Graham's Learning Log

Hello, all! So this is the beginning of my guitar journey and I am very excited about what the future holds. I got it in my head to start learning guitar after a conversation with my wife. Honestly I had wanted to learn for a long time, but kept putting it off. My birthday is in a few weeks, so I decided that my 45th would be the year I picked up guitar. After a fair bit of research, I went out and bought a Schecter C-1 Platinum in flat black. I love the thing. Visions of shredding along to my favorite songs fill my head, but I know I have a long way to go before I get there.

Learning new things has sort of become what my 40’s have been all about. I went back to school to work on my BSBA when I turned 40, and am still plugging along with that. School as an adult with a family, kids, and a full-time job is hard but very fulfilling. I always thought I was bad at school when I was a kid. Turns out I was just lazy and didn’t understand time management. I’m now a junior with a 3.9 GPA. Online classes are great!

Right now I am working on module 1. I have been following a strict practice routine of 22 minutes twice a day. Once that is complete I tend to want to just play around with strumming and chord changes. The practice assistant is amazing and having stats to follow makes me want to log everything so I can see how much I am improving. In the five days I have been actively practicing and logging data, I have increased my D to A and A to D from 4 to 32. They aren’t the cleanest chords, but that is what chord perfect practice is for, right?

My biggest challenge so far has been posture and fretting wrist position. I really don’t have finger pain at all, more of a sensation that I have been using my tips more. I work on Porsche’s for a living and have been turning wrenches for over 20 years, so I guess my already established callouses and hand strength are helping me out. Who knew?

Anyway, that is it for week one. I will update my progress next week and post pics of my set up. Did I mention how cool my guitar looks and that I love it?

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Great start to your log,Graham. Looking forward to pics and progress.

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Hey Graham… good start to your learning log… take your time… build solid foundations… learn songs, learn songs, learn songs… and you’ll definitely be shredding along with you favourite songs… and don’t forget to post a picture of your guitar as we move to see pictures of guitars

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Hmm … that was a bit of a cliffhanger… now I really would like to see a pic of your guitar as well :slightly_smiling_face: I agree btw, experience with and a positive attitude towards lifelong learning is really useful for learning guitar.
Looking forward to reading more about your progress :slightly_smiling_face:

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Welcome to the world of learning logs Graham!
You’ve made a good start and it will all build from here. I look forward to seeing your story unfold. Best of luck!

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Great stuff Graham! Nice progress.

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For those interested here is my guitar. I have several other things on order, but an ice storm has delayed all deliveries. Right now I am practicing without an amp, but I can still hear what I’m playing well enough. Maybe next week the rest of my stuff will come in!

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What a beauty, Graham, enjoy!

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Hi Graham,
That is a Beauty :sunglasses:
Greetings ,Rogier

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So I am almost two weeks in and just had a moment where I felt like I was really playing guitar. It felt amazing and I am still grinning ear to ear.

As of right now I am on module 2 and have learned the E, D, and A chords. I am not perfect, but I am getting there. I can usually hit the right strings and my fingers aren’t completely dumb. I have been doing the recommended practice routine and picked up the app on my phone so I can play along with some songs. It felt like practice, but I was still having fun.

I ordered a Fender Mustang Micro and some headphones a few weeks ago and they finally came in today. I didn’t think it would make too much of a difference, but I was still looking forward to practice tonight.

I had no idea that I would be able to pair my phone and play the apps songs through the mini amp. Combined with the amps different sounds I was able to play along and really feel like I was a part of the music! It was amazing, I had to stop myself after an hour so I could give my fingers a rest.

I am hopelessly hooked. I don’t know why I didn’t pick this up sooner. It is so much fun.

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Those are the best moments :grinning: :smiley: :smiley: I had started my Learning Log exactly after such an experience. Such moments might be rare - but yes, they do exist. Grinning from ear to ear myself. How great to read this :slightly_smiling_face:

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I am coming up on a month and still making progress. Right now I am on module 4. I have been doing about one module a week since I started. I think I am going to do another week of module 4 since the Dm chord is really giving me fits. Tracking my chord changes using the one minute exercises, I am able to do 60 changes per minute between all chords except the Dm. I am sitting around 20-30 a minute, even less if I am going from D to Dm. I am just having problems with it.

My strumming is coming along nicely. I have incorporated “old faithful” into all my song practices where the sound fits. I still get tripped up if I think about it too much, but as long as I let my right hand do its thing I am ok.

That is about it for the first month. I am pretty hard on myself until I remember I didn’t even know how to hold a pick a month ago. I am excited to see where I am at in another month.

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and we’ll be glad to hear it if you wanna share a recording :slight_smile:

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I am six weeks in and in the consolidation phase. I am having fun playing along with the app to songs I know even if I cannot do the individual strumming patterns for the songs just yet. It is fun seeing how I go from barely being able to make the chord changes on beat one to adding more complex strumming.

I’ve stopped doing the One Minute Changes since I was able to get them all to one change per second, but they are still sloppy. In the OMC place I have started doing Perfect Chord changes instead. Hopefully this will build my accuracy to a point I am comfortable with.

I started practicing air changes as well. Some of those are hard! I don’t know how I’ll get D to cooperate with me in that regard. Another difficult air change is A. I feel like I need the first two fingers down first so I can bring that third behind it. I am not really sure how to do that one. I did find that I can play A with just my middle and ring finger, but I don’t know if that is bad or not so I am not practicing it (yet). Fundamentals first.

I picked up Justin’s metronome app as well. I needed a good one, it works with my Bluetooth mini amp, and I really don’t mind supporting this site for all it has taught me. It is helping me with 6:8 strumming and higher tempos.

So I guess that is all I have for now. I figure I will give consolidation at least a month and then post a video of my playing to get y’alls opinion if I passed. Thanks for all the words of encouragement and the wealth of knowledge provided in these forums.

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Sounds good Graham!

Still playing everyday, still enjoying it. I spent the last month working on relearning chords as air chords and trying to build up speed and accuracy between commonly used chords. I mostly practiced C to D, D to G, and C to G. Those were the ones I struggled with the most and I really wanted to get my air changes up to speed. It worked! Sorta. I can mostly do air changes on most of the chords without issue and it has smoothed my chord transition in the songs I play. I can usually hit beat 1 with the chord while maintaining my strumming pattern throughout. If I miss, I just keep strumming and land on the chord eventually.

I just started the stuck 3 and 4 lesson. I totally get why the open chords were taught just before these. All the shapes are super familiar! The D looks and feels like a D with slight changes. The C makes sense, hell the Emin looks just like an Emin with a few extra strings thrown in for good measure. The lesson made perfect sense and I feel like I got a basic handle on the chords in one day. I’m still going to practice them to build up my speed with them because they are technically new, but I am already playing songs with them.

Right now I am focusing on the Emin pentatonic scale, air changes with both open chords and stuck 3&4, and song practice. I found a few songs I have been playing in the app that I really enjoy and are a ton of fun. They are not the type of music I normally listen to, but just so much fun to play. Hurt so Good, Go Your Own Way, and Hey Joe are the three I’ve been playing the most and am pretty close to mastering the app version. I even change up a few things in Hurt so Good to make it feel more like the song instead of just DDUUD the entire time. It is fun.

I know I said I would take a video in my last post, but I am still so self-conscious I barely let my wife hear me play. I am working up to the video, but I don’t think I will ever deem myself ready.

I also bought another guitar. I wanted an acoustic, so I got myself a Yamaha FG830. I really like the way it sounds, and playing acoustic is pretty different from the electric that I am used to. I am glad I am getting the experience early. I know I am still new to the hobby, but now I have both an acoustic and electric I have all the guitars I need. RIght?!? Right. RIght…

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Working on the 3&4 chords still. I have switched over to the orange Tortex am I am having a hell of a time getting the up-strum right. I am pretty sure I have my angle all wrong. It is frustrating, but I will keep on practicing. I don’t want to go back to the .38mm whites because I really want to be more precise with my strums.

I just needed to vent a moment.

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Just catching up one your log. When I got my acoustic guitar, everything changed. It really forced me to focus on the fundamentals because there’s no distortion from an effects pedal to hide behind. At the same time I love that you pick it up and play, that it feels alive. I’ll definitely get back to electric guitar but it’s no longer the focus that I assumed it would be. I hope you get to really enjoy your acoustic also.

With regards to picks, when I got my acoustic guitar, I did start with 0.46mm. It was really bendy but great for learning to strum. I mostly play with 0.60mm now for anything that involves any strumming.

Keep up the good work :+1:

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I am working on Module 10 at this point. The mini F was the last of the F chords to ring out, but I am starting to get it. The barre F is as difficult as expected, but I think I am starting to get the hang of it. I can get it most of the time, but chord changes from and to it are SLOW.

I don’t know what it is, but the D chord is just difficult for me. I keep going back to practice it, but it always seems my fingers get stupid when I try to switch to it too quickly. It was the first chord I learned, but it still doesn’t feel good. I don’t know what I should do besides keep on practicing it.

I just finished school for the semester, so I have a bit more free time in the evenings. I am really thinking about picking up the strumming SOS course to try and help out some of my strumming issues. I really don’t want to rely on the thin white beginning pick, but ever since I switched to the orange Tortex I am having a hell of a time with my up strums. The orange finally feels right in my hand, but I really think I am missing something/doing something wrong. Hopefully the course will be helpful in the early stages of my guitar learning.

Sometimes I feel like I am doing ok at this, and other times I feel like I am terrible. I am not going to give up. It is just annoying to be so bad at something you want to be good at. Practice is the answer, and I am a stubborn sonofabitch so I will get there.

Six months in and I am still playing. I enjoy it and have been learning new things, but I really feel like every time I take a step forward I am taking two back. Things I have been working on sometimes work out ok, and then the very next day my hands decide to be stupid and forget all we have worked on the past few weeks.

I am in module 12 and have stayed here for a while because I really want to get good at power chords. I was getting really bored with lesson 10 after a few weeks, and 11 really didn’t do it for me so I went into 12 with high hopes. it isn’t going great.

Right now I am practicing alternate picking scales, power chords, that stupid F chord, and songs. What keeps me coming back is that moment when it all sorta comes together without thinking. It is like grasping at smoke; as soon as you think about it the moment is gone and then stupid fingers take over once again.

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