Starting out but not from the beginning…


I hope I’m not covering old ground here. I tried guitar in my 20s, gave up because I wasn’t Slash with about 1 month’s practice…I’m now 39 and am trying again…I’m doing ok, about 3 weeks in and many, many hours of practice and enjoying the learning this time.

I tried some of Justin’s lessons, I started from the beginning…but the beginning is too basic, he’s talking about 2 chords, but I know plenty more and am comfortable with them…any suggestions about where I could fast forward to and start from without missing out on anything valuable? I haven’t the time to watch each video until I find my level as my practice time is more limited at the moment…



Welcome to the Community, Andrew, and you are sharing a common story.

Many people who come to Justin’s programme with past learning and experience, recount picking things up from the outset, even from lessons on topics they thought they fully understood.

That said, hard to make a suggestion without any idea of the ‘plenty more’ you know, and how well you play what you know.

On the website, you could read the lesson descriptions which would be less time consuming than watching all the videos, thou you may miss some nuance covered in a video and not described.

You could also make a recording of your play and share that (Audio-Video Of You Playing) which may help to calibrate and enable some more specific feedback.

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I would think starting at the beginning, but going as quickly as you feel confident with the material. Maybe you hit grade 2 after a week, but maybe you find some things worth developing.

It isn’t just about knowing the cords. Can you change them quickly enough? Can you strum smoothly and evenly over them? Can you easily play the riffs in each lesson using the skills you already have, or are they a bit rusty?

Many here will have advice, especially as a lot have a similar experience to you. But having been on this community for nearly 3 years now, I suspect the advice will be similar.

I also suspect many of us, with and without prior guitar experience, have rushed ahead at times. It is human nature. When I have done that, I inevitably find myself going back and doing it again with more care, or spending a lot of time consolidating what I didn’t spend enough effort on in the first place. There is still plenty of room, in the lessons that are behind me, for me to go back and learn more.

Be patient, but at least test yourself in each lessons skills before you move on, and since you know now it takes a bit more time to play like Slash, you can be honest with yourself about where your skills are in the scheme of things.


Hi Andrew,
Welcome here and although I am a big supporter of going through the entire course because, as said, you sometimes quickly miss essential tips and exercises… But at the end of the modules there are consolidation tips/videos about what you should be able to do to to go on to the next level…

But a very good tip is definitely to record a video so that we can see much better where you should start if you really can not make the time to (binch)watch some videos :grimacing:

Good luck with your decisions and don’t forget that something learned incorrectly can take a very long time to fix than a few days of perhaps unnecessarily watching videos with a guitar in your hand, because learning/playing and watching at the same time by adding some extras during perhaps some boring looking pieces can be helpful too… :grin:


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Thank you both, really helpful advice.

I actually winced when I read “plenty more” as it really makes it sound like I know more than I do, so I should’ve been more specific.

I think I do need to watch from the beginning and just skip over what I know already. Perhaps I can do an exercise in a lesson straight away, or in a few tries, in which case I’ve spent 5-10 mins on it.

Thanks both

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Welcome to the comminity @Amillington52711 !!! I would go with the majority vote. I as well knew all my basic chords when I found Justin’s teaching ways. A few others as well. But right from the start I ended up changing a few things and have benefited greatly from it! For sure watch em all and pick and choose what you know and don’t. Find your weaknesses and work on them. First time greetings and videos of you playing can help alot. Make sure you put the videos in the right spot. There is a specific thread for beginners. A safe spot.
Or if your confident AVOYP is also an excellent way to go.

Cheers! SOCIABLE! And peace out! :sunglasses: :v:

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Hi Andrew, welcome to this community.

I actually completed Justins original beginner’s course (The “classic” beginner course) then had a long period when I wasn’t playing guitar, and when I came back to it, lo and behold, Justin had revamped his courses!

You’ve hit on the approach I took to the new course. I’m glad I did because along the way I found new techniques to learn and new exercises that helped eliminate bad habits. I was able to breeze through grade 1, slowed down a lot on grade 2, and currently on grade 3 where I’ve been for several months, making progress slowly but surely. I anticipate being able to speed through early stages of the intermediate course as I already know how to play barre chords, but I’ll take the same approach of watching the videos to make sure I’m doing it right and to pick up and master any techniques I’m missing (when I say master, I mean get them to a level where I’m happy to move on - I’m a big fan of not letting perfect be the enemy of good enough)

Hello Andrew and welcome to our community. :slight_smile:

Great advice already given so I’ll just say, enjoy your guitar adventure.

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Andrew, welcome to the community. There is a lot of good advice already given above. I also had learned all the open chords before starting Justin Guitar. I’ll admit that Grade 1 seems a little boring at first, but I tried to think my time in Grade 1 as a review of the basics. I thought of the case of professional athletes that are experts in their skills, but they still go to a preseason camp to knock off the rust on their skills that accumulate in the off season. I found the beginning videos on holding the guitar, holding the pick, and all the lessons on strumming to be useful reviews, since bad habits tend to accumulate. It also helped me to work on strumming clarity and accuracy. Also, I found that you can listen to the videos at increased speed by setting the settings:playback speed for the video to 1.25 or even 1.5 if you have a fast ear and greatly reduce the time to view the videos. Hope you have fun as you progress to “Slash” skills.

Perhaps a silly question, but how long would you give to an exercise that you attempt that you think you can already do, before moving on?

I feel like some I should give more time to because I’ve not really done it as a specific thing, but I can do exactly what is being asked on the first go.:

SInce you have some experience there are going to be things that are easy for you. Don’t skip an exercise without trying it, but if you try it and you can do exactly what’s being asked then it’s fine to move on to the next thing.


Remember all the early stuff you’ll be using throughout your playing anyhow.

Basic open chords, strumming etc

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Welcome in! You’ve found one of the best communities for guitar learners period, and hands down the best for adult learners.

I highly recommend starting at the begining as others have said, and especially doing the practice routines. (with a metronome!). Also record yourself, you’ll find mistakes you didn’t know you were making. You may feel bored for a week or two, but I promise solidifying the fundamentals will do wonders for your playing long term.

A little Justin testimonial of my own: Like you I played in my teens and 20s. I never consciously quit but I gradually stopped playing. Started up again in my early 30s. Decided Justin’s beginner course was too easy, skipped all the practice routines and quickly realized I couldn’t actually play any songs and quit again. Picked it up a year later, started from the beginning, did the practice routines, and now I have the skills (timing, chord changes, etc) to be playing real songs. I’m certainly no Slash, Townsend, Clapton, or even Joni Mitchell, but I’ve been continuously making music for over two years now and that’s what counts!!

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That’s basically what I did through grade one. I want to experience the whole course plan and make sure I am not missing something later so I would watch a video, do what it required and if I could get it right away move on to the next. Really didn’t take long to go through.