I wanted to finally share a video in order to hopefully further improve. Sharing a video of me playing I thought I never would do - well, until now
A brief history: I started learning playing guitar with Justin’s course about 10 months ago, starting from zero. I’ve never really played an instrument before.
Until now I completed Grade 1, did some consolidation, then also completed the Practical Music Theory Course Grade 1, and the Strumming SOS Grade 1 course. Two months ago I then continued the learning path by starting with Grade 2 / module 8. All in all I’ve made some, rather slow but steady progress. I’m happy with where I got and enjoy playing. Some weeks ago I even met with friends in a local park to play a very few songs for those people randomly passing by; it was a very very small start for me playing with others and playing in public, but it felt good.
Currently I’m spending a couple of vacation days at home. This turned out to be a good opportunity to stop with Grade 2 for a moment in order to review the songs I’ve learned so far and to further improve those. I’ve documented playing 10 different songs via video. So that in a few months I can hopefully look back and then cringe… uh, I mean, enjoy the progress being made!
So here’s one single of those videos that I created, using the chords of “Get Lucky” by “Daft Punk”:
I want to explain, that I purposely improvised on strumming patterns to hopefully create some kind of vibe. There was no concept or fixed plan or any planned order regarding those patterns; I just enjoyed being spontaneous. Second to mention, I kept the video short and concise. Third, I captured the sound directly from the strings via my phone, but you also hear the sound that is coming from my small practice amp from the background. Hope that’s okay.
My own thoughts first of all.
What went well
The chord progressions are recognizable. I hope.
I put a whole bunch of different strumming patterns into practice that I had learned over the months.
My hand movements were consistent.
What is still difficult / improvement areas
Chord change to D is still too slow. But I do now aready have an improvement plan! As a consequence I added air change exercises to my daily practice plan. Analog to what has been suggested several times in the forum, e.g. here: How to Move Past Changing Chords One Finger at a Time - #5 by stitch. Special thanks to Rick, Richard, and others for the advice being given on the air changes topic.
Uncertain / questions
How does the mix of strumming patterns sound to your ears?
Is a capo recommended for beginners at all?
My strumming hand is rather closed - although relaxed. Would it have any advantage to play with the hand more open?
And now I’m very curious, what your thoughts and observations are. Any feedback and suggestions are highly welcome, especially any details that I may have overlooked. Thanks very much already
I have to say that’s pretty good for 10 months into your journey. The only real problem I see is the angle of your capo and your fingers could be closer to the frets. See the thread on fret wear Refret after a year - #14 by stitch
I agree with your “what went well” as for your D chord change you’ve already read the tips from Ian, Richard and myself so you got that covered.
Your strumming patterns where easily defined. As a practice it’s a good way to mix it up but in a song you’d want to many be only have 1 for the verses and 1 for the chorus. To much of a good thing kind of deal.
Using a capo in my opinion can be a benefit and a crutch. The benefit is you can play lots of song in different key with just a few chords. The crutch is you get used to changing key with a capo and forget there are a lot of chords out there to learn.
I used to jam on a regular basses with a lady who used a capo on every song she knew and only played 3 or for chord. Usually G C D Em. changed key using the capo. Don’t be that person
AS long as your strumming hand feels relaxed open or closed doesn’t matter but if you ever want to get into hybrid picking you’ll need your finger but you’ve got plenty of time for that.
Well done on your first AVOYP!
Good to get that first one out of the way hey .
Nice cruising strumming there, with a gentle touch. Pretty necessary when playing open chords on an electric.
Strumming patterns sounded pretty good, and chord formation coming along ok.
Cant comment on the capo. I never use one.
One observation if I may. I notice your thumb is way up off the top of the neck the whole time. Everyone’s different, but I dont think its ideal in the early stages. It is likely part of the reason for the D chord problem. You seem cramped when moving to it, as your hand is too far back in the neck, losing your perpendicular attack on the fretboard. Bit like a baseball bat grip. Might be something to look at.
Doing very well though mate after just 10 months from zero. You’ve obviously been putting the work in.
All the best.
Very well done, especially considering your experience level! I can’t really add much to what Rick & Shane said except to say that I do use a capo but keep in mind that I wish to play up the neck as my technique expands… kind of a useful tool, not a crutch concept.
I know several people who use capos & never really moved beyond open chords because of the capo, which is ok if that’s what your goal is.
Sounds like you see what you need to do to keep improving, good job!!!
Well done, Franz! Great job on this, plenty of skills embedded nicely already after a short time
The others above have given some great advice already, so not much further to add other than a couple of points I thought of whilst reading the thread.
Agree regarding the capo possibly becoming a crutch, I fell a bit in to that early on as I was avoiding barre chords. However it does also have the advantage of playing songs earlier on in the journey that may otherwise be out of scope, so goes both ways I guess.
I strum with my fingers extended and find that works well for me, however I was advised at one point by a professional guitar player to instead play with a closed hand as it “looks better” when playing to an audience as it is “less busy” I think he stated. But from a functional/technical perspective, I’m sure there are good arguments in both directions.
Finally, I was wondering if you play to backing tracks at all whilst practising? Your proficiency with strumming and chord changes certainly seems up to doing that and thought that might help with settling on a strumming pattern? Not that I minded how you change it up in this recording I might add
Servus Franzl, sehr erfreulicher erster Auftritt
You’ve made good progress in your short time here.
Capo’s like any other tool. (can be really useful, but you shouldn’t use a hammer or a screwdriver for everything )
Kudos for experimenting with a variety of strumming patterns. I had braced myself for some auditory ‘clashing’, but no, it held together fairly smoothly. Are you aware the patterns you played are all slight variations of Old Faithful?
Down, up, up (omitted in two sections), down. All the variations are extra up/down strokes filled in.
Hence it all fits together fairly well
How good to hear and see a first video from you your first is a big thing for many (for me it was also) and you did a great job … you’ve already received enough tips so I’ll stick to clapping for you. Good story too, already played in the park . Keep it up keep it up keep it up,
Servus Franz! Herzliche Gratulation zu deinem ersten (von hoffentlich noch vielen) Video !
At the beginning, I was a bit distracted by your guitar - it’s such a beauty . But after some seconds of admiring, I was able to concentrate on your playing .
And I have to say, you’ve already made really good progress, and you’re very much aware of the things you’re already good at and the things that might need a bit additional time and practice (e.g. the D chord). But, man, it’s just 10 months, that you started from scratch, and you have already an nicely filled repertoire of songs and made your first steps to perform live . Isn’t that amazing ?!
Regarding the capo: I just use it, when my voice range doesn’t fit to a particular song, so I can adapt it .
Really well done, Franz!!
I’m looking forward to hearing more from you .
Congrats on your first AVOYP.
Thought you did a great job, nice sounding chords, good changes and steady consistent tempo in strumming. Nice changes in strumming patterns too.
Well done. Keep up the good work.
Interesting pattern sun is casting over you.
Sounded great Franz. Was in time, and a good vibe. Your strumming was nice and relaxed which many struggle with.
On the capo. I use a capo a lot on acoustic for songs that want it. I also use barre chords for songs that want that. Nothing wrong with a capo.
One thing I didn’t see anyone else say yet was the angle of your guitar neck. It looked like it was pointing down. Try to have it pointing up, or at least flat, not down. It’s better for your wrist and easier to play standing up.
Overall though - it sounded GOOD which is the main thing. And I love that song
OK, that’s also a detail I wasn’t really aware of yet - I will keep it then.
Ah - thanks for sharing your observation. I do have fairly long fingers/thumb. Also, I try not to put more pressure on the strings as needed. BUT how I position the thumb behind the neck that is something, I never payed attention to so far. I now reviewed Justin’s video where he explains the position of the thumb, and for beginners he recommends to place it behind the neck (in order to build up muscle strenght to be able to play barre chords at a later point in time). I’ll experiment with it and give it some concious attention.
This detail regarding the whole hand, any advice how I can hold the hand differently?
Thanks Shane, especially that you payed so much attention to detail!
Unfortunately I can’t give any constructive and helpful feedback, because I’m just a total beginner. But I can say what I like.
And I like your performance a lot!
You surely made great progress in only 10 months. This motivates me a lot. I’m here for just about two months, and it would be a dream come true to play something like this in 8 months
And so many good points have been mentioned in the comments above already.
Yes, it was more a general question from my side as I never understood what the background of this advice was. Now I do . And as yourself I will continue to use it as a tool in order to play chords that are otherwise out of reach but will not avoid learning new concepts.
This also is an interesting point of view, thanks for sharing. I now reviewed Justin’s videos and in his very first lesson about strumming he has his fingers rather closed. In other videos I’ve now seen him strumming with the hand more open.
I guess I myself will then continue with a way that works best for me and otherwise will not put too much attention to it any more . Thanks Jeff.
So and so - nowadays I either play using the app, or with the metronome, or with the chords printed out on a sheet of paper, or by trying to remember the the song from memory. Indeed the app does not always use the original strumming pattern that are used in the song. This makes me think now - I might start searching for backing tracks that are closer to the song pattern. Good thought
Some are closer to the old faithful pattern than others. I would say all have in common that they set an accent by letting out downstrokes, like e.g. “DuDu.uDu” or “Du.u.uDu”, or “D…u…D.”
Thanks for highlighting those details
I love that guitar. I really do.
It took me some effort indeed but it was so much worth the experience. It helped that there was yet an other guitarist playing rythm which helped me staying in time. I joined them playing 3 songs - with the other songs I then joined them “singing”.
Will do my very best, thanks Rogier!
Haha, I’m glad you could
On a serious note, the aesthetics definitely played a role when I selected it. And I then even modified the look of it. I replaced the pickguard, the tone/volume knobs and the toggle cap to have everything in the same colour. But the playability is very good, too. It was a good choice I can say for sure. Thanks!
I really appreciate you and the others saying this. If someone had told me that 10 months ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.
And regarding building up repertoire - the importance of it was highlighted so many times in this forum, I simply couldn’t ignore putting emphasis on it
Thanks very much Nicole!
That’s an aspect that has not been mentioned yet. Thanks for confirming!