Giskard’s learning log

Placeholder page for the start of my learning log. I discovered the community well after I started my JG journey and have learned so much from it. I figured I should start sharing my experience and getting some insight and feedback from everyone. More to come soon, tomorrow is NGD! Will use that milestone to write at length.

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Hi Ashu, looking forward to see that new guitar.

Temptation, frustration
So bad it makes him cry
New guitar, it’s waiting
He can’t wait to try…

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After waiting the prescribed duration and a bit more for luck, I finally took it out of the guitar last night. It is awesome! Much better tone, less noise, lot more playable and a lot better looking than the one I started my JG-journey with in 2020. I was even able to get a G7 barre chord to ring out properly, usually that is a real struggle.

It’s a bit ‘more guitar’ than I need right now, but I’ve always wanted a real Fender Strat, and hey, it’s a good motivational tactic right? :wink:

Now I need to summon the courage to post a recording or two…

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Lovely looking guitar Ashu. Look forward to seeing you play it. Also look forward to hearing more about your musical journey.

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Since this is a ‘catch-up’ learning log, I am going to cherry pick a few topics to write about, especially where I deviated from the straight-and-narrow course path.

I will also cite or link to some non-JG videos and sites that helped me. Moderators, if that is a problem, please remove my post, or ping me and I shall edit it out.

  • Before Justin, I had not taken any formal classes – just dabbled with whatever took my fancy or was suggested by the YT algorithm. That phase lasted from mid-2019 to mid-2020, and I learned enough to know that (a) I hadn’t learnt anything useful or extensible, just a few open chords sans theory and some riffs that I could reproduce inaccurately (b) I needed to study methodically and follow a curriculum if I was going to get anywhere. Ergo JustinGuitar.

  • It was difficult to judge how long to practice a module before going onto the next one. Watching the Nitsuj videos helped enormously – in some cases, I was spending too long on a module, in others I was jumping ahead too fast and needed to go back.

  • I spent perhaps more time on music theory, ear training, interval training - nice video from David Bennet here and the like than I needed to, but I am analytical by nature and needed to know ‘why’ I was doing what I was doing… and I am getting better at recreating a melody ‘by ear’, hope that’s a good sign! Justin’s course is excellent, and I do recommend buying the full set. I also found Guy Michelmore’s introductory course quite useful as a ‘lots of breadth, minimal depth’ overview of the main concepts, as was Justin’s piano skills lesson. Seeing a chord on a piano helped my brain process the theory more easily than chord shapes on a guitar, where some notes are repeated, and in my early days, I confess I couldn’t recognize an octave as the same note just higher up… they sounded like different notes to me or ‘chords with lots of notes’ :slight_smile:

  • I struggled to get consistent sounds, especially with fingers 3 and 4 which tend to ‘curl inwards’ and didn’t stretch out enough. My pinkie would often come down on the string at an angle, rather than ‘head on’, in fact it still does that unless I pay attention to what I am doing. Including time for the finger stretching exercise, the finger gym, and the quality control exercise in each practice routine helped massively. Yes, feeling the frets does help!

  • I no longer remember if I learnt this from a Justin video or some other source, but an exercise that helped my fingers gain some independence and stretch out better was to place my fingers on frets 5-8 of the high-E, then move one finger at a time up to the low-E and back down, without moving any other finger. No picking, no sound, just fretting hand finger movement. A variation on this, from Creative Guitar and (I think) Paul Davids, is to start on frets 5-8 on the low-E, then move one finger at a time to the next lowest string and keep going till the high-E and work your way back.

  • Like others, I too realized that frequent short practices are better than one long session every other day… and that allowed me to divide and conquer i.e. a session on finger strength and just sounding good, another on a chord/song/technique etc.

  • Keeping a guitar out on a stand near me helped way more than I thought it would. Sneaking in a 5 minute practice in between Zoom calls during Covid was both impactful and like ‘playing hooky’ all at once. Negotiating the leaving of said guitar(s) in several rooms with the family isn’t easy - good luck!

  • The lessons that took the most time to get my arms around and get good enough to feel like I sounded well were the F-chord,, Californication, Sus Chords, Rhythm Push, Power Chords, Open 7th Chords and Shuffle Grooves.

  • Finger Style was endlessly fascinating and took me on a divergent path for a while, and I learnt quite a bit (out of sequence, I caution), from this Paul Davids lesson about Travis Picking, and this one from Justin Johnson, a basic training exercise.

  • The Music Maps class led to a long time spent revisiting songs and artists I knew, watching their interviews to see who they were inspired by and ‘following the trail backwards’. It’s amazing to see how many people were inspired by Chet Atkins, Big Bill Broonzy and the like… and I also discovered talents like Mike Dawes and Tommy Emmanuel and wound up watching their live performance in Ridgefield CT on April 5th!

  • I wish I had paid for the Justin Guitar app earlier and played along to songs more often than I did. As the forum keeps reminding me ‘learn songs, learn songs, learn songs’. Now that I have a new guitar, I will remedy that and really learn some songs, not just well enough to play along while doing a pre-recorded Justin lesson (that only lasts till module 9 or so).

  • Revisiting old songs, riffs, and combining them with new ones is a good way to have fun while learning something new e.g. Palm Muting with the Peter Gunn theme.

That’s it for now… I will add more thoughts later!

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What a stunning looking Strat, Ashu. I think if you can afford it then within reason (that’s a whole topic on it’s own) having a guitar that is perhaps better quality than one’s playing may seem to deserve is quite fine. If the guitar inspires you to play and makes playing easier and more enjoyable then why not (and I mean that beyond it being a self-justification for my own acoustic).

Enjoyed your comprehensive Log update. And I look forward to hearing some of the licks and learning on that new Strat.

You may have learned the exercises about finger movement to develop control and dexterity from Justin, for example this one: Minimum Movement Exercise | JustinGuitar.com I think those ideas are fairly universal and one can as easily invent one’s own exercises.

Personally I feel comfortable that your references are complimentary to your learning and not intended to drive people to other online teachers.

Thank you @DavidP. Glad the references were acceptable. That looks like a great exercise to add to my routine!

Luckily, I could make the budget work, and my experience with my kids piano and violin showed me that a ‘big step up, aspirational instrument’ could indeed inspire, while providing a much better sound and playing feel. Hope the same applies to me :slight_smile:

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Hot tamale! that’s sweet guitar :grin:

My daughter wants to learn piano but I’m afraid she won’t practice.

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Hi Ashu, Welcome. I was first in queue to see the new guitar but I got busy elsewhere. Nice looking guitar. Looking forward to give my opinion on the sound. Good you are finding your way to keep practicing and progressing with your guitar playing.

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Nice run down on your learning Ashu and congrats on the NG. Now we need to hear it!

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