Michael’s TMHCR Cover August 23

With all this discussion on positive and negative feedback, was I brave enough to post up a AVOYP, of course I was.

So here is Take me home country roads, https://youtu.be/Xw7UwX9LBrE?si=xszqwxPn4kxyE4l9 one of my Grade 1 songs.

Feel free to comment good or bad, or not at all, I can take it. I feel it is important to understand where I am on the journey to make any comments appropriate, I am consolidating Grade 2.

Things I noticed

It is the first recording with my Scarlett 2i2, condenser mic and guitar plugged in, recorded in OBS with external webcam. So still trying to understand all the ins and outs of EQ etc.The quality of recording (perhaps not the content) is so much better than my iPad. After fiddling around with the settings, this was the best of three takes.

There is not much movement of my strumming arm, had this problem a while ago and thought I had overcome it but recently been working on songs where you play the base note and strum especially if it is on the & after the beat and not the next beat, you don’t really have time. Looked carefully and the pick is moving parallel to strings, so no rotation of the wrist.

Getting the right balance between vocals and guitar is quite difficult, I think my voice is a little quiet and perhaps a bit laid back. My singing teacher says I need to project my voice more and a bit more feeling. To project my voice more when recording, I guess I could adjust things on the kit.

The mic looks too far away but it is an optical allusion, because of the camera position.

The video got a copyright claim from the YouTube bots, not sure if this is a compliment or backhanded compliment, they must have picked up on something in the audio unless it was the title.

I will now retire to my underground bunker and await any incoming.



Other than all the thing you already pointed out. You’re not following through with your strumming hand which is forcing you to strum to quickly. Slow down your strumming and follow though.

This is the perfect song to do the base note then strum pattern. If you watch Justin’s Lesson that’s what he is doing in the demo at the beginning.

To help with your singing: You need to sing with John Denver and get the melody into your mind so you don’t have to think about singing and playing. All this will come with practice and will not happen over night. Singing and playing at the same time is a skill in itself.


Hi @MAT1953
No bunker required for any incoming here, you are putting yourself out there and recording/videoing yourself like this is the quickest route I know to improvement for us bedroom guitarists. Having said that it doesn’t mean it’s easy (otherwise I wouldn’t keep dodging it)
In terms of constructive criticism I agree with the comment @stitch made, particularly about slowing down a bit. Everything becomes a lot easier. I’m not talking about half speed or anything, just slowing down a bit will give you the time you need to be positive on your strumming action, and let your vocal performance fall into place. Try it, and video yourself again and see what happens.

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Well done, Michael. Nothing more I can say on the playing and singing. Keep doing what you are doing, that is obviously practicing and playing and also being so focused on self-assessment.

The production was also well done for a first recording.

As you say, you could have adjusted the gain on the 2i2, perhaps a little boost on the voice and turning down the guitar. Also note that due to the more sensitive nature and its cardiod pickup pattern, the mic will also pickup the guitar sound.

I did notice that I was hearing the vocal in my left ear, rather than through both left and right channels. You need to look at the settings in OBS to correct that, as I think you want the vocal to be coming through both channels. If you struggle take some screenshots and post up a question in :computer: Hardware, Software & Recording

You’d also be able to adjust the balance of the two inputs in OBS with the sliders on each source. It can take a little time to get the setup just right before recording making test recordings, especially when you are getting started but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it becomes something quickly done.

Bravo and keep on keeping on!

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Thanks to all that took time to listen.

Rick @stitch

Glad you agree that my strumming is not quite right, a sort of bad practice I have got into. Decided to go back to first principles to correct it. However, it does show the value of recording yourself and putting it out there.
You mention playing the base note then strum pattern for this song, as it was a Grade 1 song I had not really got around to that when I learnt it, but in Grade 2 have been working on this sort of pattern on quite a few country type songs.

Mike @mikemycroft

Thanks for your comments. Yes, I need to slow things down, I find that I am always inclined to play faster than I should. I have resisted the idea of having a metronome playing in my ear when doing a song but might give it a try and see if it helps.

PS Sorry but I got in first with the title for a Learning Log.

David @DavidP

I was keen to get a first recording out there. Very much early days in understanding all the settings with the 2i2 and OBS all very new to me so I am just feeling my way.
Had intended to do a bit more and raise a topic as you suggest on the things that don’t make sense.
I had noticed the issue with the playback, definitely need to see what the setting are and try and resolve it.
In terms of the input sliders in OBS I just left them alone for this recording but had played about with them previously. There is so much to adjust and as you say I am very much getting the hang of things.

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This is one of those songs that can grow with you as your playing improves. You can use simlpe strumming, the more country bass/strum pattern and it’s a great song to finger pick with alternating bass note with the thumb. It’s also a good song for sing along or partys.
It’s also a good song to revisit every couple of months to gage how your playing is improving

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Hi @MAT1953 , I think you should consider some kind of timing aid. Don’t know if you have GarageBand but it’s free on an iPhone or ipad (any device actually) and has great drumming patterns in it. You can change the speed to whatever you like and is much better than just playing to a click. There is probably the equivalent on and android phone as well.

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Hi Mike, well done on your AVOYP thought it was a great effort. It’s really hard singing and playing at the same time so big :clap: :clap: :clap: to you. I am going to try recording guitar part of a song and then sing over it to focus my attention solely on improving my singing. Maybe something for you to try to bring vocals up without having distraction of chords, strumming hand.
Enjoyed reading about your live gigs, what an achievement.
Best wishes,

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Bravo on venturing into the lion’s den Michael. Kudos for getting to grips with some new tech and recording kit for the first time too. And yet more bravo, kudos and good vibes for giving yourself your own dose of feedback, self analysis and critique.

My two-pence worth.


I am not going to discuss pitch (singing the right notes) or projection or any of that stuff that a good singer / singing teacher might help with. I am neither of those. My concern is phrasing and timing. You need to start your singing at the right moment and phrase the lyric so it floats across the chords and bars of music at the right tempo. How to improve that? Put the guitar down and sing along with John Denver himself - that is one essential way of doing it. Another is using an mp3 I have created to help you. This is a short intro plus one verse and one chorus of just a drum playing 1 2 3 4 (bass drum-snare-bass drum-snare respectively) and the vocal melody.
Listen here.

Follow the count of the vocal melody on this TAB. You do not need to read music and standard notation. Simply listen to the melody and sing the melody using the numeric counts shown below as a replacement for the actual lyrics. Your singing should fall in time with the audio you hear. Notice how many of the phrases do not begin on the first beat of a bar. This is common in vocal melody. And it is common for people learning to sing to think that the singing - like the first strum - should always land on the count of 1. Once you make that mistake, everything is out of sync and out of time.

Swap the melody of these words:

Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountain, Shenandoah River

And replace the words with:

| 2 & 3 a | 2 a 3 & | 2 & 3 a | 1 & 2 & 3 a |

Do you hear how the drum takes care of the 1, the 2, the 3 and the 4? Your singing can skate across the surface of the underlying beat.

Do similar for the full verse and chorus - sing the count, not the lyric.


You have recognised yourself the limited, almost non-existent movement of your forearm in the strumming. I am an advocate of having some wrist, hand and fingers involved in the strumming. I see nothing wrong in using a little flick of the wrist to give life to your rhythm. It does need to be in conjunction with your forearm moving in a Down and Up arc also and yours is barely moving at all. That means you either hit only a few strings whether Down or Up, or, that means you rely on an exaggerated and unnecessary rotation and flick of your wrist to hit all strings - which is not a good habit. @Jenndye429 asked me to help analyse a strumming / wrist issue recently. She played with a slightly different technique to yours here but I would categorise them together. Try to re-balance the proportion of forearm movement and wrist movement. Go back to basics of Down Up strumming and ensure your arm is moving. Not in enormous swings because too big an arc is a bad habit you don’t want either.

I have created some additional mp3 and TAB versions I will send to you which build from super simple strumming (TMHCR 01) to a slightly more involved strumming in the chorus (TMHCR 02) to a full length version where I present multiple different choices for strumming in each verse and each chorus (TMHCR 03). Check your email for those.



Well Michael. After that master class from Richard and the advice from the others, I’m just going to add a big well done for recording your debut AVoYP. :+1:

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Lot’s of great advice given above. I’ll just join @sairfingers in given you a big well done in serving up another AVoYP and putting yourself out there to get feedback from the community to help keep improving.

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Hello Michael, that’s one of the songs I wanted to learn the most when I started my guitar journey, as it’s a perfect camp fire song. And guess what, till now I haven’t even tried it. I recognized that I struggeled singing it, so I wasn’t motivated to learn to play it :see_no_evil:.
So kudos for working on it :+1:.
Lot’s of great advice has already been given, also interesting for me to improve.
Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing :hugs:.

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Rick @stitch

As you say Justin gives different patterns for most advanced players, I can do the pattern that was suggest and will give it a go. I am in the process at the present recording my grade 1 songs as i learnt them and as Justin suggests at the start of Grade 2 Strumming course.

Mike @mikemycroft

Yes, timing is an issue I do have, GarageBand is on my iPad so will give your suggestion a try.

Alan @Alan_1970

Don’t think I am knowledgeably enough present to record multiple tracks and then mix them together although I have no doubt that will come in time.

Richard @Richard_close2u

Thank for you reply, it deserves a more thoughtful response which I will do tomorrow, bit tied up with family things over the bank holiday weekend.

Gordon @sairfingers
James @Socio

I agree isn’t the community wonderful that people are willing to put some time into helping out beginners like me.

Nicole @NicoleKKB

As you say a great “campfire song” the slightly disturbing things is that I am old enough to remember it being released. Can’t say at the time that I was very interested in John Denver, but things do change.


Richard @Richard_close2u

A great big thanks for putting the time into such a detailed response, I felt it needed an appropriate reply, sorry it has taken a while to get it down.

I know you are not commenting on the singing but the timing you mentioned is interesting. When I had my first singing lesson, I was absolutely terrible, to be honest I had never really sung before at any time apart from perhaps chants at football matches in my younger days. I am sure the teacher didn’t expect me to come back the next week, but I did and am I still going. In that time have developed on from singing the short pieces she suggested to me going through the songs I want to play on the guitar at some point. Moved on to singing with backing tracks, karaoke style, and she says timing with these are good but of course the music guides you. I have taken in my guitar a few times in the past but recently she has suggested I bring my guitar in each time; I think this is all about is my timing with the chords when you have nothing else to guide you, as you mention. It’s like having an open mic every week needing to get it done in one go, and if I am honest, I like the challenge. Starting to move onto songs that I am playing from chord sheets and not from memory, but that is a skill in itself in my view.

Pitching – not really sure I am hitting the right pitches but apparently, I am mostly going up and down at the right time according to the teacher. I do listen to the original song many times, sing along with it and then move onto a karaoke version. I have started mark up the lyric sheets as to where it goes up and down to sing with karaoke version. I then started to wonder how to check myself if I was right, so I got hold of sheet music and looked at the melody line. This then led onto, well what are the notes, never did music at school always science based so could not read standard notation. However recently got Justin’s book on Note reading for guitarists, early stages but not put off by the sheet music you sent, I can read what the notes are and know where most of them are on the fret board. Will give it try in playing them, but the rhythm is not going to be right.

Given this a lot of thought in the last few days and I think one of the issues is that when I am playing and singing a song, I am rushing which causes a lot of wrist movement. If I just play the chords, I do get more arm movement, but perhaps not enough, I think. I have taken myself back to square one and going to do a lot with metronome, Justin’s strumming machine or drumbeats and watch myself on a web cam. If you don’t know you have a bad habit, then you have very little chance of putting it right, which is the value of the posting and getting feedback.

I would like to think that I sing and play better when not at the same time, but put them together and do it to a reasonable standard is the real challenge and I am certainly not there yet, but will keep beavering away at it.

Apologies it turned out be a bit long.

Thanks again Richard.


Hey Michael, I’m adding nothing to Richard’s advice and your own critiquing, but chalk me up for another :+1: for getting another AVOYP posted and with the new kit as well. The balance and levels all came through well, seemed a decent starting point with the mic positioning, no doubt it’ll change as both your singing and understanding of gain levels builds.

Definitely take the compliment :slight_smile:

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I can help with that Michael and have created some further resources for you.

In general, the melody you are singing for any song will either start on, or soon reach, a chord tone. Chord tones are mentioned a lot in relation to people playing lead guitar. Singers also target chord tones. As you will see in a moment. It may be that the actual melody is sung in a different octave to the notes within your first chord but they will still be chord tones so playing the chord in an slow, arpeggiated way can help you hear the start note.

For TMHCR I want you to listen to two audio tracks. One has the the vocal melody pitched as before, one has it an octave lower. Remember, because of the capo at fret 2 you are playing in the key of A. If this is your key then one or other of those melodies should match what you need to sing.

TMHCR - melody high

TMHCR - melody low

I have tabbed the melody out so that all notes fall within an E-shape major scale pattern for the A major scale. This places it up at some high frets at the dusty end.


To play the exact same melody in the lower register, one octave down, use the E-shape pattern again and subtract 12 from each and every fret number shown on this TAB.


You could play the melody in many different ways, on different strings at different frets. I have simply opted to show it sitting within what I hope is, to you, a familiar scale pattern from Justin’s courses. If not, don’t get too hung up on this aspect.

Now look at this notation with TAB of the vocal melody (the higher pitched one).

The underlying chord is written above the bars. Remember - these are not the chord shapes your fingers are playing, you have a capo at fret 2. The actual note names are written between the bars of standard notation and the TAB.
Look carefully. I have highlighted, in yellow, every note that is a chord tone of the underlying chord. The proportion of these across the verse and chorus is huge. This song has a melody that is largely chord tones plus a few other notes that happen along in passing (from the A major scale). This is very common and getting to grips with the concept here could help you with many other songs you are trying to play and sing.
I hope that helps a little more.

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Whoops, I have used the same scale diagram twice by mistake.

Sorted now.

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:joy: this really had me smile Michael! You already got so much feedback that mine seems quite unnecessary, nevertheless I gave it a listen…because that made me smile :blush:…you need to get a more steady Rhythm there and, I think, try to work out the pattern slowly with your foot tapping. Greetings. Silvia.

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Mark @Notter
I think I will take it as a compliment.

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As you say some great advice received.
Like most things with a guitar, more practice is required.

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