FirstRazor’s Learning Log

I’ve been learning guitar starting with Justin Guitar beginner courses, during the lock down in around May/June 2020. There was a global concert organized by Lady Gaga, and I picked up a guitar at home to take a photo as a record. The guitar belongs to my son, who was stuck in NYC and all of us were not able to attend his university graduation ceremony at that time. Then I told myself, why not try to play it?

After mastering a few open chords, I tried lots of strumming songs in Beginner Songs app, and also at that time joined this community. Didn’t manage to record anything until that year Christmas time when I decided to record a video to surprise my colleagues in the “online” company Christmas party. So here it is:

2020 December. Don’t Worry Be Happy (modified)
First Recording in 2020 Dec


Excellent work, Mark. Timing was good, strumming was very good. I thought the singing was also good. Loved the modified lyrics :smiley:

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My favorite singers are (from young age): Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Santana, John Mayer.
My goal: playing guitar with my favorite songs, by acoustic rhythm strumming, electric lead arpeggio , and ultimately solo and improvising. Not much on singing, rock power chord rhythm, and NO finger style (because I hate to keep long nails).

This is my second recording.

2021 Feb. New Light, John Mayer. Original song played from a big TV and recorded by mic altogether. My friend commented that the recording quality was terrible, so I started since then playing around with GarageBand.

New Light - John Mayer


So from now, I will be using GarageBand, sometimes BandLab, Focusrite TrackOne connected to iPad. Since I don’t sing often, I will use the vocal version of the original song to dub my guitar on it.

2021 April. Perfect - Ed Sheeran
I had a small surgery in March and laid in bed for one week plus. After I could play guitar again, my wife rewarded me with a Little Martin Ed Sheeran addition. Sure enough, the first song must be from Ed. I am so happy with the 3/4 size, and it has since become my default practice guitar. I only use the big guitar when doing recording by mic.

Perfect - Ed Sheeran


I’m living in Singapore, so enjoy a Singapore river cruise after glow.

2021 June. Afterglow - Ed Sheeran
This is a 3-3-2 rhythm pattern, took me a while to practice before recording.

Afterglow - Ed Sheeran


From 2021 May/June, I started JG Major scale course. The songs I record may have intro or simple solo. Some are modified (simplified). I really enjoy this new skill, and play and record lots of songs in that period. Not all are listed below.

2021 July. With intro.
Wherever You Will Go - The Calling

2021 July. Intro could be worked out by myself? Forgot.
Back to December - Taylor Swift

2021 July. Did I change the intro? Maybe
Scarborough Fair - S&G

2021 July. Add outro based on intro but modified
You’re Beautiful - James Blunt

2021 July
Photograph - Ed Sheeran

2021 August. Use GarageBand add simple piano notes.
Somebody I used to know

2021 August. Nothing to shout about.
Someone you loved - Lewis Capaldi

2021 September. Whistle as intro and outro. All my friends love this song.
XO - John Mayer

I also started to train my ear to identify key with a guitar or mobile piano in hand. It took a few days to get 80% of normal/simple songs right. With this, I could try to jam with simple songs by ear, just trying some common chord progressions (like I iv V VI) to see whether it fits. This is lots of fun.


From 2021 August, I started Blues Lead course. Spent the rest of the year noodling the basic licks, memorize all the 5 minor pentatonic patterns, playing songs with some simple solo. So much fun doing bending and vibrato.

Below songs may all have short and simple solos, some are created or modified by myself. I may not be able to replay the solo part again :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

2021 August. My own singing.
It’s good to be king - Tom Petty

2021 September. My own singing.
Take me to your heart - MLTR

2021 November
If You’re Gone - Matchbox Twenty

Now I am practicing a lot blues licks and improvising, at the same time learning Blue Rhythm course, which may take a long time as the blues chords are haaaard. Not much recording at present. Hope one day soon I will record again. My plan is to use my Christmas gift a Boss GT1 Multi FX foot pedal to do a looper, and then over dub something on it.


Keep doing what you are doing, sounding great, Mark.

Just listened to Good to be King … most enjoyable.

Hi David. Thanks. Good to be King was done when I just started Blues lead course, but not bending and vibrato yet. I posted this in the old forum and someone pointed out something related to vibrato and at that time I didn’t know the term yet😄. The solo was tried out by myself. Those sounds like bending could be actually sliding. I am thinking of redo the solo part again to see how much I have improved in these 4 months.

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Some excellent song recordings there and some great examples of different skills. Really great progress for playing under two years.

Thanks Jason. Learning something new is the greatest fun by itself.

In the middle of 2021 when I was learning major scale first 2 positions and at the same time trying to identify the key of songs by ear (with guitar on hand), I discover one interesting thing. I cant read standard music notation, and also can’t memorize the pitch of C D E F… But I know Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti (solfège notation?) very well. I use this to identify the Do of the song, and then easily find it on guitar and that is the key. When doing the scale, improvising, solo, no matter major or minor key, I am always humming the solfège notes in my brain. I guess this is also another way of processing the intervals. The advantage of this system is that, the key of the notes are floating. Disadvantages? Maybe it makes me difficult to identify the C D E F system. Let’s see how it goes along with my learning journey.

Sounds like it is working for you.

Yes it is.

Take another example of identifying Major or minor key by ear. If i hear lots of phrases ending with La(6), it is most likely minor key. Major key phrases normally end with Do(1). I use the same technique trying to identify modes, and the hit rate is also more than 50%.

The downside is, if you ask me what are the notes in C# Major key, like C# D# E…? It will take maybe 10 minutes for me to work out.