Grade 1 Test! Ready to Pass?

We’ve reached the end of this Strumming Foundations course. It’s time for the all-important question: have you passed? The full lesson is here!

Hello. I’ve just completed the Grade 1 Strumming SOS course. I had taken the really old one (not sure I ever finished that one). I’m an advancing beginner right now (early Grade 3) with 2 1/2 years in. My strumming skills are sooooo much better now than 1 year ago, and this course has improved it even further. I’m looking forward to the next strumming sequence of lessons.

If there is anything I can suggest it’s help with strumming patterns, or references in the video lessons to the digital or printable handbook. I had forgotten about those materials and I see some strumming patterns to practice in there. One of the things I liked about the old course were the RUST strumming patterns, progressing from easy to more challenging patterns. Upon reviewing them periodically, it provided a test to see how I had improved and where in the list of patterns I started getting tripped up and needed to resume practice.

Even just a mention of - “hey there are strumming patterns in the workbook and blank pages you can write up your own patterns” - would be very helpful.

The approach in this course is much improved from the old course, reflecting your years of experience now. I really liked strumming along as you strummed as well. Very helpful guide.

Thanks so much. This guitar journey is turning out to be one of the great things in an already fulfilling life. I appreciate all you do. Thank you.


The book evolved after the video, which is why it’s not mentioned… but I have a couple of ideas for improvement already and will try to remember to mention the booklet in them!

Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the feedback :slight_smile: J

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I am not a total noob but decided to pick this course up. I think this was very good for me because I am one of those players that thought the fretting hand is god. I knew deep down I really needed to work on my feel and I am confident that the things I learnt in this course will make me a better player. I am now motivated to appreciate the ignored hand. I think the price point is good, a one hour lesson with a guitar teacher would be the same or more.


Well I think I am going to consider that I have passed Grade 1. I started the course as I was disappointed with the quality of my strumming and thanks to Justin it has signifcanly improved, so big thanks Justin and well worth the money.

I now have 8 strumming 4:4 patterns of which 4 have come along during the course. I am fairly confident that most of them are pretty well automatic apart from DDUDUDU which is fine for open chords but a song I am learning has Am to barre chord Bm, I am still working on barre chords so the change is quite difficult to make in time and I find that I am concentrating in getting my fingers in the right place I tend to lose track of the pattern, but it is getting better with practice.

One of the things that helped a lot was dropping back to from a 0.6 pick to 0.46. What I have noticed recently is that I recognise the sound of the patterns and create the sound without thinking too much of what I am strumming, I guess that is one of the meanings of automatic. This helps in that I know if I am doing it right or if I have introduced more or left out strums. There a couple patterns DDUDDU and DUDDUD have DUD in them but overall, the sound of each pattern is quite different. I am still going to keep going with the metronome.

So, moving onto Grade 2 and there are some lesson I am familiar with because I have needed them for songs such as the blues shuffle and riff together with very basic 6:8 pattern but can see that there is lot more to get stuck into.



In addition to Old Faithful what are the strumming patterns that I’m likely to find useful to work towards getting my five patterns unconscious? If it helps, my interests are Tom Petty, Noel Gallagher and Nirvana.

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@christopher.guse I could suggest a few but my strong advice, as so often, is learn songs, learn songs, learn songs. In doing so you yourself will discover strumming patterns that you need. :slight_smile:

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Fair enough. And there are plenty of examples provided in the digital workbook.

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The Strumming foundation course is helping me so much thank you. I’m a long term learner and have been learning with you for some years, but the biggest thing holding me back is my rhythm, timing and groove. I have added the practice routine to my dashboard and do it every day, once I have it nailed I will purchase the Strumming dynamics. I can’t believe that I have neglected this part of my playing for so long. It has made a simple song like knocking on heavens door sound so much better and more enjoyable to play, even my wife sits and listens to me now. I definitely feel more relaxed and confident when playing.

I have bought some things and made a few small donations in the past and will try to make another one soon.

Thank you for all the hard work that you and your team put in to help so many people, you’re all amazing.


I just finished SOS 1. I’m a self taught senior playing for about 3 years. I was skeptical about such a basic structure as the the 1st level SOS. I was so wrong. I had developed so many bad self taught habits! You can teach an old dog new tricks if the old dog (me) is willing to spend the time on basics. Thanks Justin.


Fred @Oldstrings1
Well done definitely a good course and helps correct some of those bad habits that do tend to creep in.
And by the way welcome to the community :+1:

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Just finished grade 1. Took me about 5 months. I can recommend everybody this course. I know when I started playing guitar I never used the metronome because it distracted me and also I did not tapped my foot and when I started to do it I tapped with my toes. Now I am tapping with my heels and I can’t stop tapping when I strum. It goes hand in hand. It is automatic and I don’t mind the metronome anymore. I use the Justin metronome app. I few people in the community know how my timing was off when I recorded songs put it got better and better when I begun with this course.
I will begin grade next week.

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I am still working on grade1 and got distracted with the new strumming machine! What a great creation there Justin. I must admit I have up to this point hated a metronome but found that if I leave it off and just use your voice with the strumming on and sometimes off, it has changed my whole attitude toward the metronome (well, kind of, but still prefer that strumming machine). I suspect I may be working on grade 1 a bit longer but plan to move on to grade 2 at some time in the near future. Timing and getting out of the same old strumming pattern I have used has made a huge difference in enjoying practice. I am an at home player and have no one to bounce things off of, but I do have a looper. Thank you for getting me to this point with the guitar as I so enjoy playing. As you say, it is like meditation to me, which has been much needed of late.

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I have a question as a beginner at the end of grade 1. Should I practice strumming patterns as an entity on their own (with muted strings) or do it do it as a part of learning a song ?
Thanks in advance

Yousuf @yabusamra
My personal view is that Justin says you need five patterns

If you are following the Guitar Course and are at Grade 1 at least some of the patterns should be for a song, but I guess that it is not essential as we are only talking about strumming on this course.

Do it as part of learning a song. If you are struggling to get it right you may want to take a step back and practice with mutted strings but the best way to learn a strumming pattern is while playing songs