Hi All, older player from Perth, UK

Hi everyone.

I turned 50 this year. I’ve been trying to learn guitar, on and off for the last 15 years. Sadly, more off than on. This year, this time I am more determined to reach my goals (Listed at end). I don’t consider myself a beginner, but I am not an intermediate either.

Long story short: basically I get frustrated at my lack of progress and then I start to play less each week, and that slowly turns into weeks, months, and even years.

I learn parts of songs, the easier sections and do ok but when trying to tackle the longer and/or harder/faster parts - I get frustrated at the slow process - ( struggle to remember it, or can’t get it fast enough, etc) so I just end up going back to the easier stuff I know - as such I don’t think I know any song 100% but know riffs from 10-20 songs.

My guitar ‘practice’ turns out to be - warm up, and just play the parts I know.

This just leads to long breaks and a never ended cycle.

I am hoping to stop this cycle - so much so I have even started to work through Justin’s beginner course. In a hope of not giving up this time.

Having just watched - some of his videos about practice and goals. My goals are:

0- learn 10 each acoustic (camp fire songs)

  1. Play along to my favour albums, or concerts. Being a Guns n Roses fan and especially Slash. I’ve picked live at the ritz 1988 as the first one.
  2. Being able to solo/improvise over a backing track - making it sound musical. In a rock/blues style.
  3. Being comfortable Jamming with other people
  4. Put a video or more on social media.

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated and welcomed. I want to break this plateau/cycle.



Welcome to the forum Craig. Only you can break the cycle so all I can suggest is follow Justin’s Beginner Course from from the beginning and stick to it.
You’ll move quickly through the stuff you know but will break bad habits and learn how to practice properly to improve.


Hi Craig,
Welcome here and I wish you a lot of fun and a # learning curve :sunglasses:

Start at the beginning and you will be able to continue playing/practicing while Justin talks to you a lot because you already know stuff .But in grades 1 to 3 there is tons of learning stuff hidden… or actually just on the surface :smirk:… Don’t miss it !!!

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Hi Craig, welcome to the community forum. You’ve already had some good advice. I had problems maintaining progress in the past. I benefited from starting a learning log in this site, recording myself playing and posting to get some feedback, which helps. I also keep a module practice schedule and a daily practice log to keep track of songs and techniques. Good luck in reaching your goals.

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Thanks. Never used a practice log before - might be worth a try to help me stay focused, and on track towards my goals. Instead of default back to noodling the stuff I already know.

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Thanks. That’s what I’ve been doing.
I’m under no illusion it’s all down to me
But if other people have been through a similar issue - then they can hopefully share what helped them through it.

Also, by posting and putting my goals into the world - might help me stay more accountable too.

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@Odinstan you can start a learning log Here Learning Logs many people find it helpful and it keeps all you milestones in one spot where you can review them and see how far you have really come. It’s a good place to get feed back from other members. Feel free to read though a few of the others to see if it something you’d be interested in

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Hi Craig, welcome to the JG Community! This could have been me when I was your age. I vividly remember my second ex-wife shouting up the stairs at me “how long have you been playing that thing and you still can’t play a song all the way through!”

As far as advice goes I think Rick has hit the nail on the head:

If you find you have trouble forming the good habits involved in practicing, or kicking the bad habits, I can heartily recommend the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear - I’ve been putting his ideas into practice for the last few weeks, and it’s seriously shaping up to be a game-changer. I heard about it from other users on this community!

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It’s bizarre - when I come back to ‘playing’ again. I am good at picking it up every day but it’s just the same old stuff I noodle with…, nothing new, so I just come back to the same level I was before my time off and never get any better.
That’s the cycle I am wanting/hoping to break.

HI Craig, one additional suggestion. Justin says that practice should be 50 percent focused practice and 50 percent fun. You could try a week of focused practice carefully following Justin’s plan and then take a week off to noodle and review old songs. Keep a log of your progress and eventually you will even see progress in the songs you play in your week of fun and your noodling will improve. I do that and feel good that at least I am making some progress as I follow Justin’s plan.

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Hello Craig and welcome to our community. :slight_smile:

I hope you manage to break the cycle this time.

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Hi Craig, Welcome like others have said

I also have been there play bits and no whole songs but last year I found a jam buddy and we now regularly play through a set list and are working to our own goals but pushing each other.
So it can be done and you already know so much more than you think it will come back and just need to fill in the gaps and find those motivators. good luck enjoy

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So do I.

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I think playing regularly with others would definitely help.

Yes it helped me also challenged me and made me spend time practising songs and playing stuff I would not normally play.
Good luck

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Welcome to the forum, like you I was better at failing to learn the guitar than actually learning it in my first attempts. When I went back to it at the age of 53 I had more specific / clear goals so it’s great to see your goals laid out in detail. Hang in there and just make it part of your daily routine. Work out what motivates you in the actual process and do that more. For me, once I learned to play a simple song all the way through, that was it, I was off. If you read through this forum you’ll see people say again and again songs songs songs. A song is great because it is a real finite and smaller target. Figure out which song from live at the ritz has the easiest chords or rhythm to learn and start with that.

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Thankfully, I know some parts (some more than others) of nearly all the songs.

My plan - was to learn all the rhythm parts first and then go back and fill in the solos
Not sure if this is the best way, but it felt it would be the easiest way and get me up playing along with the video the quickest.

Hi Craig, Welcome to the community!

This is the path I usually take. I’m more proficient as a rhythm player, but I need to get into the rhythm and feeling of the song first. This gets me playing along and starting to feel how highlights and solos fit. Then comes the harder (for me) part, learning the solo :slight_smile:

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I’m hoping it leads to less frustration, so it will break my cycle.

Welcome, Craig, yes follow the beginner’s course. After 6 months, and never having played before I could play 5 songs at the end of 6 months. No, they aren’t the most complicated ones, and it was all rhythm, no lead, but I could do it, and I’m still trying 10 months in.