Pkboo3’s Learning Log

Apr 27, 2019

I’ve been thinking about starting a Road Case for some time. So I’m finally going to jump in now; which is the time I’m starting to mix the last four songs of Justin’s Beginner’s Course with dipping my toes into the uncertainties of the Intermediate Course.

Looking back, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process of learning to play my Takamine G Series Guitar. Which is my second guitar and my second attempt at learning. My first was a simple Harmony guitar if I remember correctly bought from Sears. I attempted trying to learn back in my early 40’s. I practiced for two years, learned a few songs, then lost interest until I tried again 4 years ago; inspired by a friend who simply showed me a video of her daughter learning to play the guitar. I started again with my Harmony; paid $25 to have it adjusted. I played it a short while then decided to look for a new one. I had a knowledgeable friend go with me to look at some, then I went on my own to a couple places until I found the Takamine. Yes it’s true that when you hear the one you want, you will know it. So I bought it. Now, four years later, as I’m learning about E-shaped Barre chords, I’m seeing that I may need to have the action adjusted on it. Not now, but in time, I will start looking for another guitar because I’m recently feeling “GAS”!

Back to my process up until now. I have gone through the steps advised by Justin. I have practiced each of his songs in order, practicing each one for seven days and then moving on to the next lesson. In addition, I’m going through his online videos following suggested practice routines. Plus his Music Theory & his Strumming Techniques. I also have some extra lessons from my previous studies. I have a Mel Bay Grade 1 Book that I’m slowly going through, learning the notes from that. Another that has 50 lessons called “US School of Music”. I’m over halfway through that.

I just play in my bedroom almost every evening. But I do skip a few evenings here and there. In my Skype with Justin, he told me I was doing too much at one time, so he showed me how to break it down which helped me a lot.

During this time, some of my highlights have been meeting all you Forum members. Also joining in with a few collaborations - My first one, Lynn introduced me to a man from England who was looking for a female vocal with a Texas accent. I didn’t play guitar in his song, only vocals, but we met through her on this forum. From there we have conversed and collaborated on other projects since then. He helped me with some Recording effects on a second submission of my “Brand New Key” song. So thanks, Lynn, for introducing me to him. I have & still do enjoy collaborating with him. Second was LBro volunteering to help me improve the recording on my “I’d Rather Go Blind” song which was very much appreciated. And the third was the Christmas Collaboration song “Baby Please Come Home” with David & Max. All this has helped with the learning process.

Also, I have tried to participate in the monthly/bi-monthly/tri-monthly contests, getting great advice and constructive criticism which also helps with the learning process. Even winning one when I recorded “How to Save a Life” and coming in 3rd with David & Max in the Christmas Collaboration. That was cool since everyone won something in that contest! Also submitting audio or video in the AVOYP Section is great & awesome support.

I’m trying to learn the recording processes which for me is kind of hard, but I’m hanging in there and with each attempt, hope to improve in how they turn out. I have a Presonus AudioBox USB 96 and I’m using Studio One 3 Artist DAW.

I have about 26 songs in my Repertoire. Some are just easy kid’s songs (I wanted to be able to play for my grand baby), two I wrote myself, some are my own personal favorite covers, some are from Justin’s BC that I really liked & that seemed to work well with my vocal range.

I am currently at a stand still on recording another song. I bit off more than I can chew on a song I love that has fingerpicking that I can’t play fast enough & it’s hard for me to memorize. It’s “Let Her Go” by Passenger. So I’m not sure whether to keep on trying with it, or to move on to an easier one but still keep practicing this one.

I’m just a private player, only playing for you all & for my own enjoyment. I was brave enough once to play for my two grandsons who were about 14 & 11 at the time. I couldn’t tell if they were that impressed honestly. And my 4 year old gets to hear me some in addition to what my husband hears through the bedroom door. One time, my son, who is also a beginner, wanted to try my guitar during our Christmas gathering. So he was playing around with it and he started playing the 12-bar Blues. So I grabbed my Harmony and attempted to join in with some Am Pentatonic improv. My step-daughter came in to listen so that was kind of neat.

I sometimes sit out on my back porch wondering what someone might think if they heard me. As long as I didn’t know they were listening, I could keep playing, but if I knew they were there, I would freeze up. Justin asked me how I could play for the forum but couldn’t play for a live person. I told him I could always have a do-over on a recording. He said I could have a do-over for a real person too. But still, I haven’t. A big part of me not playing for an audience is that I have poor memory. I can memorize a song, but it’s very hard for me to retain it, so I always have to have the music in front of me. Justin did tell me how to write the major points down & have them on the floor or somewhere near that I could read but I haven’t tried it.

OK, this is getting long so I’ll stop for now. I suppose before I post anymore, I need to read some of your Road Cases & comment on them. I read a couple a while back & today read through Batwoman’s. I’ll be checking in on others when I can.

June 18, 2019

Since my last Road Case posting I’ve tried to venture outside a little more. Recently, my neighbors were outside in their backyard & I was in mine. I kept playing. And a couple nights ago, my two grandkids ( 5 & 8 ) asked me to come play for them (in the bedroom where I practice & they were playing… I think my little man just wanted me in there with him! So I went in there with them & played the song that I plan on submitting for the upcoming contest. At first, I felt like they were enjoying it. The 8 year old was dancing/jumping along on the mini-trampoline while I played. But they quickly lost interest. I was going to play “Brand New Key”, but they were gone by then, so I slipped the guitar back in its case and trodded on out behind them.

Anyway, the main reason I’m posting now is to say that tonight I completed Justin’s Beginner’s Songbook (the first one). I started around mid Apr 2015 and completed today - 17 Jun 2019. So yay me! On to the consolidation work and then gradually to Intermediate!

Sep 8, 2019

Well, I’m still working on “Let Her Go”. That’s why I haven’t posted much besides the contest entries. I’ve watched Justin’s lesson on the song. I found some tab & printed it off. Some of it I had to use whiteout on to make it as close to Justin’s lesson as I could. It’s a fast song too. Which I can’t play that fast. The fingerpicking in the beginning of the song is the hardest for me. I don’t want to just strum the whole song so I want to learn it & include the fingerpicking. I don’t know if I will be able to play it to my satisfaction for quite a while; so I decided I will keep trying, but move along with something else in addition.

I’m practicing along with the First module in the Consolidation Course & maybe soon to advance to Module 2. I plan on also buying the Fingerpicking Book. I’m practicing for the current contest with a song in the Bonus Module of the Beginners Course Book. Not a song I ever would have picked, but it seems my vocals work better on that song than on others I have in my repertoire. It also has a challenging strumming pattern - at least for me. So I’m going with that one. Looking forward to giving it a go.

Mar 10, 2020

Just wanted to mention, the song I did in my earlier posts was “Stuck in the Middle With You”. Which will be one I’m keeping in my Set List/Repertoire. I have finally built an actual Set List which, as of now, I have 10 songs and working on number 11. (Justin said in a video somewhere, that 20 is a good number to have, so I’m going for that - if I can keep that many in my memory bank). I’m trying to keep them varied as to Genres; from one Nursery Rhyme song, to Country, to Pop & my current favorite Genre - I think it’s called Adult Alternative or Indie Pop, maybe? Plus the two, so far, that I’ve written myself to be added.

I’m still plowing through “Let Her Go”. I’m wanting to memorize it, and include in my Set List, but memorization is my nemesis, and for me, this is a hard one to memorize. Such a challenge.

I’m also working on “Broken Halos”. The Strumming Pattern is fine - except for the Bm. And I still can’t sing and play this one at the same time. I may just do separate tracks just so I can post a song, but want to sing/play together before it can go in the Set List. I had a forum post a while back from Richard, on how to practice that type of song. Here is a copy of that post.

“*Play along with original song, no singing, many times, until you get to “auto-pilot”
*Do the same with singing
*Then bring guitar & singing together playing along with the original
*Then on your own and at a slower speed if necessary”

So that’s why I haven’t posted anything in a while.

Also, back in Sep or Oct 2019, I was invited by Maggie to join in on a song collaboration. Of course I said yes! I’ve always been impressed by Maggie, her vocals, her custom-made guitar , and mostly her personality. I love to read her well-written, witty posts. So along with her, DavidP, LBro, & Oldhead49, we did a cover of “Mockingbird”. Through illness, other pressing events, and hard work, we “got her done” in Jan 2020! It was challenging, but a fun song to do. I enjoyed working with this team❤️.

The other thing I wanted to post is that I had been adding a lot of practice items to my practice routines & was rotating them on alternate days, but it was getting too overwhelming. So when Justin’s Practice Assistant came out, I decided to utilize it. It took some time to get it started. I had to rewatch the introduction video about three times to learn it, but I now have three routines created. That may be about one too many, but it really seems to have helped me get back on track a little better and not feel so overwhelmed. I’m sticking a little more closely to the Intermediate Book and letting go of some of the older practice items. Just keeping what I know I need to retain. Anyway, just a little plug for the Practice Assistant.

The only other thing I can think of mentioning now is that I have been practicing the E-Shape & A-Shape Barre Chords and so far am doing better on them. I did figure out though that my left shoulder had been hurting back in early January. At first, I felt like my shoulder joint was popped out of place. But after taking it easy and figuring out it wasn’t the way I hold my blow dryer to dry my hair; that it was most likely how I’m fretting those Barre Chords. So I’m just trying to shift my arm & hand position while playing. My shoulder seems much better now but I still need to be conscious of it and take care of it. Still not back to 100% but much better. I’m sure some of that is Arthritis & age. Which also got me back into a good exercise routine. That has certainly helped!

Mar 26, 2021

Wow! It’s been a year since I last posted. (And what a year that’s been!) The main reason for posting now is to say that I finally reached Song #20 on my Set List Goal. It’s not absolutely perfect. With my memory issues, it may never be. But at least I can play them with just a quick look or two; or a fast review before I play. I rotate through them often, playing one or two after all my practice sessions.

I’m also thinking about buying some new gear. I posted for advice between electric and acoustic on another thread and got lots of great advice. I went to my local guitar shop and tried a few of both kinds. However, he was under stocked. He’s in the process of moving. He said he would be restocked in his new location by April hopefully. So I’ll go back again and see what else he has. I want to be able to play the guitar before I buy so I can hear it and feel it. So I’ll know it’s the right one (or two) for me. I trust him to have some good stuff. He’s who I bought my current Takamine from and I’ve been happy with it. He said the set up was still good on it.

I’m still just plugging along with practice. I’m in between Modules 3-5 in the Intermediate Course. I quit practicing “Let Her Go” so I could work on my Set List Goal, be more focused on the Intermediate and follow the Practice Assistant more efficiently. But almost ready to try and tackle it again soon.

Not sure yet what I want to post to play on the forum. So much of what I’m doing right now is trying to improve on songs I’ve already posted. I really need to find something new I can play just for fun without the challenges I’ve placed on myself. If I can find something like that, I’ll try to post it.

Jul 17, 2021

Hey friends! I thought this would be a good time to update the Road Case. Some is a bit repetitive from my post in the Electric Guitar feed but wanted to continue on in my Road Case.

I finally bought my electric guitar. It’s been since March, I think, that I’ve been waiting and watching. It’s definitely a Sterling by Music Man CT?SSS. The unknown part of that is whether it is a CT30 or CT50 and the color. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I would like to know what it actually is. I just bought it from the local dealer I’ve mentioned before. He said it was a Mint Green and I forgot to ask about the number. But Mint Green in that specific look is not correct. I did a little online research and the guys at Sterlingbymusicman linked me to a 2016 CT50SSS that looked exactly like mine and it was called Seafoam Green. So for now, unless further research tells me otherwise, that’s what it is. I’m loving it, so far!

I did have an unhappy situation concerning my amp though. My dealer sold me an Ampeg 108-B Bass Guitar. In my ignorance, I bought it. But soon realized I messed up. It’s not what I needed or wanted. Luckily I was able to return it and luckily, I found a Boss Katana 50 MKII at another local dealer. Couldn’t believe I found one locally without having to order online, which I would have done if I had to. It’s so cool! Can’t wait to learn more about it.

Also, I still haven’t forgotten my trusty acoustic Takamine. I had wanted to upgrade, but the newer upgraded ones didn’t do it for me. Mine sounded better to my ears. So for now, I’m going to keep on loving it.

Other than that, I’m still plugging along. I’m pretty much in Stage 5 of the Intermediate and going through all the end-of-stage goals now. Also finished the Theory Course but will probably take some time to rehash all of those end goals! Whew!

I’m currently back at working on “Let Her Go”. If I can ever accomplish that, I will be elated.

Also working on “Wonderful Tonight” & trying to throw some E- & A-shape Barre Chords in.

I haven’t decided on which of my Set List songs to upload as a One-Take. But it’s still on my To-Do list.

OK, All for now. Hope to get some thoughts from you all. And I’ll be commenting on some of yours too.

6 Likes

Pam

Wonderful to take a trip down memory lane. Refreshing to go back and see how someone has progressed and is still doing so. I’d forgotten you had worked through the whole of BSB 1, that’s mighty impressive and certainly shows dedication.

Look forward to reading some more.

Cheers

Toby
:sunglasses:

I’m really enjoying re-reading all the RCs as we make this migration. You’ve done so well and shared some wonderful recordings with us, Pam. Look forward to following along as the adventure continues, now with the electric to go with the Takamine.

Pam,
Love the look of the guitar and amp! Great to see you taking on that whole new ballgame!

What do you think of your Music Man and how it plays? I have a few guitars, but my Music Man Reflex is now my go to guitar!

Keep on with the great work!
LB

Hey LBro. Nice to hear from you. Yeah, I’m really enjoying my Music Man. I still need much more practice with it though; and also my Boss Katana MK II Amp.

Love the colour of your new guitar Pam. I’m looking forward to hearing Let Her Go.

Thanks, Maggie. Glad you like. I love the color also. I may post Let Her Go somewhere other than the AVOYP, just to get some advice on how to… wherever that may be in the new Community.

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You could post it in your RC, Pam.

Thanks David. That makes sense. It would be a good place to show my progress.

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That’s a good read, Pam, I don’t recall seeing that new electric before, it looks awesome. I look forward to hearing you play. I also look forward to hearing you play Let Her Go at some point. Leaving it and coming back to it a few times works for me sometimes.

Me two. And the time period between revisits has been years sometimes :grin:

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