dobleA's Learning Log

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:

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


Last weekend I was able to do some Level 9 practice after several weekends of not doing it. Last practice was August 6. Our daughter moving to Canada’s Atlantic Coast for a master degree and my brother coming to visit from Finland left no space for my regular weekend practice, but first things are first.

Still, after reading again my previous post, I can see that I managed to make some progress, specially with the songs. With Yellow Submarine I was able to do the chord progression along with the backing track with quarter strumming on beats 1and 4 for Verse 1 and four eights and two quarters strumming for Verse 2, at 84 b.p.m., practicing each verse separately four times in a row. At the suggestion of my brother I split my GarageBand backing track of drums in two tracks so I could control the volume of the open hi-hat separated from the kick drum and later I decided to do the same with the snare drum and put it in a separate track. Last Saturday I started practicing Verse 1, Verse 2 and Chorus in sequence to have the strumming pattern changes incorporated in the equation.

Asturias is going well. First 7 bars of 70 (simplified short version) are memorized. I am learning the next two bars. I am playing it very slowly, playing the sixteenth notes as eight notes. It is a long term goal, but I may post something when I can play at least twelve bars.

Habanera has been harder for me than Asturias when is marked the opposite in the YT channel I am following for classical pieces. It has triplets and hamner-ons. At the suggestion of my brother, I started to practice it without the bass notes. So far I think it was a good advice as it is something less to get tangled with. Once I am more fluid with what’s happening with strings 1, 2 and 3, I can add the bass notes.

I finished quick reviewing the Beginner Grades 1 and 2 lessons. Not room yet to incorporate selected content in my current practice other than the chord progressions mentioned in my previous post. I gave a try to the beginner hamner-ons exercise and my hamner-ons are in better shape than I expected.

Now to get the most of my practice time till the next pause in October for holidays in Colombia.

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My holidays in Colombia got postponed due to getting COVID-19. Fortunately it was not as bad as it could be and my wife and I have just remnant symptoms slowly disappearing. We’ll give it a try to travelling again this month.

Level 9 practice has happened but progress has been slow.

Yellow submarine is going well. I’m now practicing strumming verses 1 and 2, and chorus and singing verse 1. If I try to sing verse 2 also, my strumming gets derailed so I need more practice on automating that four eights and two quarters strumming. For the last bar of verse 2 I have to think thrice to do the six eights and one quarter strumming and fall in time with the four down strumming of the chorus. So far a big progress from not being able to do the chord progression correctly more than once.

I unearthed my 40 years old notebook of my in person lessons (for some reason I had the idea that I didn’t have it) and last weekend that was long weekend played the first three songs I learnt. I didn’t practice beforehand, just put the notebook on the music stand and hit record. The bass and chord rhythm, and the chord changes were fine but my alternating bass was somewhat rusted. Vocals for the first two were awful but I liked the third one. At least this time I didn’t get cough like Sunday when I tried to sing Don’t Be Cruel.

Chords for these three songs are a I-IV-V progression but the fifth is played as a 7th chord. We actually played E7 as a regular E to simplify and we did not differentiate between major and minor 7th. I did not really know the theory at that time. I just played the chords I was indicated, the main and the second. For C and B7 we fretted the sixth string when playing it. I do not remember if that way of writing down the chords in chord boxes was my own way or the teacher’s way. All three songs are very popular Mexican rancher’s songs (the equivalent of American country music).

Ella (She)

“…She didn’t want to listen me. If their lips opened were to tell me I don’t love you anymore…”

I remember having a hard time keeping a steady 1, 2, 3 rhythm.

El rey (The King)

“…with money or without money I do whatever I want and my word is the law…”

This was a step up, having a rhythm change from bass and one chord to bass and two chords and back.

Renunciación (Renunciation)

“…if only affliction I cause you my life I’ll leave from your presence even if my heart hurts…”

And now it was D, 2nd of D (A7) and G.

I’m now practicing bars 1 to 15 of Asturias. Long way to be able to keep a steady rhythm for those additional 8 bars.

Habanera is getting better. I’ve been focusing on the note length of the triplets and a note that plays as 8th with a dot the first time and repeats as a sixteenth the second time.

P.S. I do not know why in the videos I was checking my chords and right hand position as if I was doing it for the first time :upside_down_face:.


Good update Andres. Keeping at it!

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After my holidays in Colombia and reconnecting with the Andean mountains, I realized that six months have passed since starting my learning log and that an assessment against my six month goals may be worthy.

First some background:

It has been four years and one month since I bought a Hal Leonard guitar method and started what I consider my third phase of guitar learning. I haven’t dumped it at all and once in a while I get back to it (the same than a Reader’s Digest course from the library). I spent about twenty-one months using the books and whatever material I could find useful in the internet (I estimate about 100 hours of not so structured but more or less regular practice in that twenty-one month period).

It has been two year and four months since I registered in the Justin Guitar website and set up my practice routine to go through the lessons of the Beginner Guitar Course [Classic] (I estimate about 200 hours of structured regular practice in that twenty-eight month period).

As stated above, It has been six months since I started my learning log (I estimate abut 50 hours of structured regular practice during that specific time [already included in the 200 hours above mentioned]).

In those six months I’ve achieved the following:

I added Elvis’ Don’t Be Cruel to my repertoire and I’m working on Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and a song for the Open Mic XII. The goal was three rhythm guitar (and singing) songs, so I’m a little behind, but the extra work I’ve done with beat count, while working on Yellow Submarine following a backing track, should be useful down the road, while playing other songs, to avoid beat count issues, like the ones I’ve had with Don’t Be Cruel.

I added Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther Theme to my repertoire both with the acoustic, and the electric with effects. An unsuccessful attempt to use a drum beat with this piece led me to dig deeper with GarageBand and being able to create the backing track I’m using for my Yellow Submarine practice. The goal was one finger style piece and it was achieved.

I’m progressing well with two basic versions of classical pieces, Asturias and Habanera. This goal is for the first year so I’m progressing well to achieve and hopefully surpass it.

I signed up to perform at Justin Guitar Community Open Mic XII. This was not a goal so it is a plus.

What I haven’t achieved:

I haven’t finished Level 9 of the Beginner Guitar Course [Classic]. I think that with this level I have less previous knowledge to draw from. Although I’ve heard some Blues before and I’m aware of their presence in other genres that I like, it’s not something I can connect with easily to play it. Also my hand dexterity has progressed very slowly with the A minor pentatonic scale patterns and 12 Bar Blues rhythm pattern variations, least to be able to put some feeling on it. I have no problem with spending a little more time with this level than I’ve spent with previous ones. At the end the goal is learning the skills not how a fast learner I am.

I haven’t completed JUSTIN ear training exercises S2 to S4. The ear training exercises got sidelined due to time constraints. I have to find a time slot for this as anything that can improve my ability to consciously identify the sounds coming from the guitar can improve a lot my musicianship.

My assessment:

I’m satisfied with my progress so far. No changes necessary except to find a weekly time slot for JUSTIN ear training exercises Next assessment to be in April 2023.


Nice update, Andrés. It’s good to read that you setting goals and assessing your progress.

If you haven’t already done so it worth doing a run through of the new Grade 1 and 2 courses. Everything after BC9 Lesson 2 is not covered in the updated beginners grades 1 and 2. So that would be a good point to recap using the new course to make sure you haven’t missed out on any updated learning material.

Those pentatonic scale patterns and 12 bar blues riff variations can be a little bit tricky. As you know practice slowly and accurately and speed will come along in due course. It’s worth noting that neither is covered in the new Beginners course yet. As for the applied fingerstyle patterns lesson that just recently been added to the Grade 3 lessons. So consider yourself already further developing your knowledge and experience in preparation for Grade 3.


Hi James @Socio. Thank you for your advice. I already went through all the content of Grades 1 and 2 and bookmarked all that I think could be useful for my learning as a complement of the Beginner Guitar Course [Classic]. It’s impressive how Justin was able to reinvent a good and friendly course even better and friendlier. Looking forward to try the riffs and so many other things he included. Yes the minor pentatonic scale patterns and 12 bar blues riff variations are tricky. Far more trickier than I expected. So far enjoying trying to master them before attempting some Blues improvisation.

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I successfully participated in JGC OM XII. I was able to play and sing El último beso, Last Kiss Spanish version, the best I can at the moment and the audience received well my performance. I initially planned to use the chords indicated in a magazine I have, but the chords looked to be at odds with the record, so I got help from my brother to get chords and phrasing right. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with Eb7 for my debut at the Justin Guitar Community open mics :smirk:.

I shared a video from two years ago of my daughter and I playing live Los peces en el río (The fishes in the river), a villancico de navidad (Christmas carol) in Spanish. That was my only previous experience playing live (for a virtual audience or else of non close relatives).

My daughter and I successfully participated in JG Xmas Bash 2022. A la nanita nana sounded good despite the volume of the sound of the guitar and my daughter’s voice being a bit low (I may have forgotten to turn off the echo cancellation setting). Unexpectedly sometimes it sounded like there was someone playing a tambourine :upside_down_face:. My wife did a recording while we were playing which sounds more like what I had recorded the night before.

Although having a song performance ready and actually performing it in public are excellent guitar exercises, I think that my Level 9 practice could be needing a little push to be able to move on. I will pause with the open mics for now, but I’m already thinking what I could play for the next one I participate.

One spontaneous comment from the audience during my OM participation was “Not a beginner anymore :)”. I’ve been wondering even before that when I could call myself an intermediate player (other than when in a future I could be doing the intermediate grades of Justin Guitar). My latest thought is that there is not going to be a set date, beginner before that, intermediate after that. I am already fluent at my level with some guitar skills and should be more fluent with others as the time and practice passes by.

The skills that would be making me feel a more advanced player are being able to transcribe and being able to transpose on the fly. Beginner Grade 3 includes some transcription practice so when I graduate from that level I should be on the right path to consider myself an intermediate player. I have still plenty of work ahead finishing Level 9, later exploring select Grade 1 and Grade 2 content and finally consolidating what I would have learnt till that moment.

I surprised myself the other day by being able to play and sing the whole Yellow Submarine song by just looking at the chord sequence, without the lyrics in front of me. It was not planned; I just started with Verse 1, that I was already able to do it that way, and carried on till the end. There are some rough spots yet and this was without the backing track, so I expect some fun when the backing track is back into the equation.

I’ve kept practicing the first fifteen bars of the simplified version of Asturias. My goal is still to post in the AVOYP whenever I feel more fluent with it. I think is time to bring the metronome back in. I had used it at the beginning while learning the first three bars, but after adding more bars there was no point of using it until I could have somewhat memorized them

I almost can play the short version of Habanera from memory. The same than with Asturias now the metronome can be beneficial, in this case to polish the main melody before adding the bass accents.

Once I’m done with Yellow Submarine, and post a video of it, I would like to tackle A Horse With No Name to work on a strumming pattern that spans two bars.

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Great read Andres.
Nice work participating in the JG live performances. And it looks like you have also set some good goals to keep yourself busy on that progression path. Keep it up!

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Despite having some days off of work at the end of December during the holidays, my practice was not as frequent as I expected. Once January started, I was able to go back to my regular practice, weekend 1 hour sessions mostly dedicated to Level 9 exercises with some songs at the end, and four weekday evening 15 minute short practice sessions dedicated to the songs I’m working on.

I’ve been able to find a spot Friday evenings for JUSTIN ear training exercises. I’m growing more confident of what I’m hearing and I expect that in a few sessions I could be as sure of the answers to S2 exercises as I was with the answers to S1 exercises when I verified them. I think Justin has a revamped version of ear training but it won’t hurt doing the old exercises and later the new ones.

In January I started reserving the last weekend of the month for repertoire maintenance, extra work on the songs I’m working on, and exploration. I liked having this songs only weekend.

Yellow Submarine is going well. There is rough spot between Verse 2 and chorus that needs to be improved. Once I have that smoothed I can attempt to play and sing verses 1 and 2, and chorus following the backing track and later add progressively the other sections. Now that I’m getting closer where I want to be, I am practicing the chord sequence of the two first verses and chorus one time for warmup; three times that chord sequence while following the backing track; five times the end of verse 2 and the start of the chorus playing and singing; and one time playing and singing both verses and the chorus without the backing track.

The first twelve bars of Asturias are improving. At least once in a practice session it sounds good but I cannot play it well consistently. I’m still stumbling with some bars. I will practice sets of 3 bars in addition to the whole 12 bars to work on that. I’m feeling almost ready for posting it in the AVYOP section.

With Habanera I’m less doubtful about the notes and being able to put some more attention to the expression and timing. I’m practicing the combined hammer-ons and pull-offs first; next what I call the second phrases that include the hammer-ons and pull-offs; and last the whole fragment with metronome.

Although confirmation is still due next week, I’m already practicing the song I’m planning to play and sing for the JG Open Mic XIV. Luckily I started early as it is proving more challenging that I forecasted. This time I went with purchasing sheet music for the song. With the purchased sheet music I also got the possibility of playing a practice track with an app. I may use the practice track as my backing track; not decided on that yet. For now practicing the rhythm pattern at 60% speed and the singing at 100%.

Edit: I corrected that I bought sheet music for the song I’m practicing for the open mic and not a tab as I had written. The sheet music indicates only the chords for the guitar part and does not provide any other information about fretting and rhythm than a tab would do. The sheet music works for me in this case.



As I felt that I had reached a milestone in my progress with both Asturias and Habanera I posted a combined AVOYP of both. The recording of Habanera with the celullar and an external condenser microphone went straightforward, but the recording of Asturias gave me some trouble until I found that I had to reduce the output level of the preamplifier to avoid clipping. It looks that the bass notes were increasing the sound level to the roof.

I participated in JGC OM XIV. It went well. I was able to stay in sync with the backing track, learnt to play a new rhythm and fret some new chords. I also have now a roadmap that I can use to learn a new song I want to learn. I practiced the song in several ways, i.e. alternated between practicing the whole song and sections of it; alternated between playing rhythm only, rhythm and chords, and rhythm, chords and singing; and alternated between playing with or without the backing track.

Of the steps that Justin advise for learning to play and sing a song, I’ve found very effective for me the exercise of playing the rhythm with the strings muted and singing. I do that once in a practice session before practicing the rhythm with the chord changes and the rhytm with chord changes and singing.

After my participation in the open mic I went back to practice Yellow Submarine and now I am able to play the first two verses and the chorus following the backing track. I can now make this the center of my practice with this song.

I’ll be dedicating some time in weekdays to the minor pentatonic patterns that I’ve been struggling with for a while. Now I’m practicing them with alternate picking.

For my next OM participation I would like to play an instrumental finger picked piece. Most likely it will be a Latin American musical piece. I should start working on that as soon as possible :thinking:.

I’ll be also polishing an original I composed last year to make my debut in the new originals subsection :slightly_smiling_face:


Loved the update, Andrés, sounds like you are making great progress and I look forward to the song in the next OM plus that original.

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Hi Andres, that sounds like you’ve got a lovely clear identification of your best way of learning and some nice goals ahead.

I loved your OM performance and your talk of working already on the next one fills me with positive vibes :+1:.

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Thanks for sharing your progress Andres, it is very inspiring to read.

This works very well with me too. I love singing and can’t do without and not playing the chords really allows me to give all my attention to the Rhythm and make it “blend” naturally with the Melody. I
mess things a bit when I put the chords in for the first time, but with practice anything falls into place.

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Congrats on the open mic. It must take a lot of courage to get out there and perform. :guitar:

Great first post too, using it as a summary with goals and repertoire.
I might steal that idea. :smiley:

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The time has come for another assessment, this time for the goals set for the first year after starting my learning log. Hard to believe six months have passed since my last assessment.

When setting my goals and writing down my repertoire last year I intentionally ignored the songs that I am able to somewhat play flipping pages through my guitar chord songbooks (the songbooks with tabs are a different play game for me). Before Justin Guitar I didn’t bother too much if the timing of the chord changes wasn’t the best, or if a chord grip that was difficult for me didn’t get very well fretted, but I used not to attempt to play a song if the rhythm was not indicated (and explained) in the songbook. Now I look for better sounding chords, cleaner and in time chord changes, and I can figure out something with the rhythm if is not indicated (or explained) in a songbook or an internet source.

After setting my goals last year, I made a spreadsheet with 36 songs that I wanted to learn or revisit. I assumed I could go through them at a rate of one song per month. It didn’t work that way. As my current objective is not somewhat playing the songs, but playing them at the best level that my current skills allow, I’ve spent more time that I had initially estimated working on some of the songs I’ve tackled. Doing otherwise does not provide enough time for me to improve and develop them. I had not found this dedication before.

My goals didn’t include playing live virtual performances like the ones Justin Guitar or Justin Guitar Community hosts. Playing (and singing) in two Justin Guitar Community open mics added two songs to my repertoire that were not originally on the list I had prepared. That is a plus. The song I played for the JG Xmas Bash 2022 was already part of my repertoire.

I posted Lack Of Practice Blues in the originals subsection. I composed it last year. It was unexpected as previous attempts during my lifetime had not passed from one verse or two and a possible chorus with no idea of how to play it with the guitar. Another plus.

After my six month assessment I estimate I’ve put 60 more hours of practice, mainly because I’ve been able to do more short weekday practice sessions to work on songs and the ear training. I think that’s the upper limit of what I currently can dedicate to the guitar and I may have to roll it back a little as the warmer days are coming, and yard projects and outdoor life kicks in.

I want to keep my three, five and ten year goals as they were set to be able to later compare dreamed versus achieved. For sure I’ll be short with some of them, but I’ll be happy to see after reaching the end of each term how much I’ve progressed since starting my learning log.

Setting goals for the next six month is a different story as it can help to organize my practice. For setting these goals now I can have a better sense of what can be achievable within the available practice time than when I had started my learning log.

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

The goals I had set up for the first year (since starting my learning log) and my assessment:


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

→ Partially accomplished: my repertoire of rhythm guitar (and singing) songs has increased to 7. I am working on the 8th.

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

→ Partially accomplished: my repertoire of finger style songs increased to 1.

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

→ Surpassed: I am able to play a basic version of two classical pieces.

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

->Not accomplished: I haven’t been able to allocate time to work on this goal.

I want to be doing the Justin Guitar intermediate guitar courses.

→ Not accomplished: I haven’t finished the Beginner Course [Classic] yet.

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

→ Not accomplished: After two consecutive times arriving to the same answers for exercise S2, I checked the answers because I thought I had them right, but I got only 40% success. That was after 27 attempts during one year; I had passed S1 with 100% success. Once I checked the answers, exercise S2 was no longer useful and I had to move to exercise S3. After attempting exercise S3 I found that I had to find a way to go back to S2. I’m using my programming skills to write a simple MS Excel macro that will allow me to play randomly recordings I made of the S2 exercise chords played in my own guitar, guess the answer, and verify it. Let’s see how this works out for me.

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

→ Partially accomplished: I am able to merge videos and add titles and transitions using ClipChamp. I Installed OBS but it is well above of what I currently need. I learnt how to add silence before a song with Audacity to give me time for getting ready with the guitar to play along.

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

→ Partially Accomplished: I’ve been fumbling around with Garage Band exploring the features and I used it to create a backing track for Yellow Submarine.

Where I want to be in six months (after one year of starting my learning log):


I want to have my repertoire of rhythm guitar (and singing) songs increased to 10 (3 more).

I want to have my repertoire of finger style songs increased to 2 (1 more).

I want to be able to play 18 bars of Asturias, having added the bass notes to Habanera, and having started working on Minuet in G, nowadays attributed to Christian Petzold, but originally attributed to J.S. Bach.

JustinGuitar sight reading exercises will be on hold but I want to revisit some exercises of the the Hal Leonard method I have that are sight read based.

I want to have finished Level 9 of Justin Guitar Beginner Guitar Course [Classic].

I want to have started consolidating Justin Guitar Beginner Guitar Course [Classic] together with select material of Beginner Grades 1 & 2. I am already working on the riffs of Grades 1 & 2.

I want to have completed JUSTIN ear training exercise S3.

I want to continue developing my video edition skills.

Audio editing will be on hold for now.

I want to continue creating backing tracks with GarageBand.

Repertoire update (after one year of starting my learning log)


Note: unless noted otherwise links are to the respective AVOYP post.

  • 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 [two guitars and singing duet with my daughter]) - Playing Live

  3. A la nanita nana (Christmas carol in Spanish [one guitar and singing duet with my daughter], audio only - Microsoft’s One Drive shared file)

  4. Elvis Presley’s Don’t Be Cruel

  5. El último beso (Last Kiss) (cover in Spanish [JGC OM XII]) - YouTube link: Community Open Mic - 12th Edition (November 2022)

  6. Quizás, quizás, quizás (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps) (bilingual cover in English and Spanish [JGC OM XIV]) - YouTube link: Community Open Mic - 14th Edition (March 2023)

  • Songs I am working on how to play rhythm guitar (and sing):
  1. The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine

  2. America’s A Horse With No Name

  3. Richie Valens’ La Bamba

  • 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. Zachary Richard’s Travailler c’est trop dur

  • Non classical Instrumental songs or musical pieces that I can play fluently from memory:
  1. Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther Theme (basic version)
  • Non classical Instrumental songs or musical pieces that I can play fluently reading some type of musical notation:
  1. None at this stage right now.
  • Non classical Instrumental songs or musical pieces I am working on:
  1. Esperanza (Hope, traditional Colombian song)
  • Non classical Instrumental songs or musical pieces I am planning to work on:
  1. La guaneña (No translation, traditional Colombian song)

  2. La cumparsita (No translation, traditional Argentinian song)

  • Classical pieces that I can play fluently from memory:
  1. Isaac Albéniz’s Asturias (first 12 bars of a basic version)

  2. George Bizet’s Habanera of Carmen (basic version without the bass notes) - Same post than Asturias

  • Classical pieces that I can play fluently reading some type of musical notation:
  1. None at this stage right now.
  • Classical pieces I am working on:
  1. Isaac Albéniz’s Asturias (first 18 bars of a basic version)

  2. George Bizet’s Habanera of Carmen (basic version with the bass notes)

  • Classical pieces I am planning to work on:
  1. Christian Petzold’s Minuet in G (Originally attributed to J.S. Bach but nowadays considered to be by Christian Petzold)
  • Originals
  1. Lack Of Practice Blues - Originals (Not Covers)

My assessment:

I’m satisfied with my progress so far. No changes necessary except finding a way to reach a good enough for now level with the blues exercises of Stage 9 to move on to consolidate the Beginner Course. Next assessment to be in October 2023. By the way, the medical procedure I had last year has been so far successful in keeping my arrhythmias at bay. Hopefully it stays like that.

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That was really a nice read Andrés. You seem to be very structured in your approach. Really admire that. - I really lack that skill, I am here and there and everywhere at the same time. :joy: :joy: - Very nice repertoire you have build up. Happy to hear your health is stabilized. Sending my best wishes for your health and continuous guitar journey. :+1: :sunglasses: :pray:

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Three months after my last assessment.

I finally was satisfied with my version of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and posted it in the AVOYP section.

I’m currently in between jobs so I’ve had some extra time for the guitar in general and specially for practicing the 12 bar blues variations and minor pentatonic patterns. I’m reaching a good for now level with most of them. When playing the blues variations on the 6th and 5th string (the equivalent of playing an E chord) my fretting hand was not doing enough pressure on the 6th string to get a clean sound on some of the variations, so for a while I dedicated extra time to playing on those strings in addition to playing the whole progression.

Blues improvisation has been so far challenging. I reviewed again the lessons Justin has about this exercise, both the one in the Beginner Guitar Course [Classic] and the one in the Grade 2. After that I incorporated the Grade 2 lesson on learning a Beginner Blues Solo in my current practice for the Stage 9 of the Beginner Course. That and finding some easy to play blues guitar licks without bending could open the gate to find the elusive bluesy flavour I am looking for my improvisations. I guess it will be Practice It Until It Happens as per Tip 7 of the Grade 2 lesson.

I’ve been practicing A Horse with No Name and La Bamba. So far I’m alternating playing straight eights with playing the patterns suggested by the songbook I have. I think it will be like Yellow Submarine and these songs could take me 10 months or more to play them with some fluency. Sometimes the intended sound sneaks in but flies away. I am confident I can trap it and make it a permanent part of my playing.

I’m revisiting Pueblito viejo (Old Little Town) and Esperanza (Hope) that are Colombian songs that I first learnt 40 years ago during my in person lessons. Some months ago I had done a kind of transcription of the introduction of Pueblito viejo as my ears and fingers remembered it. After later finding my notebook I found that my transcription was accurate except a couple of bars, but in the meantime I had gotten accustomed to playing those bars my way, so I’m now retraining myself to play them correctly. The version I am following has an second introduction or interlude that is new for me. Esperanza is an instrumental piece. The version I played before was a simplified fragment. Now I’m attempting to play a full version that has a lot of ornaments. First days trying to play it required me watching very closely a video I found in YT, going note by note until I could see how it was played and trying to replicate that on my guitar. After repeatedly trying I have been able to slowly connect the notes and play a few bars with relative fluency.

I’ve kept practicing Asturias and Habanera. I’m getting more fluent with playing from memory the first 18 bars of Asturias and I think I’ll be able to post an update on that soon. I’m practicing Habanera with the bass notes. I’m slowly getting a little more of finger coordination and independence and hitting the wrong notes less often. I’m also working on making shorter two notes after the combined hammer and pull off. When I first played it I was playing those two notes as 8ths, but they are 16ths. Although It was not intentional it may have simplified some things for me at that time. Now I have to break the habit created and learn how to play it with the right timing.

I’m gradually entering in consolidation mode of the Beginner Guitar Course [Classic]. I’ve recorded the Peter Gunn Theme and I’m practicing the Seven Nations Army riff. When I have several of those riffs ready I’ll post a collection of them in a single video. I am also reviewing some the short melodies of a Hal Leonard method that I was using before finding Justing Guitar. It allows me to practice sight reading and to have some practice with the looper with the electric doing the accompaniment and the acoustic the melody for the melodies that the accompaniment is indicated. I will also post a collection of these melodies. I have Spanish Theme recorded. Practicing the newer content of Grades 1 & 2 and revisiting a Reader’s Digest guitar method from the library, that I was also at some point following, are part of the consolidation plan.



After two and half months of unplanned extra guitar practice time I’m back to regular working hours and reduced practice time. I used this extra guitar time to practice the 12 bar blues variations 3 & 4, the minor pentatonic patterns 3 & 4, and some song and pieces that I’m working on. Good progress with everything.

12 bar blues variations 3 & 4 are getting more fluid. Now I can do them following one of the blues drum patterns of the guitar modeler at 80 b.p.m. Still they’re not as automated and fluid as the basic pattern is. I have to work also on my strumming hand to emphasize some notes.

Minor pentatonic patterns 3 & 4 are much better, Now I can do them with alternate picking at 60 b.p.m. (120 8th notes per minute) of the metronome.

I revisited two songs from my guitar life before Justin Guitar and played them on JGC OM 18. The following Monday I recorded them for the AVOYP section, they were Pueblito viejo (Old Little Town) and Mi Barca (My Boat).

I was planning to get ready for recording the first 18 bars of Asturias, but after realizing that bars 17 to 24 were similar to bars 1 to 8 with a couple of variations, I changed my mind and decided to go for the first 24 bars instead. Changing the pedal note from open second string to open first string for the last 8 bars of those 24, after 16 bars playing the pedal note on the open second string, has been challenging for me.

I’m getting better with the bass notes of Habanera, but not so much with playing the two sixteenth notes after the combined hammer-on and pull-offs specially when the third string is involved. Now that I am doing better with the bass notes I’ll bring the metronome in to work on the timing of the four bars that have those sixteenth notes.

Esperanza (Hope) is getting better. I almost can go through the first section with only a few stumbles on some not yet completely memorized notes. The second section practice is more about maintenance because I still remember how to play it from my in persons lessons. I started working on the third section and I’ve already memorized a couple of bars.

For A Horse With No Name now I can play the two bar rhythm suggested in the songbook doing the two chord changes this song has throughout. My next goal for this song is to be able to play and sing it. For practicing playing and singing I alternate playing a straight eights rhythm with playing once in a while the rhythm suggested in the songbook. As the lyrics fall wherever in the bar, when I practice playing and singing I alternate doing it very slow to work in the phrasing and doing it faster to get into the groove.

La Bamba is progressing slowly and I’m starting to feel more fluid playing a two bar rhythm using only down strums and up strums instead of the two bar combination of strumming and bass line rhythm the songbook suggests. Anyway I’m practicing the suggested rhythm too, but I’m not very fluid with it yet. The rhythm pushing for the chord change from mini F to G is now sounding like the song. I’ve attempted to play and sing, but until I have the rhythm more automated, playing and singing won’t work very well (nothing to do with the Spanish because Spanish is my first language).

I’m still in the research and preparation phase for a song that mixes English and French that I want to revisit. I would like to play it for a future OM participation. I’m first giving it a try to a couple of arrangements until I find which one I want to commit to practice. I’m working on another song that is fully in French. Chord changes and rhythm are not an issue for this one, but syncing the playing and the singing is not coming easy. To improve on that I’m doing the exercise of playing and singing slow so I I can relate each beat to the right syllable. Now that I think about it, I should also do the muted strings and singing exercise with this one.

I’ve recorded now two riffs of the lessons of Justin Guitar, Peter Gunn Theme and Seven Nation Army, and I’ve started working on Sunshine Of Your Love. Even with some guitar skills already learnt, every new riff that I tackle require some time to get fluid with it. They are an excellent exercise and in top of that I can play something that can be identified as part of a specific song (in some way as the song); that’s a double win. I’m waiting to have recorded about three minutes of riffs to post a compilation in the AVYOP in a consolidation topic.

I’ve continued revisiting some practice melodies from the Hal Leonard method I have. I’ve recorded Spanish Theme and World Beat. The finger picking of Ode To Joy is ready for recording with the acoustic, but my C to F chord change with the electric for the accompaniment needs improvement. Gradually I feel more comfortable using the looper to add an extra layer of sound and be able to finger pick the melody and accompany myself.

I expect that by the end of October I’ll be switching my practice routine from Stage 9 of Beginner Guitar Course [Classic] to full consolidation mode.