Timeline Of Your Guitar Success - How To Learn Guitar

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In this video I explain the 4 key stages of learning guitar. This video aims to shift the perspective of new guitarists who think you can learn in a linear 'level 1, level 2, 3 etc' beyond a beginner level & the pitfalls of doing so.

Even though I personally studied music academically to degree level, I feel that this along with the 'grading system' (grade 1, grade 2) is an inefficient & even ineffective way for most people to achieve and MAINTAIN a high level on guitar. 

More so, IT IS NOT the way that most of my musical heroes (Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Tommy Emmanuel and John Mayer among many others) developed their skills

The 4 stages of successful long term guitar players is (in my opinion);

- Easy Songs

- Harder Songs

- Playing With Other Musicians

- Your Musical Outlets

Having filmed this video a few weeks back, I'd now add 1 other crucial 'stage'; learning to play 'by ear', which means developing the ability to copy music that you hear, and even to then improvise over it freely.

*Update* See below video for a Part 2 of this "Timeline..." mini series!

Are YOU a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced guitar player?

In this video, I attempt to explain the main stages of guitar using the format of Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced stages. I also explain why I choose to have an Improver level, and the benefits students who follow this method have found.

This learning structure is perfect for those who want to play guitar for fun and pleasure while still making good progress on the instrument. 

See a written breakdown of these stages and suggested lesson and course links further down this page.


Purpose - master the basics.

Content - Easy open chords, 4th and 8th strumming and loads of simple songs!

Suggested lesson path - Andy's Beginner Guitar Course


Purpose - Become competent with harder chords and learn to play along to full complete songs without becoming overwhelmed. 

Content - Barre chords & barre chord cheats, power chords, more complex strumming and playing along to full songs.

Suggested lesson path - Andy's Improver Guitar Course

This Improver course not only includes lessons for all the skills at this level, but also includes audio jam tracks to guide you in learning to play along with full songs along to the recording (which is the most fun you can have when practicing once you learn how to do it!)


Purpose - Aquire a complete foundation of all the essential guitar skills needed to play most general pop and rock songs

Content - 16th strumming, CAGED shapes and arpeggios, improved technique, basic music theory & knowledge of diatonic chords and keys, experience playing a variety of styles and genres (ideally along to the original recordings) and beginning to learn to improvise simple lead guitar

Suggested lesson path - Andy's Intermediate Guitar Course

Also consider - Learn to Sing with Elizebeth and Andy

As you can no doubt see, this level can become overwhelming for many people. So many things need to be in place to be able to play intermediate level songs, for some people it becomes too much, they lose focus and their progress can stall. This is why I believe the Improver level is so crucial, as well as really consolidating all the items covered in the beginner guitar course.


Purpose - To attain a mastery of the instrument in your desired genres and for your specific disciplines (aka musical outlets) 

Content - Fantastic lead guitar competency and perhaps mastery, knowledge of advanced harmony, brilliant technique and phrasing, more complete fretboard and music theory knowledge and finally - finding a true purpose and your 'voice' on the instrument with multiple musical outlets. This can be helped initially by knowledge and application of;

  • ​5 pentatonic scale positions
  • Major scale all over the neck & applying this to chord shapes, improvising and advanced harmony

Suggested advanced courses

Lead Guitar 1, 2 and 3 (Andy's complete advanced electric guitar syllabus)

Learn Advanced Fingerstyle

Learn Acoustic Blues

Learn Texas Blues

Learn Shred Guitar

There will be a general advanced course coming to this website in the future. For now, I would focus on musical outlets and the items listed above as a general guide for the majority of people to take their playing and perhaps their musical career forward.


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