While there are pro-level guitar platforms run by companies that host more than 50 tutors specialized across tons of different genres and sub-genres, they generally come at a price.
Subscription prices to these platforms are a tad too much, or at times, not worth investing in, for the casual guitar learner, who isn’t necessarily using the services every day.
That’s where Justin Guitar stands out as it’s got really good quality lessons, with a lot of them that are available for free.
But does free mean good? Is it worth your time and eventually, money, if you’re looking to develop into a serious guitarist?
In this article, we’ll look at Justin Guitar and see if it can stand up to the pros.
Regarding compatibility, Justin Guitar is available on various platforms. You can access the site through your Google Chrome, Safari, or any other web browser of your choice.
Signing up for Justin Guitar is quick and easy. All you need to do is create a free user account, and you’ll have access to the entire library of lessons.
Click the orange button written join to start. An amazing thing about this platform is that it has beginner-level, intermediate-level, and advanced-level lessons.
This way, you can find the perfect lesson for your skill level.
Before entering the paid courses, its worth mentioning that the free courses with Justin Guitar also include all of the 17 ukulele lessons, not forgetting the acoustic and electric guitars.
With a lot of additional free lessons offered by Justin on the app called Ukeoke, the ukulele enthusiasts would love this platform! However, I wish there were bass lessons included too.
However, for those who want to take their learning further beyond the free lessons, you can check out the store. Beyond the free lessons, there are various one-time purchases, along with multiple monthly subscription based rates as well, which you can find below.
The practical music theory priced at $5.99 per month seems to be a good idea to get your basics sorted in the initial stages.
There is also a monthly and annual plan available on the Justin Guitar app which has interactive learning exercises that is priced at $9.99/month.
Amongst the additional standalone purchases are the transcribing blues solos course which is priced at $15, Solar Blues Guitar at $9.98, and the strumming SOS at $39.99.
This platform offers lessons for both electric and acoustic guitar.
The lessons are divided into categories like beginner, intermediate and advanced. This makes it easy to find the perfect lesson for your skill level.
The many lessons on the beginner level are perfect for those starting out. If you have some knowledge, you can easily move up to the intermediate and advanced levels.
The lessons are grouped into grades on each level. Currently, they have Grades 1 to 7.
It is indicated that grades 8 and 9 are coming soon, probably next year. In his curriculum, he also has bass lessons in grade 7. It’s called Learn to Walk the Bass.
Grade 1 Module 0
Grade 1 Module 0 is a great way to get your guitar-playing journey started if this is your first time holding a guitar.
It contains 6 lessons that take about 41 minutes and 14 seconds to browse through.
In “Before You Begin: Guitar Basics”, you’ll learn the very basics of guitar playing like learning how to tune your guitar properly, reading chord charts, using a pick correctly, finger strumming your guitar, and making sure your finger positionings are correct.
With these preliminary skills under your belt, you’ll be ready to take on the upcoming modules!
Grade 1 module 0 will also get you familiar with some of the basics of playing rhythm guitar. You’ll learn ways to place your fingers correctly, as well as read chord boxes and a detailed rundown on the many different ways of holding a pick.
You’ll also discover how to finger strum your basic chord progressions, which makes it possible to quickly try out some of your favorite songs.
By the end of Grade 1 Module 0, you won’t be a total beginner anymore and will have a basic understanding of the guitar necessary for you to explore the upcoming modules.
It’s a great starting point for anyone who’s been wanting to pick up the guitar but has been too shy to ask some of the most basic questions.
Grade 1 Module 1
Now here’s where the fun begins! You are going to learn how to play your first songs using the A and D chords on the guitar.
Being a fourth away, its needless to say, there’s going to be tons of songs that use this. So while the exercise may seem rudimentary on the surface, Justin’s choice and reasoning behind it is quite deep.
From curling your fingers the right way to eventually being able to anchor fingers while changing chords, Justin runs you through most preliminary concepts with just the A and the D chords alone.
Module 1 is a great way to nail your chord changes, as well as get your fingers used to their new positions.
As you can see in the image above, Justin shows you where you’ll place your fingers along with which strings to strum.
He also shows you how to not get stuck when singing as you play these chords, which is something a lot of beginners struggle with, especially since their sense of rhythmic independence isn’t developed yet.
That’s where the next lesson comes in! From strumming correctly on beat 1 of each bar to hitting the correct strings each time you strum, the step-by-step lessons cover everything that you would ideally learn in the first few weeks of a private guitar lesson.
On the last lesson, Justin ends by shedding some light on some of the questions that most of us have while learning guitar, i.e. when is it time to go on to the next exercise?
Beginner Grades 2 & 3
Grade 2 and 3 also fall under the beginner category but move at a brisk pace.
Grade 2 takes you through the F chord shape and all the barred and 7th chords that are born out of that shape.
Justin tackles the usual challenges of tucking the pinky under the ring finger while fretting the F shape for the first time, along with getting you into the mood for shredding with some alternate picking and hammer-ons.
Grade 3 gets serious pretty soon with playing melodies, triads and learning to sing as you play. Justin also goes into the art of transcribing and jamming, which naturally leads to the art of conscious listening for guitarists.
With some touch-ups on guitar tone, along with some words of wisdom on setting up practice routines, Justin gets you prepped up for the intermediate level.
Intermediate Grade 4
Intermediate Grade 4 is where you’ll take your guitar playing to the next level!
This grade features multiple subtype courses such as E Shape Barre Chords, Major Scale Maestro, Rhythm Maestro, Blues Guitar Studies, Essential Blues Lead Guitar, and a range of Blues Licks.
With Intermediate Grade 4, your musicianship will surely expand, and you’ll have fun along the way!
The E shape course makes sure that you learn the E barre chords and are able to play all around the neck. With Justin’s detailed video lessons within the Major Scale Maestro course, you can soon solo in any key using the Major Scale.
The Rhythm Maestro module is an essential one and will surely help you to grow. Here it’s all about rhythm, how to read it, and how to understand it. Justin helps you understand how to play with rests, and music ties.
You’ll basically learn the techniques needed to figure out, read and write down any rhythm and strumming pattern you hear.
Towards the end of Grade 4, you start to make choices regarding where you want to go with your guitar playing, as the courses are dedicated to a certain style and topic and are quite comprehensive in nature.
For example, the Blues Licks course spans as mammoth 56 lessons, and stretches over 5 hours and 26 mins!
However, strangely enough, the last two courses in Grade 4 happen to be the Intermediate Foundation courses, which I found to be quite confusing. You would ideally expect these to be right up at the top or have a dedicated path laid out to them.
Advanced Grade 7
The great thing about Justin’s Guitar is that every level takes you up a few notches!
In grade 7, you’ll learn more advanced techniques such as Modes, Arpeggios, Extended Chord Harmony, Jazz, Substitutions, and Chord Manipulation.
It’s all about building upon what you have already learned and taking your musicianship up a few notches. You should now have a much better understanding of how to train yourself and become an even better musician.
And, obviously, you can develop some amazing lead guitar skills. You will learn how to include sophisticated lead ‘fills’ into your rhythm playing in the style of Mayfield and Hendrix.
This grade will provide you with the opportunity to really express yourself and take your lead guitar playing to a whole new level.
You can start developing some of those classic licks that have made guitarists like Mayfield and Hendrix so famous. You will learn how the concepts of the Pentatonic scale along with Major scale soloing taught earlier, exist within these licks.
Justin does a great job at breaking the licks down to a cellular level so you don’t have to copy them note to note. You can eventually understand the reasoning behind each lick within the chords you play and really make them your own.
As always, JustinGuitar offers clear diagrams, TABs, audio examples, and video lessons so that you can easily understand what is being taught.
Once you have a good grasp of the basics, it’s time to tackle some songs! On this platform, you’ll get a song library that has over 700 songs. You can sort the songs by:
- Tittle A to Z
- Tittle Z-A
- Date New to Old
- Date old to New
Examples of these songs include:
- Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
- Old Man by Neil Young
- Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits
- Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin
Songs in this platform help you to learn various aspects of guitar playing such as strumming and rhythm, lead soloing, improvisation, and more.
Each song is taught with an audio/video lesson as well as tabs and notation.
Each song will include:
- Explanation of the sections of the song
- Techniques used in the song
- Tips on playing the song correctly
- Tablature for guitar parts played in the song
- Chord diagrams for each chord used in the song
- Backing track audio to play along with
- Tips for improvising solos on guitar
For example, let’s look at the song “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.
The lesson starts off with an introduction to the song which includes a breakdown of all the sections in the composition and some tips on how it should sound.
After that, the instructor goes into teaching the rhythm guitar part. He explains how to play each chord and provides tab notation for all of these chords.
Then he teaches the lead soloing section where he covers improvising techniques over the chords in the song. Lastly, he talks about some final tips on playing this song proficiently.
Another great feature is that each lesson includes audio and video examples. This allows you to hear and see how the material should be played.
You can also slow down or speed up the audio to your desired tempo, which is great for beginners needing extra time to learn the material.
The camera is positioned directly in front of the teacher, making it easy to follow along. However, there is a slightly angled close-up camera also used when the bends and other details warrant a close-up view.
With HD videos and an intuitive playback system, you can ensure that every detail of the lesson is crystal clear. And if something isn’t quite right, you can always rewind or fast forward until you get it right.
Justin Guitar has a team of instructors to guide you in your guitar journey. Each instructor has their own unique teaching style and approach, which makes it easy for you to find the right teacher that fits your learning needs.
What’s more, each lesson comes with an interactive video that shows you exactly how to play a song or apply a new technique.
Most importantly, you’ll get valuable feedback from the instructor so you can adjust your playing to meet their standards.
- John Gingell
- Jed Wardley
- Lieven De Vleshschouwer
- Richard Coles
- Lee MeadBatten
Richard Coles is among the best instructors as he has over 40 years of experience in playing guitar. He holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.
Lee MeadBatten is also a great tutor, thanks to his 20 years of experience in teaching music. He also has a diploma in Music performance.
Along with Justin and his team of experienced tutors, you are sure to learn everything you need to know about playing guitar.
The Tools Section
You’ll get access to Justin Guitar’s tools, which further support your guitar learning journey. Each tool is designed with the sole purpose of making it easier for you to become a better player.
The Strumming Machine is an incredibly useful tool for learning rhythm. It’s easy to use and can help you become a guitar player.
By setting up a loop of your chosen song, the Strumming Machine will play it back at various speeds so you can practice playing along with it.
The Chord Library is a great resource for learning chords and their variations.
It contains diagrams of many different chord shapes, along with instructions on how to play them. You can use this to learn new songs or simply practice chord changing.
The Metronome is another essential tool for guitar players. It helps you keep time while you play and can be used to practice rhythms or songs. It also has an adjustable tempo setting so that you can practice at different speeds.
The Tempo Calculator is a great tool for figuring out the best speed to play a song.
By inputting the desired speed and length of the song, it will output the exact tempo that you need to play. This can save you a lot of time and frustration while learning new songs.
Blank Manuscripts & TABs
Having blank manuscripts handy is great for jotting down musical ideas or taking notes while playing. You can also use them to write out chord diagrams, scale patterns, or any other lessons you come across.
With these handy add-on tools, learning the guitar becomes way more organized.
Justin Guitar has an amazing community that is always there to help each other out. Whether it’s asking questions or sharing ideas, you can find a lot of helpful resources from fellow guitarists.
If you are looking for advice on a specific topic, don’t hesitate to post there. There is a wide range of topics ranging from the usual gear talk, to tips from approved teachers.
There are also facilities for you to upload your guitar tracks so you can have some feedback and fresh perspective from the community.
Basically, the community section covers everything from technical advice to general discussions related to guitar playing.
Pros and Cons
Just like any other learning platform, there are pros and cons to using Justin Guitar. We’ll have a look at each.
What Does Justin Guitar Offer That Others Don’t?
Let’s talk about the different features that Justin Guitar offers which make it stand out from other guitar sites.
First and foremost, the site provides a vast selection of lessons for every skill level. From beginner to advanced players, you can find all sorts of tutorials on various topics such as lead guitar playing, fingerstyle, chords and scales.
Each lesson is also accompanied by an interactive video, which helps you follow along with the instructor and understand what he/she is teaching.
However, these are things that aren’t uncommon amongst the pro-level platforms. What does well and truly make Justin Guitar stand out is Justin himself.
The love for the instrument, the commitment towards making guitar lessons accessible and fun, in a way that fewer people drop out while learning is very clearly felt as you go through the platform.
While the pro platforms do have a variety of teachers across different genres, Justin Guitar is bound to connect to the ones who have an inclination towards blues, classic rock, and other sub-genres within this umbrella.
Who is Justin Guitar Best For?
Justin Guitar is best for all levels of guitarists, from complete beginners to advanced players. Whether you want to learn the basics of guitar playing, develop more complex skills or simply play your favorite songs, Justin Guitar has something to offer.
However, as mentioned earlier, the choice of courses and concepts is rooted in Justin’s blues-rock influence. So, if that’s your orientation, there wouldn’t be much to complain as Justin serves his audience very well.
Within his palette, Justin covers a wide range of musical styles, giving you plenty of material to work with.
Overall, with its comprehensive selection of courses on different topics and genres, Justin Guitar is a great place to start.
Up To You
Having said that, the most important part of learning guitar is to practice and be consistent.
Justin Guitar will provide you with all the necessary resources but ultimately it’s up to you to take action and put in the hard work.
Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go as well as planned – keep practicing and keep pushing yourself. With enough dedication, you can master any skill on the guitar.