Hi from Michael - learning the website has me avoiding learning guitar

Hi, sorry to be Debbie Downer, but… I found Justin’s playlist of tutorials on YouTube, and thought “great, maybe I’ll finally give learning guitar a go for real this year.” After a few videos I began to realize the course was designed around using an app or alternatively a website (still not sure which is better, but as a monitor sits conveniently in front of me while playing, I’m trying the website), and… I was thinking, “OK, maybe it will automatically keep track of which lessons I did, maybe some checkboxes for checking off accomplishments and practice sessions, I don’t know, I guess I can try it…” But seems like there’s a lot of customizing you can do to build your practice sessions… I don’t even know what I’m supposed to create, I thought I would be told what to practice in the videos.

Well, I could probably learn this site better and have my answers, but I find that I’m now avoiding my daily practice because I don’t really know what I’m doing with the website. I don’t really care about playing along with a song, I’ve heard that’s the main advantage of the app, so… I guess if I could ask one question of everyone… Is it OK to just go through the videos and ignore the website? I’ll probably still check off each videos as completed, but other than that… well, am I missing anything vital? I’m comfortable with the basics as I’ve been occasionally piddling around with guitar for years, I just wanted to come here and actually learn how music works, how to be able to make music without just learning one song after another without having any idea of why it works. (I assume later lessons will get into that, but not sure… like scales 'n stuff.) I don’t want to keep pretending to be a guitarist, I want to know what I’m doing with music. I figured I should go through the early videos anyway, so I’ve burned through a bunch of those. (I don’t even know a lot of chords, so need to learn and re-learn those… well, I know a lot of song-specific finger positions, but not what the chord name is or which other chords/notes it goes with.) But yeah, I keep hearing about the app and the website, and I’m like… should I stop until I figure out the website? I watched maybe a 10 minute video about setting up routines and the other options that go along with that, but… I’m having trouble figuring out… why I would do that? I’m open to it, I just need to see an example I guess. I thought he (Justin) would be like “OK work on this specific chord change every day until you’ve got it. Set it up as a routine like this…” But he kind of just moves on to the next lesson so I’m like… OK, guess I’ll just do what’s in the next video for a couple minutes until I think I got it, and move to the next video. Anyway, its just confusing and I didn’t want to get way too far into the tutorials only to realize I haven’t practiced enough and suddenly I need to go back and figure out where I really should be focusing my efforts. I can already play a given song if I take some time to learn it, I want to know how to play guitar, not just specific songs.

Sorry, this was horribly written, but its going to remain totally unedited, just getting the last week of confusion/frustration out as it comes to mind…

BTW, it pains me to sound so much like such a complainer… I can see the tremendous effort and passion that has gone into this whole program, but I can’t help feel its just a bit overcomplicated when I’m already trying to grasp complicated musical concepts. Maybe I should just stick to the videos though, I do enjoy them very much… even when I’m filled with self-doubt at every mention of the app or website… :sweat_smile:

Boy I really wish I had the time to speak my mind more clearly but that would probably take several hours of careful contemplation and editing… again, I apologize.


It should. tbh you dont need to use all of the website just the lessons


Yeah, I’m starting to see that… I really only tried to use the website a couple of times I guess. Thanks for the reply. What about practice? Just kind of do without tracking it in a routine on the website? I’m a bit of statistics nerd, so it would be cool to chart my progress, or time, or…something, but… getting on my web browser every time I want to practice isn’t really a thought I love. (I guess I’m kind of already there since I’m watching a video most of those practice times… bleh, Idk.)

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not done that bit, theres a lot of support for practice etc its quite detailed but I’ve never been good at tracking my time haha

you could always note it down on paper or whatever and update it in chunks


It sounds like you’re close to being an absolute beginner?

If you’re finding the website a bit tricky to navigate, use the app. It holds your hand. It has the same video lessons but the practice routine is laid out for you in the app to use. It costs a bit of $ but is worth it.

When I was an absolute beginner I used the app for practice and the website for watching the lessons so I could use the bigger screen. The website has more stuff for advanced players (like setting up your own practice routine).


I’d highly recommend that you go here and start from the beginning:

You’ll find that each module covers a number of complementary concepts. Towards the end of each module there is a practice routine video where you can play along with Justin and practice the topics in each module. Plan on spending a week or two practicing each module.

By the time you get to the end of grade one, you’ll know how the website works, how to practice, how to get the most out of your time, and the names of many of the most important chords. In short, you’ll have a foundation that you can start to build on.

Good luck!


Thanks for your thoughts, and yeah, I considered forgoing the site and just sort of jotting it down on paper or my notes app… thought I’m not sure what “it” is, ha.

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I’m good with that description of me, but not sure how I compare to other absolute beginners. I’ve had the dexterity to play songs down for a long time, just not… knowledge of how music works. And I’ve stopped for awhile, so yeah I’ve only learned like 5-6 songs/riffs since starting up again after basically quitting idk, 18, 19-ish years ago.

Yeah… I’m not opposed to paying for the app, just not sure I like the concept enough. And if I’m sitting at a screen anyway, I don’t want to… idk, using both just seems awful, but maybe its a joy to sit down on the couch with the phone and play. I’ll try to educate myself about it more, I just really didn’t want to be digging into this when I really just want to be watching videos telling me what to do, ha. Thanks for the comment, every bit of advice helps me weigh out my options. Cheers!

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This would be my advice as well. I found the lesson tracking tool on the website over complicated compared to the app. The app also makes it easy to track your One Minute Changes, and even graphs your progress, which can help your motivation.

And the song play along feature is also super valuable. Works way better than YouTube and other apps or slow down software…and I’ve tried most of them.

There’s a very deep library of songs in many genres and levels of difficulty. It’s all very well done.


Thanks for the encouraging comment. :slightly_smiling_face: Although… I’m pretty sure I already did that one?? I’ll have to double check, but yeah… I don’t remember having practice routine videos to play along with… :thinking:

K I’m looking… I’m on the end of Grade 1, Module 1. (Did Module 0 too.) I think the reason I’m here commenting is because I watched the 10 minute video about “My Practice Assistance” and it seemed a bit… convoluted. Such a nice and professional guy though, I’m trying to give this thing a chance before I write it off as not for me. Maybe I’ll watch hat video again and it’ll make more sense the second time, ha.

I guess I’m just a bit discouraged that my progressed seemed to be going nicely and this sorta throws a wrench into it… like, I just want to hear about how to write music. I’m actually seriously skipping to the later lessons to see if it teaches the kind of thing I’m wanting to learn. Maybe I’ll go back if necessary.

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Thanks for dropping in. You guys are probably right, I think I’ll likely at least do the 7 day trial of the app. But do you know how advanced it gets? I was hoping this program would take me all the way from beginner/novice to… maybe not a pro, but a versatile guitarist that can you know, freestyle scales or whatever. Put together notes that sound good without having memorized it previously. You know, that jazz funk stuff that you always see people do when they test out a new guitar ha.

I hope it’s helpful.

On the lesson page for the Practice Schedule (module 1, lesson 10) you’ll see an icon with a small i.

When you click on it you will be able to add these items to your practice assistant.

Then, each day when you visit the site click on Start Todays practice.

When you click play on the first item, a video will start that will lead you through that section of practice and then play the other videos to guide you through the whole routine.

I know it seems complicated at first, but it really only takes a couple of minutes to set it up and then you’ll have a practice routine you can come back to everyday for the next couple of weeks.

I personally found the website easier to use for lessons. I did use the app for a while, but only to play along to songs. About a year ago they changed how the catalog was managed and all of my favorite songs got pulled so i stopped using the app.

As far as your other questions about writing music and improvising is concerned, Justin starts introducing music theory in Module 5 and soloing in Module 10. So, this course can definitely help you reach your goals.

In addition to all of the free content, I have found Justin’s music theory course and strumming sos course to be amazingly helpful, but it may be a while before you need to start digging into those.


Welcome to the community Michael

The website does all this too… and I think grade 1 has the practice routines setup already or part of it anyways… the thing is… eventually your going to have to make your own practice routines and decide for yourself what you need to practice and what you want to learn. Whether you keep a notebook and do it on paper or use the tools on the website. I had the app for a little while and it works great too but I think the strong point for the app is if you want to learn songs… the play along karaoke part is pretty cool for that.


You do not need to use the practice routine tools on the website. You may only use it to go through the lessons one after the other and structure your practices however you want.

A method I found useful for myself is, I prepare and print out an A4 paper with a list of things I want to be practising on a given period (say, a week). Then whenever I have a few minutes I grab the guitar and practice an item on the list and if I hit my goal, I put a check and make a note (e.g. done at 80bpm).

Once almost all are checked, I prepare a new one. Some items carry over, some with a more ambitious goal.

And I use the website to easily find and watch the next video to add new things to practice.

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Hello and welcome to our community Michael. :slight_smile:

If you login with the same username and password on the main website that you have here and then start your lessons, it remembers which lessons you have done. When you have finished a section, there is a practice video and Justin then say’s you can add the practice routine to have as your daily practice routine.

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Welcome and by all means, don’t feel intimidated!
There are a lot of ways to do it and everything you mentioned is there to help.

Start here:

and start at the beginning; Grade 1, Module 0
start at the first lesson; “how to tune a guitar”

when you’re done, mark it as done

and then… go to next and the next…
You’ll be playing some chords for some songs here and there but not via an app or anything; Justin will show you in a video and you’ll work on your tempo, as long as you like.

You can write on a paper or your own diary how you want to practice that or you can use the tools on the website. Sounds like the “tracking your own progress” might be the best for you, creating your own progress and pracice tracking without having distractions.

The youtube video’s might be unstructured, the website has everything in the right order!
Youtube is the platform to publish video’s but Justin lessons come on webpages with extra info, and the video that belongs to that lesson.
they are the essence; all the rest is optional


Currently, the App only supports grades 1 and 2. I believe grade 3 will be added when Justin completes all the lessons.

I switched to the website when I started grade 3, and found I missed the simple integration of lessons, practice routines, and grade appropriate songs. I felt my progress slowed somewhat at that point.

So it won’t turn you into an advanced guitarist from start to finish. But it will help you get a very solid grounding in the basics that are required to become an advanced guitarist.

I spent many years trying and failing to learn to play because I tried to learn too fast, and never really got the basics down before attempting music that was too advanced for me. Justin’s lesson plan plus the App are what got me over the hump, and onto a sustainable path of learning.

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Hi, the website is pretty decently structured and you can move through the levels at the pace you want, which is good in one way, but leaves you to decide when you are ready. The big thing with online learning is that the onus is on the student to know when you are ready to move to the next stage. Justin has laid out what you should be able to accomplish before moving on.

Also, Justin cannot know your goals with regard to genre etc, but his lessons give a good grounding from the basics onwards. As I mentioned previously the onus is on the student to discipline themselves and not rush.

Give yourself clear goals and customise your practice routine to move towards those goals. a simple routine would be:

Warmup, scales, chords, theory and then fun (learning a new song etc). You should also have short term and long term goals etc. The practice routine page will allow you to structure your routine to suit your needs.

Once you get into the rhythm of learning and regular practice you will find that you know exactly what you need to learn to move forward.

Good luck, have fun and remember that it is all about the journey, there is no finite end to learning guitar :wink:


Hi Michael, welcome to the community.

From what I can see you’re trying to grab it all in one step. You’ve mentioned quite a bunch of different music and guitar skills that for sure could allow you to be able to be the versatile guitarist you want to be. Each of this skills is covered at different levels through the lessons but it works better if you work on each one, one at the time and spend some time getting good at each one before moving to the next. Getting good at a guitar skill has a different meaning at different learning stages. For example for a beginner making 30 chord changes per minute is a fantastic achievement although later he or she could be able to do many more changes per minute if he or she had to.

In my case, I started following Justin Guitar lessons using a playlist of the Beginner Course [Classic] he had created and gradually from the YT videos started visiting the website. I haven’t tried the app except for the free trial period but it looks to be an useful tool for learning to play the guitar.

You don’t need to use the website for managing the practice, pencil and paper is enough (some members here are very skilful with that), although that was what made me register for the website.

I think the key lessons for organizing your practice would be what is usually the last lesson of each module in the website where he outlines the recommended way to practice the lessons and what level of competency should be achieved before moving on to the next module. You can just write it down or go and read it every time.

My approach is when I’m feeling close to graduate from a module, I watch the videos and the notes bellow each video corresponding to the next module and start creating the practice items (I create them manually) so when the time comes I edit the practice and substitute the items (alternatively I could create a new routine and just make it the active one). It’s kind of a ritual.

For me there’s no rush. Once I complete Level 9 (now called Stage 9) of the Beginner Course [Classic] I’ll be practicing select material of the reavamped Beginner Grades 1 & 2 (I already watched all the videos and read all the notes below them. For me is not trying to learn E before learning D. I would advise to follow the order Justin proposes (you can pass quickly with whatever you can see you’re already fluent). I don’t think taking exploratory trips to more advanced topics can hurt your learning as far as you keep learning your ABCs.

Although the versatility you’re aiming for would benefit from covering all the skills, in later stages it may work not keep digging on a skill you’re getting frustrated with and don’t appeal much to you (for some is power chords for others is finger style) and move to more appealing subjects. Other approach is keeping that difficult part as part of your practice routine while starting to practice newer content. I do that and also keep some exercises as a permanent part of my practice routine.

Keep on sight the next destination but enjoy the ride.

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This is what I would do. If you track your own progress you’ll always have the data and you’ll always understand how to access the data. You’ll have direct control.

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