Aurimas learning log

Hello, everyone. I joined this site relatively not that long ago, maybe a year or more. Had a guitar since I was 18, but started to learn it only when I hit 29, because I had to take up some hobbies in-between caring for ailing family member to not go insane. So, I’m no in Beginner’s grade 2, started F chord lessons in December 2021, I think. Practically, over a span of a year from different songs learnt (or quasi learnt) techniques that are in other modules down the line though (like power chords, bending, harmonics, palm muting etc.). Though, IMO, it will take years to actually achieve instant chord changes where there is practically no pause in between (although, the longest pause is not more than a second, so, who knows…)

Mainly, my practice routine consists of “ladder” or “spider-walk” exercise in order to stretch out my fingers, then one minute of perfect chord changes (once I hit a mark above 60 during consistent period of time, I move on to other chords, which I have yet to reach such number and beyond), sometimes (in order to not forget) I also run down (depending on my mood - fast or slow) E minor and C major pentatonic scales, but not always, then I start playing songs from my song-book that incorporate different chord progressions.

Maybe a couple of days ago, I also started to “sing” along with songs that I play. I found that slower tempo songs are easier to sing along to (like Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here” or Guns N’ Roses “Patience”), though, it’s not much of a singing, but more of a mumbling-singing under my nose.

Regarding F chord changes. They are getting along nicely. Today it was:

F to A: 58, F to D: 56, F to E: 59, F to Am: 58. F to Em: 60, F to Dm: 66, F to C: 56 and F to G: 57.

So, I guess, from time to time, I’m gonna post something new in to this diary. Maybe even put in some songs with my “singing” (but I doubt it, rather it just gonna be instrumentals).

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Hey Aurimas,
Good to have you here mate. Looks like you’re making some good progress. Learnings logs are a great tool for this, and a good way for others to follow our journeys, and help us along.
Looking forward to you posting a video of one of your songs.
All the best.

Cheers,
Shane

Thanks, always interesting to hear about how people are learning. For me, once I play a song all the way through and then sing it, my learning really took off. Choosing songs where the lyrics started at around the same time as chord changes was a lot easier than songs where the lyrics are quite offset / delayed from the chord changes.

Good plan to start your log, Aurimas. Will serve you well as you continue your learning. As soon as possible I’d also encourage you to start recording yourself playing those songs with the mumbling-singing (this is not a place where people’s singing is judged as if auditioning for The Voice). Over time being able to look back at your recordings helps remind one how far you’ve come as you consider the never-ending road ahead. You can post them in #record-yourself-progress-performance:audio-video-of-you-playing

UPDATE ON 22-04-2022

So, I saw that Justin uploaded Cranberries “Zombie” lesson, and it got me thinking, because I always played it as 8th note strumming pattern, all down strokes with Em C G D progression, which was kinda the easier version of the song with easy to make progressions without much, if at all, pauses in between the changes. But it got me thinking, and, yeah, the same progression for 26 times (yep, just checked at ultimate-tabs), yeah, could be boring. So, I wrote-down from another site, which provides tabs for everyone’s part in the song, and in my song-book I made some kind of hybrid.

On the one hand, you have your intro with Em-Cmaj7-G6-D/F#, on the other hand, instead of playing the same chords over and over again. These chords I do not strum fully, but only the top strings (and even I’m thinking of palm-mutting them). For the first verse I picked out Noel Hogan’s guitar part, who more or less is hitting open-notes and arpegiatting. The same for the pre-choruses. Now, for the chorus I decided to go with full chords (I know, that Noel also does power chords, but eh, since I’m playing this on acoustic) with Em-C-G-D progression, however, for the interlude go with Em-Cmaj7-G6-D/F# progression again. In between, I’m adding the melody part in the bridge (7h8 5h7 etc.).

Fore the second verse, I decided to use the same Em-Cmaj7-G6-D/F# progression instead of going full power-chords (because, again acoustic guitar. Maybe when I’ll be in a module were Justin introduces power chords I might take out my electric and switch up something in this song).

And, of course, I added the solos at the end.

Though, it will be seen how well this nonsense goes when I record it once I’m comfortable enough with my sound (so, maybe in a couple of weeks, if I do not loose interest).

On the side note, I added Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory in to my songbook, the lesson I found on the internet. Though, the strumming pattern for chords that the guy is using (D-DDU-UD-DUDU) for me is too long, especially, if I try singing. So, I’m thinking of cutting it down a bit and use D-DU-UDU strumming pattern and use it twice for lyrics “I’m a devil on the run, a six gun lover”, “I’m a colt in your stable, I’m what Cane was to Abel”, “Well I’ve seen love come, I’ve seen it shot down” etc.

Yeah, well, that’s all the updates for now.

That all sounds good, Aurimas. I hope you can maintain interest in Zombie long enough to make a recording as the ideas sound super cool.

UPDATE ON 28-04-2022

So, in between work (since I’m working from home), in order to cool off my brain from computer work, I decided to actually continue strumming in between the chord-changes, because generally when I changed the chords I always stopped strumming. I picked out Coldplay’s “Yellow” (Capo 4) with DDDDU-DDDDU strumming pattern. And, while at first, it was kind of strange, but after a couple of playtrhoughs I now see what I was missing in my song playing.

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UPDATE ON 29-04-2022

So, I decided to simplify the strumming for Bon Jovi “These Days” and use DD-DUDU for verses and bridge, and DDDD for choruses, using DDD for the first three chord and just one down strum for the last chord whenever there is a transition between Em7 to Em or G to Cadd9, and it works wonderfully. Also started singing along to this song, and yeah, while still have places to work on, but, yeah, this strumming pattern works wonderfully with the song.

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Hi Aurimas. Keep exploring how to enrich the sound of your strumming. You can record for yourself different options (can be sound only) and judge by yourself which one sounds better. You can you just record your whole practice session so you press record and forget about it.

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UPDATE ON 16-05-2022

So, before heading in to Justin’s Grade 2 Module 10, I decided to refresh my one minute changes, and started with the basic open-chords, which Justin taught in the beginning (A, D, E, Am, Em, Dm, C and G) to see whether I’ve progressed or regressed in that department. And… the answer is I’ve progressed. It’s been quite a while since I have done them. I did them as fast and as clean as possible, and most of them hit above 80 mark, some of them hit above 100 mark or were close to 100 (but I do not actually have regards to them, because they are really easy to do by now: A to Am (some time ago, I figured out that the best way of changing between these two chords is simply lay down my pinky finger when going to A chord on the B string of the second fret), A to Em, D to Em, E to Am, E to Em (that one I really do not think as some sort of an achievement, cause all you do is lift and raise your index finger; 121), Am to Em, Am to C, Em to C, Em to G). The least chord changes happened with Dm to C and Dm to G (three finger version), but they were way beyond were I left them initially; last time they were 67 and 65 respectivelly, now, they are at 78 and 79.

Tomorrow, I’ll do the suspended chords - basic open chords configurations to see how I fare in comparison to before.

Also, haven’t played any songs today, just this exercise.

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UPDATE ON 17-05-2022

So, just finished with one batch of sus/slash chords changes with open chord changes. Em7, Em6, D/F#, G/B, Dsus2 and Asus2 with basic open chords A, D, E, Em, Am, Dm, C and G. Whereas yesterday most basic open chord changes were above 80, in this case, most of them were above 70, though, it was significantly bigger number than with the one I left them couple of months ago before starting the F chord, so I could say they also came along quite nicely. The only “slow” chord change I encountered was when going from E to Em7, though, I don’t think this is a common chord change in majority of the songs (unless, it some sort of embellishment) - only 65 changes per minute. So, if anyone knows whether E to Em7 is common or not common, let me know.

There were, of course, those chord changes that hit above 80 or 100 mark, but they were fewer than with open-chord changes (D to Em7, Dm to Em7, Em to Em7, A to Em6, E to Em6, Em to Em6, G to Em6, D to D/F#, Dm to D/F#, Em to D/F#, D to G_B, Dm to G_B, Em to G_B, all Dsus 2 and Asus2 changes). In this case, as in the latter case, G chord was the three finger version.

Don’t get too fixated with all these numbers. Remember that you only need to change chords at the speed a particular song requires. If a song needs a quick change then practice that one. Don’t waste time on combinations that will never be needed.
If you get your guitar out to play for people it’s songs they want to hear. No one will ever ask to hear how many C to F changes you can do in a minute. :smiley:

UPDATE ON 18-05-2022

Well, I think I finally broken through that Em to Cadd9. Gonna try once I finish up all of the chord changes again with “These Days”; should go smooth as all other chord changes in the song.

Thanks for the insight, sairfingers, but you haven’t said, which of the chord changes are a waste of time :smiley:

The ones that are a waste of time are the ones that are not in the songs you’re learning.

Updated on 29-05-2022 So, for the past couple of weeks I was working on a couple of songs that have F chord in them (in between regular open-chord songs), and I think I’ve gotten to a point when I can chord-change to F without missing (much) of a rhythm. So, maybe, next week I’m gonna record either Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory or Nightwish Turn Loose The Mermaids.

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Updated on 28-06-2022 For the majority of the month I was just noodling along with a bunch of songs incorporating F chord in order to get better at it, and more or less I’ve had, but still have miles to go to reach basic open chord fasteness. And since is hot as hell now and hands are sweaty most of the time, I have no inclination to play guitar, though, I did start Module 11 ‘Chord Freedom’, which was basically, what I’ve been doing prior to getting on this website - just noodling along hoping something sticks without actually knowing what kind of chords I’m doing. I don’t know, may start ‘Beginner’s SUS chords’ lesson, I see that they have two sus chords that are yet to be in my note book (Esus4 and Esus2).