Michael’s Learning Log

@JK thanks for sharing that, JK. Now I am glad I followed my curiosity and have gained additional insights. Good to know about how Justin teaches it and may also spend some time to master that fingering for Dm to continue my own development.

@MAT1953 the beauty of learning in the Community, Michael. Love being able to have these conversations here, which I’d not have without the Community.


Part 6 September 22
About time for another update, as promised this time I have tried to keep it shorter than the last time, not sure I have succeeded.



  • Been consolidating on Module 7 and I think the time has come to move onto Grade 2
  • Have four songs I can sing and play, three are better than the other one. The fifth I know the lyrics and the chords just have to put them together.
  • Have started to work on the F chord in advance starting Grade 2, sort of getting there slowly but a lot more work needed to make it sound ok and be able to change to and from it
  • Started to work on strumming pattern - Bass DU Base DU- RUST No 16, to add a bit of dynamics into some of my songs, as some Justin gives this as an option.
  • Hoped to have posted an AVOYP of one of the songs by now, but had too much on, but will do it shortly.


  • Still on Module 3 however got a bit side-tracked but to good effect. I was really struggling to get my head around transposing songs to different keys.
  • I felt I needed a very basic understanding the relationship between major scale, keys, composition of chords and transposing, however Richard’s @Richard_close2u Circle of Fifths came along at the right time and I worked through that together with a bit of research myself. I now have that basic understanding and I know Justin will come to it in a future lesson but I was impatient to know.
  • Back to the course proper next week


Not got started on this, so need to knuckle down and get going in the next few weeks.


Still going well, even I can see my improvement, but starting from such a low base, no pun intended, I have a long way to go to make it reasonably presentable.


  • I have mentioned them before and went along to my first meeting this week, missed the first one, was away on holiday.
  • They number about thirty I understand but only about a dozen where there on the night, and I must say they made me very welcome.
  • They do concerts three times a year, although they don’t call them concerts., entry for the public is free as are the refreshments.
  • The first one is the ‘Christmas Café’ which is planned to be a collection of traditional songs with some Country and Western Christmas songs. Five songs had been circulated so first they went through the chords and lyrics, with everybody gently strumming and some singing. The main purpose was to determine what key to do them in, I knew what they were talking about as far as keys and capos position.
  • After a short coffee break, split into two groups and went away to rehearse a song, before coming back to preform it to the rest.
  • I think they took pity on me and did “Little Drummer Boy” in the Key of D which is of course is all open beginner chords. We had 20 mins to work on it and it was mostly about the tempo and gaps between phrasing. Went back into the main hall and performed the song.
  • Talk about in at the deep end, I thought I did reasonably well but the BPM was much slower than the songs I have learned or play along with, so my timing was definitely out in places – more time with metronome and a variety of BPM needed I think.
  • But WHOW what an experience, playing something with other guitarist, never thought I would do that. What a difference to playing by yourself at home.
  • Hopefully at some point in the future I will be good enough to take part in a real performance.
  • Lots of new chords to learn and conquer the F Chord.
  • Some of them stood up when they played for real, so I have started to give it a go and been discussing the issues with Mark and Brendon @Notter @direvus in another thread

That’s all for now.

Michael :grinning:


Well done Michael. Sounds like your local acoustic group are a great bunch. The fun you had playing with others comes across in your log.

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Bravo, Michael. Wonderful to have the opportunity to connect and play with others. Look forward to the AVOYPs when you have time and inclination. Enjoy Grade 2!

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Hello Michael,
thanks for your update :smiley:. We are more or less at the same point of our guitar journey - right at the end of consolidating grade 1.
It’s very interesting to read about your progress.
My big hurdle was learning the 5 songs as - similar to you - I want to sing along as well. One song that I’ve chosen, is still out of my voice range. But I’m definitely improving :grinning:.

It’s really nice to know that there are other players starting with grade 2 right now :hugs:.

And what a great opportunity to join your local accoustic guitar club. That sounds wonderful. Wish you lots of fun with it :smiley:.


Well done Michael. Sounds like you’re making good steady progress through the course and jamming along with others in the local acoustic club will benefit the learning process as well as provide lots of fun.

It’s that time of the year all ready… Michael’s playing little drummer boy… thats a good observation that you made… it can be just as hard keeping tempo at very low BPM as it is for high BPM… and top marks for setting some more time aside with the metronome to work on it.

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Terrific update Michael, you have been busy!!

Huge well done with the local group, they sound a good bunch and no doubt you will learn a hell of a lot from them over time. I’m sure it was daunting but your biggest set is done now, must admit I’m envious!!

Your overall progress in the modules, theory, ear training and singing sounds terrific, thank you for sharing how you’re doing!

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Great to read about how you’re doing Michael, sounds like you’ve jumped in with both feet and have a lot going on! The acoustic guitar club sounds like a good place to get experience.

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Super envious about your acoustic club, really great to be playing around with others and sharing joy of music!

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Well done polishing off Grade1, Michael. You’re building a good solid base with all that you’re doing.
I’m envious of your guitar group too. Need to look for something like that round here. You talk about the group as “them” but you’ll soon find your place and it’ll be “your” group and “we”.
Enjoy the upcoming fun in Grade2.

🎸 David

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A big thankyou to all of you who spared the time to respond or view my learning log.

Gordon @sairfingers
Yes, the opportunity to play with others was something I never expected when I started out.
Of course, it does show very quickly your shortcomings against very accomplished guitarists, which you can get away when you only play by yourself.

David @DavidP
Yes, I will post at least one AVOUP of my five songs.
Was away on holiday for two weeks and did not play a guitar, I was quite surprised how long it has taken me to get back to where I was in terms of songs from memory.

Nicole @NicoleKKB
As you noted in this thread and Beginners Open Space, we are both embarking on Grade 2, so I hope it goes well. I am not going to set myself a target to get through it, will take what time it takes. Had a look at the range of lessons and they are very extensive.
I noticed that like me you set yourself very high hurdle to get through the Grade 1 songs by singing and playing strumming patterns other than 4D.
I found that quite a challenge, but I expect we will see the benefits in the future.

James @Socio
The experience playing with others was great but a challenge, as I said above it does highlight your weaknesses very quickly and have already set myself a plan on what I need to work on.
My wife told me last evening that it is 12 weeks to Christmas, now that is a scary thought.

Mark @Notter
Yes, they seemed very supportive. First impression is that they all very good guitar players, don’t know how they would rank in Justin’s grades, but I would think most would be advanced from what I have seen.
As I said we did Little Drummer Boy, which was essential picked out of the hat and one of them played the melody at the end of the practice session. If he worked it out as it went along or played it from memory, either is impressive.

JK @jkahn
I always seem to jump in the deep end, so you either you sink or swim
What I think it is going to mean is that some aspects of the learning process will have to progress at a faster rate than Justin’s lessons. For instance, I am going to have to add a lot more chords to the eight I know. Had already started on the F chord but have been looking at 7th Chords, actually they don’t look to bad. D7 was there straight away, as I sometimes struggle to get all my fingers in the second fret for A chord and make it sound alright every time, especially at a fast tempo.

Adrian @adi_mrok
I don’t want to make you more envious, but the club meets less than 10 mins in the car from where I live.

David @BurnsRhythm
Hope you find a club around where you live.
I just came across them shortly after I started when I was searching the internet for local guitar shops and it just popped up.

Thanks again
Michael :grinning:


Well with a very few words you managed to do it :laughing:

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Adrian @adi_mrok
Sorry about that.

Nah it’s okay in fact I am cheering for you Michael and I hope you have a lot of good time there!

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Part 7 – October 22
Just a quick update this time.
Have just started on Grade 2 and parts of Grade 3 and 4, what is going on you might ask.

Let me explain, as I said last time I have joined the local acoustic guitar club, I am definitely the novice of the club, they all can certainly play, but I am slightly reassured that they must have been at one time like me.

Any way they are all about performing at free concerts, usually three times a year. They have a concert this December and circulated a list of those who wanted to take part. Well I took a deep breath and put my name down. I usually jump in at the deep end with things, but I think on this occasion I have done so from the high board.

We were divided into three groups, with each to perform 5 or 6 songs with a Christmas theme, some traditional ones and rest country songs. Some of the group will play acoustics, one will play an electric as the lead, another a base, and we hope that there will also drummer from outside the club to join us.

The songs chosen so far by the group that I am in have a lot of chords I have never played, don’t want to count how many but probably approaching double figures, some of the songs have section where the chords change nearly every beat. Also been looking at different fingering to help with the fact chord changes. So, I am on a very steep learning curve, if not vertical and this the reason I have been cherry picking Justin’s lessons on chords that I don’t know. Must confess I have had to look at some chord cheats as my barre chords are not proficient to change to them fast enough yet, hopefully they will be soon.

We have had a couple of get togethers to decide on songs and work through them. It was hard work for me and there is going to be a lot of practice needed. Having said that the sessions were fascinating, discussion on how to adapt some of the songs so the audience could sing along, what key they should be in. We are working from chord sheets and one them who is singing said that a particular chord can’t be right it just doesn’t sound right, I will take his word for it.

So I have not been able to progress very far with Grade 2, Theory or Ear Training this month, as I have practicing like mad, but as Justin says it is all about playing songs and the opportunity to play along, however as small a role in a group, was one that I had to give it a go. The possibility is way beyond my expectations when I started at the beginning of the year, wish me luck that it all works out.

Michael :grinning::guitar:


Hi Michael. I wish you luck with your Christmas’ concert adventure .

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Wow, Michael, that sounds very exciting :star_struck:.
It’s great that you took the chance to participate in the concert. Although it sounds like really a lot of work, I’m sure you’ll progress tremendously. Keep the joy alive :smiley:.

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You’ve taken on a lot of learning all at once Michael. Sounds like you’re up for it though so have fun and enjoy the concert and I’m sure you’ll be glad you did it when it’s all done and dusted.
Good luck! :grinning:

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Hi Michael,
I wish you a merry… uh a lot of luck with cristmas because you ask :wink: ,but above all i wish you a lot of fun :sunglasses:
This is the best way to grow as a guitar player,…keep on going :clap: :sunglasses:

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Nothing like giving yourself a challenge Michael and it seems like you certainly have done here! Respect to you for jumping right in with both size 9’s!! I’m sure it’ll do you wonders to have such a focus with such a tangible goal, good luck, you’ll be great! :+1:

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