Alex's Learning Log

Great update, Alexis.

I enjoyed Hair Rock, even if it was simple (easy for you but wouldn’t fancy my chances). The tone was great, loved the little string scrapes.

Soon it will be time for you to grow your hair, ink up, and start a metal band :grinning:

For practising the D->G (E-shape barre) change you could add Bad Moon Rising to your repertoire, perhaps on the acoustic. When I play that I switch from D to the barre chord G in the chorus for some variation from the open chords.

Keep on rocking!

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Thanks @nzmetal @DavidP

I do like the song. The hardest part for me is the 4th dyad power chords cause I only really need 2 strings, so I had to concentrate on not hitting any others.

Im liking total rock guitar so far. I started the next song called liquified and it’s also simple but focuses on single note lines. I like that it’s basically just a song book. Small details on techniques and examples but it’s just 23 songs packed into a book. Not great for learning but really good for consolidating techniques already learned. I guess that’s why he calls it supplemental.

Thanks for the suggestion, I really do need to pick up my acoustic guitar more anyway. Plus I do like that song!


And to add to that, play the D as an A-shape barre and the A as an E-shape barre before going back to open chords for the next verse. In fact, I think the change may actually be D-A, so a bigger jump up the neck …

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April 1st, 2023

How it’s been going:
It’s been a little bit since I last updated this. I’ve been pretty busy going through Justin’s rock song book and Troy Stetina’s Total Rock Guitar book. Both have kept me busy enough that I haven’t touched much of the grade 4 course since going through the videos. At first I used my improv time to practice the major scale but ended up using that time to practice the solo for Smells Like Teen Spirit. Now, I’m using it to practice the lead part in the next song for Troy’s book. It’s too bad I usually only have an hour to practice cause now I have to really pick and choose from multiple things that I want to work on.
What I’ve been Playing:

  • Should I stay or Should I go by the clash- Part of my rock songbook study. I finished this song almost a month ago but I still play it from time to time because it’s so fun. AVOYP Here.
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit - 11th song in my rock songbook study. One of my favorite bands playing one of my favorite songs! This also will now forever be the first song I played the lead/solo for. AVOYP Here.
  • Liquified- Song 2 of Troy’s total rock guitar book. First of this book that I posted in the AVOYP section. It was a really simple lead-ish riff. I liked the sound of it, and it’s also harder to play that it seems. Was fun. AVOYP Here.
  • Alt/Grrl/Power pop- Song 3 from Troy’s book. Silly name, but it’s actually a pretty awesome song. There’s a rhythm and a lead-ish part with some minor pentatonic riffs and even a couple of bends. I’ve been playing this for a couple of weeks now so I should be able to record and post this one soon. Maybe in a week or two.
  • Song 2 by Blur- I only just started this song a day or two ago. It’s pretty simple though, it seems the toughest part for me so far is finding a way to get my amp to sound so fuzzy. The distortion on this one is something. I’ll probably record this closer to the end of the month. Mayybe early May.

The Plan:

Since the next song in Justin’s book is fairly simple, I think I’m going to spend some time alternating between working on that and grade 4 stuff. I want to get to a shaped barre chords at some point but also want to spend some more time on the major scale stuff before moving on. I think I have the rhythm stuff for this grade down though.

As far as Troy’s stuff goes, I originally was going to alternate between songs from Total Rock Guitar and Metal Rhythm guitar Volume 2, but I feel like the total rock guitar ones have been so easy that I want to spend more time getting through them to catch the difficulty up to MRGV2s songs. There are 23 total in the book and I think I’ll catch up to the difficulty at around song 10.

New Gear/Purchases:
I bought Justin’s Blues Lead guitar solo book. I’m no where near good enough to start it but I like to buy things that inspire me to get better. I don’t have time to start going through it anyway, lol. At the very least it’s another way to support Justin. My “One day I’ll get to this” pile is starting to get pretty large though…


Cool update, Alexis :sunglasses: :+1: You’ve been getting through the work! :muscle:

Have you seen this vid about Song 2 by Paul Davids? Really interesting watch and could be useful. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yes! This is exactly what I’m looking for. Thanks Jeff!

I’m glad you showed this to me early on so I can work on the heavier parts the way Paul does in the video. Truly great man, thanks.

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Rad! Glad it’ll help :sunglasses: Yeah Paul is brilliant eh?! :slightly_smiling_face::+1:
Can’t wait to see your rendition when it’s ready! :metal:

May 19th, 2023

How it’s been going:
Almost 2 months since my last update! I’ve been extremely busy at work and had a reaaaally bad cold. It was so bad that I didn’t play guitar for almost 2 weeks, probably the longest since I started playing guitar. It’s been tough getting back into a rhythm. Right now, I’ve been practicing maybe an hour every other day, sometimes 2 days in a row. Graduation at the Uni I work at has just passed so work will be slowing down considerably. I’m hoping that the rhythm starts getting back. I’m considering this learning log the start of all this.
What I’ve been Playing:

  • Teenage Kicks- Next song I’ve been working on for my JustinGuitar Rock song book study. Very easy song if done as written in the book as it just uses power chords. In the orignal songs there are 2 guitars, one using power chords and the other is using barre chords. I’m in Justin’s intermediate grade so I’m learning both. I’m also messing around with the solo so hopefully when I record the full song, I’ll be doing all the guitar parts. I feel like I’ll end up recording the solo completely separate. Making 3 parts in my final recording. We’ll see.
  • Alt/Grrl/Power pop- I’ve been working on this song for a loooong time. I feel like i just can’t get that lead part working right. Now sure if I will record this yet or not. I might just start working on Troy Stetina’s Metal Rhythm guitar volume 2 and just move on.
  • Holiday- I love green day, I got into rock around the mid 2000’s when green day was a staple. When I was trying to figure out what song to play at the next JG open mic, I almost went with one from justin’s song book, but spotify randomly put holiday in my playlist and justin recently posted a tutorial. This seemed like fate to me so that’s what I’ve been practicing. The original has 2 guitars but I think it still sounds pretty good with just 1 so hopefully it sounds good during the OM.

The Plan:
I need another reset, similar to my previous lull in November so I am currently re-evaluating my practice routine. Right now I’m thinking of starting Troy Stetina’s Metal Rhythm Guitar Vol. 2 soon. I finished Volume 1 in January and wanted to do a bunch of songs from a supplement of his (Total Rock Guitar) but since I’m stuck on 1, I think I’ll just go ahead and start up the meat and potatoes of his method again. As far as Justin’s stuff goes, Teenage Kicks has been a great song to work on barre chords, I’ll soon record that and start the next song in his rock song book, the ballad of jayne. This is a power ballad with an acoustic song so I think this will be a pretty good palate cleanser, perfect timing for a reset.

I am nervous, but I’m still planning on performing at the next JG open mic. I think I have a pretty good grasp of the song I’m playing (see above), but I’ve literally never played in front of anybody besides my wife and 3-year-old son. I’m expecting a train wreck, lol. There is a space in the middle of the song without a guitar, maybe if the first half is bad, I could use that time to re-adjust and stick the landing, who knows. I haven’t looked at the set-up guides for zoom yet because I’ve been so busy so I should really do that.

Anyway, don’t want to ramble. Until next time guitar friends!


July 12th, 2023

How it’s been going:
Another 2ish months since my last update! As before, it’s been a crazy busy couple of months work and life wise. Luckily, I’ve been able to pick up the guitar most days and have been playing pretty consistently. I also got to play at one of the recent justinguitar open mics. This was a really great experience since I don’t really play in front of people besides my immediate family. I think I did pretty good overall, I messed up on the solo for the song I did though (Holiday by greenday).

I also started Justin’s grade 5 and Troy Stetina’s Metal Rhythm Guitar Vol. 2. Feels good to be moving forward, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows as I’ve been slacking on my rock song study. I was able to record teenage kicks and am in the middle of learning Ballad of Jayne by the LA Guns. It’s just been at a slower pace than what I was doing before and just haven’t had the time to really dig deep.

Did songs in the AVOYP section and have a couple more cooking.

What I’ve been Playing:

  • Teenage Kicks- This is a great song to practice some barre chords since it uses simple E and A shaped ones. I enjoyed my time with it and was glad that I was able to at least attempt the solo in my recording. AVOYP Here
  • Lucky Day- First song in Metal Rhythm guitar Vol. 2 and it is FAST at 152bpm. This was great to do right after teenage kicks since it also uses barre chords but much much faster so I feel like it is taking it up a notch. Lots of one minute changes in my practice to get from power chords to A shaped barre chords up to speed. AVOYP here.
  • Holiday - Song I played in the justinguitar open mic. As I said above, I think i did okay when I played it live, but I didn’t hit the solo properly. I ended up doing a more polished version for the AVOYP section of the forum. I did get the solo right that time, though I made a small timing mistake in the middle of the song. AVOYP here.
  • Ballad of Jayne - Next song in my rock study. Lots of layered parts in this one. Justin teaches the acoustic part in the songbook, so I think I’ll be only playing that part in my video. I don’t play my acoustic nearly as much as I should, so focusing on that part allows me to really dig deep to getting it right.

The Plan:
Not much here, I’m gonna keep pushing! In terms of Justin, I’m doing a little of grade 4 and a little of grade 5 since I’m working on a lot of barre chords. I already have a couple of songs with them in it and I’m closing in on the intermediate section of the rock song book which has a lot of songs with them in it. I’m excited to move forward there.

For metal guitar, I’m pushing forward with troy’s book and have gotten to barre chords there too. I’m really excited for the rest of the book because it gets into some really awesome topics/songs including 16th note rhythms/syncopation, drop d tuning, triplets, and some really heavy sounding riffs in the songs.

anyway things are starting to get longer than I like so till next time…


Nice update Alexis, it sounds like your last couple of months have been similar to mine!! It’s good to see the updates and what you’re working on, the and playing you’ve shared are really enjoyable, looking forward seeing the results of your continued pushing!

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Yeah, I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that this whole process has peaks and valleys. Sometimes I’ll be killing it playing more than I plan, and sometimes it will be less than. In the end, I’m trying to at least play everyday and hopefully make up for the times I can play by playing more when I can.

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Great update Alex. You’ve been making fantastic progress through your dedicated and structured approach to practice. I watched you OM debut and you were superb. Though, your plan is missing that one tiny little detail that you’ve started to play and sing at the same time :wink:

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Oh man, I totally forgot!

It’s probably because it’s not part of my normal practice routine. Since I started learning an acoustic song, whenever I want to take a break from that specific song, I start to strum Riptide by vance joy since I like the song so much. At first, I tried to hum the lyrics while playing and could not do it without my strumming falling apart. eventually I could hum it and now I can pretty much sing it without it affecting my strumming too much.

I’m not a good singer at all, but the goal was to be able to sing while playing, not sing well while playing. I eventually do want to work on the quality of my singing, but who knows when I’ll have the time.

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Nice update Alex.

Your playing is coming along nicely. You’re a bit of an inspiration with how frequently you post recordings. Puts a rocket up me to be honest - when I see you’ve posted 2 or 3 in the time I’ve posted one, makes me want to get back to it.

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Thanks JK!

That’s good to hear, I’ve honestly been feeling that I’ve been slacking lately. Can you believe I used to do a video every 2 weeks?! Feels impossible now since the songs I’m playing are getting more and more complicated and I feel like I have less and less time to dedicate to it. At this point, I hope I can get one at least in a month.

I know it’s more important to play every day (I mostly do), but if I don’t record and post a song for too long, I feel stagnant. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

Looking forward to seeing more yours popping up in the latest feed.

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Funny how internal perception differs from external - nobody knows what you think, they just see what you do.


September 8th, 2023
How it’s been going: - WARNING long ramblings ahead:
I played guitar today for the first time in an entire month! I didn’t really contemplate why I haven’t played much until I spontaneously picked up my 6 string and played some of my favorites about an hour ago.

It started with a weekend vacation to Las Vegas at the end of July where I didn’t play because I just didn’t have my guitar with me to play. It’s funny because the trip ended by attending a rock concert on the last day that got me pumped to play, but when I got home I just didn’t. I even took a bunch of pictures of the lead guitarist just shredding on this beautiful white jazzmaster and gushed to my brother who was with me and doesn’t know a thing about playing about how much I want a guitar just like that now, lol.

When I got back, I also had medical stuff looming. I had corrective eye surgery scheduled, which I was worried about because the one I got was a bit more invasive than the common corrective surgery that most people get in the US. (ICL for anyone curious as I was not a candidate for Lasik) That came and went 2 weeks ago (no more glasses yay!). Still didn’t pick up the guitar again after I was healed up though.

In the back of my mind, I guess I thought I’ve just been busy with these other things and just haven’t had the time to play (plus video games, seriously starfield has taken over my life guys). When I picked up the guitar and played today though, I came to a realization: I stopped playing because I wasn’t having fun anymore. This really creeped up on me; a month of vague “I’ll get back on it soon” head canon and I never really stopped to think about it.

You see, I’ve been playing pretty much daily since I first picked up the guitar in Jan of 2022. I look back at the progress I’ve made in under 2 years and I’m truly proud. Seriously, if you would have shown me one of my recent AVOYP to me 2 years ago I’d have been awed for sure (I speak in relative terms of course, I’m not shredding by any stretch of the imagination). I was making so much progress in my playing that I got OBSSESSED with it though.

I was an IT project manager for years, so it’s my business to lay out a plan and execute it. Part of my excitement in playing is to create these plans, execute, and to track progress. I’ve been doing this since day one thanks to Justin’s practice tools and excellent books. I neglected the other half of the equation though: having fun actually playing!

As I played the random songs I’ve learned throughout the journey with no timer timing me, no set thing to practice, no expectations of what I’ll be playing next week, the time flew by. I checked my phone and I had played for 45 minutes! I felt good, and I felt like my playing was fine, though I didn’t really focus on that part until after I had already finished…

What I’ve been Playing:
a little bit of everything today =)

The Plan:
I’m taking a break. I don’t think I can ever quit playing the guitar, today proved that, but I’m taking a breather for a little longer. My wife is due to give birth to our second child in November, so I’ll think I’ll plan to pick it back up after the dust has settled there. That’s not to say I won’t pick it up like I did today and play the greatest hits, but I don’t think I’ll be focusing on progress until after.

I’m a creature of habit though; I’m sure when I do pick it back up, I’ll be right back to creating plans, executing, and tracking progress. It’s something I love doing, and don’t think I could stop that even if I tried. I will, however, try to nurture the other half and equally important part of the equation: having fun.


I was just thinking the other day - I wonder how Alex is doing, I haven’t seen him post on the community much recently. I was legitimately wondering if you were just playing Starfield :rofl:. I guess that is partially true. It was a nice surprise to read this earlier today.

It sounds like you’ve had a lot going on. Vacation, ICL (I was also not a Lasik candidate but ICL scared me so I stuck with glasses), another kid on the way! Your post feels a bit similar to the one I did not long ago where I wasn’t sure what to practice and what direction to head amongst some life changes. You even commented saying a similar thing. I’m still wandering a bit, but mostly decided not to push so hard but to keep playing.

Your life is definitely going to change a lot in November and guitar is going to take a back seat no matter what. My youngest is 7 years old now and I still remember how full-on things were with two young ones.

You have made amazing progress since you started, and you’ve been disciplined for a long time. It sounds like a break is going to be good for you. However I’d really encourage you to keep picking up the guitar. Skills do go rusty and it’s easier to keep it up if you pick it up and play some songs every now and again. And if the urge strikes, learn a new song that’s not pushing your capabilities. To me it’s a bit like going for a run, sometimes you don’t feel like it so you do it anyway but make it a short & easy one.

Having seen your practice routine previously this does not surprise me a bit! It was so well structured. You PRINCE2’d the hell out of it :smiley:.

I really hope you find the fun in playing, and figure out the source of it, to keep that mojo. I like what you said about just running through the songs you know and getting lost in them for 45 minutes - that’s flow, that is so good. Don’t lose that.

Copy/paste error there from your last update :wink:


Likewise. I was thinking he’s busy enjoying the next Tray’s study book in the series.

I don’t even know if I’d be a candidate or not. Though the latter part of that sentence would resonate with me.

That is absolutely fantastic news. Wish you and the family all the best. I can imagine guitar will definitely take a back seat. Like @jkahn says keep the guitar out on display and try to keep picking it up when ever you get a moment to yourself. I was also thinking there it might be worth learning something else like fingerstyle blues for a bit of a change or some lullabies to play to the new addition to the family.

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Hey Alex we all get like this some times and I’ve been there ,but good to see you writing in and taking that step to get back to it . I am sure we are all here for you and you play some awesome songs and ive been envious of your playing so get back and post something new so I can continue being envious. Rock on bro

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