How to PASS Grade 1

We’re finally at the end of Grade 1! :) Let's recap on what you need to know before you move on.

View the full lesson at How to PASS Grade 1 | JustinGuitar

do you have to play songs fluently to pass grade 1? I have been playing song using a-d-c-g-em chords mostly using “old faithful” strumming. I can’t consistently get beat 1 chords correctly, mostly the “c” chord. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks


Hello @limajj and welcome to the Community.
Your word fluently is key here. It suggests perfect, 100% competent, polished. And truthfully, those ideals are not the rationale to apply here. If you have worked through the lessons, followed a good regime of practice sessions, learned the chords, chord changes, songs etc then you are ready to assess whether to move on for sure.
I strongly recommend you watch at least one of the Nitsuj videos. Here, you will see and hear your teacher as beginner, struggling, fumbling and not being perfect but making a judgement call as to whether it is enough to progress with.
This is the end of module 7 session 10 video:

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide


My chords are not perfect 100% of the time.
I get about 40 changes for most of them.
My strumming is not yet good enough to pass myself to grade 2.
Trying different patterns with a metronome.

I saw previous post, watched Nitsuj and am going to be kinder to myself and enjoy things sounding a little better week to week rather than stress about passing grade 1.


I would have liked to see the optional Ear Training and Musical Theory introduced around Module 4 or 5. Nothing serious, but it was kind of a let down sinking I was going to hit a milestone. I have incorporated both into my practice before moving on to grade 2.
Love the progression of skills other than that.

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I’ve just arrived at module 7 - I bought a guitar and couldn’t play a note at the beginning of February and, amazingly, here I am.

As I went through the videos for this module and the 5 criteria to pass I noted two of them in particular:
#2 - Play the 8 essential chords, from memory, in any order; and
#3 - Play 30 chord changes in a minute of a pairing. Earlier on Justin provided a list of the 25 most useful changes to practice.

Since I know a lot about Excel I created this Random Chord Generator spreadsheet.

For #2 it randomises the list of 8 essential chords and you can try playing them in that order. Press F9 to get a new order.
For #3 it pulls two random changes from the list of 25 for you to try doing one minute changes. Again press F9 to get a new order.

I thought I would share it here in case others find it useful. Feel free to download and use it - it doesn’t contain any macro code or anything else that might make it malicious.




Thanks Murray.:slight_smile:

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Do I need to learn and play the songs off by heart without tabs and the app? As the problem I’m having is counting how many bars I have played. For example in the song “The Mavericks - Dance The Night Away” how am I supposed to count 60+ “D” and “A” chord sequence for the entirety of the song without getting lost? I lose count after about 8 bars nevermind 60. I would appreciate some help please.


First of all welcome to the community :guitar::notes:
I am at your stage and am going to include Dance the Night Away as one of my five songs.
First question are you going to sing, if so you can match the words up with the chord changes. I am going to sing so that’s how I am going to deal with it.
If you not going to sing then I can see the problem.
Has anybody got any other suggestions


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If the song is only D+A then you’ve memorized it and can play it to someone singing it. I don’t think it’s necessary to count how many bars in. In fact, I don’t think I’ve heard of anybody who memorizes songs like that.

So I would count being able to play the chords with the right pattern as memorizing as long as there are no other variations in the song.


Play along to a backing track…and if you’re using the app for the backing track… just don’t look at the screen when playing.


Yeah, I will try and sing even though my voice is horrible. Also I can play the song really well on the app but trying to sing and play without it is really hard. I guess I just need to keep practicing.

Thank’s for the warm welcome and I hope you enjoy playing as much as I do.


I can play it with down strums on beat 1, 2, 3, 4 but if I try playing down/up strums on beats 1+2+3+4+ the pick starts to move in my hand and I mess up. Should I move on or try to perfect it?

Thank you for your help.

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Hard to say as everybody is different and only you can really gauge yourself. I’d go by Justin’s list. It sounds like you may have some trouble with rhythm, can you do old faithful at 80bpm with a metronome consistently?

Rhythm is a really important and often overlooked aspect of guitar playing. I’d make sure you’re good with it before moving on. No rush.


Just completed Beginner module 1,moving to module 2.I found the practice great.When do you think i should start modular 2 practice. Think I should wait till that lesson comes up.Don’t want to get frustrated. Very close to getting the Song app.The first Beginner modular I started the 1rst practice when it came up in the lessons.Do you think i should stick with the practice 1 untill practice 2 comes up in the 2nd module.I use the practice assistant .GREAT LESSONS. Justin is awesome.


I’m only mid way through the first module so I can’t say when to move on to module 2 but I’d say give the songs app a go, there’s the free trial and then you can subscribe for as little as a week at a time if you’re not sure about it. I’m finding it really helpful to have something to practice strumming along to and making way more progress than I’ve ever done on my previous attempts at learning


Hi Ed, I’m currently on Module 11/12 at the moment and had the same question when I started. What I did, was to add new practice items step by step after watching the videos. So my practice routine changes not at a certain point, but step by step. E.g. when I’ve finished a module, I continue with that routine, while I’m starting with the videos of the new module. When the first new item to practice occures, I add it to my routine. Something I already can do well, leaves the daily routine. I only add as much as I’m able to handle. So the modules are “overlapping”. That works for me, because watching all the videos of a module and change the complete routine for me is quite overwhelming.

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Hi Ed, There’s a beginners course in the app also , not just play along songs, which has a clear learning pad. It helped me a lot since planning practice on my own is not my strong point.
Don’t want to push you in a direction.
Just to let you know.

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When you get the app I’d recommend only using it for the songs. Continue with the lesson plan on the web. The web version is more current and contains additional information in the lesson notes.


@wdperkins , I have no doubt that the website worked better for you, but my experience was the opposite. I tried doing the the lesson plan on the website, but found switching back and forth between the app and the website broke the flow of my practice routine…it was better (for me) to do everything in the app. I also found the Practice Tool on the website unnecessarily complex.

Though your point about there being extra info in the Notes tab on the website is certainly correct, and that can sometimes be very useful.

@fasteddymac, different approaches work for different people. I would definitely check out the website lesson plans, and also the App lessons. The videos and the practice routines are the same, but the experience is different. Use the one you prefer.

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