Confusion over song grades

I’m confused as to how the songs are graded. For example, werewolves of London is a grade one song. Apart from the basic chord strumming it’s actually quite hard to play. Hotel California is a grade 2 but again it’s a bit of a bugger. Even just the strumming is a bit tricky as the B7 chord with the capo at fret seven doesn’t leave much room for all of your fingers! Especially the pinky. Then we have Wonderwall which is a grade three. This is very easy to play even with the correct strum pattern.

I think a lot of it has to do with complicated picking (to an idiot like me) and so far there hasn’t been much picking in the course.

I’m not complaining, I’d just like some advice as to how to tackle this as I can’t really seem to get to grips with many songs which is frustrating as that’s the whole point of playing!


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I think the songs are graded by the chords and techniques required to play a basic version of it. Many of Justin’s song lessons start with a basic version of the song, and if that requires chords and techniques taught in or before grade 3, then it’s considered a grade 3 song. Most lessons then go on to the more complicated bits for more advanced players of higher grades.

So you can usually start with the easy version, and then move onto the advanced version as and when your skills allow at a later date. Just don’t try to move forward too quickly, as that is likely to lead to frustration. Get the basics down first.

As for getting to grips with things… practice, practice and practice. That’s pretty much it, there is no real secret or hidden method. The more you practice (perfectly), the better you’ll get.


I can see that it is difficult to grade songs in a categorical way - the difficulty will always depend on the arrangement. I also think some of it may be personal. I’ve found Grade 5 songs like With A Little Help From My Friends, The Weight and Solsbury Hill relatively easy. On the other hand, the intro to Johnny B Goode (also Grade 5) - man, I’ve been practicing that sucker for almost a year trying to get it up to full speed and I’m still not playing it well. From which I conculde that playing fast and accurate is one of my weaknesses.

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