JustinGuitar Review 2022 | guitar world
“Can anyone recommend a decent guitar lessons site?” is an evergreen topic that pops up on guitar forums all the time (along with the many cheerful NGDs). The lasting answer? JustinGuitar.com (opens in a new tab).
In 2003, it’s unlikely Justin Sandercoe, then in his twenties and originally from Tasmania, had any inkling that his fledgling website would help millions of people learn how to play guitar online. But he was smart enough to sense an opportunity, smart enough to come up with a solution, and tenacious enough to keep exploiting it. Since then, Justin has become a guitar institution, perhaps the most famous guitarist (that non-guitarists have never heard of) in the world. By 2011, his YouTube videos had received over 100 million views and his current subscriber base now stands at over 1.5 million users.
Above all, Justin is a phenomenal teacher, which is an entirely separate skill set from being a good musician. And, in the beginning, when most of us would have just given up and descended into the pub, it worked tirelessly to feed its budding audience an almost constant stream of free content. A labor of love if ever there was one.
Tap JustinGuitar.com in your browser and you’ll find a learning platform that easily rivals any of its paid competitors, such as Fender Play or Yousician. At the base is a three-level learning path that will guide you from soft-handed beginner, through hard-skinned intermediate to proudly calloused advanced player.
Each level consists of three levels (1 to 9), and each level is divided into half a dozen modules which, in turn, are generously packed with numerous lessons. These lessons usually last between eight and twenty minutes, which is a good amount of time. Because Justin’s teaching style is thankfully free of fluff, it’s all solid learning time.
As you’d expect, in year one module one explores some basic open chords, but in year three (still at beginner level) you’ll choose individual chords while strumming and learning how to play simple duets.
By the time you reach middle grade six, you will have acquired a very solid foundation in barre chords, rhythm fundamentals, lead playing, blues-style guitar and, if you wish, a good introduction to fingerstyle, bass and guitar. folk, funk and jazz. In short, there’s an awful lot of content here, although not everything is mandatory.
The advanced levels so far focus mostly on jazz technique, but this section is only partially completed, so it will be interesting to find out what else Justin has up his sleeve.
JustinGuitar Review: Skills and Songs
If you return to JustingGuitar.com after a break, you’ll likely recall that the learning path once took a slightly different path. Over the past two years, Justin has worked hard to revamp the entire course, which has meant redoing just about every lesson. As a result, the courses section now makes more sense to navigate, and new video content, which is being rolled out gradually over time, is professionally lit and shot in crisp 1080p HD or better with multiple camera angles. You don’t get an animated fretboard, but each lesson comes with full notes and, where available, chord diagrams.
Need more? If that’s not enough, rest assured that Justin is constantly working on new course material – at the time of writing, advanced 8th and 9th grades are on the horizon. If that’s still not enough, check out Justin’s skill sections where you can learn more about scales and modes, arpeggios, ear training, guitar kit… It just goes on and on.
Most of us are drawn to learning the guitar because we want to play our favorite songs. JustinGuitar.com doesn’t disappoint here either. You’ll find over 670 in the song library, catering to a wide range of tastes and skill levels, with more being added all the time. Some of the song videos were shot a few years ago, but don’t let that detract from the fun of learning one of your favorites.
JustinGuitar Review: Paid Content
Everything I’ve mentioned so far is completely free for anyone with an internet connection, but there is also some paid content. Currently, Justin offers four premium courses – Transcription of blues solos, solo blues guitar, strumming techniques 1 and 2 and Practical, fast and fun music theory. The first three cost around $10 each for lifetime access, but the more complex music theory course costs $9.99 for six-month access or $99 for lifetime, which seems like good value.
Justin has been selling his excellent series of ebooks and instructional books for many years, but now they’re joined by a beginners app, jam tracks, tabs/rating and an expanded product line. The tabs/notation are not transcribed by Justin, instead he uses the official versions directly from the editors, hence the need to charge a fee.
JustinGuitar review: Style and substance
A few years ago, Justin seemed to be drowning under the weight of his own creation, so I’m glad to see he’s recruited a team to help him behind the scenes. The updated site looks great, and the new video content is a step ahead of the first YouTube videos I remember seeing of a young Australian teaching guitar in a cramped London flat. To be honest, the production quality has been good for a few years now, but the very latest lesson videos are just outstanding.
The main asset of the site is, of course, Justin himself. His delivery is always knowledgeable, thoughtful, even humorous at times, but he’s no stand-up. So if you’re looking for a goofy, goofy guitar teacher, look elsewhere. Instead, I like to think of Justin as the David Attenborough of the guitar world, graciously guiding millions of us through the otherwise impenetrable jungle that is guitar learning.
JustinGuitar review: Specifications
- Cost: Free with a small amount of paid premium content. It is possible to watch the free video content on YouTube, but logging into the site gives you access to written material and will save your progress.
- Application : The Lessons and Songs mobile app (android (opens in a new tab) and iOS (opens in a new tab)) is a karaoke-style app for beginners, with in-app purchases
- Visit: JustinGuitar (opens in a new tab)