LunaRocket's Learning Log

My mini-F in the House of the Rising Sun is getting better so I’ve managed to speed up to 70% in the App. I’ve discovered in playing the Stones song that my A chord needs work, I haven’t used it so long it’s getting rusty. I also reviewed the first half of the Module 10 lessons and realized I’d totally forgotten about the A mini chord so started practicing that and will see if it helps with As Tears Go By.

I’ve also just started practicing Have you Ever Seen the Rain by CCR and really need to work on my F barre changes from Am and from C major.

Still happily plugging away.

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Well, I’ve been practicing diligently and trying new strumming patters with:

As Tears go By
Dreams
Hey, Hey, My, My
What’s Up
and Bad Moon Rising

And of course, my ability to sing along has gone right out the window, except, for some reason, I can sort of sing along with As Tears go By, though I had to slow it down to do it.

My F chord variations are coming along nicely though and I’m almost ready to try House of the Rising Sun at 80% any day now.

Another week maybe and I’ll start the rest of the Module 10 lessons and see how it goes.

edit: typos

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So, I’ve been practicing guitar for a bit over a year and have been in the Community almost the same amount of time. So, I thought I’d post a kind of progress report.

I officially started my guitar journey in January 2023. GR 1 Consolidation was in June 2023. I started Grade 2 in July and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in Grade 2 Module 10 for some reasons that made sense to me a few months ago but now I’m thinking I was wrong for staying so long. So today I finally finished the lessons on Hammer-on, the Push thing, and the La Bamba Riff.

I can’t do the push thing to save me life, I spent 10 minutes on it, (the 1 minute practice was too short as I can barely do the strumming with muted strings) Once I can do that, I’ll shorten the practice as Justin recommends.

I understand the hammer- on but, obviously after only 1 practice session, it needs lots of work. As for La Bamba, I realize my ability to read TAB is woefully inadequate I barely have any idea where my fingers should be. So, I shall concentrate on those things while I move into Module 11 in the near future (I did watch the lesson on Fingerstyle as it was recommended for tomorrow’s Vintage Club #7.)

Besides the scales and the lessons from Modules 8, 9, and first half of 10, I was mainly doing a lot more than 5-10 minutes of Repertoire Revision. If nothing else, I’ve probably got a jump-start on Grade 2 Consolidation when it comes to the songs. Now that I am moving forward again, I thought I’d looks back at where I was on Grade 1 songs compared to where I am now as well as where I am on Grade 2 songs.

Grade 1:

What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes - At consolidation I could sing it and play it without looking at the App all with down strums only. Now I can play it with the fancy 2 bar strumming pattern but lost the ability to sing along. That is going to take a lot more time.

For What it’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield - I had it memorized but with just down strums it was rather dull, now I’m trying the strumming pattern for the chorus recommended in the Songbook.

Up Around the Bend by CCR - This one is fast and fun. Had it memorized with all down strums, but I hadn’t practiced it in so long, my fingers were actually getting tied up between the A and D chords! Coming along better again with the Old Faithful strumming pattern and only down strums for the split chord barres.

Dreaming by Blondie - I have to admit, I totally forgot about this song till I was writing this post so no idea where I am on it now.

Bad Moon Rising by CCR - I was playing this one at 80% and thought I’d never get faster. Now I can do 100% but prefer it at 90% which is 161 BPM. I’m also singing along and using Old Faithful. I actually feel like I am rocking this song! It will probably be my next AVoYP.

Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and the Wailers is BORING. I tried the up strums instead of the down strums but I’m not feeling it and will retire it for now and replace it with something else…
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Grade 2:

Dreams by Fleetwood Mac - I can sing and play it mostly from memory at full speed along with the App and the Old Faithful strumming pattern.

Hey, Hey, My, My by Neil Young - Doing pretty well at full speed with a DDDUDU pattern. Still mess up when not looking at the App.

The House of the Rising Sun - Traditional/ the Animals - Using Mini F barre with this and dabbling with 80% speed though my F chord suffers. I also still flub it up when I don’t watch the App all the time.

Wonderwall - Oasis - This is boring me, I don’t have a fancier strumming pattern for it yet, so it sounds boring to me, I may set it aside for a while.

As Tears go By - the Rolling Stones - I chose this song to use the weak G chord and the one finger A chord. I’ve got it pretty well memorized, heck I did grow up singing it, (and most of the others already mentioned) so it might be headed into AVoYP territory soon. With the Old Faithful pattern, too.

I just threw Walk of Life by Dire Straits back into the mix as well with the 8 down strums per bar and using the (GASP) metronome at 129 BPM which is 75% speed. It’s only in the song book, not the App but I can mostly manage it okay.

I also started playing with Have you Ever Seen the Rain by CCR (I seem to be leaning heavily on that group for my repertoire!) It’s in the App and it has chord changes from both Am and C to the dreaded F barre chord so I can barely mange it at 70%. I only started up with it a few days ago.

I also play the Wish You Were Here riff every session and realized from La Bamba, that my TAB reading on that is also wonky, (wait, I should only be using 3 fingers on its version of the Em7?!!)

As you can see, my practice is really heavy with songs and not as much new stuff, so I need to do some time management as the practice sessions are tending to last more than an hour and I’m kind of neglecting stuff around the house. However, the hubby doesn’t seem to mind as long as he gets fed, and he even made a nice compliment to me: “I’m only playing notes” (he’s learning the BASS), “but you’re making music!” That felt really good. :blush:

I have to say, when I first started a year ago, I never thought I’d be where I am now. Sometimes looking ahead at the lessons, the complexity of what’s to come instills a bit of anxiety but I still remember when I couldn’t play a freaking A chord. So, I shall keep on keeping on! :smiley: :guitar: :guitar:

edited for clarity and typos

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Hi Rebecca,
With such a clear commitment to song practice, playing and dedication you become a fine player

and with this dedication

to the guitar you make us more proud :joy:

La Bamba cost me an enormous amount of practice … And being able to read and apply Tabs properly in the first year was also very difficult for me … Keep it up and it will really get easier, but you know that too :sunglasses:… so have fun further the road :sunglasses:

O this will be always a thing when not started before 18 years old I guess

and this is the best thing to remember

:joy: :sunglasses:

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Rebecca @LunaRocket

Interesting write up and you seem to be going on quite nicely. I admire your perseverance on sticking on one module for quite a while to get it right, must confess I often skip over something and come back to it later.

Interesting range of songs any particular reason for choosing them?

Michael

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Mostly, they’re in the App or one of Justin’s beginner songbooks AND I either grew up singing them, (classic rock gal here), so already have the music and words in my head. A lot of CCR is on the App, maybe because Justin said they’re one of his all-time favorite bands? They also are one of mine. “Newer” songs like What’s Up I just heard on one of the local radio stations a few times and the music, if not the words, stuck in my head. I decided I needed something post 60’s and 70s.

Also, further up the thread my Grade 2 songs were chosen to help learn these chords.

I’d really like to find a different song than Wonderwall for those stuck 3/4 chords, I tried the Green Day song, Good Riddance but found it difficult to play along with back track, there was too much going on in the background for me to keep the rhythm correct. I know you’re supposed to be able to choose different variations of chords if you think it works, I just haven’t got that kind of confidence or knowledge yet.

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Rebecca @LunaRocket

Your choice of songs is sort of what I expected you to say. At the beginning, in Grade 1 people choose songs they know, of course those that Justin has done lessons on as well

As you move onto Grade 2 I think you start to do what you say songs which have particular technique you are learning even if you don’t know them particularly well.

You sound as you play a lot with the original and/or the app, if that works for you then that’s fine. Speaking for myself I rarely do that and then only at the start of learning a song to get the feel for it. Of course I listen to the song a lot but try not to compete with it, just my way of doing things.

Michael

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Hi Rebecca, it’s sounds good enough to me for the stage you are at in your learning. When I play this song, I play at about this speed too, when I fingerpick this song.

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Congrats on the 1-year guitariversary, Rebecca!

No harm in spending a little longer and learning more songs! I’m taking a similarly slow approach - my G1 consolidation was January-March 2023, and I’m still working my way through G2 almost a year later. It’s not a race (and new techniques also do not have to be perfect before you move on…both can be true).

Twist and Shout is another good one for the rhythmic push - it was a song I tried early on in grade 1, but didn’t officially use as a grade 1 song, partially because the syncopation was so hard at that point! Then, when I got to the rhythmic push, I finally understood what it was I was trying to do.

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I plan on using the App to also find songs I am unfamiliar with to expand my repertoire. I figure if I don’t even know they exist it will be a good way to learn. I’ve already made a list of possible country songs. I don’t do country, but I have family who love it, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Plus, these are the only ones who tend to visit in summer and share an actual campfire with my husband and me. :smile:

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Great update Rebecca, sounds like great progress too. It’s always good to read progress like this as I am just into Grade 2 and so it gives me some confidence in what I have to look forward to.

I can relate to spending a bit long in some areas, I tend to do this but its good to solidify the knowledge and the techniques, and its not a race anyway :+1:

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Hi Rebecca, congratulations on the 1 year anniversary. You have made a lot of progress as can be seen in your progress report. Don’t let any one skill like the push strum discourage you. You can always practice this in the other modules and then you will be coming back to this at the end of Grade 2 during the consolidation period. You are making especially good progress in your song list, which is good since songs are what guitar is all about (at least to me).

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Well, I rewatched the module 10 lessons, learned I don’t have to be proficient on the push, and hammers-on etc., been playing lots of songs with various F chords, the wfG and 1 finger A and decided to start watching the Module 11 lessons today. I’ll continue practicing stuff from 8, 9 and 10 as I need to, of course and will start practicing some of Module 11 tomorrow.

But what really made me happy today was being able to play Bad Moon Rising, at full speed with Old Faithfull strumming pattern and it sounded good! Twice through with the App backing track and barely looking at the App at all. And Singing! It was a great way to end my practice. Hopefully, I can record it soon. Yeah, it’s only a Grade 1 song, but it’s a lot better than it was a few months ago. Repertoire revision works! :grinning: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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Great little read Rebecca, and congratulations on passing the year mark.

I remember when you came in. You should be very proud of your progress over this time. Onward and upward !

Cheers, Shane

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So great reading your happy post :slightly_smiling_face:

Now try playing it without app and test if it feels even better. I’m quite sure that it will :grinning:

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Okay, I’ve watched all of the lessons in Module 11 and added some of them into my practice routine.

I can’t do the finger stretch for the Asus4 so looked into one of Justin’s finger stretching exercises and dang, I cannot do it! S,o I went another fret down the fingerboard and still can’t do hardly anything with that dang pinkie finger and it’s frustrating. I know I have to keep at it so I will.

The La Bamba riff and the Happy Birthday finger picking is driving me crazy. I can sort of do the first few notes of La Bamba, it took me a couple days to figure out the TAB. Freaking TAB is even worse with the finger picking. It took me more than 10 minutes to realize one of the missing notes in Happy Birthday was there, I just couldn’t see it. Memorizing it is not happening yet. (I really hate TAB at this moment.) I got so frustrated I up and quit playing and went for a walk with the dogs.

After an hour, including warming up when I got back inside (come on Spring, any day now!) I went back and tried again. Maybe I wasn’t quite as frustrated but at least I tried playing a couple songs afterward.

I’ve back pedaled on House of the Rising Sun. I was playing it at 80% but the last few days it’s as though my fingers forgot what they’re doing so I slowed it back down to 70%. I tried it once without the App and while my min F chord finally sounded better, I know I was even slower, I’ll try it without the App again tomorrow but with the metronome. I’ve had a routine playing D to F to Am for weeks and while it sounds ok in practice, in the song, not so much. (I swear I’ve said this in the past about different chords!)

IN finally figured out the push thing and have tried it on different chords. I doubt I’ll be able to do it in a song any time soon. But who knows? (I tried the song What I like about You by the Romantics, and by the looks of it, there are a lot of chord changes on an up strum and I was useless at it, I assume those are Pushes? I don’t know but whatever they are I can’t do it.)

The hammer on exercise I can sort of do but my pinkie mainly mutes the string. Maybe those stretching exercises will help?

So now I confirmed why I was at the start of Module 10 for 7 months, it’s all much harder now and there is so much of it! Just playing songs, even the ones with my “not quite right” F chords was a lot easier, and more fun, than this new stuff.

Okay, that’s enough ranting. jI wasn’t planning on writing this down, but I figure it might be good therapy in the future to look back and say “see, you couldn’t do it then, but you can now!”)

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Hi Rebecca, just some words of encouragement, just to let you know: you are not alone :wink:!

Neither do I, curved pinky, completely unable to reach that far with my pinky => hey, it’s just one chord and I tell you, I survived without an Asus4! Practice, keep it in mind, maybe sometimes you’ll be there!

It is hard in the beginning, but once you get more familiar with tabs you’ll get much faster to translate them. Really! It took me ages for the Happy Birthday Song back then, but the effort is well invested, as you’re becoming much faster with time.

I remember well having been frustrated at that time too. The time of picking the lower hanging fruit was somewhat over, every step ahead took so much time and I had the impression to lose some of the stuff I already knew well. Sigh! I could play a certain chord progression with an F at speed, same progression within a song: negativ!
That’s the point to be very happy about having a dog, isn’t it?
Don’t let this stress you too much, it will turn out, that you will make the next big step forward not to far from now. Keep on Rebecca! It’s worth it! :hibiscus:

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As boring as it sounds, you can try to pick one bar at the time and once you memorise, add another one and gradually build the whole piece.

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I am with you on the TAB. To my brain it’s upside down. When I look at it my mind always says the top line should be the top string as I am looking at it on the guitar. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s back to front!

Stretching seems to take a long time to see any improvements, then one day you suddenly realise that you did reach that fret almost without thinking about it.

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Hey Rebecca,
Interesting to read your update and ranting (very polite ranting btw!!). I think you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head in your penultimate paragraph, as the course goes through G2 the techniques and exercises do get harder and do require more time, but in parallel to that a bit more patience with yourself.

For what it’s worth I think as you get to this point where modules take longer to tick off, it emphasises the importance of building in, and not losing sight of, what you have achieved already. For me the way to do that was making sure I was playing or continuing to develop my song book repertoire in every practice session, the ones that Justin would categorise as Campfire Plus I suppose. I think we can all relate to what you’ve described so do take some crumb of comfort in that you’re not alone!

All the best :slight_smile:

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