dobleA's Learning Log

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” - Zig Ziglar

“To achieve a dream, you have to dream it first.” - dobleA

Hi everyone, here I am with my learning log to set a roadmap for what is ahead in my guitar journey so I can implement a cycle of plan, execute, and evaluate, and make adjustments along the road. I will also share my work-in-progress to seek some feedback, and send a message in a bottle if I am stuck on something.

2022-04-05 (catch-up entry)

I had a scheduled medical procedure, and I will be for a couple of weeks limiting my physical activity, including playing the :guitar::neutral_face:.

2022-04-12 (catch-up entry)

After a week of not using my cell phone or the tablet, I am increasing the use, alternating it with resting and watching some YT videos in the TV.

I have had some time to fool around with the GarageBand app in the tablet, and is a more serious software that I had thought :thinking:.

2022-04-19 (catch-up entry)

No hands on the :guitar: yet. My wife and I are taking a very cautious approach with my recovery.

It has been very good to have some time for working on planning my guitar journey, watching some YT guitar lessons, including Justinguitar ones, and watching nicely played music, including nicely played guitar, very uplifting and inspiring.

I am also reviewing the lessons of the new beginner course to see if some of the new content can be useful for me. So far the riffs are bookmarked for having some fun with them.

2022-04-26

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” - Zig Ziglar

After looking some of the learning logs already posted, and watching Justinguitar videos about setting the goals for guitar learning, here is the roadmap for what I would like to be ahead in my guitar journey.

Note: Click the triangle or the three dots to see more under each header.

Where I come from?

...

I am a Level 8 student of the Justinguitar Beginner Guitar Course [Classic].

I received private guitar lessons for a total of 3 years starting in 1982 when I was 15.

I learnt to accompany traditional Colombian and Mexican songs playing a nylon string guitar.

I got a second hand electric guitar to make some noise, but I never played an actual song with it.

A monthly guitar magazine was published for a while in the late eighties in Colombia.

Each issue consisted mostly of the lyrics and chords for songs in Spanish although it also included at least one in English.

With what I learnt from the private guitar lessons, I was able to try some of the songs in the magazine.

I just played the songs the best I could without memorizing or mastering them.

My guitar playing got interrupted for several years when I moved to Canada without a guitar.

I got a guitar again when my sister and my then brother-in-law gave me an acoustic one as a birthday gift.

I played the guitar only occasionally because I did not have my songbooks with me.

In 2018 I brought my songbooks from Colombia and bought a Hal Leonard guitar method and started following it.

That year also I got an electric guitar as a Christmas gift from my wife.

YT, and the internet in general, became an important source of guitar learning.

At some point in 2020 I started following the lessons in the Justinguitar YT playlist for the beginner guitar course.

After a few hesitant visits to the Justinguitar website, I gave up and signed up to use the tools.

In 2021 I started donating to help to keep the engine running for all.

At the end of last year I bought two Justin Guitar books about sight reading and one Justin Guitar/Hal Leonard songbook.

In 2022 I started to participate in the community side of Justinguitar.

To do that I first presented myself to the community with a longer and more detailed where I come from.

Andrés. - beginner guitarist for 40 years saying Hi from Kitchener, ON Canada

Second after my presentation I did my debut in the AVOYP section with Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind (link here and further below).

Blowin’ In The Wind Cover by dobleA and more

Where I want to be in 10 years?

...

I want to be able to play for family, friends, and myself as a sing along one man band using electronic accompaniment in addition to my own guitar playing (and singing).

I want to have my repertoire of rhythm guitar (and singing) songs increased to 100.

I want to have my repertoire of finger style songs increased to 20.

I want to be able to play 10 basic versions of classical pieces or fully fledged études.

I want to be able to play at least one fully fledged classical piece.

Where I want to be in 5 years?

...

I want to have my repertoire of rhythm guitar (and singing) songs increased to 50.

I want to have my repertoire of finger style songs increased to 10.

I want to be able to play 5 basic versions of classical pieces or fully fledged études.

I want to be able to sight read sixteenth notes from 1st to 6th string (frets 1 to 12).

I want to be able to make music tracks and videos of professional quality.

I want to be fluent in computer generated music.

Where I want to be in 3 years?

...

I want to have my repertoire of rhythm guitar (and singing) songs increased to 30.

I want to have my repertoire of finger style songs increased to 6.

I want to be able to play 3 basic versions of classical pieces.

I want to have completed a couple of original songs ideas I have in mind.

I want to be able to sight read eighth notes from 1st to 6th string (frets 1 to 12).

I want to be doing the Justinguitar advanced guitar courses.

I want to be able to make music tracks and videos of decent quality.

I want to be conversant in computer generated music.

Where I want to be in 1 year?

...

I want to have my repertoire of rhythm guitar (and singing) songs increased to 10.

I want to have my repertoire of finger style songs increased to 2.

I want to be able to play a basic version of a classic piece.

I want to be able to sight read quarter notes from 1st to 6th string (frets 1 to 4).

I want to be doing the Justinguitar intermediate guitar courses.

I want to have completed JUSTIN ear training exercises S6 to S9.

I want to have learnt the basics of music tracks and video edition.

I want to have learnt the basics of computer generated music.

Where I want to be in 6 months?

...

I want to have added three rhythm guitar (and singing) songs to my repertoire. I have some in mind.

I want to be able to play decently one short finger style piece in the acoustic guitar and in the electric with FXs. I am already working on that.

I want to have finished Level 9 of Justinguitar Beginner Guitar Course [Classic]. For that, I am reviewing the lessons and setting up my practice items.

I want to have completed JUSTIN ear training exercises S2 to S4. I am currently doing exercise S2.

What gear I have in my backpack for the journey?

...

All my gear is budget friendly, just the minimum needed to support my learning needs. If I outgrow any component, then I will upgrade it.

  • Acoustic guitar: Art & Lutherie Cedar GT

This model is no longer produced. Does that mean that I own a vintage guitar? :blush:.

  • Electric guitar: Yamaha EG112C (probably the Costco reference of the EG112GPII that as per Yamaha, it is equivalent to a Pacifica 012)

So far I am happy with the sound of this guitar.

  • Guitar amplifier: Yamaha GA-15

I usually practice with the clean channel volume knob set in the middle (and play around with the tune knobs).

I would have liked this amp had the AUX IN input the GA-15II model has, but otherwise it does the job.

  • Guitar Effects: NUX MG-200 Guitar Modeling Processor with an M-Audio EX-P Universal Expression Pedal.

I have not really spent much time digging in all the options. It is basically an enhanced multi effect pedal with a built-in drum machine. It has the AUX IN input the amp is missing.

It has 36 preset tones to have fun with and 36 custom tones, that initially duplicates the preset ones but each one can be fully customizable. This model is discontinued.

The only custom tone that I have created is one with no effects, Control 1 (built-in toggle button) set up to activate the compression, and Control 2 (external expression pedal) set up to control the volume. Sometimes I edit this custom tone and activate the noise gate. Now that I think of it, I should save this later setting as and adjacent custom tone to switch more easily between them :thinking:.

The built-in drum machine has 72 preset rhythms, distributed across 8 several musical genres, plus 9 metronome time signatures.

My initial interest in the drum machine was using it to help me with the rhythm, but nowadays I just use the metronome for that. I am planning to use it for the Level 9 introduction to blues improvisation (in addition to record myself doing 12 bar blues rhythm and looping it).

The expression pedal is all plastic, but if you do not jump or put all your weight on it, it should not break with normal use.

Expression Pedal Demo (2020)

  • Microphone: two Emerson microphones of a karaoke set for children that my daughter no longer uses. I have tried to use them to increase my voice level when I have felt my voice overpowered by the electric guitar, but I get shy and red-cheeked of hearing my voice amplified :face_with_hand_over_mouth:.

  • Microphone stand: Ohuhu Tripod Boom Microphone Stand

It can hold two microphones and is very adjustable, but definitely it is not a heavy duty gig oriented piece of equipment.

  • Audio mixer: Moukey S(4-Stereo) Mini Audio Mixer.

I get some static when I use this, but I have not identified if it comes from the mixer itself or from any of the connected devices.

  • Headphones: wired closed back ear muffs just as Justin advises to use. I use them sometimes for silent (low noise) practice. I connect the ear muffs to the amp or the modeller (cable is long enough) and put wired ear buds under the muffs to hear the songs or the metronome played in the cell or the tablet (cable is not long enough! [something got lit in my brain writing this and I ordered an extension]).

  • Tuner: Guitartuna app for the acoustic and a chromatic Korg tuner for the electric.

  • Metronome: Guitartuna app.

  • Notebook :notebook_with_decorative_cover:, pencil :pencil2:, and eraser: I can use technology, but :writing_hand: with my :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed: and my :eyes: looking at it is a different dimension for me.

Hopefully my little notes do not infringe any copyright :flushed:.

What gear I could need (want) in the future?

...
  • A nylon string guitar. The Yamaha SLG200NW Silent Guitar looks interesting (although out of my budget comfort zone), kind of Sci-Fi, like the cellos 2Cellos sometimes play. I would have to try it first.

  • A two humbucker guitar. The Epiphone SG Special Satin E1 looks interesting and within my budget comfort zone. Vintage walnut would be my preferred finish for that one.

  • A better quality microphone(s).

  • An audio interface.

Repertoire

...
  • Songs that I can play rhythm guitar (and sing) fluently from memory:
  1. Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind
  • Songs that I can play rhythm guitar (and sing) fluently reading lyrics and chords:
  1. Saber que vendrás (mass song in Spanish based on the music of Blowin’ in the wind) - Same post than Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind
  2. Los peces en el río (Christmas carol in Spanish)
  3. A la nanita nana (Christmas carol in Spanish)
  • Songs I am working on how to play rhythm guitar (and sing):
  1. Elvis Presley’s Don’t Be Cruel
  2. The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine
  • Songs I am planning to work on how to play rhythm guitar (and sing):
  1. Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love
  2. The Beatles’ Love Me Do
  3. America’s A Horse With No Name
  • Finger style songs that I can play fluently from memory:

None

  • Finger style songs that I can play fluently reading some type of musical notation:

None

  • Finger style songs I am working on:
  1. Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther Theme (basic version)
  • Finger style songs I am planning to work on:
  1. La guaneña (traditional Colombian Song)
  • Classical pieces that I can play fluently from memory:

None

  • Classical pieces that I can play fluently reading some type of musical notation:

None

  • Classical pieces I am working on:

None

  • Classical pieces I am planning to work on:
  1. Isaac Albeniz’s Asturias (basic version)
  2. George Bizet’s Habanera of Carmen (basic version)

Software

...
  • Software I currently use:
  1. Guitartuna running on an LG 7 cell phone (simple to use app).
  2. Dolby On running on an LG 7 cell phone (simple to use app).
  3. Audacity for windows running on a PC (very basic knowledge of how to use it).
  4. GarageBand running on an iPad (very basic knowledge of how to use it).
  • Software I could need (want) to use in the future:
  1. DaVinci Resolve

That’s the plan, now hands on the :guitar:; see you in six months :wave:t3: (joking).

Log’s Updates

...
  1. 2022-05-10 Started Level 9 of Beginner Guitar Course [Classic]
  2. 2022-05-24 Slow progress with A minor pentatonic scale patterns and 12 Bar Blues variations
  3. 2022-06-07 Don’t Be Cruel cover posted
  4. 2022-07-05 The Pink Panther Theme cover posted
4 Likes

That was a great read, thanks for sharing. I’m amazed at how detailed your goals are. Writing down one’s goals is a great way to kick off achieving them.

What an impressive update, Andrés. You seem all set up. All I can do is to say enjoy it, keep us posted, and I look forward to more recordings as you progress.

A very detailed log Andrés. The only thing I can add is to remember to enjoy learning guitar. Goals are important of course but the main thing is to have fun.

Looking forward to more from you in the future.

As Gordon ^^^^^ said, “Goals are important of course but the main thing is to have fun.“
This is the most important thing, if you’re not having fun you won’t stick it.

Thanks Tony. Yes, writing the goals has been very well used time for me. It is not a straightjacket. If I achieve them sooner is good. I’ll set new ones. If it takes me more time is good. I would be still playing guitar.

Thanks David. I think the next recording will be Elvis Presley’s Don’t Be Cruel, with all downs strumming that is the only pattern I can play it and sing.

1 Like

Thanks Gordon and Darrel. Yes, at the end is all about playing the guitar, the lessons, the practice, learning a new song, are just excuses for grabbing the guitar, in case I needed one. I do not see me singing if I do not play the guitar, I do not see me editing an audio or video if I am not included in it playing the guitar.

1 Like

2022-05-10

Last weekend I started my Level 9 Beginner Guitar Course [Classic] practice.

I’m having my 40 minute practice routine of the lessons split into two 20 minute sessions. Saturdays are for finger style accompaniment patterns and scales, and Sundays are for chords and strumming patterns.

After each day’s practice of the lessons, I spend from 10 to 20 minutes playing songs I know and practicing new ones I’m learning.

I still have some Level 8 and below practice items in my routine to consolidate them and for a warm-up before practicing the Level 9 items.

In addition, I’m reviewing my F#m and Bm chords to correct my finger placement on them as @DavidP advised me in regard to my Saber que vendras post in the AVOYP section.

I’m practicing my slash chords included in the chord sequences Justin says they are often part of.

It looks it won’t take me very long to play decently the finger style accompaniment patterns introduced in Level 9. I’m looking forward to use T, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 with Can’t Help Falling in Love in the near future.

It looks it’ll take me a while to play decently the Am scale patterns introduced in Level 9. For the blues improvisation, I think that it should be more fluid once the patterns are wired up in my brain.

I am not satisfied with my 12 bar blues. I don’t think I’m feeling the rhythm, just playing the patterns mechanically. I’m planning to try practicing with some of the blues rhythms of the drum machine of the modeller as backing track.

At this point I prefer work on a single new song. I’m working now on Elvis Presley’s Don’t’ Be Cruel. I’ve memorized the structure and the lyrics. I practice separately singing the lyrics only and playing the chords only without the lyrics (Verse: 4 bars of D, 2 bars of G, 2 bars of D and so on) and after that I give it a try to the whole thing. I wanted to play a bass line for the intro I saw somewhere but it looks is beyond my current skills. I’m using the DUDUDUDU strumming pattern Justin suggests in the app. My songbook suggests to use as rhythm a variation of the “old faithful” with an up strum at the end, but I can’t sing and play with that rhythm. I’m trying to speed up the rhythm but I do not think 161 b.p.m. is within my reach now so I’ll settle for whatever I feel comfortable playing and singing.

In parallel to the Level 9 practice, I’m reviewing the lessons of the current Beginner Guitar Course Grades 1 and 2. Just a quick look for now, later, when there is a chance, I’m planning to include in my practice routine the new content of those grades to strengthen my guitar foundations.

1 Like

2022-05-24

A minor pentatonic scale patterns are giving me more trouble than I expected. For my next practice I will work only on one them, ascending and descending, and give more practice time to each of them.

12 bar blues variations are also more difficult for me than I expected. For my next practice I will do the same than with the scale patterns, one variation at the time and more practice time for just that one.

Slash chords and other chords are in due course.

Don’t be cruel is sounding good intro to verse 2 and bridge, not so good after that. I think is a dynamics issue. I think after I increased my volume for the bridge I stayed like that for the rest of the song. I have to pay more attention to my strumming volume. A least I have now a reference of how I would like it to sound. I am not sure if playing standing up played a role. I felt comfortable doing so despite being the first time with this song.

After a while not playing the electric I played it yesterday. Some phrases of The Pink Panther Theme sounded good once I adjusted my finger force to be as subtle as possible. I am using the Opto Tremolo preset of the modeller. It gives a organ like sound playing this song.

1 Like

Wow, Andres. Your consistency and attention to detail are taking you far. It’s neat that you inspire yourself with goals the way that you do.

And neat acoustic! I’ve heard such great things about Art & Lutherie guitars. Wishing you continued progress at “Don’t Be Cruel” along with your other goals. Blessings!

1 Like

2022-06-07

Last week I was satisfied enough with the progress of my Don’t Be Cruel cover to post it in the AVOYP section.

Don’t Be Cruel Cover by dobleA

Both the encouragement and improvement geared replies to that post were highly appreciated. I shared the video also in my siblings chat and my younger brother (my older brother in musical things because he has a PhD in music) prepared for me an audio with a beat count per bar on top a sample of my guitar playing; it happened that sometimes I played three or five beats per bar instead of the four that I should be doing. That may have caused what @sairfingers noticed, that some phrases were starting too early.

Yesterday’s new video of Justin is titled Perfectly Starts Slowly. Coincidentally, last practice I went to the basics with Don’t Be Cruel and played the chord sequence slowly and counting beats. I did the same with Yellow Submarine that I’m starting a more focused practice. I practiced the basic chords sequence of this last song with all downs (as my brother had suggested me to start practicing it some time ago). The idea is to have the chord sequence automated before working more on the other strumming patterns that can be used with the song, and before working on how to play and sing it better.

I’m now playing the Pink Panther Theme in the electric with a better control of the sound and a better tone. It may be my next AVOYP post.

My scale patterns and 12 bar blues variations are improving faster once I focused on one at the time with more practice time on each.

Playing the basic 12 Bar Blues rhythm along with a blues rhythm of the modeller’s built-in drum machine has been good experience for me as I do not have the feeling of the blues ingrained. I do not know if I am going to get it, but at least I felt that I’m playing it less mechanically.

3 Likes

2022-07-05

After my latest round of focused practice with The Pink Panther Theme I am able to play it in the electrical guitar from memory with few stumbles and some feeling, but I have to work on how to use better the drum machine accompaniment.

The Pink Panther Theme Cover by dobleA

I’ll keep practicing The Pink Panther Theme working in the rhythm accompaniment, but my focused practice subject will now be Yellow Submarine.

Last weekends have been busy with good life stuff so the Level 9 practice has not happened, but I’ve managed to find time for playing songs that I know and practicing songs that I’m working on.

Last Friday I played and sung again Don’t Be Cruel after a couple of sessions practicing the chord changes slowly and counting beats without singing and I felt a better feeling of the timing, at least more aware of when I may be skipping or adding beats.

2 Likes

2022-07-19

Last two weekends I’ve been able to do the Level 9 practice as well as the song practice. I finally understood the pattern in the first two minor pentatonic pattern exercises, but only after paying attention to the notes in each triplet instead of trying to read four notes when they are in groups of three. I was also able to play 12-Bar Blues along with blues style drums not only with the basic pattern but also with variations 1 and 2 (at a lower speed). After last practice I archived some items of my practice routine that are not longer necessary, and added one more minor pentatonic pattern exercise and one more 12-Bar Blues variation for the next practice session.

I’ve continued reviewing the revamped beginner course lessons to check what could be worthy for me to spend some time after finishing the Classic Beginner Course. I am already incorporating the lesson about common chord progressions in my strumming practice. Using progressions different than I-IV-V has brought fresh air to my strumming practice and created an opportunity to practice some barre chords. I’ve also given a try to the beginner hamner-ons that I may need for a classical piece I want to play.

Yellow Submarine practice is progressing very slow. Automation of the chord changes has not happened. Last weekend I created a practice backing track using GarageBand and tried to play the chord changes from memory, playing the first verse over and over. I had very small success this first time but it looks very promising strategy. Also I remembered that I had to keep my arm moving even if I am not touching the strings so that, that was a source of distraction in my last practice, should in the longer term help me to keep track of where I am in the bar. As I see it, although the song has its level of difficulty, the song is just showing my current weaknesses with keeping the beat count while strumming that makes harder to synchronize the chord changes and vocals while keeping the groove.

I started practicing the short basic version of Asturias that I want to play. Overall I think I have a better idea now of how I can play it in comparison to earlier attempts. I’ve watched a few YT videos of some pros playing it, Sharon Isbin, Ana Vidovic, John Williams, and the master of masters, Andrés Segovia, between others. For this song I am using the classical guitar sitting posture, guitar sitting on my left leg and using a foot stool I already had. If the posture works well for me, I will use it for other classical pieces that may attempt. For now I am just looping the first phrase that is to be repeated three times only when played for real. My pinky is having an intense workout with this piece.

2 Likes

Nice update Andres and you’ve obviously got some nice direction of what you need to practice, more importantly, where you want to get to. I’ll be really interested to hear how you progress with the classical style work, it’s not an area I know much about at all really!
Best wishes :+1:

1 Like

Sounds like all is moving along well, Andres. Thanks for the update and keep at it.