Jennifer Annoys the Neighbors- Jenndye429’s Learning Log

Hi everyone,

As I am currently closing in on my two year guitaraversary (Oct 7th) I figured it was finally time for me to start one of these. I have also been thinking lately about setting more concrete goals for myself to advance my playing and I think this will be a good way to hold myself accountable.

For those that don’t know me- Hi, I’m Jennifer and I’m a guitar player in my early 40s from Portland, OR. I’ve participated in (and recently hosted for the first time) the community Open Mics and I’m hoping to be able to be more active on the forum as well going forward. I typically play with my husband, Dan who is learning the drums. We both have day jobs that allow us to work from home, so it makes it easier to find time to practice together. I currently play electric exclusively and we mostly stick to rock- anything from classic rock to 90s alternative. I’m also a HUGE Beatles fan. Anything upbeat that can be played loud, I love.


I currently own 4 guitars. I’ll list them in the order I got them.
1. Fender HSS Player Strat
2. Fender Meteora
3. Gibson Les Paul Studio
4. Epiphone Casino (or as I call it, my John Lennon guitar)

I keep my strat in drop d currently, so I play it when I’m working on a song in that tuning. I love all my guitar “children”, but I tend to reach for my LP the most as I am a big fan of neck it has and of course, for the growly tone. Although- I recently played another guitar that I am interested in adding at some point in the future… What’s one more, right? :wink:

As far as amps, I primarily play through one of two- a Fender Blues Jr or a Boss Katana 50. I also have various pedals- mostly different forms of distortion, along with a looper and an octave up/down.


This is the hard part. I’m hoping that getting them down in writing will give me something to focus on. I’ll break it down into what I am currently working on, versus long term goals.

This month:

  1. I have 3 songs currently in my practice rotation that I am working on getting performance ready. I won’t list them here since at least one will be done at the upcoming OM, but I will likely update this later with the song names.

  2. Strumming practice: I recently reached out to Richard @Richard_close2u for feedback on a wrist angle issue when I play and found out that I have been rotating my wrist a bit too much while strumming and not using my forearm as much as I should. I now am doing some warm ups before playing to correct this along with watching myself while playing through the video on my computer to catch myself when I’m doing it incorrectly. It’s a work in progress and always harder to break bad habits after the fact, but I’ll get there.

  3. Add in a day of theory practice: I typically pick up my guitar 6 days a week. I have the JG theory course and I really want to try and get serious about learning it. TBH, theory and I are not friends. I have started and stopped the theory course a couple of times already. I just don’t seem to have the “stick-withitness” when it comes to theory that I do when it comes to actually picking up the guitar. I’m at the point where I really would like to learn it though, so I am committing to making my off day my theory learning time. I’m hoping I can hold myself accountable by putting it down here.

Long term:

  1. Improve my lead playing: Since I am the singer in our little two person “band” I usually end up playing the rhythm part in most songs that we play. As many of you know, playing lead while singing is extremely difficult to do. Also, it’s hard when you don’t have another guitar player to incorporate lead lines. I would like to develop more versatility as a player and while I don’t aspire to be a shredder, being able to play lead here and there would be nice. This is also another reason I would like to dig into theory a bit more.

  2. Work on stage presence: this is not so much about playing as it is performing, but I would really like to up my performance game a bit. I’m not sure what that will look like for me yet, but I would like to work on becoming a more dynamic and entertaining performer. A true “front woman” if you will.

  3. Bring in other musicians: I have told Dan this many times, but I would love to have a cover band. Even if it is just playing block parties or small venues, I would be happy. I don’t need it to be my full time work and I don’t aspire to be a famous rock star. I just want other people to enjoy what we do. At minimum we would likely need a bass player and possibly a 2nd guitar. I have a friend/neighbor who has been on again/off again learning the bass. I’m hoping that she can join us at some point! I’m not sure the best way to go about finding other people we would work well with yet. I’m also aware that we are relative beginners compared to musicians that may be looking to play with others. We have a venue nearby that hosts an open mic night, so I may try to go and check it out.


These are the songs that I tend to work on long term that I would love to be able to play really well. I tend to work on them for a while and then do something else for a bit and then come back to them when my skill level improves. My goal is to be able to play these live at some point in the future.

  1. Heart-Barracuda: I have been working on this song on and off since the 2nd day I got my strat. It was the song that really inspired me to pick up the electric guitar. There are so many little pieces in here that it takes a while to really learn all of it. My ultimate goal is to be able to sing this while playing, but the vocals are hard too and take a lot of my attention. My Dad (who also plays guitar) and I play this together so I can work on the solo.
  2. The Beatles- I Want You/She’s So Heavy: I think I worked on the intro to this song on and off for a full year before I could actually play it. It has some very tricky chords and it sounds simple, but is more complex than it seems. This one also has a lot of little pieces to dig into. My Dad and I would like to perform this one together at some point. It would be better if we had a bass player.
  3. Metallica- Enter Sandman: This is another one that I mess with on and off, but I would really like to get it performance ready.

Ok, I think this is long enough. If you made it to the end, thanks for reading! I’ll leave you with a couple pics of our current music room.


A really good start to your (and Dan’s?) LL. When I saw the title I thought you were about to tell us you’d fallen out with your neighbours because of Dan’s new drum kit!

You’ve set some sensible, achievable short and long term goals there. A mistake others often make is to promise to update the LL every week. To post new AVoYPs every week/month or whatever. All well and good but when inevitably it doesn’t happen you can feel you’ve somehow failed.

I look forward to following your journey and wish I’d started mine as an ‘early 40 year old’. :grinning:

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Hello Jen and welcome to the log heap!

I’m looking forward to following your exploits, especially the live band project. Go for it!

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Good start of your LL, Jenn, and an interesting read as well. :slight_smile:

It seems very reasonable to set some short term and long term goals as well, so while working on the “small” steps you won’t lose sight on the bigger picture. Jotting all of them down helps in addition.

With hosting the last OM, you also stuck your toe into the “front woman pond”, I guess. To me, you appear quite natural and pleasant when performing, either as MC or as musician. I’m sure you’ll get where you want to be in the long run! :smiley:

Keep my fingers crossed, the band project will work out someday. I always enjoy watching you and Dan perform, you’re making a great Band on your own. But having at least a Bass player and an extra Guitar Player makes performing a lot easier, I guess. So all the best for that! :four_leaf_clover:

Enjoy the ride and lots of fun! Looking forward to follow you journey. :smiley:

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Jenny @Jenndye429
I sympathise with this statement of yours, on wrist rotation and lack of arm movement.
I have developed this bad habit as was highlighted in a recent AVOYP. Working along the same lines as you to overcome it, best of luck. Would be interested on how you get on.

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That was a great read Jen and you identify some good objectives, plus you seem to have a plan to achieve them by the looks of things. I understand where you a with the theory side of things but it will help. Having said that I bogged down in level 4 a while back and its been gathering dust. So you comments may be the butt kick i need to get going again. At least with Justin’s PMT you get to immediately apply what you are learning and so much better than wading through tedious books !

As to stage presence I think you are a natural, so I hope you get the opportunity to explore that further.

I look forward to the next OM as I am now intrigue as to your offering(s). So no spoilers here until that one is done and dusted.

Just keep rockin. You know it makes sense.


Hi Jenny,
that was a very interesting read. I agree with you, the 2nd guitarversary is a good reason to start a LL :smiley:. (This argument gives me a bit more time to start my own :grin::innocent:.)

Music theory is on my list as well, but it’s somehow difficult to get started. (My motivation for a practice session is definitely higher than for a theory lesson :face_with_peeking_eye:.)

Your longterm goals are very inspiring. Particularly the band / front woman goal. I can very easily imagine you reaching it. And you seem to be very motivated :smiley:. That’s a good starting point, for sure :+1:.

Regarding the songs, you’d like to master, may I suggest an additional one?
Today, I listened to Last Resort by Papa Roach, and had a vision of you and Dan performing it. I have no Idea, whether this song is your cup of tea - just wanted to suggest it :blush:.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about your progress, and of course to your next OM performance :star_struck:.

Ah, and thanks for the Pics. Great music room :smiley:!

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Happy ( nearly) 2nd anniversary!
A great milestone, and, as you’ve done, a good time to reflect, take stock, and plan for the future.
Your rhythm playing is pretty good, so this is going to help you alot with your lead aspirations. Throw in a bit of that theory, and you’ll be tearin up the fretboard with some squealin’ solos in no time. :guitar:

Cheers, Shane

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Well, it’s about time, Jennifer! :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :wink: :joy:

Jokes aside, that’s a fabulous start to your LL, now comes the commitment to stick to those goals… remember we’re all watching :face_with_monocle: :face_with_monocle: :face_with_monocle: :rofl:

Sorry, I did say jokes aside… oops :roll_eyes: :laughing:

Pick me!! Pick me for the 2nd guitar!! :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed: :smiley: I’d love to be in a band with you guys! Your energy and style is super cool… Shame about the 12,076km journey to band practice though (at least according to Google :wink:) :sob:

Great choices for aspirational songs too, always thought Heart’s Barracuda would suit you to a tee :woman_singer: and I want you/she’s so heavy would be incredible to see you guys perform some time (with your dad too of course!) :star_struck:

Good on you for getting this started, can’t wait to see how you (and Dan) progress. Putting my name in the hat early to secure tickets to your first (sure to be sold out!) “real-world” gig! :sunglasses: :+1:

p.s. was very happy to see the RAT, metal distortion and fuzz pedals on your board :metal:

:laughing::laughing: Luckily my neighbors are pretty tolerant :wink: One of them is a metal head and plays guitar himself so he actually likes when he is outside and can head Dan banging away. As far as updates for the log, I hope to be able to update when I have something new to share or if I need to update my goals along the way.

Thank you! I’m really hoping we can find some others that jive well with us and have similar musical tastes. I never would guessed years ago that I would want to start a band, but here I am!

Thank you so much Lisa! Dan keeps trying to give our little two person band a name, but I think I’d rather wait until we have a full lineup :laughing: I used to do community theater and I think a lot of my stage presence developed through that. Now I just need to adapt it for music!


Thanks Michael! I’ll let you know how my practice goes. I think it really has been helping me so far to practice either in front of the computer or a mirror to watch myself in real time. Sometimes I get so into what I am playing that I’m not focusing on doing it the right way as much as I should.

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That’s about where I got too. Somewhere in the grade 3/4 range. Hopefully we can both get back into it!

Thank you so much Toby! I’m looking forward to watching my performance develop. I’m already a long way from my first bundle of nerves filled OM!

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Thank you so much Nicole!!

I’m also looking forward to developing my front woman skills. If there is one thing that Dan says I have, it’s motivation. If I put my mind to something, I usually can do it. I’m happy to help inspire others to do the same :grin:

And yes, Last Resort would be a great song to learn! Thank you for the idea. I actually went and looked up a couple tutorials on YouTube after so read your reply to see how hard it was. I think it’s doable! :+1:t2: it would be fun to play for sure.

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I know :see_no_evil: Sometimes it takes me a little while, but I eventually get to things :wink:

You’re hired!!! We would love to have you! We will just pretend that you are right down the street :laughing: If you ever visit the US, you will have to let me know because we would need to make a jam session happen!

The RAT was my first pedal and I love it. I’m also a HUGE fan of fuzz. I got if for Christmas last year and I think I played with it (loudly :laughing:) all day. I would literally use it for everything if I could. I also use the Metal one quite a bit- I got it to work on Enter Sandman, but I actually use it a lot. It’s pretty versatile!

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:scream: :partying_face: :joy:

That is at the TOP of my list when I next make it over to the US! :smiley: :+1:

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Hi Jen! Read your log with great interest! I always love to see you and Dan performing and I’m sure, your little 2 man/woman band will grow…
I have no daubt about you as a front woman, sure, you will get there one day!
I wish you and Dan a lot of fun practicing and performing together! Cool music room and stable of guitars, not to forget that beautiful red drum kit :star_struck:!

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Learning Log? OMG, I forgot all about those! :open_mouth:
Congrats on yours and Dan’s journey so far. May the enjoyment and progress long continue…
Goals? Great to have 'em, but don’t forget to take all the detours along the way.
My only real concern is all the vacant real estate on that vast pedal board :rofl:

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:star_struck::+1::smiley: That’s awesome! I hope to hear and see you perform it someday :star_struck:.

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Hey, awesome you started a learning log. It was fun to read about what you’re up to and your goals. You’re halfway to a four piece band already so that one should be achievable :wink:.

Not sure what it’s like around your part but I found some local facebook groups where people post about musicians wanted etc. There’s probably some around near you?

Having seen your playing the rhythm parts of Enter Sandman must be within close reach for you. Singing and playing at the same time would be super hard with that song though.

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Great reading you LL Jen, I read it yesterday but got distracted and didn’t comment. Once you venture out and watch the open mic, I think your hope for a band will rapidly come to fruition. I didn’t think there were open mics in my area, how wrong I was, and how inviting the music community is.

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