Shawn's Learning Log

Saturday August 5th, 2023, I collected my first guitar around midday (an Eastman E1OM - my surname is Eastman so that’s already pretty epic) & an hour later the first session was under my belt.

I’ll be visually documenting the learning journey on YouTube with little periodic updates… perhaps bi-weekly or monthly. This will not only give my older self (& maybe any future kids) something to look back on but will also create a bunch of content that I think could prove super useful for other beginners - both now & in the future.

The chance to see a dude gradually go through all the frustrations, early fingertip pain (currently 5 days in & the soreness is real :sweat_smile:) & face all of the roadblocks & find ways to overcome them.

It could also bring back (un)fond memories of the early days for you seasoned amateurs & pros, too. A nostalgic reminder of just how far you’ve all come.

During these first 5 days I’ve probably switched between the D & A chords over 2000 times while searching for a sweet spot between practicing enough but not to the point of my skin blistering off. Fretting hand feels fairly fatigued today as well - but I like that - it’s building strength.

An update on the first full week of learning should be due by the weekend. See if I can get anywhere near nailing those 30 chord switches in a minute.

Feel free to subscribe & follow along to offer advice & motivation, to find out more about the very first stadium gig I’ll eventually be booked for, or to just watch a guy struggle with a beautifully crafted piece of natural wood.

YouTube - New Life With Guitar


One week update after my first 7 days of learning. I review the progress I’ve made on my D & A chord changes, get ecstatic about a slight advancement in the guitar pick I’m now using (from the beginner’s beginner pick to just the beginner’s pick), highlight my new pitch pipe & royally screw up my strum reward.

This week I continue just strumming between D & A chords but also introduce some music to the practice sessions! Makes the D & A chord change practice far less tedious! Looking forward to learning the E chord & adding that to my practice from now onwards.


Well done on your week to practice video and progress, Shawn.

Only thing I noticed in the video chapters was a reference to OMCs A to D and D to A. Nothing wrong with doing 2 sessions of OMCs, but just to be clear D to A and A to D is the same exercise, it doesn’t really make a difference which is the starting chord, D or A.

Keep on keeping on, have a fun week with the added E chord.

Haha thanks David… yeah I did note in the video that those are just the same same but different :sweat_smile:

What I would now love is an app (or a chord practice session added to the Justin Guitar app) that vocally reads out chords in a random sequence - chords that the user can personally select so they can practice changing between specifics ones. It’d be great if the user could also select how many seconds they want between each chord being read out so they can speed up the changes as they improve. Would also be great if it could recognise the chord being successfully played.

I’ve found an app offering something very similar to this (an app called Chord Trainer) but it only has a few set chord groupings to choose from (luckily one of which is D, A & E chords - so great for us beginners), and it also doesn’t vocally read them, just visually shows the chord on screen & changes once it recognises the chord being successfully strummed.

The alternative at the moment where possible is to use someone in the room with me to randomly speak out the chords! I had my old man do this for me last night when I visited him & found it to be some of the best & most enjoyable practice I’ve had so far.


Cool man. It remind me of when I first started. My fingers were all over the place and pretty much muting any string next to what I was trying to play - IF - I could even find the chord. Kudos for posting videos of your start. I honestly have been too worried about how badly my videos would look. That’s because I was missing the point entirely. It’s not about how well you play at this moment - it’s about setting a baseline of your skills and then watching your improvement over time, as well as show other that we all improve over time at our own pace.

So with that said? I just joined Justin Guitar yesterday. Right now I’m familiarizing myself with the site and watching the modules about practice, as creating a solid practice routine and sticking to it has been a challenge over the last few months. No less actually posting a video of my own playing. Then I’ve started to look through others Learning Logs and realize that we are all in the same boat, setting sail on our personal guitar journeys. And our skill level - right now - is the port that we are individually setting sail from.
So thanks for posting the beginning of your journey. That motivated me to finally accept that it’s time for me to set a Skills Baseline on record for myself, and make videos of my current skill-sets…and then jettison my pride (or fear of humiliation) and publicly publish them. So I’ll write that down an put it at the top of my “To Do” list right after I finish the Practice Modules. Kudos!

If you’re using Linux and have Python installed, you can run the following simple program from the terminal. Copy and paste the code into a text file and name the file (I can’t attach the file so you’ll have to make it)

Open a terminal and type:

This will kick out random notes from the notes in the list every 2 seconds. You can change the notes in the brackets to anything you want. Example:

notes = [‘E’, ‘A’, ‘D’, ‘C’, ‘G’]

The list I created is for the Completion part of Beginner Level 1.

If 2 second it too fast, edit the python code and change the time.sleep value to as many seconds as you wish to delay. Example:


This is the code below the dashed line. Man, I’m in my 70s and have been away from IT too long to create the audio. If you need to run this in MS WIndows from CMD or Powershell, check the web on how to run it. Have fun.

import random
import time
notes = [‘E’, ‘A’, ‘D’, ‘C’, ‘G’, ‘Am’, ‘Dm’, ‘Em’, ‘C7’, ‘A7’, ‘G7’, ‘E7’, ‘D7’, ‘B7’]
while True:
random_note = random.choice(notes)

Right on…!!! Awesome stuff… they are the two main reasons I’m documenting my journey - to not only monitor & look back at my progress over time but to also let other folks know that learning is a process we gotta enjoy! If it brings people like yourself some motivation then amazing - that’s what I hope for!

And with that said… time for me to post a week 3 update!

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This week I get a lovely new leather strap (& had to get a heel strap button installed), learn & begin practicing the E chord &… wait for it… properly play my first full song.

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Bravo Shawn.

Thanks for the chapter markers in the video description.

The fingers look good. Soon enough you’ll be at the point where you are reaching for the emery board to file off the rough bits.

Strap looks great. I noticed it was quite loose. You may want to get more value from the strap by shortening it so it helps keep the guitar in position when sitting and hanging in a similar position when standing. Perhaps you can’t imagine standing and performing a song (I didn’t) but that day may come down the line and won’t hurt to have the strap at the right length.

When you mute a string in chord practice, you focused in on the ring finger. Remember it can also be an adjacent finger muting the string.

Good call to start on the song and work with the app. Remember you can slow it down in the app. The appropriate tempo is the one at which you can make the chord changes without causing any hesitation in your strumming. Then as you get more comfortable with the changes between A D and E plus the addition of playing a song and playing in time with the backing, you can slowly speed it up.

Once again, bravo, you are doing well.

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That’s actually a great idea, sometimes I feel bad and think I suck, then I try to remember how far I’ve come, and uploading a video once and awhile about your progress is absolute amazing, I’ll definitely check out your videos.


Yep, in a year you’ll look back at these videos in amazement.

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Hey Shawn. I’ve got a question for you regarding creating videos for YouTube.
Are you using some sort of video editing software. Man, I’m in my 70s and I’m dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to using the technology that younger people find so natural and easy to use. I want to create some baseline videos of my own playing and post them in the Community Hub Learning Logs as up to this point I’ve never published a video of myself playing. I don’t mean to hijack your thread, but your videos look very professional.
Thanks man!

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@DavidP Thanks David - I’ve since shortened the strap & yes makes a big difference while sat down, much better! Appreciate the sound advice & encouragement as always! :ok_hand:

@Eldrix Yeah it’s already having the benefit I hoped it would as it’s so motivating to be able to see the progress we can make in such a short space of time with dedicated & well directed practice… I really appreciate you taking the time to check them out!

@LamphunLamyai Not a problem! I use Adobe Premiere Rush (not to be mistaken for Adobe Premiere Pro) to edit the vids - Premiere Rush is free & fairly simple to use once you have some very basic editing knowledge. I definitely recommend you make some baseline videos of your playing… just start super simple with the video set up & take it from there! Once you have a grasp of it after a few vids, you can look at improving lighting & audio etc… I have a bit of an advantage as I actually work as a professional photographer so I know my way around a camera & have expensive professional grade gear - though these days even a modern phone camera can offer great quality for you to create some clips of you playing, especially if it has a portrait video mode setting or similar for you to use while recording.


Thanks much Shawn. I will definitely check it out. :+1:

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One month update… that’s 30 days learning & practicing how to make sounds with this beautifully handcrafted piece of wood with 6 strings… I take a look at the progress I’ve made during my first month by comparing clips from day one through to week four. Continued working on D, A & E while also introducing a cheeky upstrum or two to a couple of my practice songs this week.


For anyone who might be interested I’ve found an awesome exercise that’s helping to improve my chord changes alongside the regular practice I’m already doing -

Be sure to select guitar as the instrument, then select the specific chords you want added into the mix, select “yes” to randomise the chord progression, click go, select your desired metronome tempo & beats per measure, click start & then begin changing to the random chord you’re given to the beat…

I’m finding this exercise fantastic & now do it for about 15-20 minutes every morning & then do my regular technical & song practice later in the day. The only thing it doesn’t do is vocally say the upcoming chord, so you have to keep an eye on the screen but that’s no biggie & assists a little with improvement of changing chords without having to look at your fretting hand anyway.

I either throw the 5 chords I currently know into the mix or select the chord changes I’m particularly struggling with then this just spits out random chords to my set beat & lets me know what the next upcoming chord is on beat 3.

There is an app but it only works on older devices so I just use the browser on my phone if my laptop isn’t to hand.

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A little run through update of the “easy” songs I’ve been going over (& over & over) that I’m sure everyone here is all too familiar with to drum these 3 chords into my unmusical brain - I’ve still been doing all of my slow daily technical practice (probably up to around 45-60 minutes of total practice per day on average now finger pain has subsided) & often practice these songs at a slower tempo, certainly at first.

I also introduced Am & Em chords last week & a couple of the new “easy” riff practices to get my fingers working in new ways.

As of yesterday I’ve also introduced the Dm chord, a simplified version of the spider finger exercise to ease me into that & the slightly more difficult “old faithful” strumming pattern - ya know, all the stuff from grade 1, module 4.

With all of this new stuff I have a LOT of different things in my routine now as I didn’t want to simply stop practicing the majority of stuff from the previous modules, so will see how I get on over the next week & will then look to condense the exercises & songs in the routine so as not to overwhelm myself with a ton of different things every day - maybe split things up into alternating daily exercises &/or pause things I’m more comfortable with & focus more on what I feel needs work. I’ll reassess & see.

Could be a good few weeks before I’m comfortable enough to progress again.

Thanks for watching!

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Nice! Bookmarked for future reference. Thanks!

It doesn’t work on older versions either. I’ve got a phone running Android 5.1 and my newest running whatever is the current version of Android. It does not work on either. It only opens a browser windows which displays something like Site Not Found. I like the app though. Like I like Justin’s Strumming Machine which is a very useful app for practice.