Hi all, I joined this community last month and it’s been great to be a part of so far.
I thought I would finally create a Learning Log post to write down what I’ve done to reach the point that I’m at right now in my guitar journey. And I suppose this post will also just generally help me to keep track of old stuff that I’ve tried and new stuff that I might learn while I’m here.
My first interaction with the guitar was on Guitar Hero 3 during uni
Joking aside, my journey of properly learning the guitar started about 2.5 years ago.
Prior to that, sometime in maybe 2018 (or could’ve been 2019?) I had a short lived failed attempt at “learning” to play. The only thing that I did during that brief period was usually find some random online tab sheets of simple songs or video game melodies and play single notes one at a time just by copying what was in front of me. I still have some phone audio of me trying to copy video game tabs, but I won’t bother uploading those ones.
I had zero knowledge of guitar chords or strumming by the end of that stint, because at that point in time it never occurred to me to read up on anything about actually playing the guitar (pretty dumb of me I know). So I eventually got bored of just copying tab sheets, gave up and stored away the guitar.
About 2.5 years ago at the start of 2020 I set a goal that I wanted to have a real crack at learning the guitar.
And then when the covid stay-at-home lockdowns began around March 2020, I had so much spare time on my hands that I just decided to make the best of a very bad situation and used the guitar learning process to get through the boredom of being stuck inside.
I probably took the long way around for learning music theory and chords when compared to a lot of others here. Because I was using a whole lot of different online resources just by google searching whatever I could find, rather than sticking to one specific source with a structured plan.
I’ve got to admit that even though I had used some of Justin’s Youtube tutorials to learn songs that I liked during my own learning process, I never actually knew about his different level graded courses until I signed up here last month.
I presume a very outlined approach like his courses would have been a much more preferable option to start with, rather than just winging it like I did.
But during lockdown I would literally read up, watch or attempt to play guitar every single day with anything that I found online - so I suppose my “long way around” method of learning was counter balanced simply by the amount of extra time that I had each day to invest into it.
My learning method when I started off usually consisted of some of the points below:
-Watching online videos of some basic beginner theory or just reading up on it, (I probably accumulated hundreds of bookmarked pages from all over the internet).
-After I had learnt a new chord, I would then google names of songs that contained it and download chord sheets from ultimateguitar, and then try to bluff my way through strumming a song at my own pace. Most of the strums that I was doing at the time sounded the same when I heard back my audio, regardless of which song it was that I was playing
-When I noticed that my chord sheet method wasn’t really sounding too good on its own I started looking up Youtube video tutorials for the specific songs. And that is when I noticed a couple of blokes that kept consistently popping up in those tutorials… one of them being Justin.
With someone actually visually explaining the process of learning a specific song, it actually made it much easier than just trying to do it from a chord sheet.
-Once I had a small list of songs to practice (but not yet play well), I decided to start keeping track in a notebook.
Below is the first page in my notebook with the small list of songs that I was trying to learn early on.
I would circle a chord next to a song if it was the first time that it had been introduced to me (and nope, that is not the writing of a primary school kid, but rather a 30-something year old that probably forgot how to write with a pen)
I also used that notebook as a simple log to write a few words about what I played or was trying to learn each day (the writing actually got much worse over time)
And so basically using Youtube song tutorials in combination with me reading/watching the bookmarked material about theory, became my consistent way of learning thereafter.
Things like strumming, chord changes, etc. just sort of fell in place over time just by repeating the above process and slowly increasing my list of easy beginner songs, which I played over and over again (a bit too excessively at times).
Below is the guitar that I started off with and it’s the only thing I’ve ever played on so far. It’s older than I am.
It’s a Shiro A577 Classical Guitar - I doubt anybody has heard of it. It might not be a fancy known brand but it’s got sentimental value to me because it was originally bought by my dad as a gift for my mum when they were younger.
However she had not played it since before I was born. So when I was having my first thoughts about trying to learn the guitar I decided to “borrow” it from her (rather than let it collect dust for another 3 decades).
During my early learning process that I outlined above it felt like I was in a daily 24/7 beginner guitar player mode → I was always enthusiastically listening to or looking out for anything that might sound OK to play on my classical guitar (whether it be in a TV commercial, series, movies, video game, radio, etc…)
But eventually the time and effort that I put into it reduced after the lockdowns finished and then other things started coming up too.
Furthermore, learning the guitar has been more of a personal hobby for me. And so without having a real outlet to show any of the stuff that I was learning, I suppose that I lost my enthusiasm and motivation to stick with what I was doing.
So I decided to take a break from it in late 2021 with intentions of resuming sometime again early this year, after the new years/holiday period was over.
But I just kept putting it off for no particular reason… up until last month when I was searching online to see if there were any websites/forums where beginners could share some of their stuff. And that’s when I found this community and thought it looked pretty friendly after reading through a few posts.
I then signed up here pretty quickly, uploaded a video to Youtube for the very first time right after joining, and then shared a couple of old videos in AVOYP. That little step seems to have motivated me to get back into learning and playing. And so since then, I have taken out my guitar again and I’ve been back at it regularly for the last few weeks.
My initial goal at the very start of the whole journey was to just learn how to play a few songs, which I can do now.
One of my future goals might be to finally play in front of people. I’d probably also want to learn some latin style playing, to hopefully be able to play a couple of specific South American songs that my mum would recognise so that she could sing along to if I play it for her. But some of the specific songs that I intend to learn have no english tutorials.
My “spanglish” is quite ordinary, and the fact that Latin guitar theory doesn’t use letters of the alphabet for chord names, it is kind of difficult for me to follow at times.
So for now, my main goal at the moment is just to keep up some sort of a simple consistent routine. I would like to just set myself a task of at least playing 3-4 days a week, to hopefully avoid another long unnecessary break.
I think that just by sharing some of my stuff here, it’s provided that extra little kick of enthusiasm that I was lacking at the start of this year.
And with so many people sharing and interacting on these forums, I hope to try and fill in some of my beginner gaps while I’m here.
Because after joining up and briefly skimming over a few of Justin’s beginner grade modules, it was pretty evident to me that I’ve bypassed some essentials during my own unstructured method of learning
The Blues module caught my eye, as I don’t think I have really done anything in that style either. So I’ve got that 12 bar blues stuff on repeat at the moment, and already discovered some new 7th chord variations.
I hope to stick around here for a little while to pick up new things and just continue playing.
Well that’s about it for my learning journey so far. Below are a list of some songs that I’ve tried out at various stages of my progress. Hoping to add a few more along the way. Cheers
RECORDED BETWEEN EARLY 2020 AND SOMETIME IN 2021 (Audio files)
The date and timestamps of my recorded files got messed up when I transferred them over to my current phone, so I couldn’t figure out the chronological order that they were recorded in. Therefore I’ve just listed them alphabetically in the playlist.
I’ve only initialed the songs (to minimise the likelihood of them showing up in random search results)… But if anybody is curious about any particular one that I was attempting to play, then I can provide the song title if requested. Or I might just end up trying to do some more of these as videos in the future, since most of these songs only exist as old audio files.
RECORDED IN LATE 2021 (Videos)
I posted a few of these old videos in AVOYP when I first joined this site - just so that I could get the ball rolling for me at the time, since I was brand new member.
I will just leave the other old unposted videos here in this Learning Log section only. But I might decide to record newer versions of some of those unposted ones later down the track.
Tears In Heaven - Eric Clapton (posted on AVOYP)
Layla Unplugged - Eric Clapton (half completed)
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
People Are Strange - The Doors (posted on AVOYP)
Good Riddance (Time of your Life) - Green Day
45 - Shinedown
Shallow - Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga (posted on AVOYP)
More Than Words - Extreme (In standard tuning, i.e. not tuned down)
RECORDED AFTER JOINING JG COMMUNITY
The videos in this section below were done after I signed up on this forum. I’ll keep editing this list if I do more in the future… with the idea of also creating an individual AVOYP post for most of the new ones that I do.
Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin (WIP)
Light My Fire - The Doors
Sleep Walk - Santo & Johnny
Hey Hey - Eric Clapton/Big Bill Broonzy
Layla Unplugged - Eric Clapton (including main solo)
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out - Various Artists/Clapton
Classical Gas - Mason Williams
The Genie - 1986 Bud Spencer movie, Aladdin
Title Theme - Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda
Gerudo Valley - Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda
Song of Healing - Majora’s Mask, The Legend of Zelda
File Select theme - Super Mario 64
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
My Happiness - Powderfinger
Dire, Dire Docks - Super Mario 64
Be Like That - 3 Doors Down
My Immortal acoustic - Evanescence
Crazy On You Intro - Heart
Bob-omb Battlefield - Super Mario 64
More Than Words - Extreme
Broken - Seether
Yesterday - Beatles
It’s You - Henry Lau
Evil Ways - Santana
Super Mario Bros theme
Kiss From a Rose- Seal
Don’t Speak (solo) - No Doubt