Hello! Mike from Oregon

I’m a retired 67 year old man who has decided to try to learn how to play a guitar. I am working through Justin’s introductory course and I have been practicing for about a month. I just purchased my first new guitar, a Squier Affinity Stratocaster and a Fender Frontman 20G amp. I joined this forum to hopefully get some tips and advice along this journey of mine. In advance, I certainly will appreciate any assistance that I can receive from more experienced player.


Welcome Mike! I’m a fellow retired Oregonian - in Corvallis. Are you anywhere nearby?
I’m loving JustinGuitar and this community. I think you’ll like it here too!

Hey Mike, welcome to the community, I started playing at the age of 53 and now nearly 65 I’m thrilled to be able to call myself a guitarist. Just keep at it and realize it’s within your grasp. It definitely gets easier. And it’s just great fun and mental therapy. Look forward to hearing more from you.

Hello Judi,
Thank you for the greeting. I live in Hillsboro. So far I am having a ball practicing each day and I am encouraged with each small improvement. I’m trying to keep my expectations realistic.


Hi Mike and welcome from a fellow Oregonian! (Portland) I started learning with Justin in 2021 and haven’t looked back. I think you’ll be in good company here :grinning:

Hello Tony,
Thank you for the greeting. So far I having having a lot of fun, especially with each small improvement I make. I’ve learned that in the beginning some things look impossible but with some effort they can be possible. I appreciate you saying that it gets easier because some things seem pretty daunting at this early stage.

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Hello Jenn,
Thank you for the greeting. I live in Hillsboro. I have lots of question already and I hope that others on this forum can help me along this journey. I am having a lot of fun so far.

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It doesn’t just get easier, it gets much easier. You need to work out what works for you motivation wise. For me, it was 2 things, 1st was making part of my daily routine, only 15 minutes a day, but every day. 2nd was learning my first song all the way through. I’ve come across players who can play many riffs but very few or no songs. And if that works for them, that’s good. For me, learning to play my first song all the way through gave me huge motivation to keep at it and learn a 2nd and then a 3rd song and onwards.

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Hi Tony,
What was the first song that you were able to play all the way through? I have trying to learn to play Apache but I think my skill level is not there at this early stage.

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It was a simplified version of Blowin in the Wind from Justin’s first song book. Used the chords A E and D and using Justin’s technique on the A chord fingering it different to what’s usually taught so I had an anchor finger that stayed on the same string for all 3 chords made it a lot easier. I also used Justin’s one minute chord change lesson to get over the problem at the start where my beginner chord changes were too slow to keep the song going.

Now I play the A chord differently and I also play Blowing in the Wind differently, but back then it made such a difference having a simplified version. He had to take that song out of the beginners song book because Dylan’s lawyers sent a cease and desist letter. I do have the arrangement written down, if anyone wants it just send me a private message.

Right now I am working on Justin’s play along to Three Little Birds using A E and D. I’m sure that eventually the chord changes will become easier but I am still at the stage where I really have to think about the transitions and watch what I am doing rather than it being automatic. I also just learned the E chord 2 days ago so the transition to that chord is still pretty slow and cumbersome to me. I will keep on practicing. Is there a point down the road where I should be able to transition between chords without looking? Because I am no where near that level yet.


Absolutely. It takes a while and don’t worry about looking at this stage.

I’d never really paid attention to how much musicians do or don’t look at the fretboard until i started playing. After I’d been playing for about a year, I saw a live performance and was amazed to notice the guitar player almost never looked at his fretting hand and couldn’t imagine being able to do that.

Now I can, but it’s quite the temptation to look far to often. When performing with a mic for vocals, it becomes important as many mics are directional, when you turn your head to look at the fretboard, your vocal projection into the mic suffers.

If it’s an easy song with G Em C D or F I don’t have to look at all, if it’s a more complex song, Bm seems a challenge for me, then I have to peek a bit. It’s something I’m working on at the moment. :slight_smile:

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Welcome Mike! Oregon is such a beautiful place. I hope it brings your inspiration on your musical journey. Lots of great people here to help beginners like us along the way :nerd_face::+1:

Hi Mike,
Welcome here and I wish you a lot of fun :sunglasses:

Hi Mike, welcome to the community! Great, that you started your journey, have a lot of fun! There are a lot of friendly and helpful fellow students here to help you out, when questions or problems occure. Just ask!
Motivation and perseverance are kees to progress, every day a little further. You’ll see, time flies and suddenly you’ll be able to play some songs…

Hi Mike (@mikemonica12). Welcome to the community.
I’m a retired, 71 old who had been learning with JG for a few years. I remembered Apache from when I was first learning guitar in my early teens. As I acquired more skills with JG, I learned it and continue to get better at as I develop. It’s good example of a ‘dreamer” song where you can learn it as you gain skills. The chords are in the beginner category, though maybe advanced-beginner. The strum pattern is more beginner-intermediate, but you can simplify it to play along initially The melody is also approachable. There are some parts that an adv-beginner could learn and then some that are more into the intermediate category. As your Squier Affinity Stratocaster probably has a tremolo bar, you’re all set. The melody uses the bar a lot. While it’s not required, it adds a lot to the song.
Enjoy the journey!

Welcome to the community Mike :slightly_smiling_face:

Welcome to the forum Mike

Welcome Mike. Plenty of late starters here.

Welcome Mike. Plenty of good advice here, Search the forum and if you can’t find it there, ask away! :grinning: