First Cover - Panic by the Smiths

Ok here’s my first cover. I’ve made a number of “beginner guitar progress” videos in my 15 months learning through Justin Guitar but this is the first time I’ve recorded a full song end-to-end. It was surprising how much more difficult it was and took me about twice as long as I thought it would to get to the point of having the song “performance-worthy.” In fact I had been working on more challenging songs to cover but am still a ways off getting them to performance-ready, so went with something a bit more straightforward (though there’s still work to be done on this one!). Super valuable exercise and now I’m hooked on the process!

Would welcome any specific feedback (and encouragement) :slight_smile: My goal is to keep creating covers and posting about once a week. Enjoy!


Doing well, Jesse, keep on keeping on.

If you didn’t watch the video yourself I suggest you do so. You’ll see a couple of specifics that you need to isolate and work on.

You’re making steady progress Jesse. What do you see or hear that you’d like to change or improve on?

Overall that was a great performance Jesse. Nice playing and singing.

Like David has said, a couple of things need some work but keep on doing hat you’re doing and you will soon be there.

Well done posting your first song Jesse, it’s not as straightforward as you think to play and record through a whole song.
Concentrate on getting those chord changes clean.
Look forward to more from you in the future.

Jesse, second one of yours I’ve listened to today. I do like the Smiths. Overall good job for performing I thought the strongest part of the song was the last 30 seconds as played the song “strongly”. The earlier part of the song suffered with some duff notes and inconsistent strumming…probably because you’re not playing with a pick which means the notes dont ring out cleanly (any reason you don’t use a pick?) AND possibly because you hadn’t quite formed some of the chords correctly. I would btw ditch the single note parts at this point (which would sound much better picked) and focus on just getting the rhythm working well. I think with a little more focus on the strumming and getting this clean and positive (with or without pick) and just switching between chords the song would sound much stronger and you could focus on singing as well (which sounded pretty good).

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Thanks everyone for the kind words and suggestions. So amazing to have such a huge group of fans and mentors!

@DavidP Thanks for the tip about watching my own recording - what sticks out to me (before alot of the great suggestions on this thread) is the need to really nail down the chord transitions, especially the Bb to F which I skipped a few times and sounded thin most other times.

@batwoman thanks for listening - see note above :slight_smile:

@Rossco01 Thanks for listening and your suggestions. In this particular cover I’m playing fingerstyle because I think it fits the mood better for what I’m trying to do (a bit quieter, softer, more delicate than the Smiths version) but I definitely get your point about going back into the mechanics and making sure I’m ringing out each of the bass notes and chords fully since it’s easy for them to get muffled/muddy without a pick. As in my other video Second Cover - Beatles Nowhere Man I think some of the hesitancy at the beginning is me thinking “am I going to get this right enough to save this take?” and once I get far enough along I let that go. Which to me points to the need to go back to basics a bit, and like you and others have said really focus on getting the chord changes clean, get the individual notes to ring out, etc.


Hi Jesse, good job. I think that when you use your index finger as a pick against the thumb it should be done in a more decided way so it rings clearer that not necessarily means louder; you can control the volume. When I do that, I hit the strings within 2 mm of the border of the nail and let the string slide out and then let it fall in the next string down. Upstrums that way are more complicated for me (easier to get the nail tangled in a string or worse) and usually use my fingertips for that. As you are using multiple techniques to hit the strings without a pick I think you should work separately in how to move your right hand smoothly from one position to the other where you can get the best sound for each technique. Also I think you shoud take a look at where each string hit falls into the time signature. I think you are probably already doing it that at least intuitively because you know and like the song.

You are doing a lot of things right, so it makes sense to meet your weekly video release goal. There are people on youtube that appreciate what you are doing. You are getting more subscribers, likes and views than many of us here. Keep doing your thing while building up your skills and giving your subscribers more of what they like (as you play the music that you like). Finding an audience on youtube is a very nice accomplishment. Good on you!

Have you made your own arrangement of that ? Impressive if so.

I think you sound promising just the guitar needs tightening up and more practice and this will sound great

@lewis2025 Hi Lewis - This is my attempt at James Mercer (of the Shins) ‘s version. I can’t find a video of him playing it but there’s a live version on Spotify - was the first time I just took out the capo and kept moving it until I found the right key for the version.

After recording this I mostly moved back to the “normal” version without a capo, but with a pick to work on my timing more. Still working on getting the Bb to F transition - will re-record once I’ve gotten that nailed.

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Hi @dobleA Andres - just saw this post now sorry I missed it - thanks for your thoughtful and detailed feedback. There are definitely layers and layers of improvement to be made and this is helpful to give me specific technical things to investigate and practice on improving.