Alex's Learning Log

If you have any problems with the string change Justin has a helpful video.


Thanks! I just did it using this video. I screwed up and broke my D string but luckily I bought a 3 pack. Unfortunately, future me will have a missing D string when changing my strings 2 times from now.

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That is a proper tuner you have there my friend, exactly like mine and probably choice was made after seeing the same video from Justin :smiley: from experience works really well and couldn’t be more happy with the purchase I am sure it’s going to serve you well.

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You got me! I’ve been eyeing this one ever since I saw it in Justin’s video. So far so good, I really love this tuner!



I am cheering for you Alexis!!
You had a pretty sweet and serious learning log that was fun to read.
Keep at it and keep rockin!:metal:


March 21st, 2022

How it’s been going:
Great! I had a goal of recording my self playing the 5 songs (chord progressions at least) that I was working on for Grade 1 consolidation and I did!
Stand by me - Chord progression (Consolidation song 1/5)
Hey Joe - Chord Progression (Consolidation song 2/5)
Mad world - Chord Progression (Consolidation song 3/5)
Chocolate Jesus - Chord Progression (Consolidation song 4/5)
What’s up - Chord Progression (Consolidation song 5/5)

I’d say that if I were to do something like this again, I’d spend more time trying to record the whole song. When practicing I did play the songs in their entirety but I’d like to at least show more when making a video. Good news is that the Grade 2 songs have some potential to sound really good in a recording!

Speaking of Grade 2, I started it a couple of days ago and am moving along nicely. Stuck 3 & 4 chords sound great, I love the wish you were here riff and am starting to get the hand of it. The E Minor Pentatonic scale felt really awkward playing up and down but even that is getting easier and easier at 80BPM.

What I’ve been Playing:

  • Every Rose Has it’s Thorn - a 16th note pattern (I’m getting the pattern from Justin’s Rock Song book) which I’m really getting used to at this point. I love playing this song, the only issue I’m having is switching chords mid bar. Just can’t seemed to do it right with this pattern. I feel like I’ll get it eventually though
  • You Shook Me All Night Long - First song I’m learning that combines riffs and strumming. AC/DC is one of the first bands that I listened to that I really noticed the guitar. They got me interested in playing guitar in my teens. I’m playing the C chord here like the record (not Cadd9) so it’s not as useful for getting used to stuck 3&4 like Every Rose has It’s Thorn but I love the song. I want to record and post this song some day.
    EDIT: Forgot to add that I’m using the Dirty Deeds Katana patch that Justin made for the tone. It sounds really close to the record (For pretty much any AC/DC song) when playing with the bridge pick up. Would recommend for anyone who has a Katana!

The Plan:
I expect that I’ll be spending at least 2 weeks total on Module 8. From how I’ve been feeling so far I feel like I can make that. Of course I’ll evaluate at the end and see if I should spend more time on it. I’m definitely going to be working on You Shook Me All Night Long after I move on. A long term goal for me (years) is to play all of the songs in the Rock Song book. I’m not close to ready to play the solo on this one but I’m excited to have the start of 2 of the songs in the book. :slightly_smiling_face:

New Gear/Purchases:
Yesterday I ordered Justin’s rhythm reading book from Amazon. I was learning You shook me all night long from the tabs in the song book and there was some rhythm notation that I just did not get. I couldn’t find the meaning anywhere and figured I might as well start learning to read rhythm notation since it’s used in justin’s and other tabs I’ve seen online. Really excited for it to come tomorrow.


All good stuff Alex. Looking forward to progress updates.


Hey Alexis, I think that you’re doing really well!
Good pick on your gear, all sensible buys should last you a while. Beware of GAS, it’s always nipping at your heels reminding you of the number of guitars you need = what you have +1 :laughing:😵‍💫
You’ve played some solid consolidation pieces so time to go forward; just one question, have you learned the full songs that you’ve been learning?


Yup! part of the reason I didn’t record the full songs is that for most of them there is a consistent pattern through the whole song:
What’s up: G Am C G whole song
Mad World: Em G D A most of the song, some variation with Em and A
Stand by me: G G G G Em Em C D whole song
Hey Joe: C G D A E E whole song

So they were really easy to memorize. Which also means they got pretty old to play without me singing too. Still worth consolidating, I’ve said this before else where but even though I “knew” the songs before consolidating I really felt like I got so much better playing them in the month I took staying in grade 1. Would recommend to anyone who is going quickly through the grade. Some things feel easier to grasp in Grade 2 and I have a feeling it’s because I was so comfortable with the Grade 1 content.


That’s the right idea, to make sure that you’re comfortable playing songs through in their entirety is quite important, if you don’t it will hold up your progress further down the line. Rushing through any of the course is a bad idea, you just don’t give yourself time for it all to sink in. It’s not a race, it’s a lifetime thing, I’m still learning such a lot after having a guitar in my hands on and off for nearly 59 years but I still enjoy and have fun with it!

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Hi @alexisduprey

I have just caught up with your entire Log.
Impressive and inspirational to any that are walking along with you.
Keep up the good work.

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March 26th, 2022

How it’s been going:
One week into Grade 2 and I’m starting to feel like I can play the guitar a little. Stuck 3 & 4 chords give access to a variety of pretty great songs that I love and even just attempting them gives me some motivation to move forward.

What I’ve been Playing:

  • Every Rose Has it’s Thorn - before I would just play the intro and the verse but now I’m getting into the chorus and the bridge. Really fun to play and I’m getting the hang of it.
  • You Shook Me All Night Long - I’m getting better at changing between the regular C and the rock G, but more times than not while playing the song. I consider this a long term song and will work on it till I get it right.
  • Wonderwall - Out of pure curiosity I started to muck around with this song. I was determined to try and get the rhythm and strumming pattern sorted. Luckily Justin’s Beginner song book has the pattern clearly laid out and I was surprised to be actually getting the hang of it. This song inspired me to get a new piece of equipment…more on that later :wink:

The Plan:
I feel comfortable enough to move on from Module 8 to module 9 but I told myself 2 weeks for each Grade 2 module at least so I’ll be working on 8 for another week. The songs are really nice to play and I just got a new acoustic guitar to play the more acoustic appropriate songs on! Speaking of:

New Gear/Purchases:
New guitar! I wanted to get a new guitar for the more acoustic appropriate songs and for when I get to the finger picking module. After a lot of online research and some advice from you fine folk I narrowed it down to the Yamaha fs800 or the Fender CC-60s both concert size because I wanted something small. Since the Yamaha’s were the more recommended I went to the Guitar store with that in mind. Fate intervened though, they didn’t have the Yamaha in stock and not only did they have the Fender in the store but it was on sale for $170 down from the $230 I expected to pay.
So without further ado, here it is in all it’s glory:

Surprised how pretty it looked out of the box. It will definitely need some getting used to as I was messing up some stuff that I thought I had down while playing on the electric. I’ll be using this one for my practice all week. :slightly_smiling_face:


Happy NGD :guitar:

The guitar looks great, Alex. I look forward to hearing you play it.

That sounds like a good plan. It’s always good to have a couple more practice sessions once you’ve met the prerequisites to progress.

Have fun with your new guitar mate.

Sounds like you are continuing to make good progress, Alexis.

I’d say the only rule we should have is there are no rules. So if you feel comfortable with module 8, can achieve the performance guidelines provided then I’d move on. When moving on to start the new lessons, you can still incorporate technique practice and especially songs that use those techniques in your guitar time.

Speaking of guitars, enjoy the new instrument. Playing the acoustic has quite a different feel to playing the electric (at least in my experience). So likely to take a little bit of playtime to get used to it.

You may also want to check the action to get a sense of how well it is setup. Many times acoustics will benefit from a luthier’s setup, irrespective of what the store may advise, even on instruments costing a few more $100s than you’ve spent.

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I just called around and realized there is a small music shop around the corner from my home that does set ups. I’ll be stopping by tomorrow to drop it off and hopefully it’ll be a bit easier to play after that. I also realized that if I try to play the high E string on the 13 fret I have to press really hard and I can’t hammer it on to the 14th fret like I can with the other strings. Hopefully that will get resolved too.

I’m still going to be keeping up with the 8th module just while I get used to playing with the acoustic. Plus I love the songs I’m learning in this module so there’s no harm in finishing it up this week. :slightly_smiling_face:

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April 21st, 2022

How it’s been going:
It’s been almost a month since the last time I updated this log so I figured it was time to talk a little bit about my progress. I’ve spent about 2 weeks per grade 2 module so far and am currently working through practicing the Module 10 content.

F chord while tricky didn’t give me as much trouble as I thought it was going to. In fact, I have a much harder time with the mini F for some reason. Now doing changes from the F has def been a much bigger challenge. Another surprise for me was how difficult it would be to transition to alternate picking from all down picks in the C major skill. I’m still in week one of practicing that so I’m sure I’ll get better.

I’ve been alternating my guitar each practice session (Electric and acoustic) in preparation for the finger picking module. It’s been great getting a feeling for the acoustic and finding out that things that I can confidently play on electric don’t sound so good when I attempt on the acoustic. It’s getting better and better so I’m glad I’m doing this instead of touching the acoustic the first time in the fingerpicking module.

What I’ve been Playing:

  • La Bamba - Surprised at how fast I got the riff down, the video looked much harder than it actually is. Practicing the C Major scale really helped here. I’m also practicing the rhythm (C, mini F, weak finger G) so I can combine practicing the push rhythm, weak finger G, and my greatest weakness from the last module: the mini F. It’s coming along.
  • What’s up - I’m already getting nostalgic for grade 1 and it’s only been a month! Seriously though this is the perfect song for weak finger G since it has change to C. I practice this during repertoire revision so that I get a ton of weak finger G practice.
  • Mad World - Another greatest hits from grade 1! This one I practice specifically for the mini A barre chord. It’s great, at first I was doing weak finger G as well but I found it harder to switch to D chord so I’ve just been using regular G.

The Plan:
I’m in module 10 for another week and some change so I’m going to keep going. I’m really excited for the next 3 modules since they are intros to genres that I’m really interested in. Especially excited to get to rock power chords and the rock module. I’m planning on spending more time on that module as there are so many songs I want to try. Particularly want to try playing Smells Like Teen Spirit with my mustang style guitar!

New Gear/Purchases:
Speaking of Smells Like Teen Spirit I know Justin has a Katana patch for the song with all the sounds that I would need to play the song on my Boss Katana. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a way to switch between the different sounds so I can play the song in one go. Fortunately, I’ve remedied that :wink: :

This thing is awesome! It lets me switch between 4 presets on my Katana! Easy set up too, I just had to buy a different type of chord to plug into my Katana 50 but after that it just worked. I’m still a little under a month out from the rock module but I’m definitely ready to rock!

EDIT: Here’s a video of me playing my acoustic! This is the first time I’ve recording my self playing on the acoustic.

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Great to hear you cracking on, Alexis, and ready to rock Nirvana

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May 12th, 2022

How it’s been going:
For the past 2 weeks I’ve been on the Finger Style Module in grade 2. For the most part I’ve spent about 2 weeks per grade 2 module but this one almost broke the mold! One of the milestones that I wanted to hit before moving on was getting the Happy Birthday finger style to a point where I could comfortably play it at a party if the need arose. Gotta be honest, it was a real struggle for most of the time. It was a deceptively hard song for me to grasp, but riiiight before I hit the 2 week mark (yesterday) I was able to play it properly. I’m proud of my self for at the very least sticking to it and not letting frustration turn to despair.

Besides that I’ve found the whole finger style module much more enjoyable than I thought. It’s a beautiful style and I’m so glad I purchased my acoustic guitar because I don’t think I could fully appreciate the tone or the style by trying it with just my electric (I know there are electric specific finger style songs but there is just something about an acoustic guitar playing this style).

What I’ve been Playing:

  • Happy Birthday - I’ve said enough about this above so here’s the AVOYP: Happy Birthday FingerStyle
  • Hallelujah- Such a beautiful song. I’ve struggled with the changes to the full F chords here and the half bar change from F to weak G but I’ve been getting better and better at it.
  • House of the Rising Sun - Another beautiful song in finger style. I specifically wanted to choose songs with full F chords switches and since this one has a big D to F switch it fits the bill. Another that’s not perfect but it’s got me pretty comfortable with the F chord.
  • If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next - This one is from Justin’s Rock song book. I’m playing this song during my repertoire revision time. It’s a good song and great for me to practice rhythm. Wanted to practice a song with full F chord switches but that involves strumming so I don’t get rusty in this module. I’m attributing me passing 60 changes per minute on the F chord to this song which is a big mile stone for me.

The Plan:
I’m starting the Rock Module on Saturday! I’m really excited about this as my interest in the guitar started with Rock. There are so many songs that I love that will open to me with power chords. I may stay on the module longer than my normal 2 weeks for Grade 2 even if I feel comfortable with the content if I’m having a lot of fun with it. But I may not, I expect that I’ll spend a lot of my consolidation time for Grade 2 with rock module content so I may just move on. We’ll see.

New Gear/Purchases:
I couldn’t help my self =) I got a new electric guitar. I made a whole post about it here: New Guitar Day Yay!
My first ever guitar was a cheap Epiphone Les Paul Special when I was a teenager. I believe that was their cheapest Les Paul at the time. There was just something about the shape that I gravitated to. When I decided to pick up guitar again at the end of last year I was skeptical so I bought the cheapest guitar I could find, squier mustang bullet HH. A guitar that I love in it’s own way but not something that inspires me every time I look at. After consulting the boss (my wife) I finally went to the local guitar store and picked up this beauty (I suspect we’ll have good times for years to come):


Sounds like your making good progress Alex and the new guitar looks great. For the half change on Hallelujah maybe try going from F Barre Chord to G Barre Chord (move barre to third fret). You could do the same with the section going from F > G > E.

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Hi James,

That’s a great idea! I know the concept of Barre chords and know how to make a G Barre chord but I guess I didn’t think about it cause I haven’t gotten there yet in Justin’s course. I just tried it on my guitar and with practice it does seem like a much easier solution than using the weak finger G as I’ve been doing. I assume moving to E would also be easier. Will def add it when I start practicing it in my Repertoire practice.

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