Pronewbie's Learning Log

Decided to learn playing the acoustic guitar proper just after Christmas Day 2022 and learnt to re-string my old Yamaha FG700 that I had bought 10 years ago. Back then, I’d learnt to play the open chords but couldn’t strum nor play the F Barre chord. If only I knew about Justin’s amazing website…

It’s been close to 2 months, and I’m currently in Grade 2 Module 11. My target this year is to put in 1000hrs into guitar theory/practice. I could only put in no more than 30mins at the start but achieved 20 hours of practice last week. I aim to continue this trend. What has helped and inspired me to put in this much practice, and also the creation of this learning log, is the finger-style lessons, as well as my other song practice.

Just yesterday, I had 2 young nephews in the same room while practising and 1 of them sang a small part of the Wonderwall chorus with me completely out of the blue as he’d heard me practice previously. The other, who’s one-and-a-half, looked at me in amazement and a twinkling of the eye as he watched me strumming and singing at the same time, then proceeded to do a little jig to the Wonderwall rhythm.

For now, I’m unsure about how I want to develop with the Guitar but I know with almost certainty that the acoustic will be my primary. I have close to 0 interest in learning the Metallica song in Module 12 but will push through because it appears to teach important techniques and skills. I do like my pop/punk though, I just don’t feel inclined to buy an electric guitar - yet.


Week 8 Target (20 Feb - 26 Feb 2023)

  1. Pass Module 11 by playing Happy Birthday and Everybody Hurts decently with a metronome / play-along.

  2. The stretch goal would be to also fully play 水平線/back number decently, but that one’s harder because of the chord change between Em and Bm, and to a lesser extent D to B7.

  3. Finish Module 12 lessons and begin practice


I think that this is correct.
Nice goals to have, I guess that maybe you are Japanese.
If you continue they way you are now you will soon be able to achieve your goals. Take your time, don’t rush things and most of all enjoy what you are doing!

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Getting to grade 2 module 11 in 2 months seems awfully quick. Make sure you’re learning all the basics, take your time and enjoy.

Good luck and post some of your songs on AVoYP when you feel ready.

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Sounds like a fine set of ambitious goals Ber, good for you :slight_smile: Make sure you’re consolidating the modules well, it’ll stand you in a really good place longer term. Awesome story of your nephews joining in, that’s what it’s all about! :guitar: :clap: :metal:

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Great stuff. I would encourage you not to worry too much about skipping a particular item if it doesn’t necessarily appeal.

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Thanks to all who replied with tips and encouragement. I’m pleasantly surprised as all I really wanted was somewhere convenient to log my progress without defacing the other community topics.

Inspired, I decided to practise Happy Birthday with a metronome for the 1st time - slowly (75bpm) - and even recorded a couple of poor takes (my 1st ever recordings!). I started off-beat and continued that way throughout in the below excerpt but hey, almost no wrong notes and I can always improve.

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Nice one Ber! I don’t think I ever did Happy Birthday to a metronome, I may have to give it a go, and then hang my head in shame :wink:

Interesting on that one, you started off beat but came into time about half way through but everything sounded pretty well in order with clean notes, nothing muted and a good overall pace. Good work :clap:

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May have to take a break from 100% practice for awhile.

Woke up in the middle of the night for a toilet break and noticed some sore/strained pain in my lower index finger (fretting hand). Practised fingerstyle for awhile without straining my index finger, when back to bed and woke up to the some mild strained pain in my other fingers and wrist.

I think it could be due to yesterday’s practice session(s)

  1. Poor wrist placement (noticed it was almost perpendicular to the fretboard while playing with a capo on the 3rd/5th), and then keeping up with that bad habit of using the wrist instead of finger muscles to press down on the strings.

  2. The chord change to Jesse’s Girl A to A with a D base was quite a stretch between the 1st and 3rd finger, which corresponds with the strained sensation. Coupled with the bad wrist placement… shudders

Did what I could with only my strumming hand. Had close to 2 hours practice to get the proper strumming pattern of Breakfast at Tiffany’s down. That’s a song I’ve wanted to play but found it too hard in grade 1. Could get it down somewhat consistently and tried the to finger a couple of the embellishments. Also revised the strumming to Everybody Hurts and also a new Justin tutorial that YouTube recommended me - Sounds of Silence.

Spent the next hour and a half to complete Music Theory Grade 2. I wonder if I should study theory based on the corresponding grade I’m practising. Might have to ask, considering my injury. I would still like to commit 3hrs/day to the guitar.

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Completed the ear training tests for Grades 2 and 3 with scores of 19/20, 20/20 and 18/20 (quick-fire). Not too bad, but just like when I was a kid trying to replicate/transcribe vocals / riffs onto a piano I’d confuse the 5th and 8th intervals every now and then. It’s a good idea to commit 5mins to ear training in longer sequences when I get better to familiarise myself with the intervals and fretboard. The minors will do me in.


Was going to warn you about your progress but as I read, I found that I was a little too late.

Like you, I was ambitious and also went very fast. I am not here to say that you can’t learn the lessons that quickly. I know that you can. I moved at a similar speed with zero background and felt that I was ready to move on each time. However, I overpracticed and it finally caught up with me when I overdid the C to F chord speed transitions and hurt my fretting index and little fingers and they have been sore for days. Certainly slowed my progress as I am stiff, in pain, and slower. These injuries take so long to heal so I hope that your finger and mine heals quickly.

The choice is ultimately up to you and I look forward to watching your progress, but consider shorter practices or breaking them up through the day, at least at first.

Best wishes on your renewed journey! Don’t forget to have fun.

Thanks! Yes, I do have a tendency to fly out of the gates when it comes to a new interest. I know this may seem strange but I already consider this “reined in”, considering that this is merely sharing a lot of the hours I spend on gaming and podcasts anyway. The 3 hours doesn’t consist purely of hands-on practice time, it also includes music theory, ear training and maybe composing if I am ever so inclined. And if all this ever feels like a chore, then I won’t be shy to adjust this target accordingly. Like you said, it’s all about having fun!

Practising for longer with the wrong technique would obviously magnify the issue but from a half-glass full perspective, I am okay to detect it early via what I think is a minor injury than to continue with the wrong technique “undetected” for longer.


Hi Ber. Good you started your learning log. It’s a good place for self reflection and to receive advice and encouragement about your guitar learning process. It is easy to underestimate the physical effort required to play a guitar and overdo with the practice. You can limit the overall hands on time or reduce the time for the items that are causing you more strain until you get more proficient with them. Some extra strain could be caused by bad position or applying the force in the wrong way.

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Found the D Shape explorer lesson (Module 15) hard to get going every day, but while doodling about I found myself plucking individual notes and then playing the full verse (singing tune and riff) of Michael Jackson’s Black or White. The Chords of the riff is basically Dsus4, D, Dsus2, and back to D.

I spent my transcribing practice to check up on this. I’m pretty sure I’m correct with the Capo at the 2nd fret.


Hi Ber, good you had success with transcribing a song.

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Currently in Grade 3 Module 16 and cobbled this together during my first 2 hours of practice today:

While experimenting with moving chords, I decided to spend some time transcribing an E rhythm that I heard Justin play and really like. I ended up creating my own short chorus loop that includes some other melodies and drums. It’s really beginner stuff, but as I’m going through the journey solo (without a jam buddy), stuff like this has been illuminating. I never knew I’d be able to harmonise something like this.

Now I know why so many popular singer songwriters talk about writing a song in a couple of hours. I’ve always dreamt of composing my own song so maybe this little piece could be something I can expand on as a project…


Not a matter if could, more a matter of when :wink: - These small sections are like building blocks. It is like playing with Lego :joy: - Keep going. Keep explore and make small tunes/blocks, explore different expressions on those small blocks, also different order, two same notes/chords in a row on some, pauses, tempo etc. - Suddenly a song or most of it is just there, almost by itself. Like magic. It’s such an amazing joy from within. - You will for sure be able to compose your own songs. Keep at it :sunglasses: :musical_score: :notes: :musical_note: :guitar: :pray:

PS. Like a jigsaw puzzle. - You can paint any motive you want. Like making a painting/motive from not yet made jigsaw pieces when exploring or already having the motive and just need to fit the jigsaw pieces together, to get the full picture. So much fun :+1: :partying_face: :joy:

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