Donna's Log and Margin Notes

Since it may be a few weeks before I record again, I thought I should go ahead and start a learning log. I had been keeping my notes in a Google Doc, but I’m going to transition to using this space. This journal will help me clarify my goals and progress and encourage me to spend more time in the community! I identify as a high level beginner or low level intermediate player. More about my guitar origins here. I’m working on a few things, but I’m not going to write them all down now. Maybe I will later, if I get used to the habit of journaling my progress. This post is just to force myself to get started!

Yesterday, my 26 year-old son stopped by, and I got to practice my improv skills with him. That was fun, and a first! I need to review using intervals to suss out notes in a major scale. I’m generally okay with this, but when he changed the tuning and added a capo, I got thrown for a loop.

Although I had been working on “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” and making decent progress, I’m going to shelve that one for a couple of weeks to make time for a couple of Christmas songs and also to learn more about using a DAW.

I’m picking up where I left off last year with the Elvis Presley song, “Merry Christmas Baby.” Yesterday, I reviewed some 12-Bar blues variations and re-listened to Justin’s song lesson. I think I get the basic idea, just need to practice. What will be new this year is that I’m going to learn more about turnarounds. I want to work out my own plan for the turnarounds and maybe find areas where I can improvise.


Good stuff Donna. Look forward to hearing more.

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Great start to your log Donna.
You’re way ahead of me but I’m looking forward to following your guitar adventure. A jam buddy in the family too! That’s got to be a big bonus!

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Hi Donna, use this space as best suits you for things like planning your route, tracking your progress and anything in between.

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Good to draw a line in the sand Donna but doesn’t mean you have to update it every week or every month for that matter. Do what suits you but this will give you a reference point on how you come and the steady progress you will undoubtedly make.



Hi Donna,
You are well on your way and are clearly making progress in the whole thing, … have fun with it :sunglasses:

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Hi Donna, good you got started with a log. Already curious for the next entry!

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Hello Donna, you got started with your log :clap::clap::clap: Now I need to do the same :grin:

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You’re good at being active in lots of ways here! If you think a log would be beneficial, then it’s a great idea. I just think there’s more than one way to chart your progress, so you can get to an “official” log or not, based on your situation and personality. BTW, I loved your “Hallelujah” video! :star_struck: :sunglasses:

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Happy New Year everybody!

In the last 2 weeks, I got a good handle on the basics of the Elvis song, “Merry Christmas Baby.” It didn’t make it to performance level for a number of reasons. I did have some fun improvising over the original, and I improved my ability to maintain the 12 bar sequence while talking, singing, etc. I don’t see myself updating this log too frequently, so I’m making a fairly long post now. I think it’s a good time to assess my progress and sketch out a plan for moving forward in 2023.

2022 progress summary

I took in-person lessons for about 6 months. This was very helpful because I had someone to note and correct bad habits I’ve picked up by being “self-taught,” like pressing too hard on the strings. I now have a voice in my head that says, “Relax/Loosen up!” I also have a tendency to leave my thumb behind when shifting position along the neck. I’m still working on that one.

With my teacher Herb, I learned the CAGED positions for the pentatonic scales. I’m not great at it, but I also learned to move between positions while improvising over a song. I got a much better understanding of where the notes are and how they relate to each other. This year, I’m going to need to use this knowledge in more ways so I don’t forget what I’ve learned! Herb also helped me to develop my ability to keep a steady rhythm by setting me up with a riff or fingerstyle pattern, and then proceeding to hold conversation with me.

I spent a good bit of time with Justin’s Music Theory Course. I loved learning about triads. In fact, I wrote a song using some of them. I’ll need to practice the song a bit more before recording it, but it’s one of my more ambitious projects. I was having trouble with B chords, so I wrote a song in the key of B! Of course I continued to develop my repertoire of songs to play for family and friends. I’m so glad I was able to participate in the year-end OM here. It was scary but so much fun! I look forward to doing it again soon.

I worked on a few new-to-me techniques as well:
^Hammer/Flick pentatonic exercises (per JG lessons)
^Mini Sweep picking
^Finger tapping

And now for 2023!
My main plan is to go through the Beginner Course again. I hope to pick up things I missed the first time and to add a new level of difficulty to “easy” activities. I’m currently on Grade 1 module 3. I’m working on improving my strumming and experimenting with the alternate tuning for “Cortez the Killer.” I’m not sure the Neil Young version is my sort of song, but I can learn a lot from it –so, we’ll see. One nice thing about repeating lessons is I can easily see how far I’ve come. A couple of years ago, I remember seeing the lesson, “All About Up Strums,” and thinking, “Wait- there are up strums?” That’s how much I knew about playing guitar!

Other projects:
^Continue to develop my understanding of music theory

^Continue learning “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”
– clean D chords!
–bending strings using hand
– harmonic analysis of solos

^more blues lessons, and practice

^Use licks and repertoire songs to build confidence in finding and playing individual strings.

^Choose projects to
-experiment with recording and layering music

^Take some risks, as in playing in front of others and/or participating in OMs and AVOYP threads here.


Interesting learning log update Donna. There’s so many ways to play guitar, I was surprised to read you’re working on the B barre chords and finger tapping (more intermediate level skills), and up strums! Shows it’s easy to miss some of the basics, and good to review.

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Hi Donna, nice to read your new log entry, very interesting! Wish you a lot of fun realizing your goals. I also tthi k, there’s a lot to pick up while going through the course for a second time. I do that partially too and I’m always surprised, how much information there is, that I didn’t absorb at the first time.

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Hi Donna,
Happy that I decided to read this,. :smiley:…nice and busy,keep it up :sunglasses:

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Haha, that does sound strange. I meant to say that when I first started a couple of years ago I’d never heard of up strums. I do think I have a little bit of a grasp on that now. :smiling_face:

What an encouraging update, Donna, lovely to read of the progress and plans for the coming year! Look forward to AVOYPs to reflect progress every now and then.

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