I’m Ryan from Sheffield, England. In November last year (Happy new year all!) I was inspired by a couple of guitarists I saw on YouTube (Eddie Van Der Meer & Luca Stricagnoli) and decided to pickup guitar and started on my journey through Justin’s courses. I’ve just watched the Consolidation module of Grade 1 this morning and plan to spend the next 4~ weeks consolidating what I’ve learnt so far before heading in to Grade 2. I thought I’d post a short video of my progress in case anyone with experience can provide a steer on what I should work on over my consolidation period.
Yamaha FG820 - Sunburst Blue
As part of my practice sessions I’ve been keeping a log of what I practice and for how long in Excel, I thought it might be interesting to tie some of these stats together with my progress video.
In total I spent 31.5~ hours practicing/playing during Grade 1 over the course of 6-7 weeks.
I was using some of my practice time to “improvise” but this resulted in me just randomly switching between chords I found the easiest so I took it out of my practice sessions to ensure I stay focused on specific exercises that are going to give me results.
I also put together the above table that shows the number of OMCs I managed on my most recent attempt, automatically highlighting the lowest 3/4 to give me a steer on which changes I should focus on in my next practice. After doing the consolidation module today, I may change this to track “Air Changes” instead.
Things I found to be harder than I expected
6/8 timing - I figured I’d find this easy once I’d got to a certain point with 4/4 but it was like a complete reset. I haven’t spent much of my practice time on 6/8 timing so will be giving it a lot more focus during consolidation.
Things I found easier than I expected
Changing chords when new ones were introduced, when I started module one my OMCs were less than 20 between A, D & E. The floor (my first attempt) when I introduced C increased to 30 and 40 for G. My fingers seem to be quicker getting to shapes they don’t even know yet the longer I play.
Most struggled with
Keeping consistent time - I seem to increase tempo as I play which I don’t always notice while playing - usually pick it up when watching recordings back later. I do my strumming practice with a metronome but may introduce it when I’m practicing songs too.
Doing anything with my mouth… Singing, humming, whistling… even counting.
I kind of went off piste when Justin introduced Mad World in module 6 as his lesson video for it demonstrated finger picking (both of the guitarists that inspired me play fingerstyle and it’s eventually what I’d like to be able to do), I went against Justin’s advice in the video and tried to learn how to do it - I’m by no means great at it but it was the first time I felt like I was making progress towards my goals.
Having long fingernails (I grew them when I started playing knowing I’d probably need them for finger picking).
Watching recordings of me playing - everything sounds better while I’m playing it, mistakes are much more obvious when re-watching recordings. This is good and bad as it puts a dampener on my mood when I realise I’m not as good as I thought I was but also serves as a great tool for me to identify areas to work on.
Would like to improve
Over my consolidation period I’m going to try and practice changing chords with my eyes closed, I find it really difficult to not look at the fretboard even when I’m pretty confident with the change - I’d like to address that.
Songs I learnt
1.1 - Dance the Night Away - The Mavericks
1.2 - Twist & Shout - The Beatles
1.2 - Love Me Do - The Beatles
1.2 - Wild Thing - The Troggs
1.3 - I Belong To You - Lenny Kravitz
1.3 - Ohh La La - The Faces
1.4 - 505 - Arctic Monkeys (I’m from Sheffield, this one had to be done)
1.5 - Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles
1.6 - Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix
1.6 - Mad World - Gary Jules
1.6 - Civil War (Intro) - Guns n’ Roses
Riffs I learnt
Peter Gunn Theme
Seven Nation Army - White Stripes
Sunshine of your Love - Cream
Come as you are - Nirvana
Enter Sandman - Metallica
(Enter Sandman is very rough, I only learnt it a couple of days ago and don’t really know how to mute properly). Also, sorry for the phone video, all I have available.
Help me improve
I really want to develop my skills as a guitarist and would appreciate any steer the community can give in relation to what I need practice on etc. While words of encouragement will always be appreciated, I’d much prefer constructive criticism to allow me to address any shortcomings. I’m not sensitive so please don’t hesitate to rip me to pieces!
I’m planning to post one of these progress updates every time I complete one of the grades in Justin’s course so I’ll be back with another one in a similar format in a few months.