Hi, James from Brisbane, Australia

Hey everyone. I’m James from Brisbane, Australia.

I’ve only just picked up my musical journey again after dropping it for 20 years. I’m 40 now.

Most of my experience was drums, with only a little guitar. I started with playing the drums when I was about 12 or 13 years old. Got pretty decent, used to jam a lot with my mates in high school. Played in my church band (back when I went to church as a teenager).

I wanted to be a rock star. Probably like every other teenager in the 90s. Was super jealous of my guitar buddies so got a Squier Strat when I was 16, had a handful of lessons and learned some power chord songs (basically just Nirvana stuff) and gave it up within a year as I found barre chords too hard and didn’t have the money for lessons. Realised I wouldn’t be a rock star and gave that up. I actually thought my hands were the wrong shape to get decent at guitar.

I was in a band playing drums until I was around 19, when I decided it wasn’t going anywhere, on a whim I quit the band, sold the drum kit to travel and didn’t do anything musical until last year (2021). Basically spent the last 20 years on work and family after finishing uni.

About 5 years ago I bought my wife a cheap Yamaha guitar starter pack (F310) as a surprise gift when she’d indicated she wanted to learn guitar. But she never really did, it sat in the corner until October last year when I started mucking around with it. I decided I wanted to learn guitar, thought I was going to do the Fender course until I was recommended JustinGuitar and now here I am.

Within a couple of weeks of starting I figured I’d follow Justin’s advice on getting an electric, so again I bought a Squier Strat - this time an Affinity HSS with an Orange Sierra Sunburst flame maple top. Yes it’s a cheapie Squier but it looks fantastic and plays well. I still play the acoustic as well.

I have to say at this point I’m obsessed. I play at least an hour a day, often two and sometimes up to 4 hours on the weekend or while on vacation. I’m towards the end of grade 2 and loving it. Learned a ton of songs and keep learning more. It’s added another dimension back to my life that I didn’t realise I’d been missing.

I feel I’m making good progress so far. I find the rhythm stuff very easy, probably because of the drumming. And that even though it’s been over 20 years since I regularly played a kit, I’ve been tapping everything in sight with drum beats in all that time. Finger flexibility and dexterity for riffs is harder, but I think now being older and wiser I realise practice makes it easier. Which it totally does.

Anyway, thanks to Justin and team for JustinGuitar. Unbelievable it’s free. I had to go ahead and subscribe to the app, do a donation subscription, and order a song book. And it’s still cheaper (and better, I reckon) than in person lessons.


Welcome to the community, James! Justin is such a great instructor and the crew here are phenomenal individuals that are so willing to help out with support and encouragement. Getting towards the end of Beginner 2 you will soon get encouragement from Justin to record yourself to assess your skills. Go one step further and put your recordings on the audio visual of you playing (AVoYP) section of this forum. You will be amazed with the feedback!

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Hi James, and welcome!!

Sounds like you’ve had a similar journey to me. I started playing around the age of 25… then put it down as it was just too frustrating. I picked it up around 12 or 13 years ago, paid for some lessons & was starting to get quite good… well in my opinion anyway.

Then life got in the way & I didn’t pick up a guitar for 10 years. I got a squire telecaster as a present for my 50th last year & since then I’ve not been able to put the guitar down… again it was like something had been missing from my life.

Currently I’m trying to get back to the point where I was when I put the guitar down 10 years ago. It’s surprised me how much I’ve forgotten, but with practice it’s beginning to come back & I’m loving it. Justin’s website has been a massive help with that.

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Hello James and welcome. :slight_smile:

Great story. I look forward to hopefully one day seeing you post in the AVOYP section.

Enjoy the journey.

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Welcome to the Community, James, and thanks for sharing your story. Look forward to hearing you play in due course (posting recordings in #all-about-your-music:audio-video-of-you-playing is another great feature of following the JustinGuitar path).

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Hi James and welcome! Your story is oh so familiar! You’re in good company here, cheers!

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Welcome James to the community. How did you find the transition from drums to guitar? Glad to have you onboard and look forward to following your progress mate.

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Hi James, welcome to the community. My wife and I lived in Brisbane for many years, then moved to Mt Tamborine and now we live just over the border near Tyalgum. Great to hear you’ve found your passion, the guitar journey is heaps of fun.

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Thanks for the warm welcome. I do plan on recording and sharing something. Seems like a fun thing to do and a good way to get feedback.

@Socio Going from drums to guitar, I think the left hand would be the same as everyone else. Same as fingerpicking, starting from scratch there. Strumming is pretty easy though, and it helps already having a baked in sense of timing and song structure.

Drums can’t really make music by themselves though, whereas guitar can. That’s extremely satisfying.

Welcome @jkahn
The music came back to you twice as hard I reckon :smiley:
Your drum background will serve you well.
Never too late to start (again)!

Absolutely love stories like this but I always like to add the advice that you should be wary of “guitar burn out”. Keep your practice functional AND fun and I’m sure you’ll be playing for years to come! What goals are you working towards?

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@LievenDV Goals? I have a couple of things I’d like to achieve. I’ve set myself a medium term objective of playing what I’d consider intermediate complexity songs from start to finish, in time, with all riffs - which I can’t do yet. I’ve told myself I can’t upgrade any guitars until I get to that level (hahaha). The two songs I’ve set as a target are Killing In the Name by RATM and Inaudible Melodies by Jack Johnson. Kind of polar opposite songs but I have a wide range of taste in music.

In the meantime, I’m just enjoying learning and getting better. Trying to challenge myself with songs that have a mix or riffs and chords at the moment.

In the long run, I’d like to play at an open mic night or join a band (for fun). Need to get a lot better first! I already play in front of others when we have people over for BBQs, etc.

Definitely. I think timing is one of the things many beginning guitarists struggle with, so having a good sense of timing right off the bat is great. No problem with strumming and tapping your foot at the same time, either, I bet! :slight_smile:

Looking forward to hearing it.


sound good!
finding your way in the main structure and chord progressions will give you the basic layer of a song, which you can expand with the riffs and solo’s etc.
I often end up “making songs my own” and playing my own versions of the picking, riffs and melodies. That’s no excuse for sounding bad, the rhythm needs to fit and it should be fun to listen to :smiley:

What I’m trying to say, you’ll pick up skills along the way that open the door to creativity. Nailing a song exactly like it is can be very satisfying. Knowing how to play it but pouring some of yourself into it is next level.

Sounds like healthy appetite to me! :smiley:

To me, that felt like the biggest step so don’t be afraid to try a next step!

Good luck!

Hi James, a very warm welcome to the community. That drumming experience should serve you well - guitar is first and foremost something that uses rhythm. :slight_smile: