Rkr87's Learning Log

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.

Most enjoyed
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.

Least enjoyed
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! :slight_smile:

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. :slight_smile:

Thanks all!


17 posts were merged into an existing topic: End of Grade 1 progress video - please offer constructive advice

Hi Ryan. I am impressed with the logs you created and your level of practice. I’m sure the logs help keep you on track. Better yet, down the road you will be able to look back and see the progress you have made.

In regards to the videos, I don’t have much to offer. I think Richard pretty much covered it.

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I have bookmarked this one because I really like what you are doing with the excel log. I have had a few false starts trying to put something similar together but I have not gotten too far. I hope you won’t mind if I steal a bit of the way you have put it together?

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I can only add a ‘yes’ to all the comments before me. Your spread sheets are a work of art. You have the ingredients for success, power to you.

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That would be fantastic. dshores911 at yah00 dot com. Substitute letter “o” instead of numeral “0” in that domain name. Trying to avoid spambots with a little obfuscation. TIA!

Rkr87’s Learning Log - Apr 22

Hello all, it’s been 3-4 months since I posted my last update so I thought I’d quickly give an overview of my progress since January. Unfortunately, due to some personal issues I haven’t been able to dedicate anywhere near as much time to practicing as I would have liked. As such, I haven’t yet started Grade 2 of Justin’s beginner course as I had hoped/planned. Instead, I dedicated what time I did have to practice towards improving what I (and others) felt were my shortcomings in my previous update (namely keeping time and keeping my hand moving on the beat while strumming).

Yamaha FG820 - Sunburst Blue

New Gear
I purchased an electric guitar and a practice amp a couple of months ago, I prefer playing the acoustic but the electric is fun, though I’m struggling with how thin the strings are, I’m finding I put way too much pressure on them and accidentally bend the strings on notes that shouldn’t be bent.
Ibanez Gio
Peavey Rage

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’ve spent 80~ hours practicing over the course of 18~ weeks. Unfortunately due to personal issues I haven’t done any dedicated practice sessions in the last 4 weeks, however, I have on occasion picked up the guitar to noodle and play things I have memorised.

I’ve included an update to the chord change table I posted in my last post but I don’t think I’ll include this going forward as I feel I’ve progressed to a point where my chord changes are ok (I still sometimes struggle getting D and Dm cleanly so I will continue to practice the changes, however I don’t think the table will be as interesting going forward.


Things I found to be harder than I expected
Thicker Pick - I changed the pick I use from a .38mm dunlop to a .73 Tortex Jazz III. I much prefer the sound that comes out of the guitar with this pick and the extra control I have over volume, however, the first few weeks of trying to strum with it were like learning all over again.

Things I found easier than I expected
While my fingerstyle still isn’t the best (I haven’t yet done any of Justin’s lessons on it) I’m finding now I’ve got used to fingerpicking new songs are much easier to learn than I found my first attempts.

Most enjoyed
Playing Zombie - such a fun song to play.

Also, learning More Than Words by Extreme - This was one of my “Would love to be able to play” songs when I started out.

Least enjoyed
There isn’t much I haven’t enjoyed lately, I love all of the time I get chance to play - I just wish I could find the time to play more.

Would like to improve
I’d like to work on getting faster on the attempts I’ve made at playing lead, however, I’m not really sure how to practice that without just constantly repeating and slowly increasing tempo.

Songs/Riffs in the video

  • Extreme - More Than Words (Fingerstyle)
  • The Who/Limp Bizkit - Behind Blue Eyes (Fingerstyle)
  • Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fingerstyle)
  • The Cranberries - Zombie
  • Bob Dylan - Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
  • Metallica - Enter Sandman (a fresh attempt on the electric, this still isn’t as good as I would like - I find power chords kind of annoying to be honest… still fun to play though)
  • 4 Non Blondes - What’s Up
  • Oasis - Wonderwall
  • Pink Floyd - Money
  • Papa Roach - Last Resort
  • Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine?
  • Muse - Plugin Baby (or at least an attempt at it… it’s also not the whole thing, this is all I have memorised so far)


Excuse my un-ironed t-shirt… I also broke a nail on my picking hand which threw me off my game a little.

Help me improve
As with my previous update, I’d really appreciate any criticism and suggestions you guys have to offer (I don’t offend easily) in order to speed up my progress.

Thanks all!


Hey Ryan,

Good update mate.
Your video is set to ‘Private’. You’ll need to go into Youtube and change the settings so we can see it.

Cheers, Shane

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My bad, updated it so it should work now. :slight_smile:

Hey Ryan,

For 5 months in, thats great progress mate. Very well done.

Cheers, Shane.

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Super update Ryan. Things are coming along nicely.
Just watch your thumb position in your fingerstyle. The accepted wisdom is your thumb should be in front of your fingers. You say you haven’t looked at the fingerstyle lessons yet. Don’t create a bad habit before you start.
Perhaps slow the electric down a bit and get cleaner notes. Then gradually speed it back up.

If you want more views/comments on your video, post it in AVoYP. More people watch that topic.
About the :mega: Audio / Video of You Playing category

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Hi Ryan,
I just read the split topic of yours and you’ve had enough advice for the time being…all that remains for me to do is say…Wow, you go hard and well :sunglasses:, like a jack russel pup on speed… …I look forward to your further developments :sunglasses:

What a thorough update, Ryan. Keep doing what you are doing, making excellent progress.

Really awesome stuff! One thing I noticed is you’re playing what’s up slightly off. You change chords in the middle of the bar. It should be G Am C G with a 16th note pattern D D U D D U D U D U U D U then switch. It looks like your switching here D D U D D U | D U D U U D U

Glad you are enjoying playing and practicing :smiley: I liked how you split repertoire and fundamentals and the details and dedication on the chord changes and rest of the update! :smiley:

I loved your medley video - such a good idea!

Oh, I did that maybee wrong too. Are you sure? This is from Justins songbook. As there was a line between the two 1+2+3+4+, I thought it should be played in 2 bars.
Happens, when people without musical background, like me, try to learn playing guitar :joy: but anyway, that sounds nice too. What was mentioned before? When it sounds good, it is good! But all jokes aside, would be nice to know, how it has to be?

Helen, if this is for What’s Up then Justin breaks it into 2 bars to make the pattern look familiar for people who’ve not yet learned 1/16 note strumming. So you play each chord for the 2 bar pattern. So in total one complete cycle is 8 bars.

Thanks David, yes it’s for What’s Up. I didn’t realise that, as it was a song I didn’t focus on. The App showed a simple four strum pattern and different chords to the songbook to make it easier. So I didn’t realise, that this one is a 1/16th note strumming. Should have payed more attention to Justins video. Sure, he showes that in the video. Great to learn from this community, thanks for your effort explaining this. Another subject to review.

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Good progress Ryan. Congrats for the electric guitar.

I think the same than Gordon. I will add that now that you know the mechanics of the riff, which note goes next for the whole riff, and achieved to play it fluidly, you can, if you want (not a top priority at this stage but can very formative), play it more slowly and relaxed and hearing each note and how it interact with the next, kind of a perfect chord exercise, and after that, as Gordon advises try to get the same good sound at a faster speed. The sound of an electric depends a lot in how you attack the strings.