6 months with Justin: First Song (Enter Sandman) and an extra riff

Hello all, I am in my mid-40s and picked up guitar for the first time on June 15. I am currently completing Beginner 2. I am ready to move on to Theory 5 and have also taken 3 out of 4 parts of the old strumming course. I have roughly 230-250 hours of actual playing practice total over these 6 months. I did not learn in full any of the earlier songs, went for Enter Sandman as my first one. Obviously, there is no solo here from me. I changed Riff 8 to single notes because I cannot do the barre grip in anything resembling decent time even for a solo guitar w/o drums.

The sound did not come out quite as I would have liked so I had to take 10dB off the bass. Otherwise, there was zero editing. I recorded via Boss GT into Audacity. I am developing carpal tunnel symptoms so I am not re-recording this soon. I am also dropping practice to 20 min/day for the next several days, at least.

But I also include a VERY SHORT sample of the opening of Van Halen’s Ain’t Talking Bout Love because I really like how the sound came out there. It is on time (240 bpm) though one of the last notes is a little off.

Enter Sandman, full song per Justin video but limited number of riff repetitions. Using volume control to partially clean up for the ‘clean’ parts:

Aint Talking Bout Love, just 14 seconds:

Criticism is welcome, don’t worry about my feelings or the like, lol :slight_smile:



Steve, firstly congrats on sharing your first AVOYP. Sounds like great progress for 6 months in. I’ve been playing a bit longer than you (started October last year), so the memories of not even being able to hit the string I wanted are fresh in my mind. And still happens plenty as well…

I did notice quite a few timing issues. Slow downs, speed ups, etc. I’d really encourage you to play with a backing track, metronome or drum beat as playing in time has a huge impact on how your playing sounds. It is much easier to do with simpler songs than what you’re playing as well.

Congrats on your progress and keep at it!


Hey Steve. Congratulations on your first AVOYP. Some very good progress there for 6 months in. Plenty to be proud of.

I’d concur with @jkahn re some timing issues. Listening to the originals, playing over a backing track, slowing it right down at first etc, are all good practice items to lock into the rhythm.

Cheers, Shane


Well done Steve, congrats on posting your first AVOYP. Some great progress being made there and you’re doing well for 6 months in. :+1:


Super impressed with what you’ve achieved in 6 months.

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Welcome congrats at 1st avoyp. You will get a lot of great feedback here.

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Thanks everybody.

Yes, I definitely have to work on timing. For the EVH riff, it is on time. For Enter Sandman, that has not yet been the goal but I agree that it should become (I play for myself solo but why not learn it fully?).

Now I am giving my hands rest and bracing them at night so I will keep working on what I have learned and not do any new material until I figure out how to balance practice time with hand health. Seems like a good opportunity to consolidate and work on timing. I am also using this forced slowdown to 30 min per day to push into Theory 5.

Nice job! It takes courage to put your first recordings up, and you found that courage a lot quicker than I did. :blush: You have made great progress in a short time! I hope you’re not in too big of a hurry with the course. Although it takes a little extra time, I found it very helpful to learn some full songs early on. Each song I learned targeted a different chord sequence. If you play some songs with those tricky barre chords, you’ll probably find they get much easier. Anyway, you’ve made a great start by playing all those riffs in Enter Sandman. :star_struck: :clap: :clap:

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Well done really good job for 6 months only! I suggest following up on what JK said about the timing and I am sure you will clean it all up in no time :wink: all the best!

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Hi Steve, and congratulations to your first AVOYP :clap::+1::smiley:.
Although, there is no Video of you playing, I can feel the enthusiasm you’re playing with :star_struck::guitar::fire:.
Great stuff - particularly for being only 6 months on this journey :smiley:.

I hope, you’re aching hand will be fine soon.

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Well, it turns out I have got myself neck/nerve issues rather than hand issues. So 11 months after starting, I have progressed but nothing like what I thought would be the case as I have not been able to establish a stable routine. Now that I think I finally understand the issue and a chiropractor seems to actually be helping things will hopefully improve. Doctors and therapists were of little help.

SInce November, my hands are frozen on wake up and in early May the left hand fingers could not contract for 60-70 minutes after wake up (20 on the right hand) which is an actual disability at that point that affects even going to the restroom. I am now improving for the first time but it will be a process. I am fine during the day but there is a substantial risk of aggravating the issue easily.

NEVER EVER HUNCH OVER THE GUITAR even if it is for one evening. Once you get some issues going, DO NOT DO ANYTHING that puts your neck/back in an awkward position (I aggravated my problem a great deal after a simple but awkward DIY car repair on my wife’s Subaru, a CV axle replacement at home).

Now, I have to learn to play not only standing but without looking–nearly at all!

And so a novice of 11 months, I have started to practice without looking (it is not as bad as feared though):

Alternate picking exercises and scales;

ENter Sandman, the whole song minus the solo
Aint’t Talking Bout Love, the whole song but slowly;
Jamie is Crying, the rhythm sections but not the solo; at speed
Little Dreamer, same, the rhytm parts but not the solo, in sections

To try tomorrow!:
Hold the Line, same
Fear of the Dark, still need to learn one of the rhythm parts

And I now have to learn to do blind the riffs I know as well, maybe on Wednesday:
Highway To Hell
Rainbow in the Dark
Holy Diver
Atomic Punk (yet to learn to mute it right)

And the Justin beginner version of U2 One and Hey Joe.

It has been nothing like what I had imagined. I never thought I would touch the songs I really want in my first 2 years nor did I ever thought I would run in this kind of issues!

Gotta play the cards you get dealt as best as you can though!

At least I learned:

–Posture can have no exceptions
–How to deal with tendon issues, that’s easy actually, I fixed my left elbow which was a pre-existing condition
–How to deal with inflamation.

So I feel I am building a strong foundation but in a way I cannot recommend to anybody!

Btw, I never stopped practicing completely and doing SOMETHING daily is priceless. I only stopped for 4 days last week after the first chiropractic adjustment as the guy insisted that I do:)


Sorry I didn’t get these on the first time round and congratulations on your first AVOYP postings. They were sounding good.

Sorry to read about the problems you’ve been having with your neck/back and I hope they are starting to get a little better and you are able to continue doing what you love.

Thanks for the comments, I have not been checking for a while. Yeah, I was doing the chorus terribly back then…when my wife and I got together in 1996, I brought into the relationship Van Halen, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Toto; she brought chiefly Metallica and Kiss :slight_smile: So Metallica has long been around me, but not until I started playing did I really become a fan.

In short, I don’t have the rhytm etched in my backbone as I do with Van Halen material. So I have been struggling for 10 days to get the rhythm of Sad But True right. But I got.

With EVH, one fill can take me 2 weeks to learn, with Metallica, rhytm has been the challenge. But it is all great. I got a used Charvel Desolation DC1ST with EMGs to keep mostly in D so as to practice with less tension and to do Metallica on it. I use my Wolfgang Special for everything else.

I have done all possible imaging of hands and neck and still have no diagnosis. But my hands and forearms are as good as they can be for a 48 yo, so I have been practicing 60-75 min/day since that became clear. And I am being super careful with the neck, doing stretches all the time, etc.

Anyway. Thought an update is due :slight_smile:

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