JK's learning log

JK, you can be more than pleased and satisfied with your progress. I think you have come a long way in a relatively short time.

As for the ear development, I am finding myself slowly beginning see glimpses of it now in year 6. The DYV certainly helped. And I am sure I’d be more developed, further down that road, if I’d spent time on ear training specifically … but I haven’t … largely because my time, energy, and inclination to practice (vs learn songs and play) since completing the Beginner Course, as it was, is limited but also because my inner doubts about being able to develop my ear in that way make me feel anxious.

Be gentle and patient, as you give it attention I am confident over time you will develop those abilities.

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Quoting small bits, responding to each post

Funnily enough I’ve been trying to strum individual strings for a while now. Started during grade 2 with some songs I wanted to play. Walmart Guitar is one of the easier ones as its just the bassline. The more complicated ones are still a big challenge. The voice stuff… well hopefully I’ll get where I want to be eventually.

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to do week 1. Interested to hear about how you find the courses as you go along them James. Seeing as we’re doing them at the same time.

I’ve heard about the cartoon characters - I’m up for anything if it helps me get better!

In some ways I’m more eager to get onto intermediate stuff than Grade 3. I want to get into more electric-style, riff & chord (mixed) based songs. I reckon there must be a reason Justin put grade 3 in though, seems to be a lot of useful skills. Although I do think transcription is out of place for difficulty. And thanks for the kudos on progress.

Thanks Andres, I appreciate it. For quite a few months now I’ve been playing songs with barre chords & moving basslines, after all of those it wasn’t too much of a step to do. It would be great to have you perform on an OM, it’s a great experience - if a bit scary that first time. Worth it.

I’m miles off from being able to distinguish chords. I can tell if I’m playing the right ones from the sound of it, but not recognise in songs - maybe one day!

Dave, if you find transcribing hard as well, makes me feel it must just be hard. With guitar (and most things), I can tell if I’m getting something right or wrong. With transcribing, I think I’ve got something right… and find out it’s completely wrong. Ugh.

I plan on doing some music theory stuff as well. I did the first two module’s of Justin’s one. Will do that later though.

Transcribing for beginners is in grade 3. It could be easier though, tbh - it starts with power chords, then chord melodies, then riffs. Transcribing super simple one-note-at-a-time songs - e.g. nursery rhymes perhaps - would be an easier place to start I reckon. That’s not really in there. Although, hmm…

Thanks David, yes I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. I didn’t start from complete zero, having played drums a lot when younger, and I had the short stint on guitar in my teens. I’m already well beyond what I ever got to then. I do think that’s helped.

Interesting that DYV helped with your ear development. Hopefully that is a benefit for me too. I’ve noticed that over the past few months I’ve started to hear more distinction in the notes when listening to songs. I’d like to be able to get to the point where I can at least tell if I’m playing the same note as what I’m hearing, across different instruments and guitar tones.


Hi JK, I’ve always sucked at transcribing, starting in the 60’s when a key skill was being able to pick up the turntable stylus and set it back down in the place you were working on, over and over… I was apprehensive when I got to the point in the course where Justin was starting to push transcribing. Given my prior experience I decided that I should put extra energy into it with the hope that I could improve in this area with the help of Justin’s approach and using modern tools. My first attempts were just as frustrating as I remembered, but I was committed to working through every one of Justin’s song suggestions as I progress through the grades. Amazingly to me, but probably not Justin, I did improve. As @liaty noted, music theory, keys and scales made it much faster to work out chords, riffs and melody notes once you have a starting point. I’ve even started to just pick out a song I want to learn and start by trying to transcribe it. I’m not always completely successful but when I then go to Justin’s tabs, or some other web source, I’ve already listened to the song a lot and understand a lot about it. Mixing the 2 approaches, I can fill in parts that I couldn’t figure out, correct things I got wrong AND recognize when I think the web info is not quite right and I either like my transcription better or go work on it some more.
I do not have a particularly good ear and I don’t sing (though I’m encouraged by the activity of others I see on this forum to work on it). Not surprisingly Justin was right, I could develop this skill and I’m becoming a better guitar player for making the investment. Good luck and persevere, its worth it.


Please no! Not happy birthday Justin :astonished: anything but that :grimacing:

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@nhh2oskr Good to hear it’s a challenge even for someone much more experienced, and can be improved. I haven’t done all the transcribing songs yet, but I plan to.

I already listen to songs before playing them - have done for a while - helps me get the rhythm and hear if I’m playing it right.

@liaty :joy: I’m pretty sure that’s why Justin doesn’t include that stuff.

Twinkle twinkle would be way easier than Let It Be though, come on. Let It Be is the first non-power chord song he introduces for transcription :flushed:

It’s been one year of playing guitar. Time for a learning log update.

Progress snapshot

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.

Rock geetarr
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.


Great update JK and it has been a great pleasure seeing you here developing and evolving as a player and performer. It’s great when people get sucked in and are becoming such a valuable member of the community!

I quoted the important bit for others as this is really something many others such as myself feel - I don’t think I would be playing guitar still or at all if it wasn’t for this Community. Peeps take a lesson here and you will see progress being a lot more significant than you thought it could ever be!


You are a rising star in so many ways JK.

I celebrate you.


What a full on year you’ve had JK. I’ve been following your progress closely as I started in November last year, just a month after you. You should be very proud of what you’ve achieved.
I couldn’t agree with you more about this community, it’s made all the difference to me when it comes to motivation and reinforcing that we’re not alone in this.

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Thanks for the kudos Maggie. You’re making me blush.

You should post more vids Peter, so I can follow you more closely too :smiley:. Thanks for kudos.


Once again, congrats on the first JGversary, JK.

You’re an inspiration … the discipline, dedication, and desire to learn and embrace all aspects. In fact, in every respect, it’s hard to comprehend you’ve been here only a year, hard to imagine the Community without you.

Look forward to following your progress in year 2!

Keep on rocking in the free world!


Hi JK, it‘s always so interesting to read about other people‘s progress. Therefore, thanks a lot for your update. I enjoyed reading it :hugs:.
It‘s amazing, how far you‘ve already come in just one year. Congratulations on your anniversary :partying_face::champagne::clinking_glasses:.

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Hi Jk, what a great update, filled with a lot of positive spirit and motivating content. Congrats to your first anniversary, you’ve reached a lot in only one year!
Thanks for investing a lot of time in the community, you are always committed and constructive, adding lots of valuable content to this forum. I really appreciate this, as it helps others others along their way. Hope things are going well in the future. Dive into your second year, enjoy it and let us participate. Greetings :four_leaf_clover:

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Congratulations on your one year JG’versary

Over the course of this year you have shown that whatever goals you set you can accomplish them.

Looking forward to following you achieve your goals for Year 2.

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Fantastic job with the MCing, can only help boost your confidence :+1: (and of course paying back, well done that man).

I’m the same with the singing course, I struggled to get excited about singing ‘mama’ sounds, I get enough grief in the house as it is. I think if you can listen to yourself in headphones and adjust your voice accordingly you can make the rest up with confidence. There’s maybe more gold to be found with DYV, I could maybe extend my range if I dug further?

Yeah, the community helps take a ‘just messing around’ hobby to a new level. Not much point in learning if no one’s going to hear you. Simon and Garfunkel say it better (sound of silence).

Great to hear you have ambitions, you will do well :slightly_smiling_face:

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@jkahn Hey JK, I don’t think I had gone through learning log until now. Very good job on tracking your progress, goals, strengths/weaknesess…
I’m excited to see where you end up after your second year!
The thing I love about reading other people’s journeys is that there’s always something to learn and apply for myself, even if we have different taste in music or we are at different stages.
And as you and @adi_mrok mentioned, I wasn’t expecting this community to play such a big role in my journey in it, there’s always great discussions going around and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
Thanks for great input in the community JK, like I said I’m very curious about your next steps and will be following your updates.


Hi Jk,
Great update,… lots of fun again for the coming year :sunglasses: :guitar:

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Thanks for the comments and kudos @DavidP @NicoleKKB @Helen0609 @Socio @liaty @KevinKevan @roger_holland

You know I’m just here to learn guitar and have a bit of fun! :wink:

Thanks Andrea. I think in someone ways I’m here because of internet addiction, and I find facebook/twitter/etc toxic and this place is great. I sometimes wonder if I’m overly “constructive” at times and have to bite my digital tongue.

I cracked up hard at “My Mom May Marry Marv”, couldn’t say it with a straight face. I’m totally with you on the listening on headphones and adjusting. And using a DAW with a tuner built in to check if I’m on the right note, those were both DYV tips. I do want to add more grit to my voice, similar to how you want range, so at some stage I’ll get back into it. Feels like work vs the fun that is guitar though.

I have no idea where I’ll be at the end of the 2nd, had no idea of this one either! I love reading LL’s as well, when someone updates one and I haven’t read it yet I tend to read it from the beginning… I started with @DavidP’s back in the day.


Awesome update JK and I can only reinforce evreyone’s comments so far on your amazing progress and contribution to our own journeys. Once again happy JGversary!

Also just wanted to say to you, as I know you’re really self-deprecating on this, your vocals on the OM on Saturday, particularly Riptide were terrific and a definite improvement. You say you’ve only done a couple of modules of the course but with the work you’ve already done imo it’s already starting to reap rewards. You’re going to spoil us even more very soon as you get through that I’m sure.

All the best sir, keep on rocking! :metal:

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And …Do you already know when you’re done reading that? :joy:

(I think I’ll have to continue with that too, I don’t think I have earned a star yet :blush:)…

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