J.W.C. Learning Log


This is a reason this Community is so cool. @J.W.C says “got a new cello, can’t get the bow thing down” and right away - BAM!! Link to what looks like a great beginners lesson!! Very cool, Jozsef!

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Sounds great, Jason. I can’t even imagine playing a fretless instrument, being able to hear pitch well enough to land on the spot and then make minute adjustments to be on pitch. I know it is all practice practice practice but still. And I am sure in due course you’ll be getting on top of the bow.

Then you can apply bowing skills to your electric guitar like that other Jimmy used to do :grin:

I’m glad I could help. I just did a random YouTube search and this video (looks like part of a series on cello playing) seemed to be perfect for a beginner.

“Be inventive!” :slight_smile:

Spent some time on electric guitar, today. Created an A minor 12-bar progression (drums and bass) in my DAW and worked on improvisation and m7 arpeggios (root on 6th and root on 5th). My electric guitar chops are a bit rusty, but I think it’s shaping up. Also used the opportunity to experiment with the Boss GT-1000, again.

I think I need to do a set up on the guitar I was using (a Fender Player Tele HH). It needs new strings, and I’m also getting some minor string buzz at certain places (not so much that it comes out through the amp, but the feel of it still annoys the heck out of me).


@Jby51 posted a question about a C → D → Em chord progression in another thread. I recorded an example of how I might approach that progression. Mine goes Cadd9 Dsus2 Em7 G6 (sometimes substituting Gmaj) and a “B” section that goes | F#m | F#m | G | G | F#m | F#m7 | G | A7 |.

The recording is nothing fancy (guitar’s internal pickup straight into the interface), but I added some reverb and looped it in the DAW to make it sound a little nicer. Added a quick MIDI bass line, too.

So here’s the “Martini for John” progression:


Thanks for sharing, Jason. Sounded pretty cool.

Curious about the title?

I found the way the link was embedded I couldn’t go to SC to listen. I prefer that as I find by default SC playback when embedded is too loud (I know I can drop my LT vol down from the 25% setting it is on just for the listen)

Ha! Since it’s just a chord progression there’s no title, but @Jby51’s first name is John and his avatar is a martini glass, so I went with “Martini for John.” :slight_smile:

That’s surprising. I wonder if it’s because I marked this SC track as private. Other than that, I don’t recall doing anything differently.

After I recorded that I played around with it some more. Figure I might as well document my thought-process on it; maybe it will be useful or interesting to someone.

As I mentioned up-thread, it started with Jby51’s question about a chord to follow C → D → Em before resolving back to C.

My initials thoughts were:

  • Resolving to C means C is probably the tonic, so we can go with the Key of C.
  • G is the dominant for the key of C, so it’s a good one for a chord that needs to resolve to C.
  • The D chord in the progression is non-diatonic. Not necessarily bad, but might be worth trying the (diatonic) Dm chord or removing the third and using a Dsus of some sort.

So a first pass was
    C → Dsus2 → Em → G

Next step: maintain the D note:

Playing that, I realized I could add a high D note to all those chords (if it isn’t already in them) and use it as a “pivot tone” throughout. Doing so gives you:

    Cadd9 → Dsus2 → Em7 → G

I liked that quite a bit. The Dsus2 has an E replacing the third (F#), which leads nicely into the Em7. The Em7 includes the D note, which is also in the G chord. And so on.

I also tried making the G a G7:

    Cadd9 → Dsus2 → Em7 → G7

However, I also realized that just like I could maintain the high D note, I could also maintain the high E, giving:

    Cadd9 → Dsus2 → Em7 → G6

I liked it better with the G6. However, I also thought it might be cool to vary which variety of G gets used as the phrase repeats.

Making a ‘B’ section:

I just kind of did this “by ear.” I wanted some kind of modulation for the ‘B’ section, and thought going from G to F#m might work. Then I just “followed my ear” for the rest of the section, ending on an A7 that can resolve back to the Cadd9. Which gave me:

    F#m → F#m → G → G → F#m → F#m7 → G → A7

Putting that together into a “song like” structure, you get something like this:

    Cadd9 | Dsus2 | Em7 | G6 |
    Cadd9 | Dsus2 | Em7 | G |
    Cadd9 | Dsus2 | Em7 | G6 |
    Cadd9 | Dsus2 | Em7 | G |

    F#m | F#m | G | G |
    F#m | F#m7 | G | A7 |

Further Thoughts

That’s the point I was at when I recorded the example. Since then, I’ve thought about it some more and I think I’d modify it slightly, as follows:

    Cadd9 | Dsus2 | Em7 | G6 |
    Cadd9 | Dsus2 | Em7 | G |
    Cadd9 | Dsus2 | Em7 | G6 |
    Cadd9 | D | Em | G |

    F#m | F#m | G | G |
    F#m | F#m7 | G | A7 (fret V) |

    Csus2 (fret III) | Dsus2 (fret V) | Em7 (fr. VII) | Em7/G (fr. VII) |
    Csus2 (fret III) | Dsus2 (fret V) | Em (fr. VII) | G (fr. III) |
    (back to open chords)
    Cadd9 | Dsus2 | Em7 | G6 |
    Cadd9 | D | Em | G |

    (repeat the B section)

Note that I’ve added the D → Em chord change in a couple of places (like Jby51’s original), usually at the end of a section to kind of spice up the progression leading into a new section. Also added some variety and movement up the fretboard.

EDIT TO ADD: I’m thinking in “key of G” at this point. Using the Dsus2 along with the Dmaj chords definitely points that way, and I’m feeling like the ultimate resolution to the piece should end on G. Also, noodling around and improvising over the progression I’m finding that thinking in G is working well.


Hi Jason, I listened to it today and thought that’s pretty damn good and you truly demonstrated the ethos of the forum by taking the time to figure that out and record it rather than just giving a written response. Respect to you mate.


Fantastic…thanks so much. Really appreciate it!

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Wow @J.W.C what a reply to @Jby51
Sums up this forum/community.


Does this forum do yearly awards like some forums I’ve seen for various categories like most helpful and going above and beyond?

JWC def went above and beyond…extremely helpful. I’m a newbie…picked it up last year at 69 yrs and lovin every minute. The 60 + years I waited makes me crazy, but in it now for the duration. Thanks so much again JWC. This forum’s awesome…learning much from y’all.


@J.W.C Jason what a superb response to John’s question. Thankyou for sharing your knowledge, your time and your talent. You are a class act.

Have you sorted out your bowing action with the cello? I’m very keen to hear you play it.

Jason, I loved the sound and I found the progression just felt natural and right and relaxing. It’s perhaps a greedy ask, but I’d like to see you play it on video. The theory and construction is above my play-grade, but I know I enjoyed it.

Well that’s a title in my book and a creative one that slipped by me :grin:

That would explain it, based on my understanding of SC.

Thanks Jason, fascinating to follow the thought process. And somebody asked about why we might learn theory. I think this is an answer in part. It demonstrates practical application of some specific theory (plus the power of the ears)

I’ve heard the term ‘pedal tone’ before but never ‘pivot tone’. Is this a case of synonyms or something different?

Let me add my appreciation and thanks to the way in which you initially answered on Topic and then took it so much further!

Never too late, John! I’m glad you’re enjoying the guitar. When I answered your post I wasn’t really thinking about whether you were a beginner or intermediate or whatever; I hope the answer wasn’t too much! The “main answer” to your question is “try G.” :slight_smile: The reason for that is because G is the V (dominant) chord in the key of C, and dominant chords sound like they “want to go home” to the I (tonic) chord in the key. If you want to learn more about that, Justin has a course on practical music theory which is highly recommended.

Getting a little better, but I’m still pretty bad at it. I’m working on removing tension from my bow hand and trying to keep the bow at a correct and consistent angle, especially when moving to different strings. And maintaining the correct amount of pressure on the bow to get the desired sound/tone. It’s been slow going.

It makes me remember what being a beginner on guitar is like. Cello has a far steeper learning curve than the other instruments I’ve explored in recent years.

I’ve never been set up for video. I’ve resisted getting into it, as when I get into something I tend to end up doing a deep dive; I don’t really want to get into video software and lighting and cameras and syncing video with my audio and all of that. It’s just not my thing, and I don’t need another distraction. However, I recently posted a basic phone video, and that wasn’t too bad to create (although I had to “jury rig” something to hold the phone while recording it). I could probably do something similar just to demonstrate the progression in its latest state. Audio and video quality would just be “what my phone captured,” though.

Yes, that’s a good point. Theory gives you the answers to “why” something sounds good or works, and also gives you “starting points” for modifying or expanding on a piece of music.

It’s not an established term (that I’m aware of, anyway); I made it up while writing the post. The basic idea is that there’s a note (or notes) that remains the same during the progression, such that you can keep your finger down on that note or notes while you change chords. So you’re “pivoting” chords around the note. In section A of this progression the high D is such a note. The high E often is, too, although you don’t need a finger to fret that one.

That would be similar, but slightly different than a “pedal tone,” which is usually a bass note that remains the same while the chords change over it.

There might be an existing (standard) term that covers the “pivot note” concept. If someone knows of one let me know; I’d be interested.


Actually thinking Key of G (rather than C) is a better way to look at how this progression ended up…

So more like the ‘anchor finger’ concept … hmmm … "anchored finger’.

Thanks again for all the insights you share.

Perhaps a quick and easy is to use OBS with OBS Ninja for making simple videos. With that setup you can connect your phone camera via a wireless network to OBS to provide the visual and setup OBS to receive audio from your AI.

You can take that a step further and setup OBS to receive the audio as a stream from a DAW, but for such recordings that is probably an extra step that one doesn’t need to go to.

It’s my pleasure. I got a lot from Justin’s method and from this community, so it just feels natural to share and give back what I can. But I’m no expert; I consider myself very much a student, and the learning never stops. Just like I was originally thinking of that progression in key of C, and now my thinking has shifted to key of G. I guess that’s a cool side-effect of documenting the thought process on something like this. It illustrates how things develop, rather than just showing a “final form.”