Geodoc's learning log

I mentioned some of my background in my intro - but to put where I am in my guitar journey in some context: I’ve been playing guitar since high school in the late 80’s - almost all acoustic with playing chords learned from a chord book, mostly only in the first 5 frets (and my guitar fretboard shows that wear :slight_smile: ) Most of that has been strumming rhythm and two fingered travis picked variants. Through the years, I’ve played guitar singing with friends, for church music, and just to relax. In addition to guitar, I play pennywhistle, trad flute, and harp, and have sung a lot of choral music.

Over COVID, I got an electric guitar with the intention of learning more lead style, and expanding beyond straight forward lead sheet accompanying. I worked through the previous version of the beginner and part of the intermediate course to fill in gaps With all the new material updated since that version, I have been going back and picking up new stuff in grade 1-3 as it is added, and pieces that I was happy with at the time, but now need to be revisited - which leads me to where I am now in my learning journey.

My overarching goal is to improve my playing to better accompany my singing for and with family and friends, and also have more options of how to play when I’m playing with friends.

Currently, I have been spending time in the major scale maestro 1 lessons in Grade 4. As I’m getting more comfortable playing a couple major scale positions, it has opened up playing the guitar as a melody instrument in a way I didn’t really get before, and I have been having fun playing a bunch of of the irish trad tunes that I know.

I have a whole bunch of specific skills I’m working on in my current short-medium term improvement objectives:

Clean up A shaped barres
Clean up barre chord transitions up the neck
Clean up power chord fluency
More accurate picking for riffs/tunes and better discipline in alternate picking
Alternate chord voicings for use in accompanying other guitars
Picking more tunes combined with chords
Consistent rhythm patterns - I have a bad habit of starting a song with one pattern, and defaulting to a standard pattern halfway through
More varied finger picking from standard 2 finger travis - using m,r fingers, not just p,i
Better learn to use recording setup (scarlett 4i4, mics, abelton)
Improve song memorization (mostly working on keeping lyrics in my head)

Some of the current methods I rotate through my practice schedule are:

Scales - major scale positions, intervals with metronome - continue working on improving note quality, increasing the tempo for major scale maestro 1 Grade 4
Doing exercises from the guitar aerobics exercise book
Triads - playing songs I know using three string triads instead of open or full barre chords
picking individual notes in chord strums - review Grade 3 Module17
cord transition using scales - review G3M15
Picking out melodies in key by ear in major/minor scales
Sight reading simple standard notation tunes/melody lines
Recording myself and observing playing issues
Song, riff practice

It’s a long starting post for this log, but I wanted to get down where I am now, so that I look back at this a a benchmark later. :slight_smile:


Mid February progress notes:

Had a good time this weekend playing with a friend. Many of the things I’ve been working on payed off. The big new thing here for me was being able to play alternate chord voicings using triads or E/A/D (+minors &7s) barre chords/variants up the neck as I read the chords off his finger placement on open chords. I’ve been working on making some off those chord voicings second nature, and being able to follow on the fly using those, not just open chords, was a real accomplishment for me.

Most of this improvement has been just using those alternate voicings as I play through songs so that I get used to them in common chord progressions. Still need to work on this, but it gives me a good target.
Several songs I’m working on have a D/F# or D7/F# - so getting that smooth with a thumb over fingering has also been a major improvement.

Also making good progress with memorizing some new to me songs. Still need to work more on lyric memorization

Continuing working through major scale patterns - speeding up with a metronome, playing interval scales, and playing tunes using those scales has helped my pick accuracy.

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2 weeks of good practice mostly focused mostly on improving technique through use in specific songs

  • Kept with major scale forms working on accuracy and linking in 5 positions, along with picking out melodies in those positions.

  • Spent a little time last weekend playing with a friend and spent time trying to use triads and A an E shaped barres up the neck to provide different chord voicing. That’s becoming more comfortable for tunes in G and C.

  • Made some major progress on fingerpicking on “Beeswing” - I can now sing along with my playing at reduced (~70%) speed. RT does it at a wide variety of speeds, and I still have to figure out what I like best

  • Fought with OBS and Abelton and for some reason am still having trouble getting OBS to record audio with the video. The meter for the input from the DAW is showing sound coming into OBS, but it’s not directing it to the recorded file - more troubleshooting to go on that so that I will be able to upload some video eventually

  • Listening back to my audio recordings has shown me that for the next two weeks I have need to spend time with the metronome - I accelerated all the way through “space oddity”, and have a few uneven chord transitions that I thought were cleaner.

  • Added “Can’t help falling in love with you” to my practice list for an arpeggiated pattern in finger picking

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Now focusing on lead guitar and accompaniment, your goals are clear, spanning techniques from barre chords to alternate picking. Your structured practice routine includes scales, exercises, chord transitions, melody playing, and recording practice.