Firas' Guitar Journal

@CATMAN62 thanks Tod. With Justin’s amazing courses I’m sure I’ll put my gear to good use :blush:

@tony Definitely a good sign! They even didn’t me playing more songs to them every once in a while :grin:

@Lisa_S Thank you for the reminder Lisa :pray:t4: That’s great advice as I have the tendency to get ahead of myself with such things. I’ll take my time in the coming month to solidify all that I’ve learned so I can build on it in the later stages.

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Hi Firas,

I loved your story and how you overcame the odds against you and injury to land here. For fender play you didn’t miss anything. Justin s course is much better. We’re all here to offer support as you Groton skills. Looking forward to hearing you play when you’re ready to share.

All the best of luck


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@SDKissFan Thanks Jeff. Yeah no regrets here for missing out on Fender Play as I ended up here instead and spared myself a lot of frustration :smiley: Thank for your kind words and support. I look forward to sharing my journey and my developing skills with the community here.

Fires, nice looking guitars. You have the gear to play many styles of rock/blues.

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Thanks Steve. Now the fun part will be learning to play them :grin:

15th July, 2023 Update

I managed to perform some minor setup of my Squier Affinity Strat which I’m really happy about. Lowered the action, swapped out some new strings, filed down the sharp sprouting frets, smoothed the sides and back of the neck, and conditioned the fret board. The results are spectacular! It’s much smoother to play now without cutting up my left hand and the fret board looks rich and dark colored (unlike the dried up husk it was before). Overall, a successful first attempt at enhancing my Squier. I’m loving playing it so much now, that I’ve decided to go all out and upgrade all the mods on it. Since, they don’t sell anything other than starter Squier Strats here in Kuwait (no Fenders or even higher model Squiers sadly), I decided to mod my Squier with higher quality electronics, pickups, locking tuners, nut, bridge and saddles. I’ll update this Journal once everything arrives and I’ve had a chance to tinker with it.

As for my practice, I’ve been consistently practicing Grade 1 every day (chord changes, riffs, strumming, songs, ear & singing training), and slowly getting better at chord changes while strumming and keeping rhythm going.

I’ve completed the following modules of the courses I’ve started:

  • Practical Music Theory - Grade 1
  • 70% of Strumming SOS
  • The intro of Ear Training (I’ve included the beginning exercises of it into my daily training).

I decided to start with an easier song to memorize, Bob Marley’s - Three Little Birds (Don’t Worry) and I’ve been making good progress with it, good enough to record it:

2023-07-15 - Bob Marley - Three Little Birds

I’ve also been experimenting with my Zoom G1X Four Multi-FX Processor (used the Ska drum beat in the above video). It’s made practicing my strumming so much more fun and playing with different FX while practicing my riffs and songs has devoured many hours in the evening :smiley: I’m so happy I got this as it’s a great intro to guitar FX.

All in all, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made in the past couple of weeks since completing Grade 1 of the Beginner Course. I’m really enjoying tinkering with and improving my Squier, loving my song practice (some days I’ll focus on one, other days I’ll practice a few to keep things fresh), and slowly improving my strumming.

I’m looking forward to memorizing my second song next (Ain’t No Sunshine), continuing my Grade 1 consolidation practice, learning more about music theory and improving my strumming.


21st July, 2023 Update

I set up my Epiphone Les Paul: polished the fretboard, changed the strings, adjusted the truss rod, lowered the string action, and raised the pickup heights (intonation was pretty good, so left it as is).

Finished the following course modules:

  • Strumming SOS Grade 1

Progressing through Practical Music Theory Grade 2 as I continue to consolidate the Beginner Course Grade 1 skills.

Bought some new gear:

Universal Audio Volt 2 audio interface
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Monitor Headphones
Shure SM57 Instrument Microphone

Posted my 2nd AVoYP: Jimi Hendrix’ - Hey Joe

Setup my new Volt 2 audio interface and Ableton Live 11 Lite DAW and recorded myself playing this song using the audio interface this time instead of an external mic. Did some quick video & audio syncing to make my latest AVoYP, which I’m really happy with :smiley:


Record and posted my 3rd AVoYP: Bill Withers Ain’t No Sunshine

Getting into a rhythm with playing and recording my practice songs for Grade 1 consolidation and decided to do my 3rd one as well today:

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I bought a new amp a few days ago which I’m loving (Marshall Code 25). The preset customization options through the mobile app, community downloadable presets, and the ability to stream audio from my phone to the amp over Bluetooth are amazing features!

So to christen the new amp, I thought I should re-record some of my Grade 1 songs that I’ve been practicing and improving on:

I wasn’t too happy with my earlier attempts at recording through an external mic with my old amp, but I’m really happy with the new setup. Both the new amp (Marshall Code 25) and microphone (Shure SM57) seem to have made a dramatic improvement in the recorded sound.

I’m glad that I took the time to continue practicing these songs and adding to them as my skills improve, as they sound so much better now and I just love listening to them and playing them over and over :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Feeling an inevitable rut coming on, I watched Justin’s video on rutbusters, which gave me a good reflection on some things I’ve already been doing and new ideas to try to keep my guitar learning and practice motivation going:

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Recorded and posted my 4th Grade 1 consolidation song: How to Save a Life by The Fray

On a side note, I switched to using Presonus Studio One from Ableton Live Light as my preferred DAW for editing my recordings. The only reason is that it has an easier UI which I prefer and it seems a lot more beginner-friendly tutorials from both Presonus themselves as well as others which are easier to follow.

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Recorded and posted my 5th Grade 1 consolidation song: Old Time Rock n Roll by Bob Seger

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Sept. 11, 2023:

Purchased my dream guitar Fender American Professional II Strat HSS in the Dark Night finish and a Fender Mustang Micro Headphone Amp:

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Old song but new AVOYP posted of me playing it on my new Strat:

2023-10-06 - Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe

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I’m back home in Kuwait after my trip to London. I’m extremely happy and relieved that my new Fender Strat survived the airplane trip back home (first time traveling with a guitar) and has joined it’s brethren in my little home office. My eldest daughter immediately dubbed it “Blueberry”. When I asked her what made her choose that name for it she said, “because it’s so blue and yummy looking, I want to eat it!” :rofl: So the name stuck, which led me to come up with names for my other two guitars as well (posted below with their photo). My little corner of guitars and amps is getting a little crowded so I’m looking at buying a Hercules guitar rack that holds 3 guitars by default and can be expanded to hold 6 in the future (just in case you know) :wink:

Right to left:
Fender American Professional II Stratocaster HSS (Dark Night) “Blueberry”
Epiphone Les Paul Modern (Graphite Black) “Luna”
Squier Affinity Stratocaster HSS (Brown Sunburst) “Aurora”

I also had my recently ordered Fender Mustang GTX100 amp waiting for me to unpack, so it was an extremely happy day for me. Réunion with my family (wife & kids) and welcoming my new Strat and amp to their new guitar family :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Hey Joe - Riff

Intro solo lick of B.B. King’s - The Thrill is Gone (only first part of it):