Another old dog, another Dave…

Another old dog here, 56 years old. Very similar story as so many others here. Took a few lessons when I was about 12 years old, but had to choose between guitar and some other activity. My guitar instructor was not inspiring at all, so I dropped it. It never occurred to me that maybe I could try a different instructor!

So, a couple of years ago I went through a pretty serious depression — someone else mentioned the “black dog” either in this thread or in the old dogs, new tricks thread, and that old black dog is always lurking nearby for some of us. I had reached a point where nothing in life felt good. I felt really empty and I realized that I had to find something different for myself. My life was all about doing what I thought my wife wanted me to do, or my boss, or what my kids needed. There was no ME in the equation. Midlife crisis anyone? So, I decided I would try to learn to play the guitar, for myself, not for anyone else.

I am right at 2 years into the journey now, finished Grade 1 in the first year, then had to set it aside for some months, but recently picked it back up and ran through Grade 1 again and moving through Grade 2 now.

I play anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour most days, so not really a lot, but it still feels good when I am playing. Heck, it feels good to just hold the guitar on my lap sitting on the couch!

I am sometimes a little reluctant to move forward and try new things right now. I tend to loop back through earlier lessons again to boost my confidence and reinforce skills. While that is useful, I think I may be using that strategy to avoid intimidating new challenges a bit too much.

I have never recorded myself, but reading everyone’s advice in the community has got me thinking I need to do that and post it.

I am looking forward to getting to know the folks here and sharing any advice or experience I might have that could help anyone else.



Welcome Dave - you’re in good company here! Nothing wrong with taking some time to consolidate what you’ve learned before moving on to more new material - in fact, it’s recommended.

Whether you post recordings is up to you, but it’s a good idea to record what you’re playing, then refer back to it later to see how much you’ve improved.

Welcome to the community!

Welcome to the community Dave. You are not alone in this. I loop back myself and often “start over”. Call it OCD, call it failure to succeed, call it whatever. The big thing is you are picking it up regularly. Any progress is good progress.

More importantly, I’m happy you found something for you, that brings you joy. That’s what this journey is all about. If the guitar is bringing you joy, no matter where you are in the journey is a good thing.

Welcome Dave.
Good to see you here.
Can certainly relate to the “black dog”. The guitar can be a great friend in troubled times.

I’ve found consolidation to be a great mindset. Gives a solid foundation.
And you’ll find an encouraging community here to help you out too.

Cheers, Shane

Hi Dave! It’s so good to have something that’s just for you and do it the way that works for you. Enjoy yourself! Glad to meet you!

A big welcome to you Dave :grinning:

What great song potential in this. I can hear “There was no ME in the equation” as part of the chorus. Before you say you don’t know enough chords, yes you do :slightly_smiling_face: Song writing can be a liberating means of self-discovery and expression.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been playing as I’m sure others do too. C’mon now.

Specially for you Dave

The black dog is nipping at my heels from time to time. Pulling out the guitar and singing a few tunes invariably helps. When I started playing, I never thought I’d sing as well, my wife started singing the first song I learned to play and after hearing her singing 50 or 60 times, I started singing along in the chorus quite by accident. It was a light bulb moment for me and I’ve not stopped singing since.


I would have to channel Merle Haggard to flesh that idea out! Would have to add a whiskey bottle and a 3-legged hound dog to the story.

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Thanks for the encouragement, Tony. There really is something about just holding the guitar and feeling the strings under my fingers that can instantly take me to a different headspace.

Now, as for singing, my wife pretends not to be annoyed hearing me pound out OMCs from C to G, but I believe she would show me the door if I start trying to sing! We might have to work something out when I feel like I am confident enough with the playing to be able to try to sing at the same time, though, cause the singin’ is part of the fun, innit?

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Until I actually started singing, I had no idea how much fun it is. My voice has improved significantly since I started singing. It’s a muscle and the more it gets exercised, the more it improves.

When I used to sing along to songs in the car / shower, I was out of key and didn’t sound good, somehow for me, singing along to an instrument made it easy to be in key. Something tactile about it.

Great to meet you hear, Dave.

Just keep following your path, doing what you are doing.

I think playing guitar is a wonderful ‘for me’ activity and believe we all need one.

Look forward to updates as you progress.

Hi Dave, and welcome!

Depression or not, I guess most of us know the feeling of getting caught up in everyday life… and music is always such a great cure!

I have some comments on what you said about being reluctant to move forward… hope I can manage to express them in a meaningful way :wink: I think it’s normal for humans to try to stay safe and not challenge ourselves “needlessly”. And by needlessly I mean something like this; using myself as an example, when I’m in the gym - for example on an exercise bike or rowing machine - there is a certain routine that I usually do. A certain distance that I know I can go within a certain amount of time. Every time I work out I’m much more likely to simply try to improve my usual time on my usual distance by a small amount - I don’t do something crazy to REALLY challenge myself… like suddenly trying to go twice the distance. If I actually did that I might find that I could actually do it… or I might fail. But I won’t know unless I try.

When playing the guitar I think it’s important to be conscious about the fact that there are two “modes” - there is “practice mode” (scales, OMC, finger dexterity, theory, new chords etc etc)… and then there is “playing mode” … actually playing songs.

When you practice it’s about being precise and seeing measurable improvements. When you play it’s about making beautiful music and having fun. When playing it’s totally ok to be a little sloppy (although we should, of course, try to avoid it and play as best as we can)… but it’s better to play a full song from A to Z, making a small mistake or two, than not trying it at all.

So going back to that word “needlessly”; the way I see it… when you’re practicing there is not a sufficient need for you to try to go further. What would you gain? It’s easier to stay safe and just practice the same scales, same OMC etc. But when you pick a song you love and that you really want to learn how to play (again, allowing yourself a little bit of slop, if necessary) then you really have to push yourself until you can play it from A to Z. And there is a result in the end - that you can perform a song for your wife (or just for yourself).

So in my opinion playing songs (and maybe recording them) is absolutely required for a guitar player to see any meaningful progress.

Those are my opinions on that matter, hope some of it made sense :wink:



A very warm welcome Dave.
And thank you for putting yourself out there and telling your tale.

Consolidation is a constant requirement if constantly learning.

I wholeheartedly agree.
My mantra for many years has been ‘learn songs, learn songs, learn songs’.
Looping back as you describe it seems like you revisit and study from the video lessons and the practice schedules.
Looping back for me would be steps beyond that and would involve revisiting the chords and / or strum & rhythm ideas of a module and then seek out all the songs you can that use those chords and play them using strums & rhythm.

Justin has 600+ video lessons for songs. You can use the filters to find appropriate songs at your level.
Or you can seek them out using the Community categories.

Grade 1 songs: Grade 1 Songs - JustinGuitar Community

Grade 2 songs: Grade 2 Songs - JustinGuitar Community


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I’m the same way I stated playing guitar at 54 yrs. old, been playing 5 yrs. Now. I have started over serval times, I know all open chords and can change between them good and play a lot of songs, strumming is good power chords ,can’t seem too get past G chord, trying too learn barre chords, single note Melodie’s, well that’s another story, having fun that’s the main thing.


Hello and welcome to the forums Dave. :slight_smile:

It is amazing how music can take you out of yourself for a few hours and help move your mind to a different/better place.

Looking forward to a posting or two of yourself playing.

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Hi Dave and Welcome

Good to see you are 2 years in, great ! As to moving forward do it when its right for you. There’s no ticking clock or deadline to meet, when it feels right it is right. But is unsure you can always ask.
And a definite on the recordings, even if you don’t share you can self assess.



Welcome Dave. Have a look over here.
Older guitar students / Can ‘old dogs’ learn new tricks?

Here are a couple of 3-legged-dog songs to help your ‘channeling’-
Look forward to your debut :wink:

Wow, both 3 legged dogs were tres cool! I will be listening more to both Firewater and even more so for The Handsome Family.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Thanks Toby, I have to remind myself that there is no deadline and no exam here! I do get a little frustrated by lack of progress sometimes (ok, most of the time), but when I get into a funk about it lately I take a day off of formal practice and just goof around, play some random chords, try out nonsense strumming patterns, and just make a little bit of noise. I might set my main guitar aside and pick up my nylon folk. Basically just break the routine and cleanse the palate.

Sometimes after a day or two of that kind of non-practice practice when I get back to it I feel better and actually play what I was struggling with a little better. Sometimes that stuck feeling is the brain asking for some time to consolidate, I think.

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