Ben's learning log

Greetings. This is my first posting in the learning logs community and I wish I had started as soon as I began grade 1, module 1. Anyway, I decided in February that I wanted to learn guitar and after researching what I could find on inexpensive guitars, I settled on a Harley Benton HB 35+ and ordered one from Germany. It only took 6 days to arrive and having no idea where to start I began watching YouTube videos on beginning guitar. That is where I came across Justin’s videos, visited the web site and signed up for the beginner course. I am starting my fifth week and am on day 5 in grade 1 module 5. So far I feel like I have made good progress and am very much enjoying the lessons. OMC’s are going going well. I added C and G changes before they appeared in the modules I was practicing and up to this point Dm changes have been the only ones that have been slow to feel natural, though I am comfortable with Am-Dm and Em-Dm at 75 changes per minute as of yesterday. All other changes, including C and G chords range from 100 to 140 and I have been able to increase them each day. I have been practicing forming the F barre chord to get acquainted with it as I fear it will be difficult when it is presented in a future module. I am just fingering the F at this point, not attempting chord changes with it. I do the practice for each module daily including practicing songs from previous modules and some others I like and want to learn.
I realize that going into week 5, I may be going a bit fast through the modules, but I have not had any problems playing along with the songs or with the chords except for Dm which has been slower to grasp than all the others. I hope that I don’t run into a brick wall in future modules that will be very difficult to get past.
I am 74, retired and alone after losing my wife to cancer a few years ago, except for my chocolate Lab Sadie who comes running to me for attention every time she hears the guitar. I find lots of free time to practice throughout the day and frequently pick up the guitar just to go through the chords I know, especially the slower of them (Dm) and to play through a song or two as well as doing finger gym, spider and drunken spider exercises, finger stretches, hammer- ons, a few simple rifts etc. The photo was taken the day the guitar arrived.


Welcome, Ben. Pretty guitar, I’ve been wanting a yellow one but I’ll have to do with my black strat for now. 140 changes in a minute? That’s great, I’m lucky if I can do 60 on a few of them! I can’t speak to whether you’re going to fast as I am only 9 weeks into my journey. Nice log. See you around the community!

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Hey Ben, that’s a stunning guitar. Thanks for the details of your learning journey. Have a super day

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Great work Ben. It sounds like you are doing all the right things the right way. You will be rocking the free world in no time.

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Sounds like you are making excellent progress, Ben.

A good way to confirm that is to post some video recordings of your playing, either in your Learning Log or in #community-recordings:audio-video-of-you-playing

Sorry to hear of the loss of your wife. I hope the guitar brings some comfort and joy.

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Ben, you are going great guns mate. Well done and keep up the good work!

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Thank you. I will look into recording.

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I’m sorry to hear you lost your wife to Cancer. Hoping you find the forum a warm place to be - there is lots of support and enjoyable music related chat. Welcome.

Btw, it sound like you’ve already won a fan in Sadie with your playing!

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Thank you. I am thankful for the time we had together. I am enjoying the forum, mostly lurking so far but it is nice to read what so many others are experiencing in their journey to learn guitar.

Lol, yes Sadie is my biggest and only fan. She is probably tone deaf, but she doesn’t mind the noise I make. I wish she wouldn’t nudge me wanting attention and try to lick the guitar while I practice though.


Hi Ben, welcome aboard the guitar journey community. Sounds like you ate doing brilliantly, well done. I’m working my way through grade 2, but I’m not even close to your speed of changes. Sounds like your fingers do as they are told, unlike mine😂.
Really sorry to hear about your loss, it takes some time to learn to live with it I guess but it sounds like you have beautiful memories to treasure.
I wish you lots of luck and fun on your journey. Take care.

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Thank you

What a beautiful Guitar, welcome to the group Ben. Hoepfully next time we’ll get some pics of your dog too hmm. :slight_smile:


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Thank you Rachel! I will post a pic of my pooch…

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Yesterday I started experimenting with the lesson / song app. I got it to mirror the iPhone screen on my Mac using Quicktime so that I could see it full screen on my monitor and hear it through my speaker system. I ended up playing along with songs from the list for two hours and would have probably gone on longer if Sadie hadn’t got hungry and came in to remind me it was dinner time for her. It is so nice to have such a large selection of songs to choose from.

This morning I was brave and decided to try OMC’s between C and F barre. I have been practicing just forming the F chord for several days and today was the first attempt at changing between chords. I was able to do 25 pretty clean changes. I am pleased with that as a starting point. I expected it to be more like 10. I am on grade 1, module 5. My assistant Sadie was happy with this achievement too.


Hi Ben,
Very nice pictures …guitar even a half one :sunglasses:…and the dog :heart_eyes:

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Sadie is a beautiful girl! Glad you finally fed her! :smile: Form me, Ziggy is the one who pesters me about food, but he’s half lab/half beagle so it’s like he has double the eating hormones.

F barre chord already? You are cruising.

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Thank you! Sadie isn’t bad about pestering me for food during the day, but she refuses to let meal time pass by even a few minutes. I think she watches the clock. Double the eating hormones! Wow, I thought Labs were eating machines, but they have nothing on Ziggy.

For some reason I have feared the F chord from the beginning which is why I started trying it early on. I think I will be okay with it in time. I know it will take a lot of time to get comfortable with it and get the change count up to where I can actually use it.

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Hi Ben, good you’re advancing through the lessons without excessive hurdles. Sooner or later you can find a guitar skill that can be harder for you to get at least a basic fluency with. Just watch the lesson as many times as you need to understand the technique that is being explained, conquer it with little steps on each practice session you spend on it and even create your own exercise to practice it if needed.

Any time is good for starting your learning log, you’ve just drawn a line of where are you now to be able to see more clear you progress in the future.

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Thank you. The lesson videos and practice sessions are working very well for me so far. I will keep moving through the modules and adjust my pace and what needs more attention and practice as I go. I am having fun and feel like I am making progress so it is time well spent.