Introduction: From Piano to Bass to Guitar

I’m Scott. I’ve been a singer most of my life and knew music pretty well from that, including how to sight read vocally. I filled in at my church leading songs, and recently became the song leader. Spoiler alert, that’s why I’m entering the world of acoustic guitar.

A couple of years ago I took it upon myself to learn how to play piano, “like a rhythm guitar.” I don’t mean fretting the piano screens. That hurts too much. I learned to play chords in every inversion, playing the percussion and bass in my left hand. It was limited, but I can take a chord sheet or lead sheet and go to town.

A year ago I accidentally fell in love with the bass guitar. I learned it quickly, the piano knowledge having transferred surprisingly well. Soon I was playing bass at church on the days I wasn’t filling in as singer. Along that time we lost the song leader, piano player, and the guitar player wasn’t able to play anymore. I was in the position of leading music with no instrumentalists. (As much as I love the bass, it’s not an accompaniment instrument by itself. At least not at my skill level.

We’re singing with tracks now which is workable but not a great long term solution. And it hit me that I have an aptitude for teaching myself things, which apparently includes musical instruments. So even though I was sure I wasn’t ever going to learn guitar, here I am.

And I’m REALLY enjoying it.

I’m a week into learning. Early on I discovered the constant advice on reddit of joining Justin Guitar. I’m making myself go slower than I feel I need to. I’m working on getting the mechanics right. Hitting the chords, and progressing.

Right now I’m entering Module 4. I can play A, Am, C, D, E, Em, G, and because of happy accidents, I learned C2 and DSus.

Ultimately I want to play accompaniment style with some fills where needed, and eventually add in some percussion on the body. I’m doing Justin’s course and adding in some additional homework. I figure for fills, knowing scales on the guitar will help. The bass knowledge will help there. Starting on minor pentatonic today.

Oh, and I’m annoyed by them. I haven’t decided if I’m going to be mostly doing fingerstyle, picking, or what. I’m learning everything presented to me. When playing individual notes, it’s SO MUCH easier to do it with my two plucking fingers like a bass. It just doesn’t give the right tone on the guitar. The habit of pulling a note toward me like on a bass makes me often default to plucking a note up when I should be strumming down with the pick.


You took up singing and can sight read :grinning:
You taught yourself piano and are able to ‘go to town’ on any chord sheet
You took up bass a year ago and learned it quickly.
You started guitar a week ago and are now on module 4 (that’s about 40 lessons in) with all the basic chords and a couple variations… :open_mouth:
I don’t want to sound mean or unwelcoming, (in fact the opposite) but there are loads of beginners here who are still struggling to get the basic A, D & E chords under their fingers months into the course, and I would hate for them to feel inadequate :neutral_face:
I am truly happy for you and do hope you continue to enjoy your guitar journey. I presume it’s the enthusiasm that you are expressing in all the above and I look forward to following your progress.
My only advice would be, work through whichever bit of the course speaks to you, but if you’ve skipped any of the lessons along the way, I’d go back and give them a run through. There may well be bits that you missed that might be helpful later on.
Oh, I forgot to say:
Welcome aboard, Scott! :grinning: :sunglasses:

1 Like

hehe, tell me something about the C chord :sweat_smile:
(ok, the F chord is nowadays the one I struggle with :smiley:)

Welcome Scott - let me wish you just as much enjoyment with the guitar as you have with singing, the piano, and the bass!

1 Like

Welcome to the forum Scott that’s a pretty impressive list of musical talents. Guitar should take to long to add to it at the rate you’re going.

1 Like

Hi Scott,
Welcome here and I wish you a lot of fun :sunglasses:
It sounds like we will be able to see a video of you playing in the not too distant future ( No rush, but if you are going so fast it is good to have it checked to make sure no mistakes are made in the beginning ) and I look forward to following your process. :smiley:
Greetings ,Rogier

1 Like

Welcome aboard, Scott! :slight_smile:

Glad you joined us and chose JG for your guitar learning journey. You’re in good company here and your musical past will be a big help and a more than solid foundation to build upon. :smiley:

I was also coming from Piano to guitar, had some short fling with the Bass around 20 years ago, too and will take that up again in the future.

I’m also in agreement to Brian: Even though you seem to be a natural with music (lucky you :smiley:), please take your time, don’t rush through and consolidate before you move on. A lot of the skills you’re about to learn just take time to get ingrained to your (muscle) memory and the more solid you build the guitar foundation now, the easier it will be to add some skills. If you hurry and skip stuff, sooner or later, playing certain things will make it fall apart. Been there, done that. Not good. :joy:

Nevertheless, I wish you loads of fun on the journey, enjoy the ride and may it all work well for you as with Piano and Bass. Looking forward to hearing more from you. :slight_smile:

Cheers - Lisa

1 Like

Great Scott Man!!!
Ya better slow down before ya hurt yourself!!! :rofl:

Seriously, that’s a pretty nice sounding pedigree of musical achievement & I applaud you for being a fast learner! That being said, I do agree with Brian @brianlarsen & Lisa @Lisa_S that if you rush through the lessons, you increase the chance of getting some undesirable habits ingrained which will slow down your progress dramatically later!
(I know from personal experience because I pretty much skipped Grade 1 at first because of previous experience with guitar & then ended up redoing it later!)
Good luck Scott & wishing you lots of fun as you continue your musical adventures!!!


1 Like

Thanks for the advice. I spend a LOT more time in my practice sessions, going back over chords. Sounding them out on string at a time, and then going through chord progressions. Every time I think I’ve got it nailed, I go back the next session and find I’m still making a mistake.

I may be going fast, but I’m intentionally practicing all the skills regularly to make sure I’m not just learning them in my head. I need to learn them in my fingers, too.

1 Like

This made me laugh, but I truly get it.

It’s a long story but I didn’t grow up with my family. My brothers and dad are all good guitarists. They were thrilled that I started the bass, and on a trip to see them (because we live on opposite sides of the country) enthusiastically tried to show me guitar chords.

I tried. I really did. But outside of Em, I couldn’t play a single chord, and even that one felt cramped and terrible. I wasn’t sure that my large fingers could ever do a chord consisting of more than 2 frets. I spent two weeks there, off and on, trying.

It’s a different instrument, but I think now that I’m better at the bass, it’s helped translate into more success. Certainly I understand the fretboard notes way more than I ever would have. I can think of more than just the chord shapes and positions. It helps to know, “Oh, that Open A string is my root here. And ah, yes, this note is giving it the minor flavor.”

And the idea of getting away from track music is highly inspirational.

Thanks for the reminder to go through all the lessons. I’m doing that, and regularly practicing the skills and chords in-between new learning sessions. I like the strumming course, too. It gives me something to work on when my fingers are too sore to keep drilling chord progressiond, and is of course an essential skill in itself.

1 Like

LOL. I keep eyeing the chord chart for F with suspicion. I’m looking forward to being able to play one, and dreading the actual learning of it. :rofl:

Barre chords, too. They haven’t been introduced in my progress yet, but I occasionally try to barre an entire fret column and see if I can sound out every note. And I can’t do that to save my life, yet.

1 Like

I’ll do that at some point. Even though I’m progressing fast, I’m of course still struggling in some areas.

For instance. I learned D (and G) in my first day or two from another free course that I opted not to pursue, because JG is so much better. Well, I hadn’t yet discovered how I needed to angle my wrist to get the D right. And even though I think it should be an easy chord, If I’m not coming from an E or an A, where I can anchor the B string, I miss it frequently.

1 Like

This is actually harder than playing most barre chords. And I wouldn’t do that as an exercise or prelude to actually working on barre chords. The position and the pressure you apply with the barre will be slightly different when you are actually playing the full chord.

(I realize you may have just been fooling around out of curiosity, which is fine of course.)

1 Like

Welcome aboard, Scott!,

Sure your get to where you need enjoy.

1 Like

Hello Scott, and a warm welcome to the community :hugs:.
I wish you lots of fun with your six-string-friend and look forward to hearing more from you :smiley:.

1 Like

Hello Scott and welcome to our community. :slight_smile:

That was an interesting read, so, thank you for sharing.

1 Like

Hi Scott, a very warm welcome to the community! You have a solid basis to build on, that’s great! Have lots of fun and enjoy the process of learning!

1 Like

Ah. Good to know. If it’s not that helpful, I’ll just wait till the Justin lessons gets to barre chords.

I’m kind of glad it is harder, because I simply couldn’t make it work.

Scott, welcome to the community forum. I think any musical knowledge helps you on the guitar. I don’t think there is anything wrong with quickly going through the Grade 1 lessons. But when you finish module 7, Justin recommends a consolidation phase. This is where you could go back through all the lessons and check your fundamentals, while you are learning to play along with songs. I think that Justin’s song lesson videos on the website are the best lessons for someone learning to use the guitar to accompany singing, since that is the focus of each song lesson, starting with simple strums and then showing how to make the strumming more interesting, sometimes adding more interesting chords and riffs for when you are more advanced. I’ve also sung since an early age, singing in church and in a university choir, so learning to play acoustic guitar to accompany sings is the best thing I get from Justin’s great lessons. Have fun learning to play and good luck as you progress to playing the guitar for others to sing along.

1 Like

Thanks, Steve. This is good information.

I’m not ready to start this yet, but is this the module on the website regarding accompanying singing?

1 Like

Scott, I’m in module 19 now, but I’ve been recording myself singing songs from Grade 1, 2 and 3 already. You don’t need to wait until Module 19 to start leaning to sing while playing guitar. Since you like to sing, you should try to sing along with a few of the songs as you learn to play the songs for each module. If you can’t sing along while playing a song on the guitar, then you may not have the chord changes and strumming skills committed to muscle memory yet so that it is automatic and perhaps more practice is needed.

I looked again at Grade 1 and singing the songs is not required, but in module 3, capo lesson Justin says “ If you like to sing along with your guitar, capos are great for changing the key of the song to suit your voice. You’ll have to move the capo and adjust the placement until it feels right with your singing.”. At the end of Grade 1 (module 7), you need to have the chord progression memorized for 5 easy songs. I think singing along helps commit them to memory.

1 Like