Notter's Learning Log

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!! :wink:)

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.




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Excellent start to the log, Mark. You are doing great and look forward to following progress here and in AVOYP. And I agree … the PRS is gorgeous.

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Hi Mark,

Welcome to “the club”! It’s always interesting to read about someone’s motivation and guitar history. :slight_smile:

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Nice first entry Mark, I especially like the bit about attending first Community OM :slight_smile: Keep up the good work so far I really enjoyed your recordings :slight_smile:

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Just keep picking it up, that’s the secret formula

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Thanks Adrian, I’ve said it now and it can’t be undone!!!

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Awesome stuff Notter. It’s great seeing others get excited and playing music through the ukulele. Like you, I’m much more of a guitar person. I’ve met some amazing uke musicians who would never have uncovered their musical abilities otherwise. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

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I had the same thought with my comeback. It’s incredible how internet has explode in courses and how gear has evolved. It stills blows my mind that I’m using my phone as amp :rofl:

I’m very found of these kind of objective-reward things. I have set one for myself to buy my first acoustic when I finish grade 2. And will buy an electric with single coils and whammy bar for the end of intermediate course

Yeah :metal: another rocker. I’m in grade 12 too. And I’ve been here for 6 weeks now, I think. But I have so many songs I want to play in this module… that is hard to say that is enough :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

:clap::clap::clap::guitar::metal:

Gorgeous guitar. I see that PRS has become a quite popular brand. Haven’t heard about them when I first started to play. Definitely will be a brand to check when I finish the intermediate level :relaxed:

Great start for your learning log. Keep enjoying and smiling :blush:

:metal::guitar:

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Absolutely Tony, I’ve got a uke here as well for when I’m bored…unsurprisingly it’s not been used much yet whilst I’m learning with Justin!! :rofl:

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Thanks Edgar, can’t not enjoy and smile with the guitar in hand. I think, like you, I’m going to be in module 12 for a while, good practice session today with the power chord songs, mostly using Green Day tracks at the moment.
Would certainly advise trying out a PRS when you reach your reward stage, I played this back to back with a Fender Stratocaster which was really nice, but this had that little something extra for me.
Thanks for reading! :metal:

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Oh nice. Green Day. I have this “set list” for passing from module 12

  • Enter Sandman
  • Symphony of destruction
  • Pretty fly (for a white guy)

For passing I’ll post an AVOYP of each one

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@Notter - in case you’ve not heard, justin does have a whole section for uke players.

Yep seen those Tony, had a little look but at this point I didn’t want to confuse myself with chord shapes! I’ve passed on links to my brother and niece but how much they used them I’m not sure.
To be fair my niece has become very good in a very short time, she’s musically gifted for sure, amazing voice and just started on keyboard now too. Oh to be young again! :wink:

Hi everyone - a short log post just to highlight and call out the effectiveness of the OMC exercise. I mentioned above about working on barre chord changes and decided to put the exercise into my practice routine for F to Am, C, D and G and my god does it help. From 30 changes or so 6 days ago to comfortably 50+ now. Hallelujah and Californication are coming along nicely if I do say so myself!

I know I’m preaching to the converted but it’s a nice reminder :slightly_smiling_face:

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Oh a quick PS - managed to bag tickets to one of two charity gigs Muse are playing at Hammersmith Apollo in May. Only ever seen them in open air venues so I’m hoping this will be special! :metal:

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Cool Log Mark!! Interresting and fun read.
Nice set of goals.
From what i seen on your AVYOPs, youre on track for your goals. No problem.
And yeah… that PRS makes me smile everytime i see it :fire:
Keep up the good work Mark :grin:

Thanks Trond, we will all get our goals here, no doubt!! Hope you’re having fun with your THR :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yep, I find OMCs help a lot. Such a simple but effective thing. When else would you try to change between the same two chords so much? Such a good idea.

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Gratuitous photos, don’t hold back, I love them.

Please don’t let rock take away your velvet voice Mark. I’ve acquired a taste for it. :yum:

You’ve been very lucky there!
I’m a big Muse fan and would love to go and see them again, I went to see the the first time at Exeter when my daughter was at Uni, she got us tickets that were on sale at the Uni community. It was a great show!
I did post a cover that I did on the old forum which I played the guitar over a backing track.