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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.