Curious what you’re working on lately

Exercise-wise - I’m closing out my 5th month of learning the guitar and currently stuck in Grade 3 Module 15 for the 3rd week. Still can’t play through the bass notes link medley without making at least 1 error (with Guitar Pro). Also having some problems with the hammer finger exercise especially since I’m focused on keeping all fingers as close to the fretboard as possible (no flying index and pinky finger)

Songs - I’m now able to play Blackbird and We Can Work It Out together with the record and am learning how to play Norwegian Wood and Jessie’s Girl. I still struggle with Power Chord rock songs at full speed.

Music Theory / Ear Training - I’m trying to memorise the fretboard by spending 5mins/day no flashcard quizzes. I also use the jamming session to note every single note I’m playing. Also learnt about the Circle of Fifths and Major Keys (FCGDAEB, BEADGCF).

Thanks for sharing. You definitely have a full plate.

Ausgezeichnet😎 sounds like you have a great plan.

1 Like

That’s something I struggle with. I always gave too much on my plate for adequate practice. I have to find a way to squeeze it in somewhere. I play everyday but not always quality practice and fundamentals like people said here.

Hey Jeff,

Always enjoyed your playing, your enthusiasm, and your zest to get out there.

You’ve identified some areas for improvement, so there’s a good basis for your practice right there.

I’ve found, over nearly 3 years, that structure and pinpoint focus are crucially important.
ie. Structure - a formal, written practice structure that gives direction, makes you accountable, and removes the dithering about.
Pinpoint Focus - being very specific with practice items. Time based, with specific steps/processes. eg practicing the major pentatonic;
5 mins - E and D CAGED shapes - 3 in a line pattern - ascending/ descending - 6/8 timing - start at 130bpm.
For me, every Sunday is a new schedule, reassessment, review, adjustments etc.
Its not really alot of work once you get it rolling.
This is what is working for me. Its personal for everyone I suppose. In the end though, if I’m doing something I love, and spending considerable time doing it, it makes sense to give myself the best shot at it.

Is it always perfect? Certainly not. Do I falter at times? Certainly do. But the above mindset and regime always brings me back to centre.

Cheers, Shane


I just jotted down a few things this week that I want to consolidate on and what I want to do in my next phase, which I plan to do in person with an instructor. I am looking for a local instructor now. I think my strumming to backing tracks is ok but without a backing track I don’t feel like I’m making music. I going to create a practice routine today for the items I want to consolidate on. This the plan for now and hopefully in-person lessons will keep me focused.

Consolidation Phase:(next 2-3 months)

  • Strumming/Rhythm – Work on and record 10 SOS2 songs. Clean up chord fingering/buzzing.
  • Chord workshop – A-Shape 7th chord transitions.
  • Transcribing /Ear Training – Review Justin Guitar Lessons on transcribing.
  • Lead Guitar – String Bending in Tune. Notes to bend in pattern 1 & 2, Justin Licks practice, Fill in licks/triads, Blue note/blues scale/6th exercises.
  • Blues Rhythm – Shuffle rhythm feel, alternate patterns, I IV V patterns.
  • Single String studies – Note names on the fretboard, Sal S for technique improvement.
  • Amp settings & using the looper.
  • 5 songs to play and sign along with.
    Folsom Prison Blues
    Bad Moon Rising
    3 more

Next Phase: (Instructor)

  • Identify and correct any bad habits from prior learning.
  • Learn to play along with another guitar player, bass player, rhythm/drummer.
  • Memorize additional pentatonic patterns, Notes to bend, Licks in new patterns.
  • Blues lead/improvising with another guitar player
  • Easy Jazz melody lead and chord arrangements
1 Like

Wow you have a full plate. That is impressive the level of detail you have. For those who posted here it gave me lots of ideas to get myself a structured plan to improve. Thank you !

Hey Jeff,

I get where you’re coming from, I think pretty much all of us have beat ourselves up at one point or another for not progressing as quickly as we would like. My perspective changed with something a great guitarist and instructor said to me, and a question he asked me:

Be the best guitarist YOU can be.
(lol - I know I’m never going to be as good as most, but I’m OK with that because now I don’t feel the need to compare my playing with other folks).

Did you have fun?
(Every single time I pick up a guitar! Every missed note, crappy performance, buzzy chord, every single time. I love it!).

Once I learned to just let go, and be OK with doing the best I can do - playing (or in my case, attempting to play!) has been an entirely different experience for me.

Just sharing a few things that changed my perspective.
Keep doing what you’re doing man, just make sure to have fun doing it!!!


I’m working on being able to switch from playing rhythm to doing little lead fills where appropriate (not long solos, I don’t ever expect to be able to do that) and then switching back to rhythm on time and smoothly. It’s harder than I thought it would be :grin:.


Thanks a lot Jim. I remember you said something like that before about not quite feeling your best after performing and the guy you were with saying did you have fun? All good then. I’m still looking forward to getting out to Burbank eventually and some studio time. I posted an Aerosmith song yesterday which needs some work, but I’m happy I got through f# minor and A#. Those are kinda tough. I checked out unskinny bop and think that one is achievable. A lot of good advice from you and others here so thanks a lot. :sunglasses:

Anytime Jeff!
Not feeling my best after my first live performance is an understatement - until I was asked if I had fun!
Let me know when you’re in town man, we can figure out a three or four chord diddly - don’t feel like you need to learn anything. If I can share any of the little shortcuts or tidbits I’ve learned, more than happy to do so. If I can share some of the joy guitar has brought me, I’ll be paying forward for all the folks who helped me along the way.

Just remember, smile - have fun every time you pick up a guitar!

I’ve been swamped at work for the last month so have almost entirely fallen off practicing. I picked at a few songs but they were more complicated then I could find the energy for. I think I’ve finally settled on Hey Hey, I’d like to learn a song to get back into a regular practice routine. Justin’s got a great lesson, and I also have the EC Unplugged tab book.

Nothing in particular, well, I should be practising Open Dominant 7th chord changes from Grade 2, but I just going though various songs in my song book and playing them instead (I guess you could say I became slightly better in strumming with a pick on an electric guitar because of this).

1 Like

I definitely feel you there with work responsibilities. Try the 5 minute rule, which is leave your guitar out on a stand( not in a case), then play for 5 minutes whatever you want. It’s better than zero minutes. Songs should always be part of your routine in my opinion. Often the 5 minutes will turn into a longer session.

1 Like

Hi Aurimas.

Thanks for sharing. Your songs are getting better and better each time you post one.

1 Like

Hey Jeff, interesting thread, thanks for this, really helpful to read through everyone’s tips above :slight_smile:

My practice is very regimented and always follows the same pattern…

  • Head to guitar room with determination to follow a structured learning pathway with a series of dedicated timeslots allocated to various techniques and fundamental best practices
  • Sit down with my guitar and immediately recall that cool song I heard earlier in the day
  • Deep dive into learning the tab and watching “how to play” videos
  • Spend an hour or so unsuccessfully trying to figure out the intro
  • Get frustrated so bust out a couple of sloppy renditions of tunes I already know kinda well at top speed
  • Suddenly realise I’ve been playing waaaayyy too long and have some other commitment I need to race off to
  • Put guitar back on rack then rinse and repeat next time… :roll_eyes: :joy:

Can’t believe that! You are progressing fast, so your routine seems to work just fine :wink:.

1 Like

I need to get back on track, lately it has been:

  • Sit down for that structured practice and go through the list of things I ‘should’ be doing.
  • Think about the previous cool song I started learning but did not finish.
  • Do not resist the temptation to look up the chords of the new cool song I just heard earlier and start learning that.
  • Feel guilty about not making progress and do a 5-minute technical exercise that I won’t repeat and not make progress the next time.
  • Repeat next time.

What helped me with Fretboard was the BEADGCF (Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles Father). Say it backwards and you get FCGDAEB. (Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle).
Same as Circle of 4ths /5ths, Order of sharps and flats - very handy.

But to get to my point about the notes on the fret board, in standard tuning, the notes also follow sequence BEADGCF. e.g. Ends And Down Goes is the note sequence EADG at the nut.

As long as you remember that whenever you get to Father (F), the note that follows on the next string is up one fret. Also whenever you cross from the 3rd to 2nd string , you move up a fret to find the next note.

Strings 6 and 1 are always the same note (different octaves).

I know that at fret 3, G is on string 6 and 1. So the notes go GCF (Goes Charles Father)
String 4 is an F note so move up a fret (fret 4) and down a string then start again with a B (Battle) on string 3 fret 4.

The next note crosses string 3 to string 2 so …
Move up a fret and down one string to get to the 5th fret and find notes EA (Ends And ) on strings 2 and 1 on fret5.

Fret 5 String 6 the note is A so I know notes go ADGC (And Down Goes Charles) then up a fret to 2nd string for F, (because we crossed from string 3 to string 2). So start again, but the last note was F so up a fret to fret 7 and B (Battle) on strings 1 and 6. Next notes ? :thinking: EAD easy :slightly_smiling_face:

Just remember to move up a fret whenever you reach F and whenever you cross the 3rd string to 2nd string. :grin:

A picture of the note layout is handy as you can see the BEADGCF flows occurring all over the neck much easier.

Special attention at fret 10. You have an F on string 3 and next note on string 2 (move up 2 frets not 1), one fret for the F and one fret for the string 3 to 2 changeover.

Edited as I got my string numbers confused. Just remember, Its up a fret at the G to B string change (on the 3 to 2 strings) due to tuning, and up a fret at Father.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I love this idea to remember the notes. I’m working on learning the whole fretboard. It can be overwhelming.