Lost after grade 2

I finished grade 2 a while ago and found it easy to follow well structured learning a new chord etc each week and having something to specific to focus on. Also drilled some exercises to learn fingerstyle patterns and jumped ahead a bit on barre chords which have improved greatly.

However for the last couple of months I feel like all I’ve done is learn some more songs and continue to play some harder songs without much improvement at all. I’ve tried to follow grade 3 and I just can’t get into it, it’s too non-specific and I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing.

My main aims are to be able to play rhythm on electric and acoustic that I can sing with. Eventually maybe to the extent of John Mayer type songs but realise that’s years away.

So really I’m just lost, still enjoying playing and learning songs but feel like I’ve stopped making progress and have no drills to do every day to improve my playing. Wondering if anyone else has been through this?

@Alrey87 Hi, this is the video through which I discovered JustinGuitar. Push yourself to learn it. You’ll feel good even when you just get a little bit down.

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Alex @Alrey87
I know what you mean, Grade 1 and 2, you sort of get spoon fed what to do and that to me is the right approach as you get the basics down to a reasonable standard.
I think this stage you are encouraged to think where you want to go next, and perhaps cherry pick certain parts Grade 3 initially but don’t overlook the others. Definitely the right thing to play and sing songs. You mention playing rhythm there are lots of additional techniques than just plain strumming worth looking at and make into a practice routine.

Especially the last part in this video. Around 13 minutes in. Justin emphasize something really important. The fun part! Though the entire video/Lesson is worthy listen to and to apply.

Regarding slow dancing, I was trying that, after the first bar i find the chord shapes impossible and just lose interest. I think it’s way beyond my ability. Same with tears in heaven which I learnt the verse really well but then can’t make the chord shapes for the bridge and gave up. Barre chords are easy compared to these contortionist shapes!

I felt just like you one year ago. Honestly, I think that you must stick with grade 3. Commit to 8 practice slots for each modules and 3 transcribing slots. Split it over multiple days. Move to the next module after that even if everything is not perfect.

Grade 3 will unlock all the intermediate grades. You will grow as a player.

Find a song project to keep things interesting. For me, it was learning all the songs in the rock songbook. It made me improve a lot, I would recommend it to anyone as they are achievable at your level, but still challenging. Math07 JG Rock Songbook Project (10 out of 15) - 3 songs added 3 June

@Alrey87 a big part of this journey is about motivation and attitude and believe me I know. If you’re motivated to play John Mayer songs you’re gonna have to learn this. It’s beyond everyone’s ability until they learn it. There are techniques that you will need like using the thumb and hammer-ons all of which are covered by JustinGuitar. You can play it with barre chords or work out the chords first and do them in the open position. If you need help, feel free to ask on here

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At the moment I’m working on buckleys ‘lover you should’ve come over’ which is challenging but also none of the chord shapes are too bad, the thumb over chords from Mayer make my thumb go numb for a few days afterwards so I’m laying off those. I’ve been learning this for about 2 months and nowhere near smooth yet.

Definitely! The minute I was on my own was so confusing. The tell for me is that when I play without the app, I only use the fingerpicking styles, so that’s my main focus while still g applying Strumming SOS & using what works for me in lesson 3. At some point, u have to decide what it is that ur gonna use! I’m 81, so maybe this isn’t much help, but I don’t see playing in a band in my future. Also, I like the old folk, country, & pop songs to sing along with.
Also, if you’re learning harder songs, u must b improving & just don’t realize it!

I do know what you mean. I feel the coursework still pushes you along, though. I feel the entire Beginner (1-3) is there to give you fundamental skills and expose you to several things so you can begin to figure out where you want to go. It’s a good approach, but I also felt a bit lost, even though I could have easily stayed the course. What I did was to engage with one of Justin’s Approved Instructors to help me out. I’m sure some do just fine on their own, but I need both a human instructor as well as all the information that Justin and other areas of the internet provides.

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Grade 1 and 2 are very foundational basics, great to get you going, and a period of consolidation after is good.

Grade 3 on is heading out into solo/scales/blues/jazz etc and is less applicable to all playing.

I think its OK to pick and choose a little on grade 3+ if you are not interested in the thing being taught , you can always go back to it later.


My advice is a bit different. I would say just enjoy playing for a while and don’t worry about improving too much .Have some fun, play some songs. Enjoy being at a grade 2 level.

A fun project could be good. Maybe learning a few new songs from a different genre, doing an open mike, putting together a campfire setlist, jamming with others.

There will always be a next level to reach but stopping to smell the roses every now and then is important.


It is listed as a grade 6 song, so I would expect you to struggle with it if you are at grade 3.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this song at your level.




“Horses for coures”, although it’s a good suggestion, @Alrey87 Alex, to perhaps at least try interacting with a teacher; you might find it’s just the catalyst you need to help shape your own learning future. The JG Clubs offer a good insight into the teaching approach of at least 3 of the Approved Teachers.

“Learn songs” is a popular mantra in here, and it has merit. JG offers an eclectic mix of music genre at most levels.

In my own short playing experience learningt to play , I have developed my playing iin ways that keeps me going. The degree of perceived “difficulty” is secondary to one’s interest, commitment and enthusiasml to learning a more challenging song … BUT … the JG framework continues to develop guitar players, and imho there’s no other online offering with such a comprehensive learning plattform.

Playing peaks and troughs are inevitable, and they sometimes reflect one’s general outlook.
A foccus on L3 is there to help you develop.

Progress is fun … :sunglasses: