Roger’s learning log

So, I recently introduced myself as Roger, an old dog from Ohio, along with a brief bio.
I’ve reached Justin Guitar beginner grade level 3 module 17. I’m really enjoying the use of chord embellishments. I’m currently at a point where I’ve been able to map out the fretboard and pick out individual notes up and down the guitar neck, which has enabled me to understand chord structure and the fingering of individual chords and triads. Once you realize that there are only 7 notes plus their respective sharps and flats that repeat themselves in a pattern up and down the fretboard, it all comes into focus. I’ve come to understand the CAGED chord system, barre chord shapes in that system, and accompanying pentatonic and major scale patterns. Knowing the chord shapes and actually playing and changing them on time within a song then becomes the challenge for a newer player like myself. Ear training and Practice Practice Practice! My song book is growing along with my confidence. Talk soon.


Roger, It sounds like you are making good progress towards the skills that will make the step up to grade 4 easier. I am at Grade 3, finishing module 15 and starting module 16, so I will be interested in seeing the types of study activities and songs you are learning as you record progress in your learning log.

Great stuff Roger, nice to see you’ve got your groove working well.

Hi Roger, nice to read what an advanced beginner is doing.

Updating what I’m currently working toward: hoping to become able to play chords and the most common chord progressions in any major/minor key without having to stop and really think about it. Don’t know when I’ll get to that point, but I’ve incorporated this as a portion of my daily practice routine by picking a random key, going through the chords in that key, checking my accuracy, and then playing different progressions in open position chords as well as moveable chords. Once comfortable in that regard, my next step is putting it to use in a song structure using Garage Band (my daw), backing tracks, or a song learning app (MOISES) that I purchased. I have learned and know what the chords are in every major and minor key including #’s and b’s. Putting that into practice is where understanding the fretboard and chord structure becomes extremely important, especially when playing dominant 7 chords which are essential in playing the blues.

Hope all of you and your families had a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Part 1:

It’s a cold and snowy day in northeast Ohio (USA), so it seemed a good time to stop and begin to consider the steps I’ve taken along my guitar journey to get me to where I’m currently at in the process.

As I previously stated in the post introducing myself, I pretty much restarted from scratch in 2019 during the onset of and eventual lockdown due to covid 19. This came after many decades of starting, stopping, and pretty much getting nowhere. I hope what follows can possibly help someone here who’s on a similar path as my own.

Once I became serious, I tried to approach my learning in a different and systematic way from the bottom up. As a retired skilled trades guy, I know the importance of a good foundation.

Basics: I had learned the letter names of each string and how to tune my guitar to standard tuning way back when I was in the fourth grade when I took my first guitar lesson. That, and some standard campfire open chords were the extent of what I remembered from that time and actually knew in 2019.

I started studying the layout of the fretboard one string at a time. In doing so, I quickly came to learn that the entire guitar fretboard is comprised of only seven whole notes along with their corresponding sharps and flats for a total of twelve notes repeating on six individual one-string scales in a distinct pattern.

At this point in time, I can honestly say that I have come to believe and feel confident in this most important of precepts; scales are the building blocks of learning this instrument and to becoming a musician rather than just a poser. I would suggest that anyone who says that scales are unimportant is grossly uninformed. One-string scales are the (bottom or soldier) course upon which the whole structure is built. Knowing how and where to identify individual notes and assigning numbers to them relative to their position as it pertains to the #1/root note in a chord or scale pattern anywhere along the fretboard is an essential skill which leads to being able to identify the aforementioned key/root notes, which leads to understanding how chords are structured as well as learning the major, minor, and pentatonic scale patterns, the ability to play in different keys, advancing to the CAGED system and becoming able to play chords over licks and fills, while at the same time training your ear to recognize the different note patterns and developing your own style of playing.

I look at it as all parts of a whole just like Justin’s approach to learning new songs. Learn the first bar of the song, practice it until it becomes second nature under your fingers and then go to the next until the entire song becomes unforgettable.

I’m not a young guy. I have set goals that I believe are realistic. I certainly haven’t mastered them all, but provided the sun continues to come up and the creek don’t rise, I just might get there.

Talk soon,


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