When Am I Ready to Move on from Grade 1 to Grade 2?

This is most definitely not the case. Everyone learns at a different rate. Some will find certain modules difficult and others won’t and vice versa. Learn at your own speed and build a solid foundation.


Gordon … I wrote that and it was to a specific person in a specific context. I didn’t put it up as a hard and fast rule or recommendation on time frames for learning. It was in this topic: Questio-rant about learning


Sorry Richard. I didn’t mean to tread on your toes. I’d never come across a formula for how long it should take to complete a grade/module before. I’ve read the topic you refer to and can see it was to a specific person and context. 150 Em to D changes in a minute. Wow! :grinning:

Sorry if I put it out of context and explained myself badly @sairfingers @Richard_close2u

@sairfingers no worries Gordon, no toes trodden on. :slight_smile:
@Rumil no worries, it’s fine. :slight_smile:

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Hi Craig,

My personal feeling is that you can put as much time as you want into Grade 1 but that if you don’t have specific goals and just want to get a good foundation "PASS"ing by Justin’s definition is a pretty good benchmark to be able to move on. The reason for this is that you can get a ton of mileage just out of the Grade 1 material and depending on your goals it may be the only thing you really need, or maybe Grade 1 plus diverging into a few other select topics is all you need.

What are your goals? It’s never too early to think about what you want to play and how you want to play guitar.

My big goal currently is to eventually lead a classic country band singing and playing acoustic guitar, and to this end Grade 1 actually gets me pretty far. Grade 1 & 2 plus some digging into specific topics (especially rhythm studies, understanding harmonic structure, and singing) are probably all I’ll ever need to get there. But I also want to be prepared to record and perform a bit, so to this end I have started spending some time in understanding microphone setup and home recording, hoping to share some of my work with the community here and maybe doing an open mic.

Do you want to play funk guitar? Better spend a ton of time with a metronome and bar chords. Do you want to play lead thrash? Better start working those scales and arpeggios now. Etc…


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Hey, y’all. So it’s been several consecutive daily practices, and I’m feeling a little less confident, not discouraged, but realizing there are things I need to practice more. There are a few chord changes in songs that were doable with a simple 1 downstrum per bar using the app & backing track, which I’m constantly flubbing up when I try to incorporate a real strumming pattern. Also, when I practice songs without the backing track, it sounds rougher around the edges than I would like. So the fact is that I’m still shaky from a rhythmic perspective, and it’s also exposing the chord changes that I need to practice more (mainly C, sometimes D).

I’m impatient, but I really don’t see any point in starting Grade Two until I have sufficiently consolidated what I’ve learned so far, and Justin’s definition makes sense to me, especially the part about being able to play five songs. However, his definition of playing each chord correctly at least 50 percent of the time in those songs seems overly generous.

But this is where I get bogged down in deciding do I play this song WELL ENOUGH to start Grade Two? I could cheat a little by choosing all songs in ADE & in AmEm, but I won’t because it just makes sense to also include songs with C & G. I’m not in school trying to pass a grade; I’m doing this for myself.

The songs I will choose probably are: “For What It’s Worth,” “Sing,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Bye, Bye Love” + “Black” or “Love Me Do” or “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” My stretch songs, which I really want to learn to play, but I won’t let it delay me starting Grade 2, are “Ripple” and “Heart of Gold:”

The bottom line is that I have to remember how long it took me to practice other things before I could usually get them right. Repetition has definitely proved to be the most important thing for me to make progress. This is why playing songs is the main part of my practice. I can only take so many Chord Perfect & One-Minute Change exercises (even though I do them religiously at the start of every practice). But I can, and often do, practice songs until my fingers hurt, I run out of time, or (most commonly) my fingers just get too sloppy. Maybe that’s what people mean by finger fatigue? This usually works out to between 70 and 90 minutes per day.

I’m really enjoying this journey, enjoying it well enough at the six-month mark that I have purchased my first guitar. (I’ve been playing on a friend’s instrument.) It’s in transit from the factory to my local Guitar Center, and I’m expecting it later this week. It is not a beginner’s guitar. I didn’t want to invest in an instrument until I had proved to myself that this was something that I was reasonably confident that I would stick with. In other words, something that I would be disciplined about practicing, enjoy practicing, and make at least some progress however slow.

This is a rather long post, so if you’ve read this far, thank you! Part of the reason I feel comfortable telling you all this is because the JustinGuitar community may be the friendliest, most helpful place that I visit on the Internet. You guys rock! Thank you!

Hi Craig.
I am newbie my self. But i can say what i found easier in my journey after 6 months…. That was about the time i just stopped using the song app and tried to play without. I felt i had too much focus on following the dots and got very disturbed when i missed the beat.
I found it much more enjoyable too just play without it, just trying to jam along the different songs on my stereo…

For the chord changes… just keep at it. One day it just getting better without you even really notice it…

It can also help you out a lot with a new guitar. Easier to play, lower string action etc… the guitar it self is important when learning… much easier with a good guitar with a good set up.

That is my 2 cents for what its worth…