Behind Blue Eyes - noticeable improvement!

Last week, I got a new phone and a proper camera tripod…and it was a nice spring day here in Nova Scotia, so I headed up to the woods to practice and check out the new gear.

Here’s my first go…

Very tentative…especially the second section that I hadn’t really memorized yet, with a tricky Bmin chord.

So I worked on the troublesome parts for a while, then tried again…

It’s nice when you can see improvement in one session! Having it on video makes it more obvious, so I’m going to try to do more recordings.

I critique myself in the next post, and hope some of you will join in if I missed something.


Self critique…

  1. I speed up as I get more confident. Need to work on keeping a steady tempo

  2. I badly blow one of the Cadd9 changes, which I do often This seems to be a concentration issue…I need to anticipate the next Cadd9, but my fingers get ahead of my brain. Fortunately, I kept going and avoided a total train wreck.

  3. Thumb muting is still spotty…I can hear the open E string ringing sometimes.

Less serious, but noticed…

  1. Probably looking at my fretting hand too much, and moving my head too much in general…wasted energy.

  2. Tried to vary the strumming patterns a bit…not sure I quite pulled it off.

  3. Often do a quick muted DU strum before each chord change, which mostly sounded ok to my ear, but sometimes not so much.

Anything I missed?

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What a beautiful place to play guitar Tom. You’ve done a good review of your playing, that’s such an asset.

The only think you’ve missed and it’s very important, is what have you improved upon, what you’re pleased about. Be generous here, lavish.


Some of the positives you didn’t mention;

  1. strumming hand was constantly in motion and looked smooth.
  2. you played an entire song from memory
  3. it sounded good
  4. head bobbing looked to be coming from your energy which you could feel in your playing
  5. you made progress on the first go.

big ups.

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I was caught up in the backdrop. Awesome.

Lots of positives like @FunkyFingers mentioned. And you’ve done a pretty good analysis of what to work on. A big improvement, and only in one session as you say!

I didn’t really notice the Cadd9 change you talk about, I think because your strumming kept going so the song kept going.

For the timing, try tapping your foot. It helps. And don’t worry too much about looking at the fretting hand until you feel confident with the changes.

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Lovely back drop !

I jumped straight to the second video, as I know how much first time recording can effect performance. I thought that was pretty solid and a good cover and great to see someone lifting that neck real high!! I have recorded both The Who and Limp Bizkit versions of the song and know how hard it is to learn and play (on my YT channel if you are inclined to look). There’s some tricky chord changes for someone who has not been playing that long and you accomplished them well. Your self critique seems to have things in perspective but the more you play it the more it will all consistently fall into place. Doing grand !


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What a location to be strumming away at, lucky man Tom!

Sounding good overall and I’ve not much to add to other’s comments as well as your own critique. What I will do is echo JK’s comment about not noticing the Cadd9 bit you’ve mentioned. We always remember every little thing in a piece that we’ve not got right but the reality is if you keep the momentum of the song, it’ll go unnoticed by the audience!

Look forward to more from you! :+1:

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Hi Tom,
Nice to see such a rapid improvement…enjoy the process and most of all don’t forget…enjoy the process… :smiley:

PS:What a beautiful location :sunglasses:

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That was very well done Tom.

You have self analysed and can see, in your eyes, what needs working on but don’t forget to focus on the positives as well. That was some nice playing.

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Yes, someone once said to me a long long time ago for every negative critique always give at least two positive critiques (and that doesn’t apply just to guitar). I thought there was a lot positives in that can be taken from that performance, you accomplished some tricky chord changes, your strumming was smooth and it sounded good. The only negative that I would add is that you had me singing along with the recording. Well done Tom. Keep on doing what your doing, you’re coming along well. Look forward to the next recording.

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Pretty cool to see a before and after with such progress between the two, Tom.

I recognised the song from listening to @TheMadman_tobyjenner’s renditions, which is a good sign.

Nothing more for me to add to your and everybody else’s comments.

Keep on keeping on!


Good stuff Tom, well done and as you say, huge improvement between the two videos.

The only thing I’ll add is usually we’re telling people to raise the guitar neck above the horizontal. You’ve got opposite issue. Your guitar neck is so high that I think your strumming suffers as you’re hitting the low E string at the point where the fretboard meets the soundhole and the high e string almost at the bridge. Your strumming hand is moving vertically so you’re hitting the strings at an angle if you see what I mean.

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Wow, really good progress and quite some tricky chord changes there. Nothing more to add to you own critique.

Keep up the great work and the great backgrounds :slight_smile:

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Hi Tom, I listened before reading your self critique, which generally covers a lot of the things we as learning guitar players work on. The one point I would comment on is that I think I stopped looking at the fretboard a lot when I stopped worrying about looking at the fretboard a lot!
You sounded good to me!

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Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement and suggestions.

I’m lucky indeed to have a nice private, scenic spot I can practice - literally just up the block (because Nova Scotia).

There’s something inspiring about playing outside - I highly recommend it, even if you just go to a local park.

For me, the classical-position-with-strap seems to work best, because my fretting hand is much clumsier than my strumming hand. For me, this position noticeably reduces the tension in my fretting hand.

You are right that this makes my strumming more diagonal, and maybe looks a little strange.

But it feels comfortable to me. After reading your comment, I experimented with lowering the neck, but felt it increased fretting hand tension, without improving tone.

Maybe I’m missing something? Are you seeing or hearing something that I am not?

Hi Tom
What I’m thinking is that when you come to strum chords that need you to emphasise the bass note or miss the low E and hit the A string or hit and emphasise for example the D string, it will make that more difficult as you’re coming at the strings from quite an angle.
Yes, classical guitarists use the position you’ve adopted but they are normally picking the strings not strumming. And in the case of Flamenco guitarists they are hitting the strings with their fingers but at more of a right angle to the strings.
But if as you say it works for you then great. It was only an observation on my part.
Look forward to more from you. :smiley:

Hmmm…WRT to emphasizing bass notes, you may be on to something. I’m often unsatisfied with the low notes when I strum…will do some experimentation.

The problem I run into when I try to play in the casual position is that it messes up my strumming arm. My pick ends up over the lower frets on the neck instead of the sound hole, and my elbow feels way too high.

This is less pronounced when playing standing, so maybe I need to get a taller chair or stool.

As most have already mentioned, you have a beautiful stage. That was great improvement for a single session. That is an interesting idea of before/after videos. Great Job!

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Hi Tom, good job. Being able to find the issues with the guitar playing and solving them is a progress on itself. Nice spot to practice and make the videos. About your position look at all the parts of your body involved in the playing while experimenting alternative positions and try different playing techniques to assess each position. The part of your body causing trouble, if any, can be a different one that you think. I have the same issue that you have with your acoustic when I play with my electric, I end strumming on the neck but for me is where I support my forearm the problem.

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