Jeff's Learning Log

Hello. I guess I should start a learning log as I am now starting Grade 2 consolidation. My story is a strange one: I played right-hand guitar for 40 years (since 9 years old) mainly as a hobby but played in some bands in my younger years. I also repaired and built guitars and amps for a while. I still have a couple amps and guitars I built but had sold the rest of them some time ago.

Two years ago I suffered a left hand pinky injury making it deformed and pretty unusable, especially for fretting. I basically stopped playing at that point altogether. February 1st 2022 I decided to start over and learn as a lefty. I am naturally left-handed but learned to play right-hand originally. Although frustrating and difficult, it has been a good experience and I am glad to be “playing” again :slight_smile:

My current gear is a lefty Squier Classic Vibe Strat and an Orangewood Oliver acoustic. I also bought a tiny Nu-X Mighty-Lite amp for practice. My other amps I built are a Fender Princeton Reverb and a Supro 1600. I haven’t really played them since restarting but plan to at some point.

For my Grade 2 consolidation I am working on:

General: faster chord changes with C-D and C-F barre and Am-F barre
Acoustic: Fingerpicking technique, strumming patterns with Sus chords
Electric: Alternate picking C major, Am pentatonic scales, 12 bar blues progressions and improv with A min pentatonic scale.

Acoustic songs: Wish You Were Here, Everybody Hurts, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Let It Be, Hurt.

Electric songs: Just What I Needed, Sweet Leaf, Cocaine, Take a Look At Yourself

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Glad to hear you’re finding joy in your playing again.

Once you get the basics back, the rest should come a bit easier.

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That is a very unique story. Must be a real challenge learning left handed after so long playing right handed.

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Can imagine how frustrating that could be, Jeff, but sure with persistence you’ll make progress and get it all sorted.

Look forward to hearing Sweet Leaf, what a great song.

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Hi there Jeff, wow what a story and kudos to you for effectively re-learning. I can’t begin to imagine some of the frustrations you’ve likely gone through knowing what you were able to do right handed, but it sounds like you’re going great guns. Good on you :+1: :clap:

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Just updating here. I’m 13 practice sessions into my Grade 2 consolidation. Can’t really say I feel like I’m making much progress as of yet.

Acoustic:
Fingerstyle practice with Everybody Hurts: still not nailing that G back to D switch but the D to G is fair. Happy birthday is still very tough. I know where my fingers should go for the whole song, just having trouble getting them there :slight_smile:

Practicing blues progressions in key of A (doing ok), key of E (not good), key of G (even worse).

Song practice focusing on chord changes with F barre, Am, C, and G still not getting to that F barre very well at all. I can get a clean F barre chord, just not fast enough changes to it from other chords. (songs: Hurt, Let It Be, Ever Seen The Rain)

Electric
Alternate picking C major scale and Am pentatonic Not getting any faster at this time.
Power chords are going alright. I am working on songs (Cars: Let The Good Times Roll and Just what I Needed) These are doing ok except the chorus is a bit tough on JWIN.

Not sure if I should be doing anything else at this point or just continue to plug away at the above…

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Sounds like you are doing well. I’d stick with consolidation until you feel you are up to an appropriate standard, as per Justin’s guidelines for the grade.

That said nothing wrong with taking a look at Gr3 and maybe starting some of those lessons, especially if you are getting stale.

Hi Jeff, I just recently started grade 3. Probably spent a good few months on grade 2 consolidation. Used the time to learn a few different songs as I got bored of playing the same ones. It does come together in time.

Hey Jeff, I’d echo the advice given by @DavidP and @jkahn.

As you know Justin’s guidelines for the consolidation of the grade cover four aspects; (1) chords, (2) scales, (3) strumming and (4) techniques.

He doesn’t really really give guidelines of when to move onto the next grade, just to spend time exploring these four elements before moving on to Grade 3.

Learning songs is a fantastic way of consolidating aspects 1 and 3 as well as building up your song repertoire.

Alternate picking scales is a good exercise. Once you know the scales from memory it may be a good exercise to practice some blues solos (you could always take the beginners blues solo provided in Module 13 and play it over a backing track) and have some fun improvising using the scales you have learned.

The important thing about the consolidation period is that you are having fun consolidating the skills you have learned with music that you enjoy.

All the best with your consolidation.

Great advice from everyone thank you!

I do “improv” a bit with Am pentatonic scale over backing track so I forgot about that.

I am not sure how long to stay on Grade 2 consolidation really. As a former righty, I know open chord changes should feel fairly effortless. As of now playing lefty, chord changes are still “tense” and take good effort. It is funny how tense and tight I feel after a 45 minute practice session. I could play for hours as a righty and feel just fine.

I will continue to work on my current list and throw in some other songs using the app to keep it fun.

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Yes, it’s a difficult question. I had a look at the lesson video in advance in preparation of coming to then end of Grade 2. Justin refers to the consolidation period being between 3-6 months.

However, he does state in the video if you you feel you have got all of it down and need some new material to stay interested then move on.

I think the key message is to set yourself some goals based on the learning material from Grade 2 and what you really enjoy and what you want to get out of playing guitar.

So maybe start with putting together some goals based on the Grade 2 learning material and what you enjoy (e.g. if you like rock music set yourself a goal to learn to play a couple of your favourite songs that use power chords to a backing track, if you like improvisation set yourself the goal to improvise over a couple of different backing tracks) and what you need to work on further to get what you want out of playing guitar (e.g. if chord changes are a bit tense you could set a goal to learn to play a couple of your favourite songs that use those chords).

Use the goals that you have set to determine when to move on to Grade 3. When you feel your getting a bit bored, move on and keep working on anything that you still feel could do with some more practice.

Just keep having fun and learning songs.

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@Socio

Thank you, good advice for sure. One issue is for me is I like all types of guitar playing and as a righty I did rock, blues, fingerstyle…pretty much all the grade 2 stuff so it is hard to pick goals for certain genres or interests. I like it all :grinning:

My most tense/slow chord changes always involve the F-barre which is to be expected at this point. Not going to beat myself about it, just going to keep at it.

My 3 current practice acoustic songs all have F-barre: Ever Seen The Rain, Let It Be, and Hurt so I’m getting plenty of work on it. Just not sure when they will be “good enough” to move to Grade 3.

OK my first upload. Grade 2 consolidation electric practice for power chords with the Cars: Just What I Needed. It is just a little desktop practice amp recorded from my phone. Overall the playing is stiff and the hardest part is the chorus chord changes. I will load something acoustic I’m working on soon. Feedback always appreciated.

I really enjoyed that, Jeff. I liked the muted notes and strummed chord. Lots of movement up and down and I think most of the time you were hitting the chords clean. Rhythm also seemed steady to me. Couple of hiccups, not such clean notes, but you kept playing.

You are making great progress with the switch to playing left-handed.

Bravo

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Thank you sir. The song is pretty good practice I think with 6th and 5th root power chords, good tempo, work up/down the neck, an open E major chord in there, and palm muting.

For being at this a bit over 3 months as a new lefty, I really am grateful to be working on guitar playing again.

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OK here is an acoustic practice song: CCR Ever Seen The Rain. Pretty rough with the F-barre changes.

Final one for now: Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here. Been working on this one since Module 8. Still flub up some parts of it.

Hey Jeff,

Terrific progress mate after only 3 months of having to switch hands. I take my hat off to you mate. Would take a lot of patience and perseverance, but it appears you are well on your way now
Looking forward to the next few months for you.

Cheers Shane

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Updating my learning log here with 34 practice sessions in on my Grade 2 consolidation. My F barre changes in songs are getting a bit better but still rough :crazy_face:

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You are coming on, Jeff. Much the same as I commented on your AVOYP post, try slowing down the chorus of Hurt, relaxing, and smoothing out the chord changes. Slow and steady, you are making progress.

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