Hey, how you doing? Justin here, welcome to my site!
I figure that an overview of the site and what lessons and modules (courses) it contains would be useful for both new and regular visitors. So below you'll find a list of the currently available modules (there are many more out soon!) and below that an outline of my Grade System which may help you get your bearings. If you didn't watch the 1 Minute Introduction on the front page yet, you'll probably find that real helpful too!
Categories contain Modules which contain Lessons. So some examples; within Scales & Arpeggios (category) is The Minor Pentatonic Scale (module) and within that are lessons on how to play and use that scale. Within the Beginners Course (category) is Beginner Stage 4 (module) which contains a series of lessons for beginners at that level. Got it?
I put modules, lessons and songs into a subjective order of difficulty using a kind of 'karate' colour Grade System. It's not an official education grade system (yet!) but will help you know where you're at in the grand scheme of things and where you should probably be going. There's an outline of each grade below the Module Structure!
Module Structure (with links!)
Beginner Course Introduction
Beginner Course Stage 1
Beginner Course Stage 2
Beginner Course Stage 3
Ear Training Introduction
Ear Training Grade 1
Music Theory Introduction
Music Theory Grade 1
Guitar Maintenance 1
PurpleScale Info For Intermediates
The CAGED System
Music Theory Grade 6
Blues Lead Guitar 3
Jazz Up your Blues
Jazz 2: Extensions and Alterations
More in development here!
Ariel Posen (Slide Guitar)
rest in big new development!
Guitars, Amps & Effects
Interviews / Bios
Transcribing Live Sessions
The Grade System
If you are new to the guitar you should start at the beginning, right? The white grade is super easy and for people who have never played before. You'll learn the 8 Essential Beginner chords, easy 8th note strumming, how to practice chord changes (the biggest beginner struggle) and you should learn loads of easy songs too. There's even a pre-beginner section for people interested in getting into guitar but not sure what's involved or what to buy.
The white grade is divided into 3 modules (Stages 1, 2 and 3) each of which should take a couple weeks, but some people may find they can get through it sooner. Detailed practice routines are given for each module! After or during the Stages you should check out the White Grade Essential Skills module too, and perhaps the optional Music Theory and Ear Training too!
Once you're confident with your White skill-set you graduate to Yellow where we learn some more chords and you'll first meet the Beginner nemesis, The F Chord (they don't call it that for nothing!). You'll learn to play a 12 Bar Blues and a bunch more fun songs that are a little harder harder than the last grade (but still very easy!).
The yellow grade is again divided into 3 modules (Stages 4, 5 and 6) and you will likely find they take a little longer than the first 3 stages but I try to keep progress steady and fun all the way! You'll find more Essential Skills, Theory and Ear Training too!
The final Beginner grade introduces more chords and a load of fun things like Fingerstyle guitar, improvising blues solos and more fun adventures. We'll increase your chord vocabulary with Suspended Chords, Slash Chords and alternate fingerings of chords you know already. By this stage, you'll be really enjoying the guitar and probably be keen to learn all your favourite songs - which you should!
Orange grade covers Beginner Stages 7, 8 and 9 and Beginner Consolidation lessons and we'll have more Theory and Ear Training for you too of course. When you graduate from Orange grade you'll (hopefully!) find you can play a wide range of songs and easily be able to entertain friends and family with your songs! :)
After some time consolidating your beginner skills (I recommend 3-6 months at least!) then you enter the Intermediate Grades (Green/Blue/Purple) which start with a series of Foundation Modules in which you'll learn about Barre Chords, 16th Note Strumming and more about technique, knowledge and skills. The idea is that you learn the foundation skills and then apply them in the Intermediate style modules depending on what music you like!
In this Green grade, you'll explore Foundations 1 and 2 (all about E Shape Barre Chords) and you will find the Effective Practice module will be super helpful if you've not looked at it before. You should also be learning as many songs as you can that use these new skills.
In the Blue Grade we continue on with Foundation Modules 3 and 4 which as well as learning to play A Shape Barre chords, we explore improvising, scale practice, technique development and more. String bending is introduced here and so now would be a great time to get into the Essential Blues Lead Guitar module. If you are doing Practical Music Theory too then you'll be hitting some super interesting stuff around now!
Purple is the last of the Intermediate Grades and by the end of this, you should be confident playing E and A Shape barre chords but also be familiar with The CAGED system and manipulation of chords (covered comprehensively in Practical Music Theory Course Grade 6) and also Major Scale Improvisation.
After the Intermediate Foundation is completed you should pick style modules you enjoy; Master The Major Scale, All Over Blues Lead Guitar, Blues Rhythm Guitar, Folk Fingerstyle, Funk Guitar, Jazz Rhythm Guitar and many more planned.
At this point, you're probably ready to start playing live and should be feeling pretty confident as a guitarist!
These advanced grades are for those that want to push it a bit further, and this grade will mostly be based on Modal theory, how it works, what it is, how it's used. To be honest, right now it's looking a little sparse, but I'll be hitting this as soon as I get a chance. Jazz Harmony and Walking Bass modules live here, as will Colouring The Blues (when I finish it!).
Making changes is what Brown Grade is all about. Rather than playing from a scale, we look at treating chords as individuals and exploring how to approach them. I guess it's really a jazz approach but it applies to Blues and many other styles as well - personally I got familiar with the concept in Jazz and then immediately realized it was what the Blues players I loved all did, so that's kinda where we head here.
In theory-land, we'll be exploring Melodic Minor modes, chord substitutions and that kinda stuff.
Any of you that have done martial arts will know that "Black belt is where the journey begins" - it's not the destination and as you get to this point you'll likely start realizing the important stuff is the simplest, but it ain't easy! I've got some special treats in the works for you folk that make the grade! :) to be announced soon!