Scott Learning Log

Let’s see. I started learning guitar on 10/3/2023. I posted about that here in my introduction. My primary goal is to learn well enough to lead worship at my church while singing and playing acoustic guitar. I’d be the only instrumentalist.

I’ve given myself a 2-3 month goal, which is of course very quick, but with my background I think is doable.

I’ve made it to Grade 2, Module 9. I’m hanging out here for a while, trying to get competent at the F chord and its variations. I was able to get the barre chord to sound in my first practice session, but that’s a far cry from playing it in a musical context.

My strumming is getting decent but I can tell the rhythm isn’t consistent enough yet. I’m still trying to get cleaner with my chord progressions, but that’s really started to come together.

Relatively early on in this journey (relative, because I’ve been at it for just a day shy of 3 weeks as of this post, so it’s still early by any measure), I decided I wanted to learn fingerstyle. I’d already suspected that, but when I looked into it, I found it to be a lot more accessible than I’d imagined.

So while I’m still learning regular strumming with a pick, and also learning to strum without a pick, I’ve also added regular fingerstyle lessons and practice to my learning plan.

At first, I worried that I might be spreading myself too thin with that, but in reality, it’s where things felt they began to click. My transitions while picking/strumming are cleaner. Again, I’m still a long way from performing, but the two skills are going hand in hand.

I’ve got a chord book with a cool list of chords, almost exclusively from Justin Guitar so far. I also have a couple of song books that I’ll pull out occasionally and try to play songs from. The chords make sense. There are still several that are beyond me, but in some cases I’ve seen a song I wanted to try, and a new chord or two in it, and was able to use the chord chart to play through the song.

I really wasn’t positive that my 2-3 month goal was an obtainable one. I’ve still got a LOT of ground to cover to reach it. But it just might be possible.

Oh, and even if I make that goal, I’m not going to be content with keeping my skills at that level. I’ll continue to grow as learn as a guitarist and musician.


I wish you luck with your timeline Scott. It’s extremely short and in my opinion completely unrealistic, but I suppose it depends on the complexity of the songs you want to play and the standard that you want to play them at.
Remember that if others are singing along they won’t wait for you to change chords.

It very well may be. My hope is that the other instruments I play (including bass) and musical knowledge will help make the progress go quickly.

I’m also skilled at teaching myself subjects. It’s something I was already accomplished at, when I discovered the book, “The Talent Code,” by Daniel Coyle. That was while learning the bass. I was already using some of the techniques instinctively that are in the book to acquire skills. But seeing why they work, an how to apply them better supercharged how I learn and practice any new skill. It did wonders for the bass.

I’m also aware it takes years to master an instrument. And I won’t start playing at church until I can hold down the rhythm, seamlessly change chords, while continuing to strum and/or pluck. This is intended to make the music better, not worse. If it takes longer to get there, so be it. The 2-3 months is somewhat arbitrary, but also intended as a motivator. If I don’t reach it in that timeframe, I’ll still be further along than if my goal was, say, 6 months.

Yeah, it might be possible. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to church but from what I’ve read most church worship songs are simple open chords - G, Am, D etc? And the congregation aren’t looking at your skills for a concert, the point is to sing the songs so it doesn’t need to be a “wow” performance, just a basic one with feeling is probably fine.

If that’s the case, the hardest part is probably going to be singing & playing with feeling at the same time. You’re already across multiple instruments, so I’d say it’s possible. Just don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get there really quickly :slight_smile:

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I have my chord book which also contains exercises to practice, like the Push strum, strumming patterns, hammer-ons, and other things I need to keep working on. I’ve also started putting songs in it to practice and learn.

Just stated Module 11. I feel solid on a lot of the material from the previous modules, but not all of it. Many days I’ll just go back through previous practice sessions from various modules, along with playing through one or two songs, either from my chord book or from Justin’s songs.

I’d already figured out the beginner sus chord shapes from some song books of songs I’m wanting/needing to play. That’s also where I’ve paused the module for now, though I’ll probably watch and add in “Shifting the F-Chord.”

My F-Chord is getting better. It’s not consistent though. I have a song in F that my wife likes to sing I’ve been playing through as part of my practice. It contains a Bb.

I can’t do the A-shape barre chord yet, so when I play through it I go back and forth between playing the Bb with the F shape (which is good practice for F) and playing the power-chord Bb. Haven’t gotten to the power cord module yet but I knew what they were and watched a Justin YouTube video so I could get started with this song.

Somewhere along the way I discovered I was able to play the mini-F, though again not as consistently as I need to. Sometimes, both F and mini-F are clear, sometimes they’re muddy or worse. They’re clear more often than they used to me.

Oh. And I thought of something that I hope is helpful. I’ve started spending time doing my E and Am chords with fingers 2-4. Getting them into the right shape quickly and smoothly is awkward on the F. My thought was that being able to do those easier chords without the barre would strengthen the muscle memory. So far, it seems to be helping. It also gives me an additional shape to play the other chords which potentially(?) might give me some easier options in songs. When I’m playing through a song though I’m sticking with the shapes I know.

Lastly. I

Still hanging around Module 11. I’m about to start the next ones.

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