firasR - August 2023 - How To Save A Life

Here’s my fourth Grade 1 song:
How to Save a Life by The Fray

I really enjoyed learning and practicing this song as it’s an old favorite of mine. I’ve noticed I tend to keep looking down at my fretting hand with this one, so that’s something I’d like to improve. Starting to really get into the feeling of playing songs, although with this one I found it more difficult to play by myself as opposed to playing along with the song. The words/vocals make it much easier to keep track of where I’m at in the song and I play a lot more relaxed when playing along with the song, but I thought I’d rather record without the original song to avoid any issues posting to YouTube.

Any feedback is welcome as always :blush:


I like this song a lot. You’re sounding great so far. Thanks for sharing.


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Thanks for listening Jeff :blush:

Well played, Firas.

Doing well playing along with the drums, a loose, relaxed strumming action, and clean flowing chord changes. Also liked the tone you had dialled in for the electric.

One thing I noticed you can focus on as you progress is the fretting of the C chord. Unlike the other chords, I think the fingers are still landing in a sequence rather than all at the same time, in particular the ring finger. You want that ring finger down as quickly as possible as it frets the bass note on the string that will be struck first as you strum. Didn’t have any adverse impact in this song, just something to keep in mind and continue to work towards as you progress.

Keep on keeping on!

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Thanks for the encouragement David and the great feedback as always. You’re absolutely right about my pinky finger still landing late with the C chord. It’s much better now compared to when I played Hey Joe but still lags behind the others.

Not quite sure how to focus on improving that other than continued chord change practice. I noticed a lesson in Grade 2 Module 9 titled Pinky workout. I’ll have a look ahead to see if it might be helpful with this issue and if so I’ll add it to my practice routine.

Much appreciated :blush:

Sorry, Firas, I forgot to reply to:

Generally speaking I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I think it is only in rare cases that YouTube will prvent a video being posted. More usually they’ll place a copyright claim on it, which simply means that any money earned from the video woiuld be paid to the copyright holder and not yourself.

Given that our channels are not monetised, this is a non-issue. In fact, I always enjoying seeing that on my videos as it means the algorithm recognised the song I was singing. Sadly that is the exception not the rule :rofl:

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Firas, just read your reply to mine … as always a pleasure.

A little confused by your reference to the pinky in relation to the C chord. The finger in question is the ring finger.

As you say, just a matter of continued practice. Justin refers to this as ‘air changes’. Maybe go and refresh this lesson and focus in some specific changes to the C chord.

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My apologies, got my fingers and lessons mixed up there. That’s what happens when I reply to posts before having my coffee :rofl:

Thanks for the lesson link. I knew I came across a lesson earlier that addressed this issue but couldn’t remember it. I’ll go through that one again.

As for YouTube, that’s good to know. Thanks for clarifying that. I’ll practice recording with backing tracks a bit more as I noticed my playing while more relaxed isn’t as clean as when I’m playing over just the drum beat (probably cause it’s harder to hear over the other sounds).

Also liked the tone you had dialled in for the electric.

I really liked how that tone came out for this song as well. I’m starting to get more familiar with my Marshall Code 25, it’s presets, settings and how to adjust volume & tone settings on my guitar to get different sounds out of it. It’s turning out to be quite a versatile little (but still loud) practice amp.

For anyone with a Marshall Code, my favorite preset which I used for this song (and any others with clean tones) is the American Clean Reverb, with pickup position 4 (been playing with that a lot more lately and preferring it to position 5) and the Tone knob on the guitar rolled off a bit (to number 6 in my case).

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Hey Firas. Thank you for linking me to your new recording. It was another enjoyable listen of one of my favorites from Justin’s lessons. I sang along through some of it. But like you said in your intro comments, it’s easy to get lost in this song. All in all, I’ve listened to it at least three times. Good job!

Well done Firas. That was a steady performance. You’ve identified the thing I would have commented on and that’s watching your fretting hand. An occasional glance is fine but staring continuously is a bad habit you need to break.

@pkboo3 Hey Pamela, thanks for having a listen :blush: I’m glad that you enjoyed it enough to sing along with it! My long term goal is to play this song well enough to be able to sing along with it one day :smiley:

@sairfingers Thanks Gordon :blush: Yeah I’ll be working on breaking that habit before it’s cemented if only to save my neck and back from hunching over like that.

This took me straight back to grade 1. One I played and sung quite a bit.

You’ve got this one nailed with the playing Firas, now time to break out that voice and belt out those lyrics.

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That was very nice Firas. I really can’t add anything to what has been said. The C chord will become automatic with practice like so much else.

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@SgtColon Thanks Stefan :blush: This one’s definitely my favorite song so far. I played it for my youngest daughter (6 years old) the other day and she danced to it! I actually played it standing this time as my back was sore from practicing sitting down earlier. She proclaimed “You’re a rock star daddy! That’s my favorite song in the world!” :star_struck: I can’t tell you how happy that made me, even though her only musical frame of reference are kids videos on YouTube :rofl:

As for singing it, I actually attempted singing it (without playing the guitar). Let’s just say I cracked myself up with how horrible it sounded :rofl: So I won’t torture the JG community with that just yet. I’m not giving up though, I sing along with this song every time I’m in the car. I’ve even convinced my oldest daughter (who loves to sing and sounds much better than I do) to listen to it and practice singing it. There may be a father & daughter duet coming soon in my future :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@TheCluelessLuthier Thank you so much Mark :blush: I do have to keep reminding myself that developing these skills takes time, practice and patience, but I do appreciate the reassurance from everyone that it will come with time. That being said, I’ve added a PFC D to C exercise to my daily practice routine, and I’m already noticing the improvement since I recorded this playthrough (I can nail it half the time or more now).


Oh man, does it get any better than that? I think not. :smiley: