Help a newbie find his path!

Justin’s video about SMART goals got me interested in resuming my guitar journey. What got me demotivated in the first place was that the style I’m into seems very ambitious. Each time I sit down and google a tab or tutorial of a song I’m interested in learning, a gargantuan wall appears. I tried playing a couple but even starting seems extremedly hard. Not sure what the style is called, here is an example:

So far I’ve finished Grades 1 & 2 and that’s been great. However, just blindingly following lessons eventually bores me. I’ve been trying to apply Justin’s advice and look for intermediate steps to follow. Can someone point me in the right direction? Any advice is welcome.


Great question, thanks for posting. Having a more specific goal made a big difference to me in finally learning after trying and not sticking with it many year before.

For me, learning a simple song all the way through first made quite the difference as well. You may think you are only learning a simple song but in fact you are learning more. You are learning some form of an intro, also an outro and learning the discipline of staying the task.

A friend of mine started learning guitar recently and his first song to learn was a fingerstyle version of Clapton’s tears in heaven. My first thought was that he should stick to something simpler. When I asked him why he was starting on such a complicated song, he said he’s always dreamed of learning that song.

So, in addition to my comments on a simple song, the other driver can be passion.

My passion was to learn songs that others would sing along to around a campfire and for me, simple songs do fit in that well.

Don’t be down on yourself that you can’t play something as amazing as the song you posted. The person playing that song would not have played that way when they started.

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First of all, I love Final fantasy music so playing something like this is a really cool goal. The style he is playing is called classical guitar, the guitar he’s using is a classical style guitar.

Here’s another guy who does some amazing FF music (in classical style):
(7) Old Sharlayan (Night) | Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker - YouTube

I don’t think Justin has any lessons in the classical style but if you’ve finished Grade 1 and 2 you might have enough of the basics to start learning the style.

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Both are really good answers, thanks guys!

I guess my follow up question is: Should I continue with Justin’s course or should I look somewhere else? An alternative I can think of is making a combo. Keep on doing this course but try to incorporate stuff from classical guitar that I research on my own. Is that too entangled?

Thanks again!

I think so! Justin’s 3 Beginner Grades are broad and designed to give you foundational skills for guitar. His beginner grade 3 course in particular is broad enough that you’ll get tips that will be great for whatever style you choose to pursue. For example, grade 3 talk about practicing effectively.

Beyond that, if you want to learn something that Justin doesn’t have resources for, find some resources. Now that you know what the style is called just google and find some primers on classical guitar. You can even give feedback on here to see if Justin would ever be willing to put any classical guitar stuff in his courses (He has trained in classical guitar, take a look at this lesson: Flexing Time: The Falling Leaf | it’s not an actual lesson on classical guitar but he’s playing one there)

That’s all to say: I think Justin’s resources could still be helpful to you. So maybe a hybrid approach? That’s what I would do (and will do, I want to learn some classical guitar to play the song in the link I showed in my last post)

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Hello and welcome @SpicyCactuar !

I am also leaning to classical more and more. I have been learning with Justin and am about at the end of stage 3, looking into 4, with lots to go back to and establish better before I do.

Justin’s course is really based in rock, blues and related standards, not classical, although Justin clearly has a good background in classical as well.

Although rock doesn’t excite me that much, Justin’s course and approach is superb for establishing basics of the instrument that will set a good foundation wherever you choose tho take your journey.

Exploring the latest modules of grade 3 and the first few of grade 4, it seems that this is what Justin has been setting us up for. An open path to explore ou own relationship with guitar and music.

I will and have been putting efforts into my interests already. Studying and practicing finger style and classical techniques. Just at the surface right now, but that is where I will go, some hybrid of finger style steel and classical nylon, maybe electrified some.

My choice is to use Justin’s course as my base, my grounding and my guitar community (cool people here!) but to compile a selection of courses/lessons on the styles and techniques that interest me outside Justin’s course. I may at some point actually start a classical program, but I have more than enough to do for a couple more years.

I would be happy to share some of my resource and equipment thoughts, and would like to hear yours. I am really just starting this and don’t want to appear to specifically promote anything directly on the forum, so maybe PM me if you want to.


Welcome to the Community, Emanuel.

Your first question already answered plus lots of good advice given.

To add to that, I think Justin’s grades 1, 2 & 3 will lay solid foundations to become a guitarist. But as others have said, in what I might call more popular music genres (for lack of a better term). Or maybe I could say, not classical and to a lesser degree, jazz. His courses are widely regarded, probably as good as any out there.

Given what you shared, an option would have been to go directly to an online or face-face teacher to study classical guitar. You didn’t mention what type of guitar you have been playing. It’s not a huge factor as I think one can play any style on any guitar, though there may be pros and cons.

From a JustinGuitar perspective, I’d suggest completing the first three grades plus Practice Music Theory. Modules 16 and 17 in grade 3 will certainly expose you to more specific learning on the path to your aspirations. Chord Melody & Pomodoro | and Finger Style & C Shapes |

As an aside I think it is fair to say that for all of us starting out our aspirations are ambitious, even what may simple simple, just to strum open chords and sing simple songs, may be simple but is not easy. So whether it is to play the blues, percussive finger-style, shred metal or classical all will take years of dedicated, disciplined study and practice.

You may also learn skills that will take you towards playing pieces like you shared working through the folk finger-style programme Folk Fingerstyle |

From a more classical perspective to supplement learning as you progress through Grades 1-3 you could look at this. Have a listen to the embedded sample (noting it is not sampled from vol 3). If that is what you can achieve following that method, here’s a glimpse of where you begin William leavitt Volume 1 page 27 picking Etude no 1 - YouTube. Daniel began much like you with Justin’s Beginner Course and eventually his aspirations turned in this direction. Many videos on his channel that may inspire you.

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Wow, I just woke up to lots of useful information. Very much appreciated!

From what was mentioned, it seems that Grade 3 (and the beginning of Grade 4 as @Jamolay mentioned) will give me good foundations to then spread my wings, so I’ve decided to work on Grade 3. This way I won’t overthink too much my return to guitar practice and get back on track fast. @DavidP particularly recommended Practice Music Theory and Justin emphasizes its importance a lot, so that goes into the pot as well. However, for now I’ll start with just Grade 3 and see where that goes.

As I get more into it I’ll take a look at the other resources David linked since they definitely look like a step in the right direction. As discussed with @ alexisduprey (can’t tag more than 2 people, sorry!), I want a hybrid approach mixing Justin’s course with stuff I’m interested in, so including lessons from these resources or even just using them as a reference for when I google on my own will prove helpful.

Lastly, regarding my setup, I’m using this guitar. It’s quite comfortable, and I have the version that comes with an equalizer for when I’m brave enough to plug it in.

Posting here was the right call. Thanks everyone for the advice!

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Emanuel Hi !!

Good call.

Lots of good advice, establish a strong foundation and then branch out. That way you are learning to play the guitar in its entirety opposed to a single style or genre. You may want check out Mario Cirillo on YouTube for future reference. I am using some of his more “classical” lessons to extend into playing rock leads fingerstyle. Well that is the plan but it supplements the fingerstyle work I am learning here.



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Hello @SpicyCactuar and welcome to the Community.

You have indeed woken up to a huge amount of good advice.
What you are aiming towards is definitely in the classical style of playing and Justin deliberately does not teach that style. He studied it a a music conservatoire in Tasmania but does not really play or teach it.
That said, the fundamentals you can pick up from Justin will help. Eventually though you will need to find an instructor in your chosen style.

Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

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I guess that eventually I’ll find a teacher that focuses on that style, though for now it seems overkill. First I’ll focus on getting back on track and reigniting the flame.

@TheMadman_tobyjenner I’ll keep your recommendation in mind.

Thanks again for all the detailed advice!

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I don’t want to discourage you but work towards this as al ong term goal (years) while you set some shorter term goals.

You can do this on any guitar if you like and apply the same knowledge on other songs but that takes some big suitcases of knowledge, skill and practice ^^.

You don’t have to follow the path in tha same suggested straigh path but if you don’t master the CAGED system and don’t train your ear, you will take long time figuring out what the optimal chord voicing and grip is.

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While I was writing my very long-winded answer, Lieven summed it up quite nicely. So here is a short version:
I would argue that you do not necessarily need a teacher or lots of theory knowledge to play a classical style guitar, but it will require lots of ear training and getting the feel for different shapes over the neck, so you do not need to start from scratch every time. But at the same time, you will need a lot of drive, patience, passion and persistence to master everything on your own.

Enjoy the journey and looking forward to hearing some recordings from you!

@SS7 might give some useful advice on the topic since he became a percussive fingerstyle guitar player pretty much at the beginning of his journey.

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@LievenDV I’m all for what you mentioned. I just wanted to strike a balance and define clear midway stepping stones because I wasn’t finding success with just the long term goal in mind. Regarding the CAGED system and Ear training, I’ll take it into account. Ear training has appeared several times along the post, I should prioritize it more.

@glpguitar agreed. There are very clear trade-offs of having a teacher. For now it seems overkill, it’s one of those things I’ll revaluate when I want to dive more seriously into the subject.

Love all the advice given. Hope the post can serve as a reference for everyone going through the same process.

I would suggest that perhaps you could take a look at Marco Cirillo on YouTube, he has done some very nice finger style pieces that are almost classical, with a Spanish twist.

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For a good overview/introduction to classical guitar study you could check out Aaron Shearer’s Classical Guitar Techniques. It’s an older book (published in 1959) but it provides a very good and thorough introduction. It’s a book that I had used many years ago and at some point I will be going back to.


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