It’s been one year of playing guitar. Time for a learning log update.
I recorded a one year progress video of Californication to snapshot my progress. It’s probably the most complicated song I can play, and one I developed a lot of skills on. Most of the community regulars would have seen it, but I’m documenting here anyway, because this is a learning log after all. I used a backing track that had guitar removed (aside from solo backing chord progression), so all guitar is me in that vid.
In the last few months I’ve recorded a few AVOYPs. I’ve updated the 1st post here with them but anyway, here the ones I’ve added.
Electric Greensleeves July 2022
Ho Hey - The Lumineers and Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks Live at JG OM10, July 2022
Lick n Riff - Solo Blues Set Piece September 2022
Californication - RHCP, 1 year progress video October 2022
I’m in grade 3 still, and I’m now at the end of the modules that are complete. Module 19 I think is the latest I’ve completed and am practicing.
As of writing it’s right off the back of JG community OM 11, where I performed Like A Stone and Riptide. And I MCed the event. Which in itself was a great opportunity and testament to this community. I had noticed it was always the same group doing all the work, and offered to help share the load, do anything, even MC. And the guys said sure, you can MC! A great opportunity and thanks - Toby, Adrian, David, Richard, Jason.
As I’ve played my new guitar more - a Fender telecaster with dual humbuckers - I’ve been thinking about where to from here.
Adjusting to the new guitar has been surprising. It’s taken a bit of work. The fingerboard is much flatter than my strat and strings are slightly wider apart. I want to start to get into more rock guitar, riffs, and lead lines. I’ve prioritised acoustic-type stuff more in the past. Mainly because when it’s played by itself, it just SOUNDS better than the rock guitar stuff. Playing around with backing tracks recently, like for highway to hell or californication, has shown me I need to use backing tracks more. Rock guitar is meant to be played with a band! So I’ve got to do that.
With the new guitar adjustment I’ve come to think that switching between guitars a lot might hold me back at this stage. Especially with riff/lead stuff. The accuracy when switching goes way out the window. So I think I’ll just stick to the Maton and the Fender now i’ve got my good electric and good acoustic.
And focus most of my development on electric stuff for the time being.
Singing and theory
So I have hardly done any of the Chris Liepe DYV course, just the first two modules. Learned to incorporate some of it already and mean to go back to it and slowly get through it. Guitar is definitely the priority. Learning to breathe properly (kinda) and starting to develop an ear for vocal melodies has helped a lot. On and off I use yousician singing and I record myself a bit like Justin recommends. I’m improving but still a long way to go. Slowly.
I want to get into theory, ear training, all sorts of stuff like that. I’m not sure I have the time but I might try to start chipping away at it slowly. Transcribing is helping with ear training. I’ve figured out the main riffs from a couple of songs I was listening to on spotify - just easy stuff. Helps, though.
I’m having weird thoughts about what playing guitar might be like long term. Looking at the RGT “levels” for long term inspiration. Is London College of Music the best benchmark for guitar (the assessments they do over the internet)? I don’t want to just stay where I’m at, I’d like to eventually be able to play songs like Under the Bridge at cover-band-live quality. Maybe one day play Van Halen stuff. Maybe!
Thinking about one day doing real life busking or OMs. Need to improve my singing a lot though, and the kids need to be older to fit anything like that in my life.
Looking back, and community
So one year ago when I start I remembered the D chord and E chord from when I had a chop at guitar as a teenager and that was it. Took me a while to form them as well. C was impossible, F I thought I could never do. A lot has come together. I didn’t set out with any expectations of where I would be at in a year but when I set my personal goals for “you’re allowed to buy a new guitar if you play X song well” I thought that it would take me a year and it took me a few months.
One thing I did NOT expect when starting guitar was this community. It takes what is a very isolating, solo endeavour at home into a journey you can go through with others from all over the place. It’s been really important. Seeing pros and how they’ve got there, seeing newbies and seeing others going along a similar journey. It’s so valuable, as Youtube & instagram tend to be filled with shredders, and places like reddit loads of people in the comments sounds like they’re a pro with 20 guitars and 30 years of experience. I think the community adds something even those in real life lessons don’t get - seeing other students progress and talking with them along the way, rather than just you and a teacher. Valuable. If I could suggest something to anyone else, it would be embrace the community. And pick up your guitar every day.
That’s it, thanks.