Jeff's Road to Glory & Songbook

Background

My guitar journey started back in 2005, at the age of 18. I bought one of those cheap starter kits - don’t ask me what brand it was - and made my way through a learn-to-play-guitar book with ‘hundreds of chords you need to learn’. I didn’t have any plan whatsoever and barely enjoyed what I was doing. After many failures and frustration I was able to play some riffs like Smoke on the Water and Seven Nation Army semi-decently on the sixth string only. Alas, I stopped making any meaningful progress and gave away the guitar.

Fast-forward a few years later. I wanted to give it a second try and discovered Justin by coincidence. It must’ve been in his early tutoring days because the videos I watched weren’t even shot in Full HD. Anyone remember Jedi? I spend nearly 10 years making my way from the old beginner’s course to the old intermediate foundations.

I watched some of the older videos again recently and it’s amazing how they’re still relevant. But there’s no denying the fact that Justin has massively upped his teaching and production skills since the last major website overhaul. This was exactly what I needed because I was once again struck in a rut after ‘finishing’ the intermediate foundations.

The redesign of the beginner and intermediate grades got my blood pumping again. I’m still not sure which goals I’m pursuing, but I wanted to be more than just a bedroom player. I then discovered this community and got inspired by others to start expressing myself and share my progress. Et voilà, here we are at my learning log.

Strengths & Weaknesses

I’ve spend some time defining my strengths and weaknesses, hoping this will help me to set clear goals.

:white_check_mark: Play various and complex rhythm patterns
:white_check_mark: Have an adequate knowledge of music theory
:white_check_mark: Recognize intervals and transcribe easy songs by ear
:white_check_mark: Play lead lines, varying from easy to medium difficult

:x: Being a father of two girls and a caring husband, I’m struggling with time management
:x: I do not apply all the music theory I know to my playing
:x: I have not yet shared an original song, only covers
:x: Various technical aspects need improvement: muting strings, bends, vibrato

Goals

Other than working on my weaknesses, these are the high level goals I hope to achieve one day, not in any particular order.

1) Create a topic with a pretentious title
2) Write an original song
3) Learn to sing and play the guitar
4) Perform at a JustinGuitar open mic
5) Play in a band

Gear

Acoustic guitar - Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE
Electric guitar - Epiphone Les Paul Prophecy
Electric guitar - Fender Player Plus Telecaster

Boss Katana 100W MKII amp

12 Likes

Achievable goals are important! (As are smiles :slightly_smiling_face:)

Great start to your learning log, Jeff. It’s especially good to be able to highlight strengths along with weaknesses.

Keep playing! :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

OMG THAT"S AMAZING. My goal for today was to reply to a topic with an over the top level of excitement.

Seriously, such a detailed list is great. Good luck on traveling that road to Glory.

2 Likes

Great start to your learning log Jeff. I’ve watched a few of your videos over time, and your playing is definitely good! So the time you’ve invested over the years has paid off for sure.

Will be good to see you in a JG open mic one day.

1 Like

:rofl:
Great start to your LL, Jeff! Really interesting read and what a list of covers you’ve done already! :exploding_head: Can’t wait to see/hear more (and maybe some originals?!)! :metal:

:point_up: YES! THIS!! :smiley: :+1:

1 Like

Cheers all. I had posted a few songs on Soundcloud before I got into video recording. I’ve now made videos for all those songs, from Anarchy up until Brown Sugar. They’re in the songbook for anyone interested.

1 Like

I like your Songbook! Lots of good stuff in there. You seem on track for success. I don’t think I every really thought about any goals other than to not sound like crap. :grin:

Maybe I need to make my learning log title more pretentious. Nah, not till I can play better!

2 Likes

Pretentious as in “LunaRocket’s Amazing Adventures in her Journey to Stardom”, maybe?
It’s Pretentious if nothing else!!! :crazy_face:
Mine would be something like… Catman’s nightly roaming down the alley of Musical Theatre” or some such!

Just funnin’!!!

Tod

1 Like

Jeff, cool Songbook & a very well organized Learning Log! I like your Strengths/Weaknesses & Goals sections! Nice!!!

Tod

1 Like

Not doing well so far. My back has been killing me for over two weeks now and it’s gotten to the point where I can barely hold the guitar.

It’s my own fault because I know that I have a bad posture, both at work and when playing the guitar. Being aware of it is one thing, doing something about it is another. I’m thinking about adding some kind of posture exercises to my practice, but I’m not sure how that would work out.

It’s not all woes though. The good news is that I’ve finally found the time (and courage) to take a singing course. Chris Liepe’s Discover My Voice course has been mentioned a few times around here so I decided to try that one. It’s been fun so far, making funny and embarrassing noises in the safe haven of my car. I’ve even come to believe I’m not that hopeless as I thought I was.

Hoping to share more positive vibes in a week or two!

3 Likes

Hope you get a bit of relief soon mate Back problens are just shite. So is not being able to play guitar. I can never play as long as I want to anymore. I sometimes where one of those velcro braces which seems to help a bit.
All the best.

Cheers, Shane

1 Like

Sorry to hear about your back issues, this is a real pain. Fingers crossed for you that it’ss get better soon and you find a way to avoid this in future. What helps me on this point is standing up in between the practice session and play a little standing straight, but here’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution, I fear. Exercises sound like a good plan though. All the best for you!

Great you checked out ‘Discover your voice’ and having fun. I also like Chris’ course and enjoy how it helps improving without creating any pressure to sound nice, in contrast, you have to sound a little awkward, to get any better. Love the comic characters practice - my significant other not that much. :joy:

So good luck and lots of fun on this journey. Looking forward to hear you play and sing some day! :smiley:

1 Like

Update 1

It’s been three months since I started this LL, time for a first update.

I’m making small but important steps towards reaching my goals.

Write an original song

This is coming along pretty well. I’ve been working on two songs. The first one will be a mellow ballad, the other one a rock/metal song. What I have are a few ideas that need to be glued together. They’re nowhere near finished, but I’ll share the WIP soon.

Learn to sing and play the guitar

I’m having fun with Chris Liepe’s Discover Your Voice course. I feel I’m getting better at the vocal exercises, and I think I’ve got a pretty good definition of my comfortable range. Now I’m making a repertoire of songs that allow me to apply everything I’ve learned thus far. I want to be able to sing and play at the same time, so the songs will need to be relatively easy, or stripped down so I can play them on autopilot.

Perform at a JustinGuitar open mic

As soon as I can play and sing my way through a tune I’ll throw my hat into the ring. Maybe. :sweat_smile:

Play in a band

There’s nothing that I want more. I’ve been hunting the web for ads but no match yet. Too far, not my style, etc. I’ve spoken to some people who are in a band to see if they can help me or know someone who can, but nothing has popped up yet.

Other stuff

I started practicing either standing or sitting on a proper stool and that has definitely helped maintaining good posture and relieving the back pain that I suffered from. So stupid I didn’t try it earlier.

Lately I’ve been listening to some country music. Mainstream country I guess, Chris Stapleton, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan mostly. It’s a style I’d like to learn so I’m spending some time on the major pentatonic which I have always ignored. I really like it, maybe because it’s so different from what I usually play. It feels fresh and exciting.

That’s it for now. I wish you all a great 2024 with lots of guitar fun!

4 Likes

Update 2 - March 2024

Learn to sing and play the guitar

This has been the major focus area for the past couple of months. If I could pick just one goal that I’m going to achieve, it would be this one. There are a few songs that I’m working on, mainly in the pop, country and (soft) rock genres.

I’m really taking my time to properly analyze the song and learn the melody by ear. I have little trouble singing the melody by heart, but I find that knowing the notes and intervals is an invaluable asset when trying out keys at the edge of my vocal range.

I doubt many of these songs will be AVOYP material, but who knows. I wasn’t planning to release this Shania Twain cover either. It’s just a song that I started singing along with in the car and it started growing on me. I agree it’s quite different from the songs I’ve done before, but sometimes you have to broaden your horizons. :slight_smile:

Feeling major

Speaking of broadening my horizons, I’ve taken a completely different path in my guitar journey. I felt I needed something new and exciting, so I started looking into the major pentatonic scale.

As mentioned in my previous update, I started listening to country music, a genre that doesn’t get a lot of airplay around here. I discovered many country bands and subgenres already and I’m really digging it. I’ve only touched the surface of different country guitar techniques (travis/hybrid/chicken picking, double stops, major pentatonic licks, …), but it’s such a rabbit hole.

The more I practice the major pentatonic scale, the more I’m liking it. It’s really taking my playing to another level, because it’s kind of forcing me to make the changes, unlike the minor pentatonic.

What works for me is learning one lick per week and getting the most out of it. What notes does it use? Where are the bends? Can it be transferred to different patterns or registers/octaves? Can I combine it with licks that I already know? Really good stuff.

Gear

I made two new purchases that I think are justifiable. :slight_smile:

The first one is the DigiTech Trio+ Band Creator / Looper. I long thought it was a bit of a gimmick, but I was wrong. It’s actually pretty cool to play with. I’ve set up a few country progressions with the I, IV and V chords and I’m improvising and practicing licks with a band in no time.

The second one is a Fender Player Plus Telecaster. I never had a Tele before but it’s becoming my favorite. It’s suited for country twang, blues, rock & roll, and many other things. I’m even considering selling my Strat which I rarely use anymore.

Other stuff

To conclude, a little side story. My oldest daughter, who is now 5 years old, has started showing some interest in the guitar. The other day she told me she learned Frère Jacques at school and asked me to play it for her. I just started on a random note and played the melody by ear in one go, without any mistakes. It’s amazing what our ears can do. You should’ve seen the smile on our faces. It’s the small things that make you happy. :slight_smile:

That’s it for now. Back to practicing.

4 Likes

Hahahaha!! Love it :rofl::rofl::rofl:

A cool read Jeff… totaly agree with you on broaden youre horizon…
if you are just getting into country, and starting to like it… i would highly reccomend you too give the official Yellowstone playlist a go. It is several hours long. There is tons of music and artists you have not heard about before. But it is brilliant music. Mainly country that crosses over to all direction… blues,rock etc…

That TV show has almost becomed a springboard for unknown artists to reach out and getting playtime…

1 Like

Great update Jeff and a good read.

Keen to see what you do with the Major pentatonic, as I’ve always liked your playing style. I too have taken a great liking to the Major pentatonic. Really helps expand my palette.

Cheers, Shane

1 Like

I love the title of your learning log. Go ! Go ! GO ! :trophy: :trophy: :trophy: :trophy: :trophy: :trophy:

1 Like