Socio's Learning Log

I figured you had a condensor already, James, and makes sense to add a dynamic. As a rule I usually figure the dynamic as a partner to the condensor to be primarily a vocal mic hence asking about choice of an instrument mic.

That all said, for us hobbyists I suspect it is not likely to make a whole lot of difference. You can record vocals fine with the SM57, you should just back away a bit to limit proximity effect and plosives (based on a quick comparison google).

And with your condensor you could do a good job recording the guitar amp. I doubt you’ll be playing the amp at levels where the SM57 ability to handle high sound pressure levels would be necessary. I expect an SM58 vocal mic would do just as well recording the amp.

As far as recording the amp goes, I think it is probably a better bet to record direct into the DAW and use sims (pedals, amps, cabinets) to add guitar tone afterwards. That gives one flexibility to tweak the tone and fx after the fact. I know pros can dial in a tone up front, but at our level I think the flexibility of using plug-ins is a winner.

I suggest you drop Justin or Laryne an email to ask about the Blues course. I had the same feeling as you expressed above when I thought about the workshops (academic of course as I need to win the lottery mega jackpot to afford it) but it sounded like it was easy to be intimidated. You’ve reached a reasonable level and may be more ready than you think.

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Great update James, this is a thoughtful and accurate recap of your learning. What I found really great to read is

It kind of happened the same to me, in different ways of course, and I know it’s a great feeling!

That’s what I think too, and I think I once heard Justin say that slow learners will prove better! Or maybe that’s what my ears wanted to hear as I’m a very slow learner myself!

I could make a LL update by echoing this and most of the things you wrote. I look foward for more of music sharing in 2024!

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Excellent update and an excellent look forward James. I’m looking forward to enjoying 2024 with you.

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Nice update @Socio and a very nicely structured plan for 2024.

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@SILVIA @sairfingers @Rossco01

Happy New Year to you. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my LL update. It’s good to have a structured plan in place again, now I just need to follow through on it. Looking forward to following your musical journey through 2024.

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I’ve been dabbling in mixing some guitar, bass, drums and vocals for the first time. Now all I need is to find myself a guinea pig to listen to a short mix to know if I’m on the right path when it comes to mixing and mastering.

Well I’m not getting on the community much ATM but when I saw your thread had an update I had to read it. You’re made some good progress. I completely agree with what you said about trying everything. How will you know what you like if you don’t try it?

Sounds like you’ve got big plans for 2024. Keep on keeping on!

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Great update again, James! :grinning::+1: Can’t wait to see what you achieve this year! :metal::sunglasses:

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Squeak Squeak


Thanks for checking in on me, JK. Yeah, I noticed you’ve been preoccupied and not spending as much time on the community lately but for plenty of good reasons mate. It’s going to shape up for an interesting 2024.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my latest update, Jeff. Lot’s of good stuff planned for this year mate, so watch this space.

HeHeHE I was hoping you would take the bait :wink:


Hi James, those are an impressive set of goals for the year. Best of luck in achieving most of your goals and a few that you didn’t list but discover along the way. When I finish my grade 2 consolidation I’ll try to follow your blues path.

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February 2024

Time for a recap of where I am on the learning journey. Work has been busy, so I have found myself in the mindset of playing more than practicing. Although I have continued to practice certain things but progression has slowed down.


I have made progress with arpeggiating chords without looking at a tempo of about 90 bpm for a number of chord progressions and various patterns. Interestingly, this practice item highlighted that I had become rusty with the Dm chord (the one using the pinky).

I have made progress with hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides. Still some work to do on them to really get them down and sounding good more consistently. I have enjoyed starting to apply them in a musical context rather than just an exercise.

I have made progress with picking individual strings while strumming without looking at a tempo of about 80 bpm. So far I have only worked on the first exercise the lesson covers with the each chord lasting two bars. This practice item has also been useful for working on my F barre chord.


I have learned the Major Scale Pattern 1 and have it more or less under my fingers. Next steps will be to start applying it in a musical context.

I have learned the major and minor triad chord shapes on the top three strings and continuing to practice them in a musical context. Just for fun I’ve been strumming the open chords progression and then switching to a picking pattern using triads a bit like call and response.


Apart from picking individual strings while strumming I have not really worked on anything outside of the songs that I have been learning. I was enjoying learning mixing licks with rhythm and blues rhythm which is something that I will need to kick off again.

Ear Training

I’ve not worked on any specific ear training exercises or transcribing. The past month or two I’ve just wanted to pick up the guitar and play.

Improvising and Soloing

I have been making progress with a minor pentatonic shuffle riff that uses the root note, octave, b7 and the 5th. The intention is to apply it to a couple of keys before moving onto the next riff which adds in a hammer-on to the 4th from the minor pentatonic.

I have also been making progress with a call and response musical piece that uses the top 2 strings for lead fills. I’ve still got some work to do with getting the timing down. This piece has proven a challenge as I found the E7 chord with the b string fretted on third fret a bit of a stretch.


I’ve not worked on anything to further develop my knowledge and techniques. Apart from going over some old material this time using a thumb pick. It still feels a bit alien to me but I guess over time it will start to feel normal.


I’ve been learning to play Vincent. I’ve now got the first two verses memorised and under my fingers. I feel reasonably comfortable playing and singing at the same time. I now need to work on learning and memorising the bridge.

I’ve been learning to play Dust in the Wind. I’ve now got the intro and verse memorised. I haven’t got it yet to the stage where I can sing and play at the same time.

I’ve been learning to play Don’t Dream It’s Over. I’ve now got the intro and verse memorised. I haven’t got it yet to the stage where I can sing and play at the same time as I’m so focused on the muted hits.

I’ve started learning to play Solitary Man. A song with open chord strumming with some licks thrown in for good measure.


When I posted my first original songs I set myself the goal of revisiting them and producing a full band version. I can now tick the ‘in progress’ box as since my last update I revisited one of them and posted the produced version of Shadows of Our Former Selves.

I learned a lot from the project with support from sensei @DavidP and decided to build from that experience with my latest original Soul Shaker. I felt this project went a lot smoother since I had learned to become more organised from the start. There is still a lot to learn when it comes to mixing and mastering but the more you do it the better you become.


Nice update James.
I think there comes a point when we realise that we don’t have to be advancing in the lessons to make progress. We can progress by going over what we know and by playing around and experimenting with it. Sounds like that’s what you’re doing.

Vincent is an old classic. I’m sure it will be a good song to learn and make your own.
I’ve had a peek ahead this week at the Falling Leaf and Meet The Musician In You lessons. Vincent will be a great song to apply the gems in those lessons.

Rock on :guitar:

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That’s an enjoyable read James, thanks for putting it together and sharing. This update is useful and timely in terms of your categories.

I like the way you describe your mindset at the moment, but whilst you may not think it as practice, and I guess you mean structured practice, you’re still working on a great variety of techniques.

The Dm comment made me chuckle, I can relate, not with that specific chord so much but with an early one not getting used as much in your rotation causing it to go rusty. I ended up reverting to a couple of days of OMC on my one to bring it back to speed!!

As for your song work and the bigger productions I’m so impressed, pleased and proud of you if that doesn’t sound too weird, it’s a joy to see your journey and progression.

Good luck with your work, don’t lose sight of the good stuff mate!! :+1::+1:



Great update and very nicely set out so easy to follow.

You have a lot going on hope you are not spreading yourself too thin.



Great update. You are making great progress in so many areas!

My absolute pleasure to share what I have learned, helping you as best as I can as others kindly helped me, may but especially @LBro

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@BurnsRhythm Hi David, absolutely it’s about exploring and applying what you’ve learned from the lessons; being able to use those techniques and knowledge to everyday playing.

@Notter Hi Mark, I’ve tried to stay close to Justin’s holistic practice routine categories but had to add an additional one to capture fingerstyle. It’s been a good way to structure what I am learning as I have not been following G3 systematically. Cheers for the kudos, good to see you back on the forum posting your progress.

@MAT1953 Hi Michael, applying Justin’s holistic practice model and time boxing seems to be doing the trick. These days I’m trying to practice things that interconnect and spending more time playing than practicing (50:50) and making sure that the practice elements are musical and fun.

@DavidP Thanks, I am so grateful to you for sharing that knowledge. It’s been a pleasurable experience developing the productions and with your support and help the learning curve in mixing and mastering hasn’t been overwhelming.


Lots of good stuff here James despite what you say about practice taking a bit of a back seat. Lots of varied stuff but it all interrelates. Steal some of those acoustic Blues melody lines, while you are keeping them ticking over and try using them as lick links in your impros.

Good to see you persevering with DITW, I’ve now got my head around the bridge and hoping my fingers catch up. Still need to look at the outro ! And yep singing while playing it is also a long way off.

Look forward to see how your year pans out.


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@TheMadman_tobyjenner thanks, Toby. I think Chris’ beginners course and blues fingerstyle course set me up well for tackling DITW. Really enjoying learning Vincent, it’s good when there are some good videos of the artist performing where you can see there fretting and fingering hands, You got me thinking there that I should really finish off the blues rhythm and soloing courses, I’m about 70% progress. I really need to finish off things before getting distracted by the next thing. How do you manage balancing and staying focused on a variety of courses where JG is the meat and vegetables and the others are deserts. I have a sweet tooth and enjoy desserts. (I’ll use both spelling as at least one will be right)

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In some cases its actually the other way around ! If you check my latest LL update, you’ll see I am now taking the Timeboxing approach and have tried to be disciplined on the time front. Some days I won’t get everything done, so that becomes the next days starting point. I’ve also changed the way I attack each section where I am learning something like a solo or blues piece by going to the new or problematic part first and working on that for 5-8 minutes, then review the whole piece including the new section. Then finish that element with a couple of run through of the piece that is in consolidation mode.

It doesn’t always go to plan, yesterday I spent 90 minutes on the hard rock rhythm course and pushing my tremolo picking, pretty much 50 minutes on one string ! But had 5 solid days covering everything before hand.

Today its Songbook Sunday and I’ll work through my main MMS Acoustic Set of 11 songs. And although its mainly about memorising I am now looking at scale links and chordal picking in some songs where I think they will fit in, so its application of the “learnt” stuff as well. No fingerstyle songs in that set yet but Greensleeves is pretty much boxed off.

When you get to my age time and work will no longer be your enemy !