Help Planning my Practice Path

Hello dear JustinGuitar Community!

I am a 24 years old guitar player from Munich who recently spent a lot of time in the platform :slight_smile: I am a bit confused about planning my practice path and routine. To provide you with some background about my guitar journey: Before I quit the guitar around 3 years ago, I have played for 3 years straight, took private lessons for some time.

At the time, I was mostly happy with my technical ability, and could play most of the songs I wanted to play. The problem I had and what drove me to quitting the guitar at that time was, I wasn’t satisfied with my improvisation skills and musical ear, after playing for so long, I still could not create a solo that I like from start to end rather than only a couple of phrases. Also I could not listen to a song and understand its theoretical background or transcribe other than some simple minor pentatonic stuff. (I was mostly stuck with minor pentatonic box tbh).

~2 months ago I have started practicing regularly again and this time my goal is to focus more on the fundamentals, take it slow and have a decent foundation. So my practice are focusing more on:

  1. Ear Training/Transcribing
  2. Applying the theory
  3. Learning the fretboard properly and gaining independence
  4. Learn rhythm reading, understand signatures and other nuances

such that I can (goals):

  1. Be able to play with other musicians, be able to improvise while covering songs and add to the songs something from my own instead of just playing them.
  2. Understand the theory behind the songs I play, transcribe chords, progressions and some solos up to a point.
  3. Play my own solos all over the fretboard and be able to come up with ideas when the opportunity arises, such as when I am going to be jamming with a friend, I want to be able to come up with ideas when given the key. For soloing: I don’t want to keep playing same old pentatonic stuff all the time. For rhythm: Playing interesting progressions instead of just I-IV-V type of thing.

The main genre I want to play in is Blues. That’s what made me pick up the guitar again and I am heavily inspired by John Mayer. In the past I found out that I am just jumping between youtube videos without having a clear path and getting distracted that way. This time I decided to follow JustinGuitar. Started my journey on intermediate grade 4 and I am close to finishing Major Scale Maestro. I have really enjoyed the course so far.

My questions are:

  1. I am not sure when to move on to next lecture or section in the same grade. I am able to play major scale pattern 1 and pattern 2 in 120 bpm. Have been practicing the 3rds for like 2-3 days and able to play them from my head but not with metronome yet. I don’t want to skip anything without I digest the concept completely. Some lectures got me confused about whether I really got the idea and able to move on or not. Those are: Moving between Scale Patterns, Motif Development, Re-Active Listening. Could you recommend me exercises about these and also a way to evaluate my performance to test if I am ready to move on and really internalized the lecture. For reactive listening I don’t have a looper pedal so I am using GarageBand to loop a chord and playing the scale over it to listen to how it sounds, it that enough? For Motif Development and Moving between Scale Patterns, I am not 100% clear on how to practice.

  2. Other than this course I am doing ear training by singing the intervals as justin taught, some solfege and regularly using a website to guess intervals and chord progressions. I have not yet incorporated transcription into my routine. Do you think there is something else I should be practicing? I don’t have much time left for learning song, I sometimes play parts of songs and solos that are not very difficult for me.

Should I learn some songs from Intermediate grade 4?
Also same question goes to this, how many songs from grade 4 should I be learning before moving on to grade 5 for example?

The final question is, I usually skip learning songs completely unless I have to play them in a band setting. Do you think that is something I should start doing this time and force myself to learn from start to end before moving on to another song?

Thanks a lot and I hope it was not too long and boring for you.

Hi Yigit,
Welcome here :sunglasses:
That’s a lot of things to answer,…I’m not going to do that :blush:sorry…but I do have a question for you, have you ever started at the beginning on the JustinGuitar site? …Start at the beginning, and if i read this you already have some experience, so in the beginning you will go through it quickly, but I assure you that you will get a lot of answers quickly, … and probably later from others with more time ,.
I wish you a lot of fun :sunglasses:

Welcome to the forum Yigit.

I guess the real test of whether to move on is if you can apply your scale knowledge musically.

I’m setting out on the solo/lead journey but am focusing more on the minor pentatonic to be honest. (I know Justin has recently switched the order in which he teaches these and now focuses on learning the major scale first).

Anyway, I’m trying to learn just one shape at a time and squeeze every last lick out that I can before moving on the the next ‘box’.

So maybe try playing along to a backing track or looper pedal if you have one.

I guess it would be more melodic lines rather than licks for the major scales. - maybe slash would have something to say about that :tophat:

Hey Roger, I indeed have a lot of questions :smiley: I haven’t started at beginner grade but skimmed over the videos and picked a few that might be helpful for me. I am not sure if this was the correct topic to send my questions to but it is where I am now in courses :smiling_face: Anyways thanks for your reply and I also wish you a lot of fun and success

Hey Liaty,

Thank you for taking time to read through and your response :smiling_face:. My actual goal is to play blues and some rock music so minor pentatonics are more applicable for me as well. Even though, that is the case, I thought that there must be a reason why Justin put the Major scale first and decided to master it first. I sometimes think that maybe I shouldn’t spend so much time here but move on but Major scale also helps with learning the notes on fretboard, right?

I am already able to create some phrases and melodies over jamming tracks but it is always difficult for me to evaluate my playing and decide if that is truly musical and enough to move on :smiley: (A bit of an overthinker personality here).

I think some songs would prove useful in helping me understand how to use major scale better in solos. I am also much more used to hearing pentatonic from the genres I listen to and all the melodies I play in my head are somehow pentatonic. Do you have any song recommendations from Slash that use major in the solo?

This video should help decide when to move on and what to learn.


No, I wish I did. I can just remember reading it lately. I’ll have a look

This is where I was reading. Although looks to be plenty pentatonic stuff in there too.

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Looks like a great read, I will definitely give it a try, probably after I spend some more time with pentatonics. Thanks a lot!

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