Dean's Learning Log

Ok so it’s been almost a week now and I’ve just become aware of this learning log area.
I do keep a journal at home to help me and hopefully in a few weeks I’ll look back at some silly mistakes etc.
I’m an absolute beginner and have done grade 1 Mods 1&2 so basically I know A&D now, I can do around 26 changes a minute but can’t consistently get a nice sounding chord. D seems fine, I’m happy with that but I’m struggling with A. It seems if I pick each string to check them before strumming then G is often a bit flat/dead (I’m not quite up with the terminology yet) and I can sometimes trap the e, either with my 3rd finger or often the edge of my palm which seems a common problem with beginners. It seems that better thumb placement and a little wrist rotation may help here and hopefully this will get easier with time. Lowering my thumb behind the neck does make more room and can stop the problem with the e string but it feels so alien right now and quite awkward.
Anyway that’s where I am right now. Hopefully this will become a useful area for me to reflect and iron out some of these issues and also be more aware of the good stuff too. I know it’s not going to be easy and there will be frustrating times ahead but when I look back to just over a week ago I’d never even tried to play a guitar before so I’ve made LOADS of progress and feel I’m doing well.


HI Dean, glad that you found the learning log area. Your problem with the A chord is very common, but you will get better with time. If you want to see something to make you feel better, look at the first few Nitsuj practice sessions that Justin posts at the end of the grade 1 module list on the website. Justin recorded himself learning to play the guitar left handed and the results are not pleasant at first.

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Also look at the discussion tab for the How to Play the A chord page in the JG website.Grade 1 lessons.

Here is a link if you haven’t looked yet - How to Play the A Chord Community Discussion

I agree that you have made a lot of progress. Once you get to 30 changes in a minute I would suggest that you look ahead to module 2. You only learn one new chord (E) that I find easier to play than either the D or the A chord and with those 3 chords you can play a lot of songs. You will also learn a faster way to change between D and A and E chords. Have fun.

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I watched the first one this weekend it was so nice to see someone so accomplished going through what people like me are right now. What a great idea

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Hang in there, Dean! Things that feel difficult now will be easy before you know it. Enjoy the journey, and before you know it you’ll have made a ton of improvement!

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Back again, had a little break and did some reading in the music theory section. It’s interesting to learn about notes and where they are in the guitar. I don’t want to just learn to copy some bloke on YouTube id like to know how this thing actually works.
I got a bit annoyed last night with my A chord, the main issue was the G sounding dead, I thought because my first finger was too far from the fret, I moved on to the next Module tonight starting with E, again the G had a tendency to sound dead when picking the strings. After a bit of fiddling around I now think it’s probably due to my first finger not being strong enough yet because when I test the G using my second finger it rings out nicely. So that’s good news I can make it stronger.
Anyway after starting the next module I watched the intro from Justin and he was saying “Hey it’s ok to feel bad and get a bit down, this stuff is hard” that made me feel much better I know everyone on here has probably experienced similar feelings in the early days, weeks and months.
Good points from tonight… I now know I can train my finger to hopefully make playing the G in low frets easier, I now know everyone gets a bit miffed when they’re learning something new and I now know 3 chords A,D and E. That’s a whole 3 more than this time last week. And I know I could’ve sat on YouTube and maybe learnt more chords quicker but I’m really going to follow this system and hopefully be a better player because of it.
Oh and I almost forgot, I made a little page of what I know about A&E chords with pictures of hands with numbers in fingers and chord diagrams and I’m teaching my son what I’ve learnt in the last week.
To turn the TV off, sit on our dining room chairs with my acoustic and his electric with mini amp was a special moment indeed


Hi Dean, nice start to your log!

I promise you, if you stick with it, you will get the chords ringing out cleanly with no dead notes. Continue to play each individual note and make sure they all ring put. Eventually, muscle memory will kick in and you will be able to automatically position your fingers where they need to go. My husband took a video of me the very first day I got my guitar. I had already watched Justin’s A and D chord lessons and the first thing I tried to do was play those two chords. There were a lot of dead notes in that video :laughing:

I kept at it and was able to start forming the chords correctly. It just takes practice! It will happen for you too if you keep it up. Guitar is hard, but so rewarding! I remember the first few times I was able to get a clean sounding chord, it was the best feeling :grin:

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The chords will happen. You will be amazed as you progress when you suddenly can say, “hey, I couldn’t do this at all a month ago, and look at me now!” It’s a great feeling and I find having a learning log really helps with that. Looking back and seeing your progress is an awesome thing.


There’s a fair few songs that you can play with just A & D. As @Richard_close2u always says, “Learn songs, learn songs, learn songs”

  1. Moving on steadily now, first 3 chords in the bag and consistently good. 100% in the music theory note circle test. Even got the lads at work discussing notes in the fret board :grin:
    Just done the Peter Gun riff sounds ok but I can’t get my fingers on all 4 frets at once, I’m not convinced I ever will but if I do I’ll believe anything is possible. I can spread my fingers wide enough but when curling around the neck they start to come back together.
    Good points… my practice routines is growing.
    3 x chord perfect sessions
    3 x 1 minute changes
    Peter Gun for 1 min and it doesn’t feel like a chore.
    I was struggling with the sound of my E chord then realized I had a finger in the wrong fret ( on purpose, I got mixed up) so now it sounds good again :joy:

Oh I’ve been attempting “3 little birds too” and it’s coming on. I’m not sure the Wailers will be inviting me on board just yet but it sounds like a tune to me, a beginner, mistake filled, sometimes out of time tune but it’s a great feeling when I think that 2 weeks ago I didn’t know a thing.
Bad points…
None to report, had a good couple of days, yes it’s hard and yes it can be frustrating but if I keep practicing I’ll keep learning.

  1. So I’ve just done an hour on the first minor chords Am and Em and I must say there’s something I like about the sound of those sad little chords :grin:
    Did a bit of practice on last week’s stuff too and have to be honest, that A is driving me mad, it starts off well but there’s not much room there for 3 fingers. Hey it’s only my second week though, I know it will be natural soon enough.
    On a happier note though I tried “wild thing” by the trogs after watching Justin’s video and that has to be the best learner song ever!
    Instantly recognizable and sounds good even a little slower than normal, the little chorus bit with G6, A, G6, A was great because even though I’ve had a little trouble perfecting A it sounded really good.

Hello again, had a weekend off the beginner course, we went to my father in laws for a couple of days. My son took his electric guitar to show grandad. I spent Sunday morning in the sun learning how to play the Harry Potter theme tune. It’s easy but sounds beautiful when you get it right. So all smiles there.
I’ve started the new week redoing my chords and all gone well, then some strumming work with Justin’s videos. Just finished the night doing Seven Nation Army. One thing I’ve learnt is it’s much easier to do both Harry Potter and the White Stripes in my son’s electric.
I need to work on getting my left hand to move as fast as I want it to but things are coming together now it seems. I need to walk before I can run and there’s a long, long way to go but I’m enjoying the experience.

practice songs
the more you ll play songs , the faster you ll get

songs songs songs

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This is something I’m trying, I’m follow the course from the beginning so just got up to the seven Nation Army part and my practice routines are around only what I’ve learnt. But at the end I’ve added a couple of songs with the chords in we’ve learnt. At the moment I’m finding that playing “wild thing” is working better for me at changing chords smoothly than just basic 1 minute changes.

Do you use the app ?

there are some nice suggestion of songs to play in grade 1

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Not yet, because I’m so new to this. I really am learning from scratch. I’m sure in a few weeks when I’m a bit more experienced and more confident to take on songs I’ll give it a whirl.

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ok :slight_smile:
its always much more fun to practice on a song than just doing an exercise
you should try the app
its a good beginner’s tool :slight_smile:

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Thanks I will, I think I was a bit worried about going too fast and maybe getting out of my depth but it’s coming along nicely so far

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Hey Deborah, it’s justed clicked with me …
I was Following The course and the latest lesson suggested some beginner songs to practice Am and Em chords. Justin had some songs from the app to play along with so I went with Ed Sheerans “Sing”.
Just basic strumming in time to the beat but then making up my own strumming patterns too.
I loved it, it was so much fun and it’s not even my kind of music. But I get it now how this will help me. :grin:

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told you :smiley:

everything you ll learn can be applied in songs and its so much fun to play songs even if its a simplified version :smiley:

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