Playing Without Looking

It seems like such a simple thing to avoid, but most beginners struggle with looking up while playing, rather than staring at their hands the whole time!

View the full lesson at Playing Without Looking | JustinGuitar

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Hello, not sure if the site admins respond to comments but just wondering what kind of genre was what was played in the intro? Is it like folk / country? Love that kind of playing and want to look into it more!

Hi Derek welcome to the Community. Sounds to me a lot like Johnny Cash type of flow which suggest country genre :slight_smile: hope this helps!

Why not pop around the #community-hub:introduce-yourself section and join us in there :blush: have a good one!

Virtually impossible to play without looking at first, you really need to ‘force’ yourself to try it and keep trying it

Eventually it becomes a bit more natural but lots of practise

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I am pleasently surprised at how well I can do this. I first tried by consciously feeling for the strings and frets but have much more success by just instinctively placing my fingers.
Now I just need to trust myself and get out of the habit of looking.


Great lesson Justin.
I’m doing this (lesson 14) and I suddenly realised ‘hey I can play guitar’ which was a real confidence boost. What’s more I’m finding now that what I’m learning here is helping me with stuff I already know how to play, but now I’m playing it just that little bit better.
Thanks Justin

Kind regards

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Helo @torresderek and welcome to the Community.

We surely do … every day we are here to help. :slight_smile:

Justin was not playing any specific song, just a progression in a key with some embellishment going on.
The two techniques being used were picking alternate bass notes on the beats of 1 and 3 plus playing some scale tones to link the chords together.
Those techniques are used in many genres - rock, folk, country, pop etc.
Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

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Hi everyone,

I am glad to be back learning new techniques from Justin guitar. I spent some time on my own learning to sing and play at the same time. This exercise was right on target. I am able to play songs with basic strumming without looking for the most part, because I am reading the lyrics on the screen while playing the song. That kind of forced me to look away. It is fairly easy like Justin says-just trust yourself. I have trouble with B minor though and have practiced over and over. I seem to have to look almost every time. Anything else like G-C-D-Am-Em-D/F#, etc. seem to flow easily. I record myself on my phone and watch back the video to help. Any ideas out there? I don’t want B minor to be a show stopper since so many songs have it. Thanks for any suggestions.

Hi @SDKissFan
My recommendation to improve going to Bm (and from it) is a three chord cycle played in any strumming pattern you choose.
Go from D major (open) to Bm (barre) to G major (barre).
You are making the change from open to 5th-string root barre and moving your fretting hand towards your body which makes it a little easier. The same from Bm to G - towards your body but moving fingers across to adjacent strings.
Then you finish by pulling away from a barre and back to an open chord. These three chords sound great together too as they are in the same key.

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

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Thanks Richard.

Haha, Justin was flexing so hard at the end :grin: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I tried the exercise and realized I’m not too bad at this. At least the open chords are going very well.

I had a gig some weeks ago where a professional musician told me she thought I was very engaging with the audience and she could tell that I’m doing a lot of street music bc I apparently looked at my hands very little. That made me very happy.


2 qualities of a good performer! keep it up! :smiley:

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Soo this is a weird time to be reaching this lesson for me… right when I am working on getting the intro to Fade to Black Guitar Lesson | Metallica - YouTube up to speed :smiley:

It comes with time , I can nowplay Heroes without looking at the chords, after about 6 months.

In fact I found that looking at the neck while changing from C to G or C to D makes it harder and ruin the chord change. Seems like it’s either manual (look) or automatic (dont look )

Any tips for working on the strumming hand? eg I can do ok with getting the fretting hand into a D shape, but have a hard time not either accidentally strumming open A or not strumming the D

I’ve had some success with visualizing the strings under my strumming hand, without actually looking at them.

But for me, muting the E string with my thumb has been the better solution…if you hit it accidentally, the listener doesn’t notice.

This is one of my favourite lessons so far and even just doing the basic exercises feels so cool.

It’s kind of funny but when I did classical guitar a few years ago and had to perform pieces infront of an audience or judges, it was basically the opposite. My guitar teacher said I should awlays look where I’m playing until I’m completely finished to show that I’m giving complete attention to the music.

Just got to this. So added a couple of minutes to the practice assistant.

Welcome to the community.

How experienced are you with the guitar ?

You could introduce yourself and get a welcome on the

Interesting. I’m kind of late to this lesson. I finished the old pre-Nitsuj beginner course. Is the idea to first learn new things by looking and then learning them by feel or is it the idea to basically never look at the fret board again even when learning new things?