Song App vs Song book


I’m a complete beginner. I’m struggling to find songs to play so was going to get the song app and the song books for level 1. Do I need both or just the app?

Thanks in advance.

I would try the App first and see how it goes, you might want the songbook(s) at a later date.

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The app is going to be free for 7 days and then it’s roughly £7-£8 month after that. A lot of new beginners seem to like the song part of the app to start with as you’ll “play along” with a backing band and at the start it’ll give you more a sense of progress. A lot of people after a while say they “can’t play the songs on their own” which is probably because it’s presented in a “follow along” format with the chords scrolling by and you playing them at the right point. IT doesn’t encourage you to learn the songs by heart or present the chords in a full song format (unless you diligently write them down). For a new beginner it’s great…for a progressing beginner perhaps not.

The songs books come into their own when you want to break away from the app and start playing (and singing perhaps) songs on your own. You have a couple of pages for most songs with full chords and lyrics…usually some guidance from Justin on how to play them and - as you progress - how to add things in to make them more complicated. In addition most (not all) of the songs have a video lesson on YouTube as well. My personal opinion is they are great.


This is exactly where I’m at! I have been exclusively playing with the app, when it came to Grade 1 consolidation, the objective to memorise 5 songs was extremely difficult!! And way out of my comfort zone from playing with the app.

I also feel you miss out a lot with the app in terms of flexibility, take strumming for example, it only ever recommends a single strum type, where some may change from verse, chorus etc.

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@snwau It’s less usual that the strumming will change in the song although I agree it does on some. Certainly for the beginner songs it’ll probably be the same all the way through. I think to learn a song you need to be able to see the song and chord progression in it’s entirety so either something like Justin’s books OR just google “song name” chords and you’ll almost certainly get a link to a chord sheet on Ultimate Guitar Tabs…they are mostly good but not always accurate so treat them like that and you can’t go wrong. When you can see the whole song it’ll be easier to see the repeating chord progressions for the verses and choruses so a lot easier to learn and remember.

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I have no experience with the songbook, at least not yet. I am at the end of Grade 1, trying to get my 5 songs down so I can move on. Recently, I bought the Beginner/songs app and have been using it initially for the 10 minute practice and then 5 song playalong. For the past few weeks, though, I have been using only the song playalong, as I really feel that’s where I’m lacking before I get to move on. I keep a three ring binder at my practice area and use song sheets I print off from Chordie or Ultimate Guitar as a visual, with the chords. words, etc. Requires a bit of searching to find accurate ones to what you’re learning, but I usually mark mine up a bit as needed so they match Justin’s. You can then use the sheets in the binder to make notes as you progress, if you want to fancy things up- arpeggios- or whatever. As you build up your song repertoire, it’s nice to have something to have a glance back at for quick reference, too. I have to say, I am enjoying the playalong aspect of the app. I feel, finally, like I’m making progress and it just is a lot of fun, especialy if you are used to practicing alone. Good luck !


I have since started doing this also, with the plan to use the song sheets for repertoire practice and the app comes in extremely useful for chord training (like I’m concentrating on the Stuck 3 &4 chords at the moment), just another way to speed up those changes without the monotony of OMC’s, gives it a purpose, practical in the sense you practicing the changes in songs you like, and you’re also having a bit of fun and variation within the song whilst doing it.


Hi, I had the same problem in the beginning. I already bought the songbook before starting the video lessions and was not sure, if the song app is needed too. I felt a bit lost in the very beginning with the songbook, because even if you know the song itself, you don’t have someone to play or sing the melodie for your orientation. To get into it, the app is very, very helpful, because you are also allowed to lower the speed, this is a great thing to practice your chord changes and to speed them up step by step. How Justin says: “The song isn’t waiting for you”. So one thing is to get the play along thing done, to hold the speed and a constant strumming. I also use the strumming excercises in the app very much, helps me to improve my strumming skills.
On the other hand I made the experience, that playing only with the app gives you the feeling to be better than you are. I really had the feeling to play quite consistant with the app, but hearing myself without first was very frustrating. So I decided to play also without the support of the app during my practice routine, only with the metronome and to record this. The records are showing me, were I have to improve.
I agree with @snwau ( “This is exactly where I’m at! I have been exclusively playing with the app, when it came to Grade 1 consolidation, the objective to memorise 5 songs was extremely difficult!! And way out of my comfort zone from playing with the app.”)
Now at the end of Beginner Grade 1, my consolidation phase is a little bit longer than I expected. I have to work on the songs, by also playing them without using the app.



I am in the very same situation as yourself and I’ve been considering getting the APP. I’ve been working through the first few modules of the beginner grade 1 course on the website and decided this could be useful.

Have you taken the plunge yet and signed up for the APP, and if so how do you find it?

I have to say I am confused as to the cost of the APP for my Android phone. I have it downloaded and when I press the ‘Start free trial’ button the annual membership cost comes up at £80.99. However on the APP store for iPhones it is quoted at … Full Access 1 Year $64.99 (Which is about £48.00 :face_with_raised_eyebrow:) Do you mind me asking what price you paid?

All the best, Dave

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Hi @Anticrelic , I just got the app last week and I paid £64.99. well I paid today, as my free week is up. So far I’ve found it really good for getting into a consistent rythm. If you mess up the song has moved on so you just have to catch up. I can see it has limited use once you are no longer a beginner, but it is kind of fun.


Thanks Beth, is yours Android though, or is it iPhone?

I started my free trial last week, and paid £64.99 today. I have so far found the app really useful because if I struggle with anything, (and I struggle with everything) but the thing I find the most difficult is actually playing a song and the app really has helped with that.
I was watching an interview on YouTube this morning with Rick Beato interviewing Sting. They were saying that when they’re learning to play a song they slow it down. What a revelation. I was trying to play at full speed and of course I couldn’t. You can control the tempo in the App and at half speed, it’s still a challenge but I don’t completely give up. I’ve got a lot of use out of the app so far so it’s been good for me.

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Also the other thing the app does is organise your daily practice regimen which is brilliant.

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So is it Android or iPhone you have?

Hi @Anticrelic . I have an Android phone.

Well this is very odd, so when you pressed the ‘Start free trial’ button, yours came up as £65 then?
Mine comes up on my Android phone as £80.99 !!

Yes, that’s right. Did you use the link from his website
JustinGuitar Lessons & Songs App | or do a search on Google play? I used the link .

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My phone is an Android

Thanks for your reply Beth. To be honest this is getting very annoying, I used the link you kindly provided but it still comes up at £80.99, and also quotes that the price is a saving of 25% !!

Makes me wonder if the yearly subscription has gone up in the last week :thinking:. However that’s an increase of £15.00 which seems excessive.

Are there any moderators here that can look Into this for me I wonder.

Thank you tticom for letting me know

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