I need a game plan

Hey great people of the best community on the internet!
I’ve been playing steady since July and have used Justin’s website to learn a tremendous amount.
Up until 2 weeks ago I was playing primarily on a Martin LXK2 (Parlor). I recently purchased a Yamaha Pacifica and haven’t been able to put it down. Making this transition also made me realize that although the Martin is a great guitar, it also has its weaknesses. One of them being the smaller size fret-board. When initially beginning this journey I loved the smaller size but have now noticed how crammed my fingers are compared to this new setup. I will say that I’m grateful to have started on an acoustic because of how much more strength needs to be applied on the strings.
The biggest difference is now having a full scale fretboard. For the past week I have been unable stop to playing and learning the pentatonic scales in the key of A. I’ve neglected practicing anything else which I normally would. My question is : What is the best way to continue learning the fundamentals of guitar while also learning the Blues/Scales? I want to make sure that I’m not giving all of my time to something and find out that I actually haven’t learned crucial aspects which I should have.

All the best

  • William!!
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Hi William.
I have owned the LX2 and a couple of other parlours as well. Among them i found the LX2 to be the «worst» to play.
I am not a huge fan of those parlour sized guitars. Mainly because of the sound, but also the cramped neck.

I really like Martins, but the lx2 is not one of them…

That said. There is loads of people that can play amazing on them… Ed Sheeran comes to mind…

I would at least considered getting a full size acoustic, and tried out the full scale. unless its the electric that is your thing.

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Game Plan = Continue to follow Justin’s course, plus add an extra 5 minutes in your practice routine for scale practice.


You live up to the name ‘Fast-Eddie’ much obliged

Hey @SirWilliam, looks like we recently ran into the same issue (with dif size guitars and now scales/continuing normal routine)!

When I got my Taylor, they had a promo add a gs-mini for 1/3rd of what it normally costs. I didn’t anticipate how much I would love the GS-Mini or how convenient it was, especially with the backpack travel case. You could rarely find me without it my first month… if I left my house, it went in the back of the car. At home, always in my hands. The Taylor 414ce sat in its case unused… then I got a stand, and it sat on the stand in view unused. I had to consciously force myself to only practice on the full-size Taylor for a while to correct that. At first, things that I could play without thinking using the mini, I couldn’t on the full size because my finger muscle memory was just tuned to the smaller guitar.

Now, after a month of primarily using the full size whenever I’m home (gs-mini still travels everywhere with me), the full size feels more natural… I do get that same cramped feeling when playing the mini now. In some ways, it helped me - i.e., the first fingering Justin shows on the A chord, I just couldn’t do because of fret size, so I learned to barre the A chord with my index early on which really helped me with barre chords generally, and some other things like that… also the string gauge was a bit heavier (13s), so going to a regular acoustic was even easier (especially with barre chords) fretting on an electric feels like tapping thin strings now.

Regarding incorporating both - I’m doing this myself - it depends on how much time you have and what equipment. If you have a bit of time and want to have fun, keep in mind the pentatonic scales, etc., align with keys and chords… so if you have or get even a cheap looper (or have any pedals/modeling amp - it seems like 9/10 devices/equipment have some type of looper built in now)… Then, what I would do (and am doing) is mix the two. IE: Learning a song - record a chord progression loop, then practice the pentatonic/blues scales over it.

I got caught in the pentatonic rabbit starting last week and then felt a bit awkward going back to playing songs this week… but I was having fun mixing pentatonic and blues scales - ascend the scale pentatonic, add the extra bluesy notes coming back down. I was doing that for major/minor pentatonic over and over. Then, this week, experimenting with the major scales and triads and shifting to the minor pentatonic for the relative minor. All of a sudden, I was making my own music. I just grabbed a looper yesterday to combine the two and record simple chord progressions incorporating strumming patterns and other things I’m working on - or a song I’m learning… just the simple chord/rhythm vs., then practicing the corresponding pentatonic or other scales over it… which has the added benefit of allowing me to practice the practical application of scales early on, which will help it become second nature later (or so many far more talented, experienced players have told me). That’s my approach or how I’m trying to deal with what I believe is the same challenge you’re facing! If you end up finding something else that works, let me know :slight_smile:

+1 to the Ed Sheeran comment. He tried switching to a full-size acoustic for a short period a few years ago, then went right back to a 3/4 parlor. It’s just what he’s always used because it was convenient while busking and traveling, and it’s where he shines. Nothing wrong with that! I finally took the guitar I had for years out of the case and started learning after seeing him live 2 months ago. After his concert, I searched the whole house the same night until I found where the guitar had been stored. He is inspiring and just fun live.

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Hello William,

Simple plan, practice/ learning- wise? Stick very close to Justins lessons, in the order they are presented; especially at this very early stage. Not sure if this is your first experience with guitar or not, but reach out for help when needed.

Outside that framework, if you want to check out pentatonic/ blues scales, go for it. Who wouldn’t want to learn the blues? :crazy_face:. You can the revisit them later on in a more structured way via Justin’s program.
All the best.

Cheers, Shane

I appreciate the wealth of knowledge and your personal experience with the same issues I’m going through! What’s even funnier is that I also picked up the Martin Parlor after seeing Ed in MA! I played on and off without a genuine routine prior to this and watching him perform gave me the same feeling. I got to see Billy Gibbons play last week and that was a whole different level of awe. I like your idea of looping and incorporating both aspects of learning these different techniques sort of simultaneously. That will be my game plan at this point. I also agree that there we’re and still is certain benefits that the Martin has given me thus far but I’m now convinced that it shouldn’t be used as the guitar to learn on or get too comfortable with.

This is the reinforcement that I needed in order to stay on track with his lesson planner. I didn’t like the feeling of totally veering into another style of practice. I’m looking forward to Justin’s blues lessons in the proper oder!

I think it’s ok to veer off Justin’s practice plan every now and then as long as you are having fun. I have found myself doing just that a couple of times, normally when I’m stuck and feeling like I’m not making progress. I’ll go do something else for a couple of weeks and then come back to Justin’s program. So it ends up taking me a few weeks longer to complete a level, big deal, it’s not a race, I’m going to be learning guitar for years, so what’s a few extra weeks here and there.

Do what whatever is going to keep you motivated to keep playing the guitar.


just make sure your not only playing scales. use the scales musically with a backing track. as justin says, nobody in the bar wants to hear a guy play the pentatonic.


Thanks for looking out. Youre totally right, playing with a backing track is reasonable but just going through them alone is a bit wild.