CD02 Learning Log

Well, I’ve finally decided to start a Learning Log. (I have to apologise but this turns into a bit of an epic).

I read quite a few of the regulars logs on here and always decided against my own as I felt it was a bit of case of “nothing to see here” :grinning: However it then occurred to me that there is the potential to be missing out on good advice by not having a log that at least gets updated occasionally and also hopefully it will be a good place to look back at and see how my progress has been, so here we are.

I was first handed guitar some 48 years ago by a family friend that played, he taught me some basic chords and played Streets Of London by Ralph McTell that really resonated with me as a northern Kentish boy at the time. Yes, 48 years later I can’t believe how stupid I was not to pursue it through life; I’d probably be playing like Carlos Santana now instead of fumbling around with cowboy chords and getting frustrated with barre and power chords! By the way I still can’t play Streets Of London properly due to that dammed F chord. :grinning:

Likewise my music theory went untapped. At school we learnt all about key signatures, clefs, quavers, semi-quavers etc etc and how to understand music notation, which I seemed to get on well with at the time. But apparently in my teens I had other things on my mind and so my music classes were another thing that drifted and were never pursued, another “if only” moment gone by J

Following this as the years went by I would at times go through phases of picking up the guitar and attempting a song by looking up chords and I even remember replicating (of sorts) the intro to Apache by The Shadows by ear! Maybe I should add that to my list again now? :thinking: Unfortunately, there were many things through my younger years that distracted me :wink: but………… spilt milk and all……. :roll_eyes:

As I stumbled through life other hobbies like boats, motorbikes, flying (and yes flying is a lot easier than playing guitar as it turns out :small_airplane::joy:) work, family, life in general just took over as I am sure is a familiar case with many.

As we come to some more recent years (well, not really that recent) my wife had bought me my trusty Yamaha that I still play. Some traction and momentum was gained just by watching people playing tutorials on Youtube and having a go this was followed by the discovery of UG where I would (and still do) look up easier chord versions of songs to play. Around this time I had also discovered JG Youtubes although not really the website. I watched many of Justins Youtubes and would work on parrot fashion versions of them.

Finally, (and now this is more recent :+1:) all of this led me to Justins web pages and courses. In Sept 2021 I retired at 58 and suddenly I had all this time on my hands :clap:. And so since then ball has well and truly started rolling and finally after all these years I’m committing time and energy to something that I truly get so much pleasure from in not only the playing but the singing too. I guess the old saying “it’s never too late”……. I do still look back at those wasted years though! (mmmm, sounds like a good line for a song :thinking:)

At this point, I still look at the efforts of many of our regulars and wonder if I will ever make it that far, I’m sure learning as we get older is harder and slower but I hope to be able to get to the point that I understand the fundamentals behind the playing that allows us to improvise in so many different ways, instead of just repeating something watched or read. Unfortunately I was never really a patient person :roll_eyes:, but have always been the type that completely immerses in what they are doing lock stock and barrel so fingers crossed.

Late last year I started converting a bedroom into my music room, it’s a work in progress and functional for now but will look good when it’s finished.

So, after all that, where am I at right now? Let’s have a look……


Yamaha FG400A Acoustic Dreadnought. (This was transformed by a Pro-Setup at my music shop).

Fender Squire Paranormal Offset Telecaster.

Boss Katana 50 MkII

Boss RC1 Loop Station

Behringer UMC202HD Audio Interface

Mic Shure SM58

Headphones Audio Technica ATH-M40x

DAW Reaper

Current Study:

JG Beginner Grade 2 Mod8 (I spent a long time in G1, I tend to overthink things :face_with_spiral_eyes:)

Practical Music Theory Grade 4 Mod 4.1 (although slowing this down to concentrate on the practical side)

Ear Training (when I get chance)

Current Guitar Work:

A, Am, D, Dm, E, Em, , C, G, Chord ONCs are around 110-135

Stuck 3 & 4 chords – Pretty comfortable. Fingering is fine, working on moving from the standard chords to and from the stuck chords.

There’s a few other chords I’m ok with that I’ve used on different songs such as G7 and various Sus chords mainly used for embellishments, I just really need to remember the names of them.

Riffs: Seven Nation Army, Peter Gunn, Sunshine Of Your Love, Come As You Are. – All pretty good some are sharper than others and it’s part of my regular warmup.

Wonderful Tonight Intro – a regular warmup item to practice picking and an intro to bending and bending to the correct note – going well.

Scales & patterns as per Beginner G1 have been ok and easily remembered. Playing them also I’m happy with but struggling to visualise their practical use too much yet.


Strumming was always a hurdle. Even probably 18 months ago I wasn’t playing all the way through songs as strumming and timing was an issue.

I still find trying to work a set U D U U D against the backdrop of 1 E & A 2 E & A etc etc hard. If I think about it, it falls apart but if I know the song I am playing and let the lyrics and pattern just flow how I feel it then it just happens and at this stage I think it sounds ok (feel free to check it out in my AVOYPs if you like). This approach is probably fine on my own but I am guessing may be a problem if I was playing with others but it’s still something to work on.

Short Term Goals:

I feel my playing limited and held back by my lack of barre chords and perhaps power chords. So, my shorter term goal in keeping with the level I’m at is to really try to nail barre chords initially to the point where I can move to and from them comfortably.


Mostly I don’t remember these off by heart but use my songbook. As time goes by songs will be committed to memory but for now I know them well enough and I’m trying to remember a lot of more important info.

These are my comfortable basic playthrough list that I can play but continue to experiment with as well. As techniques improve I will hope to revisit some and improve them.

Just Another Moment On Your Own – Redgum (AVOYP)

Mad World – Gary Jules (AVOYP)

Heroes – David Bowie (AVOYP)

Knocking On Heavens Door – Bob Dylan (AVOYP)

Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

Leaving On A Jet Plane – John Denver

I Was Only Joking – Rod Stewart

Short Term Songbook Aspirations

Currently playing around with these but there are some hold ups as listed.

I Was Only 19 – Redgum – Hold up F

Knights In White Satin – Moody Blues - hold ups are F and B7

The Final Cut – Pink Floyd – Hold ups are F#m & Bm.

Behind Blue Eyes – Limp Bizkit – Hold up Bm7

Overall Longer Term Goals

Play pick and fingerstyle through full songs.

Improvise leads even if fairly basic.

Be able to recognise & play progressions.

Play more with other people.

Well, if you have read this far, :clap: :clap: well done, but at least from now on I can just add short updates on progress. And if you have read this far, thank you for your interest :+1: Oh! and watch this space for a NGD update coming soon :wink: :+1:


I actually did :slightly_smiling_face:, nice start on your log. You’ve got a plan! Keep on playing and have lots of fun. Wish you a happy NGD. Is there a virus out there?

Good write up Craig and something to “measure” yourself by going forward.

The combination of retirement and Justin’s website seems to be a winning combination, for those start stoppers or folks who are trying to rekindle a lost youth.

Looks like you have lots of goodies to keep you occupied and a nice organised space to practice in. So no excuses I guess, crack on and let us know how it goes now and then.



Great write up and honest assessment of where you are and been. Writing a LL is a good way to do this.

You seemed to have delved into areas beyond the Grade you are at and if that keeps you motivated then I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Keep at it


Hi Craig, I’m happy to see you’ve started your LL as this is an amazing tool for our learning. I see from your first entry that you’ve been tidying up your thoughts about your journey as well as your music room which looks just gorgeous! I much enjoyed your rendition of Knocking on heaven’s door. I wish you the log and how you work on it, as well as our feedback will help you to direct your practice and enhance it. You’re doing great so far!

Craig, thanks for starting your Learning Log otherwise I would probably never have listened to your AVOYPs :slightly_smiling_face:

I understand so well how easily it is to spend a lot of time in the Grade 1 consolidation phase … :nerd_face:

Looking forward to following your LL and of course already curious about your approaching NGD…

Hi Craig
Have fun when looking for a guitar (unless you have already made the choice, in which case it would be descent to wait a few hours of playing with the new one until looking further :roll_eyes: ) …
I think choosing a guitar is one of the most fun things a musician can experience (live playing is first) :blush:

Thanks Helen, :rofl: There well could be hey? :+1:

:+1: Yes sure does Toby thanks we’ll see how we go through the next 6 months :+1:

Thanks Michael, a little bit for sure with things like chords that I have needed for some songs. Hopefully it will make some other sections later a little easier.

Thanks Silvia, thanks for listening. As time goes by I hope to play these again with improved techniques too.

Well thanks for checking them out Nicole I appreciate it :+1:

Hahaha, terrifying Rogier. I really hope that one day I will play well and confidently enough to play live in front of people, it’s a work in progress mate :+1:


Welcome to the learning log club Craig! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I’m glad that the desire to write one struck you. I enjoy your writing style. I see the learning logs as a bit of a public diary and yours reads like one.

I think I’ve made the comment before that I think your playing is well beyond grade 1. You’ll find plenty of power chords, barres and 7 chords in grades 2 & 3. Hustle on with the lessons, catch them up to your skill :wink:.

I’m also working on this one. Are you doing the picking through the verses? Because that is definitely not easy!

I also think it’s just Bm in the chorus, not Bm7?

Thanks JK,

I appreciate your comments, I know you are pretty up front so appreciate your feedback.

I’m certainly looking forward to mastering some techniques that will expand my horizons :grinning: so am trying to pick up momentum in the modules.

It’s, such a great song with great lyrics and a beautiful sounding melody. I’m definitely not up to the picking stage yet mate so will be happy to run with a rhythm version for now and expand into picking later. I have looked at maybe a bassline pick/strum type method but we’ll see I think a standard version with be challenging enough especially singing in this key :scream:

Interesting point about the chord, I haven’t looked closely at original videos but what I’ve see listed for the chorus is mostly a Bm7 or even a Bsus2 with The Who versions and Bm7 with most Limp Bizkit versions. Tomorrow I’ll have to trial them all, I see Justin uses Bm and also a few other small different embellishments.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing your version :+1: :thinking: maybe a vocal colab :scream:

Hi and a warm Welcome to my learning log update :wink:

Well, my intention was to update my LL a little more often than this but in the blink of an eye there goes 5 months :exploding_head:.

In fairness, I have been trying to upload a song for quite some weeks, but we’ll get back to that.

Starting off, back in march(ish) if you didn’t see it on the NGD post, I finally splashed out for a new Taylor 214CE-K

I’ve been very happy, and absolutely love the sound. I wish they had a different pickup than the Piezo but it’s not the end of the world. The Piezo sounds fine live through my Katana, I just seem to notice the typical Piezo noise more when recording through a DAW and I am still playing around with some Piezo adjustment to minimise it. However, loving playing it and loving the overall sound and feel. :+1:

So getting back to posting songs…

I have been a little ‘off piste’ with my learning lately. I gravitated away from following the practical course lessons somewhat into learning more songs and expanding the Campfire Songbook :scream: I think a the words of a very wise man (mmmmm :thinking: that’s the line from a Heartland song :+1: I’ll add that to my list), learn songs, learn songs, learn songs.

It certainly hasn’t been wasted time. During the Songbook Expansion (we’re up to 19 I think but some are early days WIP), I have used them to experiment with embellishments, different strumming patterns and techniques etc etc, and it’s been good and I feel there is some progress, albeit lots of work and little progress however progress all the same, and more importantly I am having fun with them :+1:.

One of the holdups I have had is that I have been well and truly down a huge rabbit hole :rabbit2: to do with recorded sound. Not only is there so many different ways to put vocal and acoustic guitar down as a track but even then it’s all subjective and depends on each listener and what they are listening on.

I have experimented with literally loads of settings on the Katana including patches from online and also with Tone Studio, everything from basic EQ settings to more Fx stuff like Reverb, Echo, Delay, Virtual Mic Placement and the list goes on.

If that’s not bad enough I’ve done the same in Reaper, different settings EQ, Reverb, Slapback Delay, Chorus etc etc etc :exploding_head: :confounded:

I think it has become a little like tasting different wines, eventually you just lose your ability to taste properly. And so finding the elusive Golden Duck of sound is still a WIP…

So, to update things:

Current Study:

JG Beginner Grade 2 Mod9 (Yes, I know how slow I am :face_with_peeking_eye: I did say I’d been off piste)

Practical Music Theory Grade 4, still. However there have been some really good light-bulb moments from my time here. Finally getting notes in a key and key signatures worked out in my head instead of reaching for pen a paper every time.

Current Guitar Work:

In my first LL I identified that I felt limited because of my lack of barre chords expertise. I’ve been working on this and there is good improvements. I now have a songbook track that features F#m that I can nail about 90% of the time. F and Bm are not a problem to play but I’m still working on getting to them quickly from other chords.


This is improving. I feel more comfortable now and mostly let the feel of the song dictate the strumming. I have been trying to add songs that stretch my strumming pattern knowledge and also some that actually are much more relatable with a certain pattern most of the way through.

A recent update as to start using Songbook Pro (thanks to everyone that spoke about it on here). I was using paper copies in a folder and scanned onto my phone for remote use but since upgrading them to Songbook Pro it’s been like a breath of fresh air, especially with the auto scroll etc . Great app.


I’ve been experimenting with picking both with picks and finger-style. I have to say using a pick is damned hard as I find it hard to locate the correct string with the pick (almost like I can’t tell where the the pick is in relation to the correct string).
Fingerstyle seems a little easier so I have persisted with this and it’s a WIP. Don’t Let The Old Man In was something I used to trial fingerpicking.


Just Another Moment On Your Own – Redgum (AVOYP)
Mad World – Gary Jules (AVOYP)
Heroes – David Bowie (AVOYP)
Knocking On Heavens Door – Bob Dylan (AVOYP)
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd (AVOYP)
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
Leaving On A Jet Plane – John Denver
I Was Only Joking – Rod Stewart (I really enjoy the progression in this A, Amaj7, A7. Its a good song to practice stuck finger type chords)
Broken Halos - Chris Stapleton (Picked this one as practice for a more set strum pattern than my usual “feel the rhythm” approach)
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
Don’t Let The Old Man In - Toby Keith (My first venture into finger picking a song, not sure where the pattern came from it just sounded like it fitted. Happy for any feedback on that)
Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison (stuck finger practice and following a set pattern but this has been challenging)
Good Riddance Time Of Your Life - Green Day (More up tempo, fun to play and sing and more valuable rhythm)
Green Green Grass Of Home - Johhny Cash (Picked this as I wanted to try a more country feel pattern/rhythm)
I Was Only Nineteen - Redgum (Great song to perform and picked to work on Barre chords, in this case F#m).
Let Her Go - Passenger (Just a great song, again just trying to challenge myself with songs that are deceptively tricky, nice for trying accented strums)
Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett (Definately a fun song, and picked to again challenge holding a fairly set rhythm/pattern. Still working on the automation for these types of patterns)
Rocket Man - Elton John (AVOYP) Rocket Man - Elton John AKA Dinga (One of many great EJ/BT tracks. Great to perform and fairly easy with opportunity to try some embellishments etc)

I’m sure I said these would be short updates :scream: :thinking:

If you’ve made it this far… you’re a hero :+1:


Craig @CD02

Interesting update and I am just going to pick up on a few points.

Nice guitar

Another convert to SongbookPro, welcome aboard

I have been down the EQ rabbit hole but recently come up for a breather as like you I wasn’t sure I was getting anywhere and like you got to the point of not knowing what was good or bad.

Personally I don’t think spending some time away from working through the course to learn songs is a bad thing, as you say somebody said “learn songs learn songs ……” However don’t neglect the course.


Hi Michael,

Thanks for reading my ramblings of a madman. I’d be interested in any pearls of wisdom you find during your EQ/Fx journey, it’s something I will continue to play with until I can confidently make a call for each song.


Very cool update, Craig :sunglasses: :+1:

I think this is all well spent time. It may not feel like you’re making progress (I mostly feel the same with my journey on this :joy:) but I think it helps to train your ear, and slowly but surely it improves. I’ve certainly noticed being more discerning of my tone recently and taking time to tweak it to my (key point) preference. Whereas in the past, I’d just go with the default preset. My previous thought was I should be spending my time on practicing not messing around with tone, well at least not until I improved… however I now think learning how to dial in a good tone is just as important. When I do find a tone I like, I typically play for much, much longer than I anticipated, so win win I guess :wink: :sweat_smile:

I know you know this, but sometimes it helps having it mentioned again… this is just practice. Time spent with a pick in hand. Keep using it and you’ll become unconsciously aware of where the pick is in relation to the strings and start hitting them without thinking about it (almost :joy:) everytime :wink: I feel the same way about fingerstyle. I don’t practice it, so I (really!) suck at it :see_no_evil: :flushed:, but I guess we have focus on our primary objectives, so if playing with a pick is important, then I guess do it more, otherwise… don’t worry about it! :wink:

Enjoyed the vids, keep 'em coming! :metal:

Take care mate!

Thanks for the comments Jeff. Yes, I’m hoping it will all pay off in the end. I’m enjoying the journey anyway. It has also led me to look into things like the Nux Optima Air so it all adds to the learning I guess.

Cheers, I can remember a time not too long ago when I was very uncomfortable using a pick and strummed using my fingers but now the first things I reach for is a pick :scream: :ok_hand:
Fingerstyle I seem to (mostly) know where the strings are and feel comfortable picking them but with a pick :face_with_peeking_eye: I’ll stick with it as it’s a technique I want under my belt :+1:

Thanks for the feedback Bud, take it easy :metal: hoping to bring something more Rocky or even Metal :scream: in the future :+1:

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