Hello all…complete newb here, and I’ve really been enjoying reading the other introductions and seeing everyone’s unique progress!
I’m 47, and I’ve had a guitar that I’ve barely touched for about a decade. Was mostly intimidated by it I think. But, I began learning piano with an app a couple years ago, and something told me that I could probably learn the guitar too if I put my mind to it. Looked at several apps, because I’m a gamer at heart, but ultimately the one that speaks to me is Justin’s!
I just completed Grade 1 of Justin’s course, in ~2months. If my willpower can stand it, I want to stay put and really solidify the basic 8 chords before I move on…1-2 months as I think Justin suggests. That feels daunting and I don’t want to get bored and loose my motivation, but I will really try.
The major hurtle I feel right now is the smooth change to the C. I’ve got all of the other ones pretty much at hand. I’ve targeted a few songs to play daily to practice making that change timely, but in the last week, I’m seeing no improvement. I move my fingers close to the position, but not quite on target .
Anyway, that’s where I am now, and it’s wonderful to meet you all!
Stitch, thank you! That’s sure what I’m hoping, but it feels like I’m making the same motion with my fingers every time I move to C and I’m afraid that I’m somehow solidifying a bad habit…if that makes sense
Welcome Heather! A couple of suggestions - You might try the Justin Guitar App - it has a lot of songs that you can play along with in a “karaoke” style. Songs can be filtered by chords, so you can narrow down the list of songs to only the ones that include the chords that you’ve learned so far. The tempo can also be slowed down, which really helps as you’re working to improve your playing. Also, the Practice Assistant “One Minute Changes” exercises helps to track your progress and see your improvement in making chord changes.
Hi Tom! Thank you! I do subscribe to the app and I love the features including the songs to play with and the ability to slow the tempo. I recently noticed the chord filter, which was immensely useful!
Currently, I’m working on Brown Eyed Girl, slowed to something just under 100 bpm, which still gives me an ouch with the C chord. It’s just discouraging after a whole week of it that I can’t land the C chord on beat, it always seems to be the second down strum in the 4 beats, as I adjust, that I hit it clearly, and I’m afraid I might be making that 2nd strum adjustment a permanent habit. Is that a legitimate concern, or should I plod on?
I also have a few others that I play every day that are fairly comfortable, but not ones with the C chord
Welcome to the Community, Heather. Sounds like you are making excellent progress.
As others have said, C will come in time. Have you tried the exercise where you fret the chord, lift your fingers just off the strings but still keeping the shape, and then fret the chord again. Progressively lift the fingers further from the guitar as you progress until you fret the chord, touch your knee, fret the chord.
To keep engaged in consolidation, I suggest recording yourself playing songs. Pick songs as suggested by Justin, choosing a song for each step taken in the Grade ie start with eg Born in the USA which uses A and D, then one with A D E etc. You can record yourself playing along with the app. A few people have posted recordings with the App inserted in the video which was fun.
Then share those recordings in AVOYP, you can post the first few here. In my experience sharing recordings was one of the best things I did when I started up with Justin’s Lessons. You’ll get feedback and tips, loads of encouragement, and feel-good on your progress.
Thank you David! I have actually spent much time on the chord perfect exercise each day, and in that way I can seem to form the shape and hit it without a problem…when I check each string they ring out clear. But in the midst of a song, even when I lift off a previous chord on the ‘and’ of the previous bar, I can’t seem to nail the chord shape for the C by the 1 beat of the next bar. I’m always off just enough to mute most of them and have a dead (1-&) first part of the next bar. All other chords I can hit.
I will think on making recordings as you suggest. I am extremely introverted and shy, and ugly to boot, so that seems a task but I do gather the value you describe, so I’ll think on on it, maybe it would help with the wall I seem to have hit.
Heather - my suggestion would be to slow the tempo down even further - way down - until you can change to the C chord cleanly. Once you can do that, then slowly start to increase the tempo. Your concern about making the 2nd strum adjustment a permanent habit is correct - you don’t want to keep repeating a mistake. Slow down until you can do it without having to make this adjustment.
I was writing another suggestion, but @DavidP beat me to it…
Just a matter of practice practice practice and it will come, Heather. Good idea to slow down until you find a tempo that you can make the change.
And also keep working at your One Minute Changes (I assume Justin still uses the OMC drill in the revamped Grade 1). Just spend some time every session doing C - Am changes and C - G. Be patient and with time and practice you’ll get faster and faster.
Just keep doing it, know that G - C is a challenge for everybody getting started.
Oh dear, my heart aches to read that “ugly” … even though I don’t believe you!
If it will make it easier and achievable, then make audio-only recordings or position the phone (assuming making a video with a phone) in such a way that all we can see is your guitar, the whole guitar.
Hello and welcome to the community Heather.
Try to spend as much time having fun on the guitar as practice.
And for the recordings, its good to do just for yourself to check your progress and when you are ready, take the next step and share with the community. This is where you get the much needed encouragement and advice.
Hi Heather and a very warm welcome to the community.
You have already been given so much good advice.
I went looking for the Grade 1 Module 5 C chord lesson to post some advice there and tag you - but it hasn’t been linked yet so I’ve noted that for our web dev person.
In which case I will add some more comment in here, cluttering up your Intro topic a little more …
This takes the idea you have already met and stretches it out a little to address the chord formation in songs when you need to be able to change to and from it.
To improve the C chord formation, try this:
Hold your fingers near to but not touching the strings.
Touch the fingers where the chord is but do not press.
Once you have all three touching at the correct place then press them down.
Do not strum - this is a fretting hand exercise only.
Release the pressure after a few seconds but keep touching the strings.
Then move your hand away from the strings by a small amount. All fingers away.
Repeat the process.
Then, to improve changes to and from the C major chord and other commonly grouped chords, repeat the above process with one alteration. After the final step of lifting all fingers away, the next cycle would be over the chord that you are changing to. Once that chord has been done and fingers are lifted away, go back to the first chord of the pair.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
Make this exercise last about five minutes.
1 minute - C alone
1 minute - C & Am
1 minute - C and G
1 minute - C and D
1 minute - C alone
Practice daily and within a week you will be smashing it!
Hi Heather nice to meet you. I’ve took my time and spent a full year on grade 1. I haven’t got that much experience but my advice would echo all of the above comments. Try not to push yourself too hard. When i first started the C chord I had to use my right hand to physically put my fingers in position. From there it went really slowly, following the practice routines and after a couple of months I got to around 40 changes per minute between C and G. Go slowly and follow your practice schedule and you’ll get there
Thank you Tim for that encouragement, it’s actually nice to hear that a year working where I am is not unreasonable. I was feeling like I should be able to move on soon and it was making me anxious, but I actually would like to be really comfortable with this grade so I suppose I should relax.
Thank you all so much for the warm welcome! You’re very inspiring!