Matt’s Learning Log

Bravo, Matthew, wonderful to hear and see your progress.

I suggest start working on In Bloom. Play what you can, stretch yourself on the rhythm. And maybe the solo is something that you don’t worry about for now. As long as you are comfortable dealing with things that you perhaps discover are just too much stretch and don’t become frustrated then there is nothing wrong with commencing this as a long-term, slow burn project. Just don’t allow it to become all consuming and distract from followig the module lessons, practice, and song playing.

Well done on the playing of Honky Tonk Woman with the app!

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April has mostly been a month of consolidation. I looked at Spirit in the Sky on the songs app and that’s got me practicing up and down strumming on my electric guitar to a metronome, moving round a few power chords and attempting to keep in time. It’s getting better.

I’ve also returned to Wonderwall which I started on at maybe the beginning of this year. There’s lots of simplified versions on the web but I was determined to learn something like an authentic strumming pattern for it which was probably quite a big ask only 4 months into learning to play. It took quite a while playing the rhythm with muted strings before I started to get it and then there was the chord sequences to learn. I got so far but decided to pause it (this was maybe 2 months ago). I’ve returned to it this week and am making progress again. I’ve learned the 2 main strumming patterns (and can switch between them) in isolation from any backing track because there’s enough going on for my poor brain to process. Now it’s time to learn to match it to a backing track. This has made me appreciate that it’s actually quite a fast/busy track in terms of what your strumming hand has to do. I’d say at the moment I’m comfortable at maybe 90% speed, can play at full speed but it’s definitely a bit rushed so more practice required. So people can jeer at Wonderwall and roll their eyes, but I won’t be because it’s proving to be a journey!


Hey matt, interesting log. How’s your Wonderwall coming along? I just started Grade 2 last week and I just added this song to my practice, first time to try in will be this afternoon. I’m not too worried about the fact WW seems to be jeered at (I didn’t even realize this was a thing till I started learning guitar, lol.) I finally listened to it on the App today, and thought, “hey, I’ve heard this at least once before”!) It seems to be a nice little song, don’t know what all the fuss is about.

I’ll have to ask over on the Guilty Pleasures, thread: What songs do we secretly like but don’t want anyone to know that we do! Come have a visit.

I’m continuing to practice the various bits of Wonderwall (there’s the verse, pre-chorus and chorus mostly) but I’ve still not put them all together to play through with the song. I think I keep delaying doing that because I know the first play-throughs will be terrible (I know that’s all part of the learning process!!!). I’m off work this coming week and it looks set to rain so maybe I’ll set some time aside to try to see how close I am to being able to play along to the song in Justin’s app and then the original recording. Don’t expect anything uploaded to YouTube just yet haha!

I do suspect that many of the people who jeer at Wonderwall can’t play it and would struggle if you offered them money to attempt it. It’s true that most of the song is covered by a single strumming pattern but it is relatively complex and also reasonably fast. Justin’s songs app has a simplified pattern of 4 downstrums per bar but in reality it’s a pattern of 1/16th notes and pattern of ups, downs and some gaps if you really want to be authentic. I probably should have started with the simplified pattern and expanded once I’d got that nailed.

I also suspect that much of the jeering comes from people not wanting to give credit to a couple of loud-mouths from Manchester for writing such a popular song. I think these days Liam is still fairly unlikeable but Noel (who wrote most Oasis songs) has dropped a lot of the attitude and comes across far better in interviews nowadays

Thanks for asking about my progress and good luck with your WW practice :slight_smile:


It’s been a while since I added something to this log. I did take a break over summer (and some of autumn) from guitar playing but I’ve been back to it for a while now. I was a little rusty for a week or so but have quickly got back to where I was (and beyond)

Currently I have few (main) things on the go (all acoustic)…
Bad Moon Rising - up to full speed with the aim of singing at some point but a long way from it right now
Fortunate Son - using open chords rather than power chords, need to get my G to F change faster/more consistent but otherwise it’s not far off
House of the Rising Sun - using this as my intro to finger picking, it’s the D to F change that needs more work plus speed in general as I’m a lot slower than the recording
Used to Love Her (GnR) - can strum along to the original song. It’s a song where over time there’s potential to add a few frills. It’s a fun one to play, just D, A and G chords to start with. Justin has a couple of lessons on it

The vast majority of my time is spent playing songs that include things that I find challenging rather than doing extended periods of practice drills. The main drill I do is practicing changes to F from D and G as that’s my sticking point at present. I find that my F is very much a 2 step process where it needs to become 1. First my middle finger takes it’s place and then the other 3 fingers slot into place around it.

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…and now I have 2 acoustics I’m going add Everlong by the Foo Fighters as a bit of a long term project (I don’t think I’ll get that main pattern up to speed overnight).

I realise that swapping in and out of Drop D isn’t the biggest obstacle in the world, but if you often only practice in chunks of a few minutes then it’s quicker if you have a guitar already tuned to Drop D. The book “Atomic Habits” talks about doing things that make it so it’s almost harder to NOT do the thing you’re than to make a habit of, whether that’s having your running shoes by the front door or your guitar(s) on hand and ready to play

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My weekend was spent mostly playing through the songs listed above plus Heart of Gold by Neil Young.

I’m quite close to having Fortunate Son learned. My change to F is improving. I can play all of the parts but need my transitions between the intro/bridge and the verses to be slicker.

I’ve kept coming back to Everlong for a few minutes at a time, learning to play the main pattern with muted strings. I can do it (fairly slowly) for a few rounds and then lose concentration but it’s improving.

I need to learn a few more songs so I’m not playing the same ones over and over because eventually that will become an issue. Each time I pick a new song there’s always one complication that means it’s going to take time. The next one I fancy is Have You Ever Seen The Rain by CCR. There’s an F and a strumming pattern that involves striking dead strings for a percussive sound, that’s going to be hard! To be fair I can skip that initially and just concentrate on the rest of the song which seems doable and then the percussive hits are just icing on the cake


This week I’ve been practicing the songs i know already and working on the sections of Have You Ever Seen the Rain that are most challenging to me. There’s the little walk downs that are going quite well and the main rhythm with the percussive hits that are more challenging right now. I can do them but I suspect it’s not close to full speed (I’ve been practicing it in isolation). Keeping the UDUX pattern going through a chord change is a complete lottery too! (It’s a long way from being automatic)

I’ve also been working at levelling up my take on Heart of Gold. It was actually one of the first complete songs that I could play on guitar. Don’t get me wrong, you’d not mistake my version for Neil’s but I think it sounds ok. It’s time to make the strumming more interesting (I’ve been doing just a couple of strums on each chord in the main chord progression so far).

I typically also spend a few minutes each day moving through the chords for House of the Rising Sun finger style. I’d describe it as a side project as it’s going to take some time to be fully up to speed, especially with short practices and I’m fine with that. I’d say my picking is fairly even, but I do still have to look at my picking hand to do it (I can do the chord shapes without looking).

Happy with how it’s going at moment. I’m definitely focusing on songs that I want to learn rather than trying to progress through the grades. Typically each song I pick will have at least one new element to learn so I’m probably ticking off modules as I go.

Thanks for reading :blush:


Goos stuff Matthew, percussive hits are a challenge for sure, I have good days and bad days when I’m using them (which has been a while now since I’ve needed them in songs!).

Awesome to read you’re happy with how it’s all going, that is all that matters and a focus on songs is never going to get a negative reaction here. Your approach of picking songs witha new learning element in them is very sound and, above all, fun!

Keep it up, sounds like it’s progressing nicely :slight_smile:

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That’s reassuring to hear thanks :blush: At the moment I play a few bars that sound reasonable and then it goes away again! The other thing I’ve noticed is that as I do it, my pick seems to slide from between my thumb and finger in a way that it doesn’t with normal strumming, but I’m sure that’s just a minor tweak needed to how my hand is hitting the strings

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In some ways a repeat of the week before in so much as I’ve been practicing the same things but I can see the progress.

I’m definitely getting there with my percussive hits on Have You Ever Seen the Rain and managing the chord changes between C and G and back more frequently than not while staying in rhythm. The next stage was transitioning between the verse pattern and the chorus pattern (which starts with a sneaky F chord) which took awhile to smooth out and now I’m practicing against the original recording which is going quite well given I only switched to doing that today. No promises but I might look to make this my first video upload in some time.

For finger picking practice I’m continuing with House of the Rising Sun. The problem I’m having right now is keeping losing my place in the chord progression. The song has 3 chord progressions that repeat back to back throughout the song. Each is similar but different. I think at this stage the finger picking is taking so much of my (limited) brain power that I keep forgetting which of the patterns I’m on. I’d say at the moment I’m playing it around 60-70% of full speed so quite a way to go yet. At this speed it’s reasonably consistent and I can do my chord changes but I think it would fall apart very quickly with a minor speed bump right now


One of those up and down weeks that all beginners go through. Tuesday evening was horrible, simply horrible. Out of sync with every song I tried. Decided just to put the guitar down for the day. Thursday evening was the polar opposite. Everything was in rhythm. It became a question of do I continue while it lasts or put the guitar down and finish on a high? :joy: I needed to go to bed so I finished on a high :blush:

Have been playing a lot of Have you ever seen the rain by CCR (I’ve got the Moises app playing a verse and the chorus in an endless loop). The main thing I need to improve is C to F (transition between verse and chorus) and G to F (in the chorus) - in both cases I’m still just a tick too slow (or my first strum of the F is just a bit duff) - but it’s not far off. Back to the one minute change exercises I think!

My guitar is definitely ready for fresh strings but I’m holding off just until I have the problem above solved. It’s also because the strings that are on are the original strings that are neatly wound and I’m bound to do a scruffier job of it :joy:

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Haven’t posted any video in ages so this is just a snippet of my current practice. This recording isn’t played to a backing track or metronome, so it may well be uneven. As mentioned in my post above my current focus is hitting those F chords crisply (not quite there yet). Other sessions I do loop the original and play round and round mostly just about keeping in time with!

Guitar practice


Hi Mathew,
You’re making good progress :sunglasses: and a lot is going well, but please tell me this is the sitting position you’re in that only occurs if you record the video quickly…it makes also the right position for your wrist with the F chord also very difficult … but nice finger placement most of the time :sunglasses:

Thank you and that’s fair comment… I do usually play on the sofa, but maybe more sat towards the edge so I have a bit more space. The recording was definitely a factor but I can’t say it was solely to blame. It’s something I will watch out for in future because it certainly won’t be helping me get the F chord quickly (and it won’t be good for my wrist).

There’s a few elements in this song that are new to me, the percussive hits, the rhythm changes and the little walk down so I’m happy that I’ve got this far in maybe 3 weeks of trying it

And very important, that posture is very bad for your back of course …
Only doing this for 3 weeks is a great achievement, keep it up :sunglasses:

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You’re right. Now you mention it, I can even see in the thumbnail for the video that I’m sat too low. Time for a new sofa :joy::joy::joy:

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or a regular chair ?

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Pretty decent Matthew, nice one! Just me or are you building to a performance of Have You Ever Seen The Rain? :slight_smile:

Edit - Ah, sorry, hadn’t scrolled up from the recording post! Obviously very recognisable so you’re going very well with it!

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Thank you. It’s good to know it’s recognisable :blush: Needs a bit more consistency plus an intro and then maybe I will record it.

I don’t many songs right now but as I can manage Bad Moon Rising and can pretty much play Fortunate Son I seem to be working towards being a CCR/John Fogerty tribute act in the future

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