CC's Learning Log

I’ve been tossing around the idea of making a learning log for myself here. Decided to bite the bullet, since I’m prone to forget little wins in life in general. So I’ll try to keep track of myself here.

I’m Constance (or Connie or CC, whatever suits your sentence) and I started learning at the end of last year, a few days before my first post I think… I have a lovely Maton M325 steel string acoustic guitar. I’m 35 for a few weeks yet and this is the first time I’ve played since a few weeks in school music class at thirteen. I prop my foot up on my guitar case and use non-slip material under my guitar to get steady and positioned well, and I’m not looking forward to trying to play in winter with one half of me out of a jumper, lol.

I’m up to module 4 in the beginner grade one course, but I’m still doing the practice for the first three because I just couldn’t hang around doing only the A and D chord without going nuts. I’m very grateful that the fourth module has a ‘pick your own chords’ one minute changes practice. Each practice I find new depths to the pudginess of my fingers… but at the beginning of any session I can make my chords ring out clearly without too much pressure, with the exception of high strings and my changes are getting faster and I’m getting more relaxed when I play, which is lovely.

I’m hopeful that one day I can take the music inside me and make it, not for any fame or career, just to create and enjoy.

This is likely to be a boring read as time goes on, I think I’m making pretty slow progress by comparison to others, but I hope this diary-esque approach I take will be okay.

To date:
-know A, D, E, Em, Am, Dm, and can place A D E Em fingers pretty quickly. Tried to do one minute changes between D and Dm and found the app couldn’t parse the difference XD
-am working on changes between E/Em and Am, taking my fingers off the fretboard I often lose where they are… (I think slight hyperflexibility is affecting my proprioception but it’s getting better)
-working on placing all fingers for the D chord at once instead of 123… gonna try and put the third finger down first and place the other two simultaneously, I think I can get my brain to merge them all with that approach
-working on keeping good positioning of my wrist even when I am focussing on other aspects of play
-I am working on keeping beat but the metronome has made me aware that I am inconsistent…
-I have the old faithful strumming pattern down pat when I stop paying attention to it
-I have fun trying to get the Seven Nation Army and the Sunshine of Your Love riffs down
-I’m getting better at using chopsticks with my left hand and cleaning my teeth with it too, and it is stronger and my fingers more flexible and controlled than ever before… even with the double-jointed thumb, I’m keeping it from bending back most of the time now…
-I practice almost every day, keep forgetting to time it but it’s at least 20mins most days

I want to be able to play a full-tempo song from each of the first four modules before I move on. I’m currently working on For What it’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield, a song I actually like, at 70bpm. I make it through most of the song now before my fingers forget how to listen to my brain. I have enough chords and other things to work on that I can’t get bored, and even when I have an irritating slide-back session, I still come away feeling good for having done it, and I often find the next session to be way better than I expect.


Nice start to your learning log. You have a Maton - are you another Australian?

yep :slight_smile:

1 Like

Good luck with your guitar journey!

Although most of the way through the second grade I’m still working on grade one songs! So don’t let that slow your progress. Of course, revision, revision and more revision.

For a bit of fun with your right hand try Horse with No Name. Easy chords and a fun strum.

1 Like

Thanks! I like that song too, I’ll definitely add it. :slight_smile:

Nice start,and i wasn’t bored. :smile: For What it’s Worth is one of my Grade,1 songs, too.

1 Like

Oh my gosh, thank you so much for letting me know Horse With No Name was on the songlist. It’s so sonically pleasing to play and listen to, and really forgiving. I was strumming along pretty quickly right off the bat, and that bass then the rest method is really fun. I’ve had an hour session today and it went pretty well and I kind of want to keep going after I’ve got some writing done, mostly because of that song recommendation!

My guitar came tuned one note lower on every string, and when I first started I got advice on whether I could learn with it in that tuning, because I really love the base notes, so this song really scratches that itch.

I also forgot that there were videos for all the songs on the website, so I went and watched the one for For What It’s Worth and changed up some stuff. The harmonics were very cool also. I’m maybe going to skip ahead to that video just to learn the science because it made me geek out a bit tbh.

1 Like

Sweet! It is half the battle, finding material suitable for your level to get the juices going. Gets you through the more technical learning you have to do.
Fender have a good free tuning app if you need assistance with that.

1 Like

Nice write up Connie, where’s Claire ?

Looks like some nice steady early day progress and some good objectives. Don’t forget when you feel ready make some recordings so you can assess yourself. If you wan to share them for feedback fine but even if its just for yourself, its a good way to see how you are doing !


I have done some recordings to see what my fingers are doing when I’m not looking. Keep catching them sliiding on down the little buggers. Had a better session yesterday after reviewing my session from the day before. Very handy! When I can play a song I’ll put it here as proof and folks can take me to task!

(Also Claire is the second C in CC, I’m just one me…)

1 Like

Hard to believe I posted my first entry more than three weeks ago… insomnia has been absolutely kicking my butt so practice has been sporadic. Today’s practice went great!

  • Changes between several chords are above 40 per minute - AtoE, AtoD, AtoD, A&A- to E&E-
  • Changes between D- and anything almost up to 10 lol, A- to A&D in the high teens
  • Have been practicing Horse With No Name and For What It’s Worth, getting better at not mucking up with both. Still my fingers just stop responding when I try to change to A about two thirds of the way into For What It’s Worth which is very odd. I give them a bit of a shake and it sorts them out for a bit but strange stuff.
  • As I’m getting better I’m stressing less and being less affected by the guitar moving around. I guess part of it is not death-gripping the neck, and being a little freer moving my fingers
  • Still my chords get muted, especially on the first fret and on smaller strings, not so much from finger encroachment as from squidgy fingers and needing more pressure on the strings. I haven’t had my guitar ‘set up’ at the shop yet, which might solve this issue. Also my guitar has been strung for a decade even though I only recently started playing, so maybe changing strings would help with the pressure issue, and the buzzing.
  • Have had a tentative crack at I’d Rather Go Blind which I love, might also use it to learn Tennessee Whiskey since they seem to be very similar. Quite happy with my attempt at this today, as G is a new chord and I was getting faster and more accurate as I went in real time, which is a nice change from not noticing any real change until a few days later.
  • Also been doing some ear training. Tried noodling around playing Happy Birthday, my ear is fine but I’m bad at remembering what I just did so it’ll take me a while to memorise where I’m putting my fingers. Forgot to do intervals but I’ve been humming them for the last couple of weeks on and off.

Really hope I get sleep tonight, and every night coming. Although playing guitar in a fugue state has its benefits. After some really frustrating sessions over the last few weeks, surely impacted by me being very short-tempered and very hot, it’s been really nice to have it go well and to get into a groove practicing. I think I got over an hour in today. Outlook good!


Changed my practice a bit. Mucked around with the website practice assistant and have a 45min routine that I will run through, or pick and choose from depending. After watching another video Justin did about practicing for standing up, just out of curiosity, I decided to practice sitting up straight with the strap taking the weight of the guitar. The neck did move around a lot, but I dealt with it pretty well. Moving between chords for songs lead to some muted top strings while changing, but I sorted it out mostly by the end of the practice session.

Today’s session was less successful; still struggling to get all the fingers down at once on the A and D - always seem to lead with the pointer still, although it is getting closer (mostly - still inconsistent).

  • Note to self: get new guitar strap; the music shop I bought from had a whole heap of stuff out of stock, and I got a cheap one made of seatbelt material. It slides around too much and hurts like a beach after twenty minutes.
  • Tried out singing while playing Horse With No Name, mixed results. Also checked my recorded video and I’m going to need a mic for when I’m up to posting an AVOYP, no matter how loud I sing I’m barely heard lol.
  • Still working on keeping my fingers within the frets, not over-reaching up strings or into new frets. Getting better.

Only did about half an hour today, second day using new posture for playing, my right shoulder is killing me so I’m looking forward to it getting sexier as I progress.

Had a bout of serious anxiety today, thought I would curl up into a ball and waste the rest of Sunday, couldn’t bear the thought of playing guitar because I didn’t think I could cope with failure. But. It kept eating away at me until I pulled it out and had a crack. And it was fine, and I feel better after stumbling through. Even though I did have some frustrating moments, it was a non-issue. So another note to self: always try, because it’s not always gonna go the way you think it will.

It feels better, after you played, right? :slightly_smiling_face: Great that you convinced yourself to play, I haven’t been able to convince myself to play for a few months at the end of last year, when I was so stressed and down and out from work at the end of last year…

You have every reason to be very proud of yourself CC, because you conquered your inner pigdog (that’s a German saying, which does not translate to any other language… just think of the :pig: :dog2: as something inside yourself trying to make you feel small)

1 Like

Well done for having another crack Constance and conquering your fears. But hey some days practicing might just present itself as being daunting, so its ok to skip a routine. Maybe just bash out a song your are comfortable with, give your confidence a boost and say “hell yeah, I can do this”.
Or even just take a day off and don’t feel guilty. Its ok.


1 Like

Practiced for about an hour today. Went better than the last few practices. Finally towards the end of For What It’s Worth I started getting the D chord ringing out and getting my fingers set up in time. Usually I end the song frustratedly going between the three chords trying to get it all to work but this time it happened in the song. Progress!

Trying to play Happy Birthday by ear worked a little faster this time, although I’m still guessing rather than recognising intervals. Started fourth intervals as well, fifths still in my brain so all good there.

Forgot the Sunshine of Your Love riff for a while so was doing it also in a different key for a bit until I remembered the frets and it came easier. Strumming hand has also had some magic happen to it sometime not playing in the last few days, am controlling the volume fairly well now and it just seemed much smoother somehow.

Horse With No Name still frustrating me with my guitar neck bouncing out making me mute the strings when I change. This is a skill issue, I’m playing sitting up with better posture more like the guitar would be if I were standing. although still touching my thigh for a bit of stability. Need a new strap to stop it sliding around so much, I think that will help a lot.

Chords are ringing out truer which is nice, muting strings less. Felt nice! Ever eager to be in a position to noodle around and make up tunes, which is a while away I know, but I feel I can see it on the distant horizon now.

Potentially this good mood and good session is because the heatwave broke today, but I’ll take it!

I tend to write in the log only when I have made some sort of progress or faced some new problem… should I write a log entry for a standard session where things don’t improve? It feels like it might not be that helpful…


you must hold your guitar too tight so when you move the hand , the guitar moves
relax your arm , and have a lighter grip on the neck

the strap will help too :slight_smile:

1 Like

I am for sure holding it too tightly. My strings are really old and I’m so hoping that when I get them changed it’ll magically be so much better!

having the guitar set up by a luthier makes a lot of difference too
but first relax your arm :slight_smile:

i dont remember who said it but it was : " a guitar is like the body of a woman , you must caress it ! "

1 Like

Do what is helpful to you I’d say. If you do continue to be stuck on a thing then sometimes people will at least let you know that it was the same for them. It’s not a solution but at least you know that it’s not just you being uniquely bad which is a mindset that can set in when you reach something of a plateau where progress seems to stop


THIS! This hope will drive you through the times where it seems entirely too difficult because if you put in the hard work, you will. :slight_smile: And it is amazing. But there’s no endpoint! You can always get better. Enjoy the journey!

Being aware of this is one thing, judging yourself against others isn’t a thing you want to do. We’re all different and have different amounts of time to put into it. Seems like from what I read, you have clear goals and a good outlook. Stay the course!

I found this helpful for getting my timing down and working with a metronome. I don’t do this exercise every day and it’s not on my routine, but I still do it fairly regularly even if just for a few minutes:

The Disappearing Metronome Trick