. And as I tried to progress I couldn’t keep up with the songs.

Unrepentant I’ve wasted a couple years with slow progress unwilling to take the time to practice the rhythm & timing work I needed to do. I tried a local teacher during covid, he was ok, but it didn’t work out. I tried another that worked out well for a bit, but the world returned to normal and he’s off touring. I thought if I could just keep practicing certain elements or simple songs it would eventually click. It took too long to realize it’s not going to click until I play with one. Because of this I was/am limited to how much progress I have made or can make. I’ve had enough motivation to try and pick up the guitar and play the little bits I can to keep my finger tips ready for the time it was all going to click or I was finally mature enough to reset. Within that time there have been starts and stops, but not usually more than a few weeks would go by and I’d practice Old Faithful, the E minor pentatonic scale or one of the few songs I could sloppily play, but progress? Not much.

Restart #4 Now I restart once more! I am going back and looking at the requirements of each module’s “when you’re ready to move on” and seeing how well I do, digging in where I don’t do well. It’s tedious to be honest, but I don’t know of a better approach. If someone has a suggestion, I am happy to listen! Thank you if you made it all the way down here. :slight_smile:


Quite brutally honest there Christopher, I hope I can do the same, with no offence of course. I know how hard it can be to really dig in, I am a lazy bones, until I’m not, then I nuckle under lol.

Welcome to the group by the way. :wave: :guitar:

So…To be honest, DO YOU WANT TO PLAY GUITAR. !? IF, this is a resounding yes, suggestion is.
Don’t go looking for that better approach.

EVERYTHING you need is here. ! and no need to ask the question

No pain no gain as the saying goes, theres plenty of other places online to teach guitar but I would say use them as additional sources but, this is by far the best. !

Look at the premium course for strumming, it’s fantastic. !

It will solve this for sure.

I hate posting about myself but, i’m 58 and been playing only 5 month and the strumming course for 3 months. I managed to play a 16th strumming pattern even though I cannot count it in my head yet. in the beginner safe space Here.

Everyone should have a musical instrument in their lives, knuckle under ok. :slight_smile:



Hi Christopher,
Welcome here and I wish you the most important… have a lot of fun :sunglasses:


Hi Christopher! Welcome to the community! What a long story of ups and downs! The only thing to say is, it’s a long way. For everyone. So take it step, by step, by step. Even if it’s sometimes frustrating… I’d recommend to go through all of the lessons again, ok, it sounds overwhelming, but there is so much precious content in them and you’ll see things you didn’t notice at the first run through. Work on the basics, even if it goes excruciatingly slow… it will pay off for sure. Rhythm is such a fundamental basis to build on, take your time for learning to play with a metronome or use the app. Even if songs are often simplified…it gives you guidance for timing and rhythm aspects, a great tool for that. Have fun!

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I think we’ve all done restarts. me, i quit maybe 4 or 5 times. first was with private tutor in 2007, that worked really well for a while. then shipped off to afghan so that went out the window. started with justin and erich andreas in 2019 i think. erich seems to be a pompus ass money grubber, but i digress. did 1 and 2 in the old justin course and did good with the well structured practice assistant, then got frazzled as 3 introduced a more make your own practice. quit again. pretyy much i always find an excuse and blame someone/something else. this time im more closely following the course and doing it slower. part of my problem is wanting to sound like clapton in a week….even bought 3 of his signature models which became very expensive coat racks when they did not magically make me play layla. anyway…long winded, the jury is still out this time, but i think I’m getting the basics down better. slow and steady……not a sprint a marathon (dont u just hate cliches? :laughing:).


Hi Christopher
Welcome! :slight_smile:

:rofl: If only it was that simple :laughing: but that would definitely take the fun out of the journey…
I think you’re in the right place now and on the right track :smiley:

Thank you for the reply! The big question in there was “do I want to play?” and the answer is a resounding yes. I’ve been kicking at this can for a few years badly. This is another attempt at doing it the right way. The doubt around that is/was can I? I had an epiphany in this process and that is that I ain’t got not rhythm. This was revealed to me explicitly when I tried to learn Smells Like Teen Spirit. I can not play the intro! I tried for ages. Ten to fifteen minutes a day for a couple/few weeks and it just wouldn’t work, the wrist wouldn’t whacka whacka whacka. Embarrassingly, one of the “easiest” songs to learn and I couldn’t after weeks of trying. There’s no shortage of people that will tell you if you can’t pick up Teen Spirit you should put down the guitar. I have faith I’ll get there and a glimmer of hope. I need a bit more patience, but that’s something else. The fret hand can, the rhythm will not loosen up to do the scratches. There’s a fundamental stiffness to me that I have to chip away.

I’ve been working on that in a few ways in addition to returning to the beginning of the lessons and using the metronome and playing along with the simpler stuff. Trying to do a drum roll with my hands, something I’ve never been able to do and now I can for a bit, tapping along to the beat when I listen to music, trying to move my body to the music. I am a stiff and rigid in my movements so I am trying to loosen up and relax. I especially tighten up when playing so I am working on that along with strumming old faithful to practice it at different tempos - Last Kiss or Brown Eyed Girl on the Fender Play app.

The funny thing is in my mind I feel a looseness and am good with the timing, when I try to physically represent that I feel… almost restrained? Maybe it’s therapy I need? :smiley: So, anyway, the strumming course, while I get it’s not a meditation course that’s going to relax me, will it provide guitar directed ways to loosen up the wrist to whacka whacka whacka?

It’s very relaxing though, I even got to the point where I almost fell asleep a few time on the 5 min old faithful lol.


Made it :smiley:

Being an absolute beginner I still wanted to say hello, and good luck!

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Hello Christopher. I understand your situation. I can also get bogged down in details. I also cheat by not fully mastering a lesson before moving on. The solution was to set a performance goal and work toward it. It has to be timebound so you don’t procrastinate and in front of other people so you don’t fudge on the quality. Once the goal is set learn and master what ever you need to do to make it happen.

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Hey Christopher. Welcome to the community. Good to meet you.

For me, learning my first song gave me the motivation to keep at it. My suggestion is simplify your approach. Find a song you want to learn, make sure it’s a simple song, not too many chords. Just learn to play it rhythm only, don’t worry about riffs, or scales, just get the rhythmic feel of the song going and get to where you can play it all the way through.

Then you can work out if you want to expand to other songs or enhance that song, you can work on simple stuff like what to do for the intro or outro, or work on riffs.

For me, getting my first song working (and now I’m almost embarrassed by how simplistic it was), gave me the motivation and realization that I CAN do this.

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Hello Christopher and welcome to our community. :slight_smile:

I hope you stick with it this time. The reality is, it takes time and dedication to learn properly and there is no cutting corners but once you start to get things it is worth all the time and effort that you put in.

And to another saying, you get out what you put in.

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It sounds to me like you’ve got the interest and enough motivation that once you see some results that will propel your motivation even further. The path you’re on now sounds like a good one to pick up a few missing pieces. My suggestion is to make sure that overall you’re having fun, tedium might set you back until the next re re re re … start! So definitely work through Justin’s modules, but also leave some time in your practice to play those little bits you do know, or work on a dreamer song - find something that will not be tedious to you.


@christopher.guse Hey Chris, a fellow restarter here. I relate to a lot of what you wrote. Here’s to us both finding a way of making it stick!


Welcome! :smiley: :guitar:

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Hi Christopher and welcome!

I think your story is not unlike what a lot of people struggle with. There are many here that have had stops and re-starts along the way. The best advice I can give is to always make sure you are learning something you love. If there is a song you have always been wanting to learn, try it! if it is difficult, learn it in pieces and eventually you will find that you can put them all together as your skill level improves. Justin always says throughout the beginners course to make time in your practice routine for the fun stuff. It’s how you stay motivated for the things that require more repetitive practice.

The very first day I picked up my guitar I went on YouTube and searched for how to play Barracuda by Heart. Was it way beyond my skill level? Absolutely. But I had a ton of fun working through it and trying to figure it out. Along the way I have also learned that what tends to work best for me is to be concentrating on two songs at any one time. One that is easier/skill level appropriate and one that will take more long term practice. The sense of satisfaction you get from making something that sounds like music is the best feeling!

Keep it up! :guitar:

Hi Chris, welcome. Some songs are less friendly than others to be played with just a guitar, and therefore may require more advanced techniques to make them sound good. When covering songs by bands you have several alternatives, a couple of them are: playing the song as a guitar only version that do not necessarily correspond to any of the original parts, but creates a recognizable sound, or playing the original parts along a backing track (or some jam buddies).

Structured and focused practice as Justin proposes will make you a better guitarist each time you put time on it. From there you will have to adapt the practice to your personal needs and preferences. As others have said if you find the practice too tedious (others here find so enjoyable that forget to learn songs [Practice is guitar playing anyway isn’t it?]) you can intercalate it with free playing, exploring sounds, playing simple songs you like or anything else. You don’t have to wait until you are an advanced guitar player to enjoy playing guitar.

Welcome Christopher! Really enjoyed reading your back story, very entertaining! :sweat_smile:
By now I’m sure you’ve realised most of us are re re re restarters, myself included!

I think I would’ve liked this guy! :metal::laughing:

I remember hearing those guys in the early 90s, really liked this song The Tea Party - The River didn’t listen to much else of theirs so may need to dig a bit deeper :thinking:

I was totally the same with Teen Spirit, just couldn’t get the rhythm. Remember talking with someone about it and got a similar response to what you had mentioned earlier, i.e. “aw yeah, it just goes like this” and proceeds to make it look super simple, then I’d try and just couldn’t do it. I gave up on that for a long time, then came back to it one day and it just did it! So I wouldn’t get hung up on that as a perquisite to being a guitar player, I’m sure you will tick that box at some point, just keep plugging away and it’ll happen :slight_smile:

All the best with your journey, looking forward to seeing/hearing more down the track :metal:

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Christopher, welcome to the community forum. All the others above have given you good advice. You started out by saying you wanted to make a learning log, but didn’t know where to start. You could do what I did and just read through a few of the learning logs and see what other have done. That is what I did and my Learning log is still a work in progress. I am in Grade 3, but I restarted Justin’s course several times. I lost count of how many times I restarted in previous years trying different method books. Find songs you enjoy and focus on playing your rhythm at this point. Look at all the beginner song lesson videos on the website that you might be interested in. Justin does a lot of rhythm practice in all of those songs, with different levels of rhythm difficulty. With daily practice you’ll get better and if you are having fun you’ll keep playing.


Hi folks, thank you for the warm welcome, or technically rewelcome as I do think I wrote an intro and started a log on the old site. Anyway, I appreciate the feedback, commiseration and well wishes very much! Thank you! When I get a moment I hope to respond personally to more of these messages.

An update! I have bought the strumming SOS first course and it’s going well and I’m still trying to figure out what my practice routine is going to look like with that as a foundation. Right now it’s pay attention to the strumming exercises and go back and practice the stuff I can do sorta well but to a play along or metronome now. I’m thinking I’m going to keep doing this until I get to the end of the second strumming course then reassess against my goals. Also going to cross post this in my log.

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