Firasr - July 2023 - Three Little Birds + Hey Joe + Ain't No Sunshine

You can see the improvement over those couple of weeks;
it’s more positive, and crisper.
Nice work

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Sounds great to me.
After two months brilliant.
Well done.

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@Richard_close2u thanks for the feedback Richard. I hadn’t really noticed my transition from stiff fingers and hand to the relaxed one as in this video until I recorded it (I was aware that I should be more relaxed but didn’t realize it actually happening). I guess that’s the value of recording progress over a period of time :blush: I’ve also transitioned from using a extra thin pick to a medium pick while relearning how to hold it lighter so that might be another contributing factor.

Your advice on relaxed and flicky wrist makes sense now and alleviated any perceived contradiction (in my mind) with Justin’s earlier advice. Learn basic arm movement in the beginning then progress to a more relaxed wrist and less exaggerated arm movement. Makes a lot of sense now :+1:t3:

Thank you @Eccleshall and @Alan_1970 :blush: I really appreciate the positive feedback!

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Keep on rockin’! It seems like we’re at the same stage. :astonished:

Smooth changes!

One thing i noticed though, it looks like you mute the low E string with your thumb on the E major, but it’s hard to tell the sound is too distorted. Only you can know for sure.

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Hey John, thanks :blush:

Yes, I think I did accidently mute the low E string with the E major chord a few times (I’m used to doing that for the D major). Good catch!

What songs are you working on for your consolidation?

My third song memorized and recorded as part of Grade 1 consolidation on 21st July, 2023:

I really loved practicing and learning this song. I only came across it during this course, which is another thing I love about Justin’s course, I’m discovering new music! This is another keeper to work on developing different strumming patterns in the future and to keep practicing my minor chord changes.

As always, feedback is welcome and highly appreciated.

New playthrough of the same song on 4th August, 2023 with alternate chords and strumming pattern (recorded using my new Marshall Code 25 amp, Shure SM57 mic, and Zoom G1X Four for drums all plugged into my Volt 2 Audio Interface):


It sounded really nice, good job

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Much appreciated Alex!

I thought you done great Firas. Nice consistent strum pattern and I liked the slight transitions you made to the sus chords when holding the Am.

The grade1 lesson for this song looks to have omitted it, but if you can manage to play a G note/chord between the Em and Am, it will match the classic bass line (E-G-A) that can be heard in the original.
I only mention this as an option to spice it up if you want, because you handled the other aspects of this song very comfortably :clap:


Absolutely nailing your consolidation Firas, another very fine performance.

Had you played some before starting with Justin’s course may I ask? Only reason being your thumb position more than anything? Justin’s quite resolute in its positioning especially through grade 1. But you seem really comfortable with it over the top and I presume muting? Just curious :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you Sandro for the kind words and the extra tip. I’ll be sure to try adding the G in between to make it sound even better. I love this song and any extra flavor is welcome :blush:

Thanks Mark :blush:

I only dabbled a little over 20 years ago. Only managed to play a few Metallica riffs. Not enough to learn chords or chord changes though, so no habits formed from back then I don’t think.

I did notice how much emphasis Justin put on keeping the thumb behind the neck instead of over the top for Grade 1 (in preparation for Barre Chords if I remember correctly?). That’s how I still practice my Perfect Chord and One Minute Change exercises. However, the minute I start playing any songs my thumb gravitates over the top naturally. It just seems more comfortable for changing chords while keeping rhythm and as you mentioned it helps with muting the low E string. The sound of playing the low E string when I shouldn’t drives me crazy and is distracting, hence muting it with my thumb. Only strumming the higher strings on the down strum still eludes me and I hope that it’ll be covered in later lessons so I can work on improving that.

Would you recommend I keep playing this way (with thumb over the top) or should I slow down my song playing and try to play with my thumb behind the neck? I don’t want to build wrong habits that will be more difficult to relearn later down the line.

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That sounded great, Firas.

Based on your reply to Mark, I’d suggest keep doing what you are doing. It sounds like you do sufficient practice to build the strength needed for barre chords while benefiting from the muting and in due course being able to fret a bass note with your thumb which will become a beneficial technique to have in your toolbox eg D/F# (a normal D chord with the addition of the F# as the low bass note fretted on the E string, F# being a note in the D chord)

All I might suggest for the sake of practice is to keep your strumming hand moving at the start of the song when you are playing only one beat in the bar. Not that you lost rhythm/timing, just think it is a good habit in the early years and some pros tend to retain it (Justin often mentions Neil Young in this regard).

Keep on keeping on!


Thanks for the detailed advice and preview of what’s to come David :blush:

Also thanks for pointing out the arm not moving at the beginning. I tend to bob my head or tap my foot and forget the arm when I’m not strumming. It’s a good habit to build now keeping the arm moving regardless.

I really appreciate all the nuances and advice offered by everyone here!

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Another good one Firas. Wow you’re prolific at the moment! :smiley:
Keeping your strumming hand moving has already been mentioned.
As for your thumb position, I never came to grips with keeping it behind the neck and have always played open chords with thumb over the top. I felt it gave me more control. I certainly wouldn’t contradict Justin but if what you’re doing works then stick with it.

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Thanks Gordon :blush: Only seems that way cause I’ve been working on those 3 songs in parallel over the past 3 weeks or so (and earlier throughout the course too). I just got to grips with how to record the audio & video so they came out close to each other.

The next 2 songs will need a few more weeks of practice cause I’ve just started learning them (Old Time Rock n Roll & How to Save a Life hopefully).

Like you, I feel that forming the chords while strumming more natural with the thumb over the top for me when playing songs. Will just have to keep practicing seperately for barre chords. Thanks for your support!

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That sounded really good, Firas. Nice steady beat, nice transition to the 8th note strumming as well.

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Well done, Firas. I see you’ve gotten some great advice already. Now I’m looking forward to hearing you play HOW TO SAVE A LIFE. That’s one I have on my own Set List.

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Sounded great, and good strumming, too. Makes me want to go back and try that song again. Nice looking guitar, too.

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Hi Firas, I think David’s covered exactly where I was coming from so all good :+1: :blush: