Hi Everyone - So I’ve finally taken the time to get the ball rolling on my own learning log having been so interested and inspired by others on here doing the same. As most seem to do here’s a background to my guitar journey, where I’ve got to so far, where I’m at and importantly what my ambitions are.
I’m 46 (for another 2 weeks!) and bought my first guitar probably about 20 years ago now, a Yamaha acoustic which came with a CD(!) of backing tracks and a getting started lessons book that began with power chords. I think I got to the lesson on “Get Back” where I just got frustrated as there was no really useful guidance in the book. Subsequently I bought song tab books galore but of course had no structure, so the guitar ended up sitting idle, slowly making it’s way up into the attic to be mostly forgotten about. Fast forward to Christmas 2020 and my niece, then subsequently my brother, bought a Ukulele. Now as fun and as cool as that’s been for them, it ignited that spark back in me to get the guitar back down from the attic and look into how technology had helped with online learning. Needless to say I was not disappointed, in fact slightly overwhelmed, with the volume of courses available. Whilst looking into it so many reviews / comments came back to JustinGuitar so I sat down and went through the first few lessons with a, by now, horribly set up acoustic. But those first few open chord lessons and the fact I could actually play along to a song after such a short time was a revelation! And that was it, I was hooked, properly…… I spent a bit of time getting the Yamaha set up better, new strings and some home truss rod adjusting as the action was shockingly high over that amount of time in the attic, by no means perfect but definitely good enough and ploughed on.
That was in January 2021, my first logged practice session on the website is 18th January and I’ve cracked on since then. My incentive, not that I really needed it in the end, was to stick with it for 3 months solid and if I did I’d buy a beginner electric, which I did, an Eastcoast GL (LP style) with a Yamaha THR10ii practice amp, which carried me through Grade 1 and the majority of Grade 2 so far. I’ve now upgraded, as many of you have seen, to a PRS SE Paul’s guitar which is a revelation in terms of quality and playability, and I’ll be honest, to me it looks gorgeous! The Eastcoast will always be my first “proper” guitar and will always have a fond place for me.
I went through grade 1 in 5 months or so I think, had a little spell in hospital which knocked me back a month or two and I’m currently working through grade 2, going through module 12 a couple of weekends back. This is the module I’ve been waiting for, I’m a rock person more than anything, although anything really does go, so power chords has got me through the heart. Although I’m having early mini struggles with power chords (finger 3 muting the fifth string on root 5 chords) I know from all the experience so far that practice will always win through. I’m sure having this learning log can and will really help me kick on.
In terms of ambitions for the rest of this year:
- I would like to finish grade 2 by the end of May, I’ll reset the Grade 3 perspective once I’ve done 2
- Get comfortable playing standing up and improve my seated playing posture
- Put the time into developing my vocals and singing with different strumming patterns
- Perform at one of the Community OM’s
- Find someone local to meet up and jam with (Surrey / Berkshire border if anyone’s interested!! )
Short term goals that I’ll look to use this log to update on over the next few weeks:
- Nail Californication chord play along as I continue to work on barre chord changes
- Get a song posted using power chords
- Learn the full Enter Sandman intro (per Justin’s lesson, not just the opening riff)
- Work on a new song for AVOYP, most likely She Talks to Angels. The Black Crowes at Brixton Academy (Shake Your Money Maker tour) was one of my earliest gigs!
- Continue to smile whenever I see and pick up the guitar!
That’s a bit of a long read, apologies, but if you’ve taken the time, thank you and thank you for the support that flows through this community, it’s truly inspirational.
And finally some gratuitous, obligatory, guitar photos! – Cheers All – Mark.