In this article, we are going to compare Justin Guitar’s Beginner Course with Paul Davids Beginner Guitar Course, Learn, Practice, Play.
I have completed both and recently wrote a review on Paul’s course.
During the course and whilst chatting on Learn, Practice, Play’s dedicated Facebook page, I found that many people had played or were playing Justin’s course also.
I found this interesting given that Justin’s course is free (on desktop) whilst Paul’s course costs $199 USD at time of writing.
Below I cover, the differences and similarities, who are they suited to, whether it is worth paying the additional cost and also my thoughts and final recommendation.
In my video below I review both courses and detail my experiences of playing them. So if you are more of a visual person then this might be for you.
Alternatively I go in to detail about both courses below with my final recommendations, starting with a quick comparison table, so lets get in to it.
Justin Guitar Vs Learn, Practice, Play
|Justin Guitar’s Beginner Course||Learn, Practice, Play by Paul Davids|
|Price||Desktop Free, App (Full Access $8.99 a month)||$199 For Lifetime Access|
|Amount of Content||11 Core Modules, 117 Video Lessons||7 Core Modules, 55 Video Lessons|
|Theory||3 Lessons Only *||Theory in Every Module|
|Solos / Melodies||X|
|Popular Song Tutorials||X|
|Length To Complete|| |
3 – 6 Months
3 – 4 Months
|Active Community|| |
Dedicated Online Forum
Private Facebook Group
* Justin has an entire theory course (paid for) separate to this one.
Justin Guitar Beginner Course
Justin Sandercoe aka Justin Guitar has been established as a guitar teacher on line for over 10 years.
From day one he offered his beginner guitar course for free and over the years he has built an entire library of tutorials for the beginner through to the more advanced player.
I learned using his *Classic* beginner guitar course which is available here but he is currently updating the course which you can find here.
For many he is known as the ‘Godfather of online guitar lessons’ and it is clear to see why.
Justin’s beginner course is aimed at those who are entirely new to playing guitar although someone with a little experience will also benefit immensely.
He holds your hand throughout the course and goes to great lengths to be as helpful as he can.
This means that from the start he is teaching you the basics about learning guitar, from buying your first one to tuning it, learning the strings, and forming your first open chords.
The pace is slow at the beginning but comprehensive in its coverage which is just what an absolute beginner needs. This can be skipped through if you need to.
Once you start moving on through each stage then a pattern in the lessons becomes apparent.
There is a focus on learning new open chords and then practicing them with his ’60 second chord changes’ which is an excellent way to speed up the transition between chords.
Then there are strumming patterns and techniques that are broken down so that you can focus on getting the fundamentals understood.
Accompanying this are song tutorials that help you put in to practice what you have been learning in that stage. These are excellent as you are starting to make music and they never feel entirely beyond you which can often be the experience if you just learn from YouTube.
Then there is ear training where it is exactly as it reads (you thought I was going to say which in my experience is often overlooked in many guitar courses online yet vital for those who really want to begin to master the instrument.
Ear training helps you recognize chords and notes so that you can transcribe a song, solo, or melody for example.
Building this skill is difficult but extremely beneficial.
At the end of each stage is a practice schedule that advises you what you need to be able to accomplish before moving to the next stage.
I found this excellent and is where I spent most of my time.
I would complete the lessons in each stage usually within one hour or two (I practiced one hour a day) and then spend the rest of my in the practice schedule working on everything.
At the end of the course, there is a consolidation phase.
One of those requirements is to be able to play 10 songs from start to finish and is a great way to recognize all that you have achieved with the hard work that you have put in.
I found it extremely rewarding to record myself once I had done this and then listen back, reflect, and realize I had actually learned something.
I show what I learned below.
What Did I Learn?
Well, I learned a lot and there is too much to cover in a short paragraph or two.
However, below is an overview of what each Stage on Justin Guitar’s Beginner Course (*Classic) teaches you.
|Stage||What You Learn On The Classic Course|
|Stage 1|| Chords: D, A, E.|
Ear Training. 4 Bar Strumming
|Stage 2|| Chords: Am, Em, Dm.|
Playing with a metronome.
|Stage 3|| Chords: G, C.|
Names of open strings.
|Stage 4|| Chords: G7, C7, B7, Fmaj7.|
|Stage 5|| Chords: A7, D7, E7.|
The Note Circle.
|Stage 6|| Chords: F.|
Using a capo.
Picking individual strings.
|Stage 7|| Chords: Asus4, Asus 2, Dsus4, Dsus2, Esus4.|
Notes in open position.
|Stage 8|| G Chord variations.|
12 Bar Blues style.
|Stage 9|| Chords: D/F#, G/B, C/G.|
Power chord shifts and palm mutes.
Applied fingerstyle patterns.
12 Bar Blues variations.
Minor pentatonic pattern.
Basic blues improvisation.
Consolidation phase (final 10 songs you can see in my video below)
If you want to dive into the detail and see what it is like to play through then I have covered my months of learning across a number of blog posts including videos, starting with month 1 here.
However most people like to see the end result, the fruits of labor, so below are the songs that I learned to play all the way through by the end of the course and were part of the ‘graduation’.
Justin Guitar’s beginner course will provide you with a deep foundation in the basics of playing guitar.
The main focus is open chords, ear training, strum patterns, and learning popular songs.
The course costs nothing if you go through a desktop computer (the app costs $8.99 a month if you want full access and doesn’t have as much content overall) and is fully effective at teaching you guitar.
One tip I would give if you are doing his course and want to learn songs through his tutorials is to buy his beginner songbooks. There are two volumes and I found then to be an excellent complement to his video lessons.
They are available here on Amazon Song Book 1, Song Book 2.
As with any self-directed learning though, you get out what you put in but Justin’s course will get you there if you put in the time and commitment.
He has taught many thousands of guitar players and is hugely popular for what he does and you have access to it all for no cost.
So as a first guitar course I would definitely recommend it but how does it compare to Paul Davids beginner guitar course which costs $199 US?
Learn, Practice, Play by Paul Davids
If you are reading this then you likely know who Paul Davids is also so I will spare you the full introduction and keep it brief.
Paul is a hugely popular guitar YouTuber. He has close to 2 million subscribers at the time of writing, has a degree in guitar with a minor in teaching from Rotterdam University, and has a natural, easy yet hugely knowledgable teaching style.
He currently has two guitar courses available.
There is his beginner course, Learn, Practice, Play which we are going to dive in to shortly and then there is his intermediate course Next Level Playing.
Learn, Practice, Play is focused on guitar players who are beginners but have become frustrated with their progress.
This is likely aimed at those who have been learning on YouTube but now need some structure to their learning.
You can learn on Electric or Acoustic Guitar but Paul teaches you on an Acoustic throughout the course.
There are quite a few fingerpicking exercises and personally I preferred to play these on an Acoustic but overall it really doesn’t matter.
Within each module of learning there is a healthy mix of melodies, theory, scales and open chords.
Throughout the course you learn theory alongside playing and the theory is lightly sprinkled throughout so it isn’t too heavy and you don’t feel like you are getting bogged down in a theory course.
As a complete beginner you might not even realize that you are learning theory which is excellent at this stage.
The focus is on getting you playing from day one while lightly introducing theory concepts that will help you develop your playing.
What Did I Learn?
I did a video review on Paul’s course where I show exactly what you get inside the course and you can check that out here.
Below is an outline of the course and what you get to learn.
|Module||What You Will Learn|
|Module 1|| Hand position, strumming, frets, and fingering.|
A beautiful melody you can play two different ways.
How to combine chords into great-sounding progressions.
The E minor pentatonic scale and the chromatic scale.
And an easy-to-learn lick that’s soulful and bluesy
|Module 2|| The 12-bar blues progression (the foundation for countless jazz, blues, and rock n’ roll songs).|
The concept of Key.
Playing major scales on a single string.
How to play with a shuffle or swing feel.
And a simple, beautiful folk melody
|Module 3|| A light, lovely melody, played with both fretted & open strings.|
Power chords, and learn how to change between them rapidly and fluidly.
Hammer-ons and pull-offs.
The E minor blues scale and a rockin’ blues lick.
And a taste of basic music theory.
|Module 4|| A beautiful new melody, played fingerstyle.|
Triads and functions.
A progression using suspended chords.
Some great country and bluegrass licks.
|Module 5|| Phrasing, soloing and improvisation.|
Playing the minor scale.
Different ways to play a blues progression in the key of E.
A lovely folk melody, played fingerstyle.
And concepts like ghost strumming, pickup notes, and the turnaround.
|Module 6|| How to combine melodies and chords.|
A new strumming technique, using palm mute and accented notes.
How chords are derived from the scale of a major key (and how to know which chords will sound good together).
A riff played with a “gallop” rhythm.
And how to play slash chords.
|Module 7|| How to improvise (and have it sound amazing), just by knowing the first or last chord of a song.|
How to do double stops, bends, and muted notes.
Barre chords and two great-sounding progressions that use them.
Four advanced licks.
And more complex strumming patterns (e.g. only hitting one or two strings when strumming).
Also, below are few videos from the different modules that I put up on my YouTube channel starting with Module 1.
And Module 3 where I got to record 2 layers to a track which was really good fun.
If you are a complete beginner you could learn just fine from this course but I think Justin’s would be better suited and I go in to why further below in my final recommendation.
One thing that surprised me, and I am a fan of Paul’s, is that the course can become a little tedious and dare I say it, boring.
The course started off really interesting and refreshing versus what I had been previously been learning but as you work through the modules, you start to revisit areas like a melody that increases in technical difficulty and this is where it can drag a bit.
However, overall I think Paul’s course has an excellent mix but it feels a little light on content compared to what Justin has to offer.
Also without the popular song tutorials you will have to supplement your learning elsewhere if you want to learn some of your favourite songs.
Learn, Practice, Play vs Justin Guitar: Final Recommendation
If you are an absolute beginner who likes to learn popular songs but isn’t too interested in learning theory from the start then I would recommend Justin’s course.
If you have played for a month or so (say 10 to 20 hours) then Paul’s course could be for you.
Particularly if you like a variance in your playing which includes theory, melodies, riffs as well as open chords and playing along with backing tracks.
Overall they are two slightly different courses aimed at slightly different levels of a guitar player.
My recommendation would be to start with Justin and if after a month you aren’t keen on his teaching style and the basis of the course then consider Paul’s.
Hopefully, this helps you if you were on the fence about which one to pursue, but if you have any questions then please get in contact via the comments below or on my about me page or my YouTube Channel.
All the best, Luke.