Dmans Learning Strategy/Progress/Where it is taking me


Yep, it is that time!!! The beginnings of the Dmans Learning Strategy/Progress and the ultimate direction it has recently been drawing me to! One of which has evaded my bony hands, oh but the heart is telling it all!! But all shall be revealed in due time.

For those who have not read my intro,please click on the below link. So those that already know and don’t wish to read again, just skip over! :blush: as I will make this as short and painless as possible, some things must be said!! I’m sure most understand. :wink: .

I officially signed into the Justin Community Sept 9th 2022. So I am going to call this point “The Start Of the Journey!!!” Oh and a journey it has been!

Like many, I started off ripping through the grade 1 material!! (A couple of months at most) Now, I ended up adjusting and relearning more than a few chords, repositioning my fingers as well as adding a holistic practice routine!!! Now this proper practice routine is what has held me to keep on progressing more and more! A thing no other teacher had done for me!? Of course the live lessons have helped tremendously as well!! But that is down the road from this time as they where not available! So Skippy, Skippy past that till later.

At the end of grade 1, I now had quite the practice sessions built up and decided I needed to consolidate alot and get some of those practice blocks off the board to add new ones. (About 4 months before I even looked at grade 2) Practice sessions at this time at the end of grade 1 was anywhere from 25 mins to an hour. I had 4 seperate practice sessions at that time. I tried to keep the practice sessions to no more than an hour and roughly 2 hours of song play time per day. Switching to a new practice session each day. Sometimes, depending on my schedule, I would get 2 different practice sessions in a day. But that was mostly weekends when I had the time. There were also days I made “no play” days. Surprisingly, this really helps!! Gives your brain time to absorb or something. I only know it sure works for me!!

Now, I should mention I tend to first start a song out by muting the strings and just going for what I like to call “Basic Rhythm Practice” (emphasis on rhythm, accents, and on the beat practice as well as making it feel good all while being super relaxed, pinpoint stress areas and work on it.) All this I will do for 3-5 mins before playing a song on my repertoire. Then play the song twice to the actual song, in my case, in u-tube and then once just me playing. On to the next! Rinse and repeat. So these practice parts I don’t have in the practice session as per say, but I have incorporated into, several in one, when practicing playing a particular song.

There was then, and still is now, alot of emphasis on rhythm, accents, and on the beat practice as well as making it feel good. Even if it was a lil rough…I do have some videos of me practicing from a year ago. I will post these in Part One shortly. I would like to make some updated ones to show the progress. Too bad I mostly examine, criticize and delete most. I will have to change that strategy so I can show myself and others the possible progress through proper practice.

Somewhere in between finishing grade 1 and on to grade 2 I found out about JG’s OM’s that the community run!! Well now I had to be a part of that I thought! So I made my introduction(above link) and made a quick posting of a song

so I could participate! That was almost a year ago. I felt I wasn’t up to the task and my repertoire was fleeting. Hard time picking songs, had 70 or more at the time I wanted to learn. This is my first AVOYP. A lil sloppy and a few other things! I’m sure I can do better now. Even not being familiar with the song.

Here is the new version I would play today. I know you are suppose to use chips for playing reggae, however I am not versed in this yet!! Soooo, since I am currently consolidating grade 2 mod 12 and 13, I figured I would put that Palm muting practice into a complete song. Working on a couple of others as well, Green Day-Basket Case and Blink 182- All the small things. Just so happens they are 2 songs I really love Other videos down the road. I only practiced for a couple of days. I finally found the rhythm and right chords a quarter of the way through. Kept the rhythm anyways and doesn’t sound too bad. :slightly_smiling_face::love_you_gesture:

Dman , Darren


Hi Darren,

Great start to your log! It sounds like you have a really good practice routine in place. Rhythm is definitely king when it comes to music and I think the time you are spending developing those skills will definitely pay dividends down the road :+1: :guitar:

Don’t be afraid of posting those early videos! I have a couple short clips in my (shamefully infrequently updated) learning log of the very first day I got my guitar and I was trying to play a couple chords. Although I didn’t know my husband was filming me at the time, I’m glad he did because I can look back on them now and see exactly how far I have come.

Looking forward to your future updates!

Hello Jennifer!

Thank you. It seems to be paying off iny opinion. Needs more work but way better than before.

It’s not that I am afraid. In fact it’s a super Uber doober way of picking out things you normally wouldn’t have noticed. Like a clicky plectrum on the guitar guard! Fixed that problem!! Lol. It’s that I don’t upload them to my u-tube account. I watch, criticize and then delete!! Luckily I have a few I can go to.That is now changing!! Will make the effort to keep more of those. Never thought I would be doing this write-up. Now that material would really come in handy!


Part II

Alright, on to part II! Since I have started off with the first AVOYP I ever put out. I thought it would be a good Idea to revisit those songs that I posted and post some new updated versions!! Both of these songs I have been practicing for awhile now and am curious if they sound any better than before. This should be a good judgement for me. There will be one major difference. They will either be play alongs, or with backing tracks. Depends on the song and how comfortable I am singing and keeping rhythm for the song. Here are the next 2 that I have put up on AVOYP. I am not one for putting up alot of AVOYP’s and have recently decided not too unless I know the song well. Except of course for scientific purposes!!! Lol

These 2 songs are part of my repertoire. What’s up is one I can play when I would like. Runaway train is one that is one level above the campfire songs. I know it quite well and have played it numerous times but I can’t play it by heart yet.

Test number 3 was successful!! Lol. It will make sense when you watch the video. Oh my.

Here is the.newer version of 4 non blondes - what’s up, after much practice.

After some consideration and because of a comment @HappyCat made on my Stir Up Up by Bob Marley play along. (I have posted all my new updated videos of revisits to my original AVOYP posts.) He made a comment that it seems to be more difficult to play without a backing track. Now ,I think that this is true if you do not know the song well. But then again, if it is imbedded well into the musical memory, you should be able to do the same thing without. I find it can be trickier sometimes to play with the band, you have to concentrate on more than just you. However trying to keep a good rhythm, accents and on beats can be more tricky without the backing track. In the end I believe it might be, just how well do you know it?? This is my latest take on 4-non blondes - what’s up. No backing track and me singing this time. Still needs work, but man I believe I have gotten better at this one!!

Now, in order for me to play What’s Up right, there were a few stages to this. The first was to get that strumming pattern down correctly. So off to practicing. I believe I practiced this from 3-5 mins.

Where I was practicing about 1 year ago.

I notice at this point I have no accents on anything! Not even muting strings in this practice? Interesting, apparently at this point it was not on the practice board. Oh the beginning phases!

There must be consolidation! So, I will get a video of that sooooon! :slight_smile:

Dman, Darren


Strumming is smooth and fluent, keeping a steady rhythm, clean chords, and smooth changes in all the recordings, Darren. Keep working what I assume is a full-barre F chord in the second song. I liked some of the accents and dynamics in the What’s Up playalong.

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Yes indeed it is a full F chord! I’m glad you spotted it! It’s still a chord I am practicing! One of which I have struggled with to get it right. Still not always a solid hit, but I have gotten a bit better since then.

Thank you for your kind words. Accents and rhythm are something I work on alot. I am still not 100% happy with the accents and dynamics. But once again, enough practice and it will flow naturally. I still consciously catch myself falling off the board every now and again. Need it to be unconscious and just happen, I’ll get there


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Nice playing! You know open chords and strum patterns. It sounds good to me. Just work on F chord. When I was learning barre chords, I was playing 8 different chords, 3 minutes each. Then I increased time to 5 minutes each. it is 45 minutes. When you start to learn it, you can play it from 5 to 7 fret, or where your guitar is the easiest to press. When you master it, try to play it on other frets. That shape is the hardest to play on the first fret. If it is too hard, then detune your guitar semitone, 2 3 4 semitones. If your hand becomes too tired and you can’t press, then take a break multiple hours, or till tomorrow. Watch tutorials. And also when you press that shape, test if every string gives clean sound. Play string by string, then all strings then string by string. Do it 4 minutes. When you lift your hand take something like a pencil, door knob, or touch your leg etc. too restart your hand, and press that chord again at different position, do it 4 minutes. Press it one whole minute. Do it with stop watch. Be careful where you put your thumb. You do not want that your pinky starts to hurt. Bend your index finger and don’t let it to stick out to much, because when you change from F shaped barre chords to A shaped barre chords you want to mute E string with tip of your index finger. You want minimal movement there to increase speed while you change chords.

When I was learning barre chords, my pinky was hurting sometimes. Maybe those 5 minutes ( 45 for 8 shapes ) were too much. Maybe my thumb was in bad position. Don’t do it too much and don’t do it every day. Watch tutorial, ask other people for advice. Ask somebody that you know in real life and online.

Don’t give up. Barre chords are not for talented people, they are for people that don’t give up.

Maybe my approach was to long. Maybe 3 minutes are enough. I will l repeat again, watch tutorials to see how long you should play.

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Hello again @Metal123 ! Thank you very much. I practice alot with rhythm and strumming. It has been paying off!!

Practicing perfectly I am! My F chord has been in practice for quit some time now. It has become better and an updated video will be out soon enough to go along with this learning log. I know my six big notes and can move around and find my notes on these 2 strings pretty well(string 5 and string 6). Once you understand the note circle and practice quite a few power chords I can find the bar chords easier because of it. Power chords are considerably easier to hit, except the muting the proper strings and great to build up that muscle in between thumb and index finger. However this also took me some practice and is still in the practice routine as well. Will be for some time. I practice all on acoustic.

The only parts of the practice routine that would be 5 mins or more would be practice on solo routines of songs I already know chord structure well and practice rhythm strumming while muted before I play a song. The rest are 1-3 mins long.


I learned power chords in high school. I was playing them with 2 fingers. I had band, we played in friend’s garage. People started to come to see what we do. They would listen to few songs an then go. One guy laughed and imitated me, because I was playing power chords with 2 fingers. I started to play them with 3 fingers. Now I know that both is correct. Power chord are in module 2. I will check, if I play them correctly, when I arrive to that module. I think that I play them correctly.

Do you know how to play octaves? It is similar to power chords, just do not play fifth. For example press 3 on 5th string and 5 on 3rd string.

Also try this 7th fret 5ths string, 9th fret 4th string, 11th fret 3rd string. Move it on the neck. It is used in Message in the bottle.

Power chords sound good when you use distortion and palm mute.

In drop D tuning and all other drop tunings, you can play power chords with one finger on strings 6 5 4.

Also this is good idea: Play 0 on 6th sting, 7 on 5th string, 9 on 4th and 3rd strings, if you are in standard tuning. if you are in drop tuning, play 0 on 6th string and same power chord on strings 5 4 and 3, just 2 frets lower.

Curt Cobain played power chords like A shaped barre chords, when you barre stings with ring finger. Sometimes they sounded like major chords, when root note was on 5th string, and when root note was on 6th string they sounded sometimes like sus4 chords.

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Since I haven’t posted anything here for awhile. I felt I should make a quick update. Alot is changing…

So, firstly I haven’t missed a single live lesson yet! Except for 1 that I caught the last half hour, I wasn’t overly happy, keep my phone with me is what I learned.! Lol Anyways, I could not be happier that Justin has decided to do this and hope enough of us are donating to keep it going! I am almost ashamed to say I haven’t donated for awhile. But I have in the past and plan to end of this month. :grinning::+1: .

Because of these lessons I feel I have to completely overhaul my Song book and practice sessions. So I am going to be keeping on posting videos and updates of this journey, however I must prioritize first!! To me that starts with getting all my ducks in a row. With limited time on my hands A.T.M. It has been difficult to reorganize my songs in a proper order, get the chord structures in place for songs I’m not familiar with. Heck even the ones I do know I find myself wanting to to have it just right in case in helps someone else. Easy to photocopy for someone. Get my theory study in there and all the other factors. Not alone to mention, starting to come up with a solid lesson plan for beginners that is fashioned around Justin’s and all the teachers ways and the numerous comments from students here(including myself) here and combining them to what Should make an excellent foundation. Ah, yes…so I just revealed one of my long term goals. Teaching guitar, however I need to start somewhere and since beginning stages can last awhile I should be able to work them through it with a proper routine and practice with teaching. Now I do have some teaching skills, in a way, a was I supervisor at a shop for years and was the man that trained the peeps. So I do know the approach and am comfortable I have the listening skills required.

Alright. My mind is cleared. Updates to come.

Rock On!

Part II continued

I decided to put some time in on my journal as I have some time to do so. I wanted to consolidate my strumming practice for What’s up, so came up with a lil video.

I explain all in the video so I won’t ramble on any further. Thanks again @JustinGuitar & Team!

Next on the board is Soul Asylum - Runaway Train

My original F chord practice song, some great changes between F barre, Am , Em and let’s not forget a slash chord C/G and what the heck, let’s throw a rock G chord in there as well!!! Good practice in my opinion, it’s also a song I love. I pick the ones I love!

And to keep with what I said, one without backing track and on my only acoustic guitar.

Rock on!

Ok then. Time for a lil more journal entries, this is actually getting out in the back burner a lil more these days I have noticed.

This is due to the direction that I have put myself in on my guitar journey as well as life aspects. I was trying to account for this and I am pretty much still on my course to get there. I have had to make priorities as mentioned before.

So they are:

  1. Don’t stop practicing rhythm(Songs, songs, songs)
  2. Theory Grade 3 in course…still looking at 2 in spots. Really need to know this.(Teaching especially, playing not so much right now, but yes) :crazy_face:
    3)Chord structure re vamp, practice schedule and coming up with super Beginner course structure and logistics(making alot of changes and just about there)I will eventually post my Weekly schedule, could very well be a 2 week rotating thing. I will see.
    3)Making videos and scrutinizing myself alot. Have alot of stuff on my U-tube channel. Recently made it public. What the heck. My guitar journey!
    4)Consolidate grade 2.
    5)Anything blues related more advanced than grade 2.(bends, vibrato, patterns, licks)
    6)Practice teaching while doing my practice sessions and posting on U-tube. Also practicing video editing this way.(Making consolidation video series for grade one)
    7)Really thinking of possible schooling.

I believe that is where I stand right now. For now, expectations and time frame seems possible for goals I have set for this year. Happy there!

O.M.'s I have not accomplished that goal as of yet. I have more than a few songs tucked in the corner to pull out when required. There are a few songs I won’t post just yet on social platforms. I have played these for others though on several occasions. Not the same as O.M., but certainly a step in the right direction I believe.

Rock on!


I still don"t have a complete practice routine in, place, but I have been assigning 2 hours song playing(focus on practicing rhythm), 1 hour theory and 1 hour practice riffs and techniques in 2 days. I keep that in rotation and have a list of items I want to get checked off.

I also have allotted 3 hours a week to a holistic practice songs and techniques that need to be worked on.

This list changes daily, another step in the rigjt direction I’m hoping. Seems to be heloing me keep a descent schedule till I get caught up in quite a bit of housework.

Loving the journey still though!! Although I did seem a hit a plateau for a bit, I seem to have been able to get by it!! Mostly by challenging myself, not getting frustrated, if I did. I moved on to other things or took a break and being patient with myself.

I also tend to take at least one day that I don’t touch the guitar, maybe 2 on the off weeks.

Seems to be working for me so far. So I’m a gonna keep it up!

Rock on!