BurnsRhythm Learning Log


I’ve just been writing about this lesson in a reply above. I understand what you’re saying about syncing chords and lyrics. I tried to do it for a song. I wrote out the lyrics then tried to figure out where the bar lines and chords should be. I got the chorus done but it was hard. It involves listening, counting, reading and writing all at the same time. Maybe it gets easier with practice, I don’t know.
I’m leaving it for now and concentrating on learning chord progressions and improving my rhythm playing.

It’s all interesting stuff Jason, thanks for your help.


@BurnsRhythm For me singing and playing was a lot easier than described by Justin in that lesson.

Also don’t take seriously what your primary school teacher said. I’d suggest there’s a far better chance she’s wrong than anything else. Your singing voice is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the better and stronger it gets.

I don’t for a minute have ideas that I’ve got a fantastic singing voice or that I’ll be a big star with my singing abilities… Yet, I’m amazed at how my voice has progressed since I started singing. I know there are many areas that my singing technique needs help, but it’s also great for songs around the campfire and I’d be surprised if yours wouldn’t develop similarly.

Best of all, from my perspective, is that singing is just great fun. Go for it.

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March 2022 Learning Log

Life on the farm continues apace. March is lambing time and the newborn lambs early in the month are a sign that spring is just around the corner. Now at the end of the month new life is budding everywhere.

Spring is always an optimistic time and this optimism has filtered through to my guitar practice.
My practice is now song based. I’ve written out the chord progressions for 5 songs. I’m also practicing the two remaining chords C and G. I already knew all these Grade1 chords from years ago, apart from Dm, so it’s a case of perfecting them and working on the changes. Between them, these songs use all the chords.

:musical_score: Mull of Kyntyre - Simple A D E song but with key change to D G A. 3/4 time and bass strum style. I can do the bass strum when I watch the pick but only about 70% when I don’t watch. It’s improving though. There’s some chord melody to come later for the Bagpipes….!

:musical_score: Old Time Rock and Roll -Another A D E song but a faster tempo. A good song and there’s some great rhythm to come when I learn more skills.

:musical_score: Ain’t No Sunshine - Am Dm Em- Nice contrast being all minor.

:musical_score: That’ll Be The Day - G D A E- I’ve taken this one from an old learning book. I like the swing/shuffle rhythm and there’s a challenging bar of 4 triplets. I can play the triplets but not up to tempo yet.

:musical_score: Brown Eyed Girl - G C D Em- I like this song. It’s my C chord workout and nice intro riff to add later.

I usually practice 1 or 2 of these songs a night and break up the songs with little chord exercises or strumming exercises or riffs or finger stretch and sometimes a bit of theory.

Chords- I can play all the chords perfectly but playing them perfectly in songs is a another matter. I play through the songs slowly, building the speed up over time

Strumming - I practice various strum patterns, rhythms, accents and dynamics when I’m playing through the songs. Not always the right one for the song but it’s all practice.

Riffs- I know all the riffs from memory and play them in my warm up exercise.

Finger stretch- I can reach the 4 fret stretch from the 1st fret but my fingers are at an angle. I can do the 5 fret stretch from the 5th fret and the 6 fret stretch from the 8th fret. I don’t have big hands or long fingers so it’ll be interesting to see how near the nut I will eventually get with the 5 and 6 fret stretches.

Theory- I’ve found that the theory in the first two grades of the Theory Course is all stuff that I’ve learned over the years. I like the idea of learning theory practically on the guitar. I can name all the notes on the fretboard by counting up from the nut or up/down from the 12th fret. I’m learning the notes on the first 5 frets and when I’ve cracked that I intend to subscribe to the full course.

So that’s where I’m at now- practicing songs and practicing the chords and rhythms that go with them. I start new songs off at a slow tempo and gradually build up over time. I’m looking at Grade1 as a whole now, consolidating in Module7 but also going back over earlier lessons to see if I’ve missed anything. I’m not at the end of the grade yet though, I need more practice with the songs. That said, I can see that at some point there will be overlap between the grades.

On into April then- I’ll continue developing and learning these songs.


Sounds like you are on track and making progress, David.

Loved the picture.

Look forward to hearing you play the songs.

Good list of songs to learn and develop and good strategy for making progress. Good luck with the lambing especially with the weather turning.

@DavidP and @TheMadman_tobyjenner
Thanks for your replies. I’m back on track now but progress will be slow. You won’t be hearing me for a good while David, my ears are providing me with more than enough critique for now!
Lambing is almost finished Toby. It’s turned colder these last few days but it’s Ok.
Check this out………
Some of my sheep and lambs basking in the sun this morning……
Zoom in and you’ll see snow on the Lake District hills.


Yeah you’re sending all that crap my way in Normandie ! :rofl:
Trying to figure where your are from looking at the LD peaks is that east ?. Initially thought you are looking west from N Yorks ? But the shadow of the ewe is confusing me, as I first thought Scotland looking south. But I am now think NI ?? Its great to see the LD with snow, been 20+ years since I walked those peaks, hey no complaints though.

@TheMadman_tobyjenner Ha ha! Think you broke your compass wandering round in circles looking everywhere but where I am. You certainly seem confused.
I have a fantastic 360 degree vista.If I was looking south on a very rare very clear day I would be able to see the faint Welsh mountains. If I was looking east I would see the Pennines. The photo is looking north. You’ve probably sussed it out by now but the biggest clue is if I was looking west, out over the Irish sea, I can see across Morecambe Bay to Barrow in Furness and back round the bay to Arnside then Morecambe and an uninterrupted view all the way down the coast to Blackpool.
Got it?..…I’m in North Lancs, not far from Lancaster.

Thanks David

Now that makes more sense, it was the shadows that threw me. I assume its mid morning photo? But hey who cares, you can’t beat the sight of lambs in early spring. Used to drive out in the countryside not far from Wakefield just to sit and watch them bounce around the fields.
Sheep stock in Normandy has dwindled since we first started coming over nearly 30 years back and certainly since we moved in late 2011. But there are still big flocks around the Mont St Michel estuary which is just up the road. Lovely this time of year (well normally :rofl: )

But can’t complain, will soon be surround by wheat and mace.

Life is good !


April 2022 Learning Log

I’ve continued learning songs, chord progressions, rhythms, strumming and chord exercises.
I had a couple of weeks where I worked out the timing of the lyrics for 2 songs but this really slowed things down, so I went back to playing progressions focusing on changes and rhythm.
In the last few days I’ve been assessing where I’m at. I tick all the boxes for a Grade1 pass except for playing songs from memory. I don’t think I’ll be able to memorise them until I can sing….(for want of a better word. My singing sounds like a cross between a crow and a duck!)….along while playing them and that will take a long time. So I’ve decided it’s time to move on.

My song practice will consist of playing the chord progressions for all my songs and learning the lyrics/timing/melody for each song one at a time until I’ve learned them all.
The rest of my practice will be starting on Grade2. I’m creating an overlap between the grades. Grade1 has been all about re-learning things from years ago whereas Grade2 contains a lot of new stuff so I’m looking forward to it.

Grade1 has mostly been an enjoyable experience. I had a blip about half way through but that’s forgotten now. Through Justin’s lessons I’ve found a way of learning guitar that I wish I’d had years ago. So thank you Justin for the lessons and guidance and for your infectious enthusiasm and likeable manner.
Thanks also to the JG community for your motivation, inspiration and support.
I feel I’ve made a good start to what will hopefully be a long and enjoyable journey. I wouldn’t say that I’ve made the solid foundation that was talked about a few months ago, but I would say that I’m in the process of building that foundation. The time to assess it will be at the end of Grade3. Justin has laid out the path for me to get there quite clearly, so now all I have to do is follow it.

My list of songs has changed since last month because Justin introduced two great new songs which I just HAVE to learn. My final 5, Grade1 campfire songs are:-

:musical_score: Peaceful Easy Feeling
Love this song. The Eagles have some great songs and this one is right up there.
:musical_score: Take Me Home Country Roads
I’ve lived and worked in the countryside all my life and wherever I go it’s always country roads that take me home to the place I belong. It’s always been a favourite singalong song for folks of my ilk.
:musical_score: Ain’t No Sunshine
:musical_score: Brown Eyed Girl
:musical_score: Old Time Rock And Roll

The first pair of swallows came back mid April. I like to see them around in summer, their flying agility is second to none. Just shows the merits of daily practice!
Maybe I’ll be able to play a half decent rendition of Ain’t No Sunshine for them just before they leave in September.



Looks like a fun list! It will change again and again. At least mine does.

I think some songs work great to learn certain things, but then my mind moves on. As long as we learn something from the process there is no wrong.

I think you sell yourself short on singing. At the end of some of Justin’s older lessons he has a clip of what I think is a Tasmanian Devil calling out. A crow and are much better than that! Besides, it really isn’t about how well you sing, it helps fill out the melody.

Keep on it! I am thinking of trying to sing as well. As soon as I can play something well enough that I have a bit of brain power left for singing…

Sounds like you are doing well, staying the course, David.

Playing songs that are not solo instrumental pieces does seem to be less satisfying without vocals. But we are also here first and foremost to learn and lay the foundations. So I would still encourage you to learn the progressions for a few songs, make simple recordings, and share to get feedback and encouragement.

@Jamolay @DavidP
Thanks for your comments.
Singing isn’t my priority. Having the lyrics/melody/timing makes it into a song. The chord progressions then make sense and the lyrics and melody help signal the chord changes. I won’t do this with every song though, some will just be throwaway practice progressions.

I have neither the time nor the inclination for recording. I think my time is much better spent practicing, exploring, finding things out for myself.
I had a look at the Ear Training course tonight. After some trial and error I found Happy Birthday.

As Eric Morecambe said - “ I’m playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order “

And the singing? Well I actually surprised myself. I can match the pitch of a played note (bass strings only) Or at least it sounded like a match. I struggle to stay on pitch when I hold the note though.

Maybe one day the crows and ducks will be in harmony with the howlin’ dogs !

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Hi David, good you have found here good advice to overcome the frustration you were feeling at some point, due to your perceived lack of progress and found a path to practice that fits you. It looks like a lot of work working all the details of a song to be able to play it decently, but to play it well you have to know it well. I guess at some point it will be easier as there could be more of this is like that when learning a new song. I see wise, as you are doing it, going all the way only for the songs that you really want to play well and going lighter with the ones you are exploring or using only as an exercise to practice something with your guitar playing.

Hi Andres, you’ve summarised my log very well. Starting Grade2 this week, I’ve come across Justin’s phrase “knowing your guitar self. “ I realise that as well as learning guitar skills, I’ve also been finding my guitar self. That means finding my own way of following his lessons, a way that suits me.
I’ve backed off from getting lyrics into songs. I’m treating it as more of a long term project taking many months rather than a few weeks. I’m focusing more on guitar playing.
I think you’re right about what we learn when learning this song will help when it comes to learning another one.

It’s all interesting stuff. Cheers

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May 2022 Learning Log

I’ve spent the whole of May overlapping the grades. Most of my practice has been with my songs, but I’ve also been practicing in Grade2.
My song set has developed well by doing chord and strumming exercises. One of the exercises I’ve been doing is multi chord OMC. I put all of the chords for a song into omc with the metronome at 60, changing chords on every beat, and when I get good at it I add in open string up strums between the chords. This has really improved my chord changes in songs. The songs are at a place that I’m reasonably happy with for now. Far from brilliant, but reasonable.

In Module8 I’ve been practicing the stuck 3&4 chords. Not all out practice, just playing around with them, getting used to them and listening to the subtle sound difference of the lower notes when changing between them. Some of them are easier to play than others but none of them are too difficult.
The minor pentatonic is a scale I already knew up and down the neck in pattern 1, but I never did anything much with it.I can easily play the Eminor faster than 80 bpm but I stick there and aim for accuracy and practice palm muting with it. Apparently palm muting will become second nature - well not yet it isn’t !
I like the all down 8th strumming and use it in songs for variation. One time I was practicing it, not playing anything particular, just doodling around with random chords when I hit upon a rhythm that I liked. And then my fretting hand joined in with the rhythm as well, stopping the chords. I was really getting in the groove as they say in Justinland. It wasn’t till I stopped and analysed it that I realised it was Old Faithful but with down strums instead of ups ! They’ll make a guitarist out of me yet !

For Theory I’m supposed to be memorising notes on the first five frets. I use chords and scales and name the notes but I seem to be neglecting it, probably because I’m having so much fun with the Ear Training which I started this month. If ever there was a good exercise for messing about, this is it. I’m on the first set of intervals, the 5th, the 4th and the Octave, playing the intervals all over the neck, comparing intervals and mixing it up with ‘play what you hear’.
It’s great and its opening up my guitar mind. I feel that all the songs, all the little tunes and melodies that I’ve ever heard are right there on the fretboard of my guitar. All I have to do is find them.
I’ve spent a week on each interval and an extra week comparing them so next up is the Ear 1 test.

With my songs at a reasonable level they’re going on the back burner, let them simmer for a while. They’re all songs that I like and I’ll keep bringing them back to improve them. And they’re there to fall back on at times when new learning gets tough.
Time to move on now and get properly stuck into Grade2 and learn new songs with the new chords and also the riff in Module8.
Overlapping the grades has been a benefit. It means I’ve spent an extra month consolidating but also getting started on new things.

I feel much more settled now. The frustrations of re-learning old stuff are disappearing. Not so much looking back now, the adventure is all up ahead. I’m on my way.

Keeping it real

:guitar: David


Seems like short-change to write such a short reply to such a comprehensive update, David, but can only say ‘keep doing what yo are doing’. Sounds like you are making progress, having fun, and sticking to the programme which I think is a smart thing to do.

Its not short change at all David. It’s always good to get feedback and I value yours. Your short reply must mean I’m getting something right !
Progress this month will probably be slow as I have some contract work to do for other farmers and it involves long hours driving tractors day and night. I’ll be picking my guitar up when I can though. I’ve got to a point now where I can just pick it up and play something for five or ten minutes but not necessarily do any practice exercises.

Thanks again.

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June 2022 Learning Log

Guitar came to a sudden stop at the beginning of the month because of long hours working and tiredness. I could probably count my hours of practice on one hand and still have room for a coffee! In the first half of the month I had hardly any practice at all. The last couple of weeks have been better but still irregular and it’s made me think about how I go about it for the rest of the summer. The contracting work continues on and off all summer and there could well be more periods like this.

So I intend to keep the things I’m looking at to a minimum, practice them to a decent standard then drop them and look at the next bit. So I’ve been practicing one song- Every Rose Has It’s Thorn - but with it being so stop start and sometimes a week between I’m not getting anywhere with it. It feels like starting from scratch every time. I’m fine with the stuck 3 4 chords changing between them and changing to regular chords but changing from regular to stuck is the hold up, especially D to C add9.
So in the last few days I’ve dropped the song and moved onto the riff. Wish You Were Here isn’t a song that I drool over but the riff has a memorable hook that repeats throughout the song. I’ve only just started on it and I’ll learn it slowly in sections but two days in and I’m already seeing progress. The notes are fairly easy, it’s the rhythm and timing that’ll be tricky !
I don’t know if it’s right to call this riff chord melody but it mixes single notes with strumming and chord melody is something I want to learn because it spices up rhythm playing. I see this riff as an introduction to chord melody. I know it’s coming up in the course sometime but I’m not sure when.
I’ll keep practicing that D to C add9 change and go back to the song when I’ve nailed the riff.
And that’s it. That’s as far as I’ve got. Module8 could take all summer at this rate, but that’s okay, I’ve been doing this work for nigh on 50 years and I’m well used to how it affects my life.

So there you go, not much progress to report. Tune in for next month’s exciting instalment of ever changing plans…!

🎸 David


Work, life and siht frequently gets in the way of practice and progress. My advice is to spend what short periods you have playing songs and consolidating what you have learnt to far. That way it takes the pressure of and you can focus on playing for fun and destressing from work. Life is all about balance. Let the guitar bring you joy and if that means only baby steps in development ? Who cares, time will come, circumstances change. Make the most of what you have got and have some fun. Life’s too short.
My 2 cents based on my experience of life getting in the way of living.



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