Michael’s Grade 1 Riffs - Ver 1

Well done Michael. For 6 modules into the course from scratch, you are progressing well mate. A lot to be proud of here.
As you say, getting used to moving the fingers around and hitting the right notes is the aim here. Not easy at the beginning, but just keep doing what you’re doing with focused practice. Coming along nicely.
I would concur with @batwoman regarding rhythm practice with a metronome at a slow pace as the next phase in this.

All the best.
Cheers Shane


Hi Michael, good share and sounds like the riffs are coming along nicely. Notes ringing clean.

Brown Eyed Girl is pretty tricky to play at speed btw - and yes, a cutaway needed for most people.

A little tip on Seven Nation Army. The original was played on slide guitar, so the riff sounds better if you slide between frets rather than lift. Adds quite a different sound to the riff. Give it a go.


Well done for sharing your riff progress Michael.
You already know that being steady in the rhythm is vital - and slowing down to play perfectly will help in that.
One aspect I was looking at was your right arm / wrist / hand / fingers.
I would encourage you to try to loosen them up. Your arm and wrist are straight and stiff. What you ideally want is some relaxing of that so that you are not picking individual notes on separate strings in a way that relies on perfect accuracy of the movement of the biggest limb involved in the process - your forearm. That is an unreliable method prone to inaccuracy. Instead, reduce the arm movement significantly, and allow your wrist and your fingers to be the ‘moving parts’.


Hi Michael,
Everything has already been said, it only remains for me to say… I wish you a lot of fun… :sunglasses:

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:clap: :clap: :clap:

Well done, Michael, making great progress in the playing and the recording to share in AVOYP.

In addition to the encouragement and suggestions already made, I’ve a thought on playing the Peter Gunn riff.

I think one of the benefits of this riff is helping to develop stretch, the ability to play over 4 frets. I notice that you are moving your hand up the fretboard to reach the note played with pinky and back for the note played with the index finger. I suggest looking at your hand position when you play the note with the pinky, see the position of the index finger. Then try and fret the note with the index finger without moving the hand back, or at least with just enough movement to fret the note.

Keep on keeping on, ever onward!


Well done Michael you are making great progress.

You have given you some great bit of advice. Nothing more I can add of value other than encouragement.

Riffs are great for developing finger independence, dexterity and strength. It was great to see you play the ones you have learned so far. Keep up the good work.

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Well done Michael and bravo !!

There has been a wealth of advice offered already but for a few months in you are making good progress. Boy wish these riffs had been part of the old Beginner Course but they are all good fun to learn and play. Top man !


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Thanks for reply as you say rhythm needs working on. I have been concentrating in the last month on learning songs both playing and singing so perhaps not doing as much on structured lessons as I should. However, during the process of learning songs, I realised my rhythm was not right, so in the last week I have been strumming with the metronome at different speeds. I find the issue I have is that I always seem to get ahead of the metronome but at least I know what I need to work on.

Agreed rhythm needs work. One of the issues with the riffs is Sunshine of Your Love was the only one I really knew before as I can well recall it when it first came out when I was a teenager. Must have sounded ok when I was practicing as my 28-year-old daughter said she recognised the tune. Must have brainwashed her with my generations music when she was young.

Am I right in thinking the slide guitar sound is like the rasping noise of your fingers moving along the strings. Must confess I was trying to limit that sound rather than enhance it.

You are quite right, I am too stiff and tense when I am playing, I think it a beginner’s desire to concentrate hard to get things right.
By a total coincidence I was reviewing Justin lesson on Take Me Home Country Roads, one of my songs for grade 1. I was playing about with what Justin was showing of playing the base note and then strumming, not intending to do that for Grade 1 but what I did was play the base note with the pick and a down strum with my index finger, which of course opened up my fingers up and so my hand was not tense. So, I then strummed I was conscious of untensing my fingers and it sound a lot better. However still need to move my arm a bit more. But things are coming together slowly.

As you say lots of advice but thanks for taking the time to listen.

David will look at the video again on Peter Gunn about stretching to get four frets.
I am doing the finger stretching exercise and currently get to the second fret with some difficult which is more of a struggle on the 5th and 6th Strings

Thanks James
The dexterity issue is a strange one.
Apologies if I digress. I am righthanded and my handwriting is extremely poor which I have always blamed on poor dexterity, thanks goodness for typing on a computer at work. My preserved lack of dexterity is a strange one, as when I was at school you had to take some time called General Studies which was completely different to the exam courses you were taking and as part of this I learnt to touch type (never got the hang of shorthand unfortunately). Bearing in mind at this time computers took up whole floors in office buildings and you input your program on punch card or tape. The ability to touch type has stayed with me and of course was valuable skill when keyboards came in. Sorry about the aside but my lack of good handwriting has always puzzled me when my fingers can do other things so perhaps my poor handwriting had nothing to do with dexterity.


Thanks Toby
I agree the riffs lead you onto other things than just strumming chords👍

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Hi Michael, for a slide on guitar, yes you keep your finger on the string and also keep it pressed down (gently) so a note rings out the whole time.

Yes you will get string noise too, some strings are noisier than others.

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Well done Michael. It’s a valuable exercise to practise picking notes on individual strings and these riffs are a great way to do that. You’ll find the skill comes into it’s own if you want to strum and pick out bass notes at the same time.
Later on when you want to try scale note improvisation over a backing track…….:smiley:

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Some sweet finger style there Michael.

You have already identified that the rhythm isn’t spot on but once your fingers automatically know where they are going then the rhythm will follow. Still, you could tell what the tunes were, so you’re more than half way there.

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Thanks for the comments Stefan, as you say rhythm is what needs working on.
I think there might be a reluctance on beginners to post something up that is not nearly perfect which I think is a mistake. All guitarist have to start somewhere even Justin. This was only my second AVOYP but the comments you receive identify what needs working on but also looking at the video with some honest self analysis is a very valuable. Hopefully at some time in the future I will look back on these posts and see that I have come a long way from there.

Cheers Michael :+1:


I agree with you Michael, especially, if like me, you have no one else to ask where you might be going wrong with things. We all seek perfect and if we thought about it, we’d never post anything because and I’m sure it’s true of professionals, we all make mistakes and are always overly critical of ourselves. This I think just comes with playing. I have played for my family and made mistakes but I don’t think they have picked up on them and have said, “that was really good” and I’ve thought, “meh”. :joy:


Could not agree more Michael. I think many people are posting recordings in their Learning Logs since the name change which do not get the same exposure and the resulting feedback they would do here.

But for those a little shy there is always the Beginners Safe Space


This was a common starting place for newbies to post their first few recordings on the old forum and gain some confidence before stepping into the lights, Unfortunately it seldom gets used as it is no longer as visible as it used to be since we moved here. Last post was Feb.

Maybe be the mods could think about how to make it more prominent.
@Richard_close2u @DavidP @LievenDV

Just a thouht.


Absolutely Michael. If we waited for perfection (a relative term of course) we wouldn’t post anything. If we were capable of true perfection we wouldn’t be on this forum - we’d be out there making making a fortune and having Eric Clapton round for dinner. :smiley:
My most recent AVoYP was far from what I wanted to achieve and I knew that was the case but I posted it anyway despite knowing that if I did 30 takes I could improve on it.
I looked on it as a line in the sand. It generated a bit of discussion in the thread and made me think about what I was trying to achieve.


Thought I knew most parts of the community forum but not really aware of this particular topic but it is good idea.
If I missed it so might others.
I guess I have gone straight in at the deep end :diving_mask:



Gordon @sairfingers
You are right we are not likely to reach perfection but there comes a point where you feel it is good enough to post and get some feedback.

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Toby, I took a quick look and noticed it was not pinned. Sorted that out so it will be visible at the top of the AVOYP Topic. Don’t think we can do much more than that.

@Richard_close2u @LievenDV


Thanks David, I nearly popped out in your neck of the woods I dug so deep to find it !