JK's learning log

Great update JK.
Love the new gear - a fitting reward as you’re kickin some big goals at the moment mate. Practice routine seems solid, and its showing in your playing. You’ve made some very impressive progress - good days ahead. :+1:

Cheers, Shane

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Wow, it’s been a while. Sorry but I’ve been really busy at home and the trip. :sweat_smile:

I see. I just have one guitar at the moment, so I was considering to buy one for this porpoise. I work far from my home town, and I have to carry the guitar in a 6 hours train trip. So I’m kind of afraid to damage my SG. It is not that it’s expensive or anything, but has been with me for so many years :thinking:. However if I buy one it won’t be cheaper than the one I actually have, so I don’t know what I would do :rofl:

You think so? Then I would try it ASAP. I already play several songs always with backing tracks so one more isn’t a problem :blush:

Yeah it looks like a lot for me. My songbook isn’t that big for sure. However is tru that I have several songs that I learned with leaks and that have several chord progressions

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Hi JK,
No idea how I could have missed this one, probably thought when I came by as so often that I had already read it… good story, great trip, you go as said before by me and others as a spear …really amazing…and,

You have written so much, feel free to start with “dear Diary” :roll_eyes:
Greetings and i love to follow your journey :smiley: :sunglasses:

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:joy::joy::joy: Fair enough. I mean I don’t update it regularly. And every real life journal attempt has around a year between entries!

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I missed a few replies, sorry!

@TheMadman_tobyjenner All major swearers welcome in the colonies, the Queen would blush if she took a trip to the local shopping mall though!

@sclay Thanks for the kudos Shane, just love playing anything right now, in it for the long game.

@Rumil I think acoustics are good travel guitars because that’s all you need… maybe you need 2 extra guitars then if you need a better one and a travel one :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. And yes, Killing is WAY easier than Enter Sandman.

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Time for a minor learning log update.

Another JustinGuitar OM
Well, I took part in OM 9. Another early morning, and was just as fun as the first one. I was a bit more relaxed this time but still not entirely.

Here’s the vid (why’s it inside a black box… a video resolution thing I only noticed after I uploaded and can’t be bothered fixing):

It took me the first verse to start to warm up and relax. Nerves are still a factor. And I still can’t sing in tune, especially in a live setting. I decided to get into it anyway… :rofl:. The videos where I’m singing will remain “unlisted” unless it doesn’t make me cringe listening back to it. So this is unlisted.

What I’m doing

I’ve just finished module 17 in grade 3. Practicing targetting strings while strumming (which I think I’m ok at now, if not a bit hit and miss), thumb/finger strumming and basic triads.

Transcribing is a part of grade 3. I find transcribing really hard, which I think is related to my lack of ear training, which I think also impacts my ability to sing. I can find relative pitch with riffs on the guitar reasonably ok. But getting a starting note is close to impossible. I almost always get it wrong, some notes are obviously not the right ones, but some just sound too similar, particularly if my guitar doesn’t have the same tone as the song. If it’s a vocal melody it’s basically impossible for me.

So for the next little while I think I’m going to put some effort into ear training. I’ve also signed up to (and completed the first week of) the Chris Liepe vocal course.

I think I’ll get more mileage sooner through ear training & a voice course. At least to lift those skills to a basic level.


Good to read your progress JK, you’ve clearly been dedicating yourself to grade 3 both in terms of what module you’re on as well as reading where your recent practice has been with targeting strings while strumming. It showed through in your OM performance.

I take your point with the vocal work and interesting to see how you develop with the course you’ve signed up to. I know you knock yourself a lot on the vocals and I personally think you’re harder on yourself than you should be. But having the intention, motivation and pathway to improve is obviously a good thing so kudos to you for that.

As we’ve exchanged before on your performance of “Walmart Guitar”, damn fine stuff!

Great to hear where you’re at, terrific LL entry :+1:

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For a minor update that was full of major progress and plans.

You’re making fantastic and solid progress JK. That’s a good point you make relating singing and transcribing with ear training. I started to commence the discover your voice course then thought it might be best to do the quickly train your ears course beforehand. Now I’ve got the 1115544321 song stuck in my head. Enjoy the courses.

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I’ll be expecting to hear some cartoon characters, in future recordings JK ! You will not regret signing up for DYV and will be amazed how quickly you develop. You’re doing a lot of the module work that I am at the moment. It s been good to go back to Grade 1 and work through the new material and I so wish the Grade 3 lessons were available 5-6 years back when I was going through the old Intermediate, Better still if they’d been part of the old BC but such is life. Considering how long you have been playing, I think you making some good steady progress. Not rushing and biding your time, learning your trade. And that is paying dividends.


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Hi jkan, good OM participation. I do not consider While My Guitar Gently Weeps an easy song to tackle but you did pretty good. I may be thinking in a future OM XI for my debut as I may not be available for the OM X date. For sure While My Guitar Gently Weeps won’t be my first option. About the ear training, I will consider myself more an intermediate guitar player when I could be able to distinguish chords and notes from hearing a song than being able to play it in a certain way following someone else’s transcription.

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I really find the transcribing hard too. I’ve put some time into interval training (and also started the DYV) but my listening is still all relative.

Having watched a fair bit of Rick Beato, one thing worth considering may be a bit of music theory (Justin’s version of course :wink: ).Then instead of having to isolate and work out each note in a song you can use the baseline to get the song key and with the theory work out which melody notes are likely to be in there.

Has Justin also added a section transcribing for beginners? I’ve just watched a breakdown of while my guitar gently weeps, that would be in at the deep end for sure :scream:

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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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