Socio's Learning Log

Thanks for the share, Gordon. Enjoyed that country-rock vibe of that rendition. As for the finger-style rendition, as I’ve watched Max Mue perform (and others along the way), goodness that still seems a long way off for me.


@sairfingers @DavidP

Thanks for the share Gordon. I enjoyed watching that video. You and David are certainly making me think twice. Maybe not a fingerstyle song for consolidating Grade 2. Though a path is formed by laying one stone at a time, so maybe just lay one bar at a time and see where it takes me.

I’d never give up. I’d just scream from the roof top’s “damn you Bob Dylan” before sending you both a message asking for advice on an easier song to learn :wink:

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A great read Socio. Only very new to to guitar and love the finger picking side of the music and looking forward to————- one day ——- if I live long enough to to be able to play a tune. I’m going to keep your reference notes as a lesson to follow. Cheers Kev

Hi Kevin (@Kevandoli), thanks for the read. If you are very new to the guitar then the foundation exercises that I did may be of interest to you.

  • Familiarizing myself with finger selection. Thumb (on sheet music labelled as P) plays strings 6, 5 and 4. The index finger (on sheet music labelled as I) plays string 3. The middle finger (on sheet music labelled as M) plays string 2. The ring finger (on sheet music labelled as A) plays string 1. This can vary sometimes but don’t have to worry about that when starting out. I found it good to start off without worrying about the fretting hand playing chords. Just practicing playing strings in the order 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 using the assigned fingers to get used to plucking the strings. Calling out the finger numbers whilst doing it was extremely helpful.

  • familiarizing myself with the picking hand position was also very important and experimental. I found positioning my hand such that the fingers were just towards the back of the sound hole gave me a balanced tone which is I found good for starting out. @adi_mrok usually posts a great photo of hand position where you can see the hand is in a relaxed claw like shape to pick the strings with the thumb is literally parallel to the strings. It is debateable whether to anchor the hand or not. Some people anchor with the pinky, some people rest their hand on the bridge and some people have their hand floating. So a bit of experimenting is required to see what works and is comfortable to you.

  • Then once I was comfortable with hand position and finger selection I started off with some basic patterns 4:4 patterns with open strings. T, 1, 2, 3; T, 3, 2, 1; T, 3, 1, 2 and T, 1, 3, 2. Playing them over and over again focusing on clarity of notes i.e. accuracy over speed. I’d repeat the exercises changing what string the thumb would play for the exercise i.e. string 6, 5 or 4.

That helped me become comfortable over time and prepared me for introducing the fretting hand as it gave me one less thing to think about.

Adding a minute or two to a practice session doing something like that I found helps get comfortable with finger picking.

Even playing a simple pattern like T, 1, 2, 3 over a very nice chord progression of G, G, Em, Em, C, D is music to the ears and won’t take long to achieve.

Wish you all the best with your guitar lessons. Following Justin’s teaching will have you playing wonderful music in no time.


The community has spoken, I’ve listened and thought twice. So I’ve decided to park learning Don’t Think Twice fingerstyle to the side and went back to a song that I learned in beginners grade 1 “stand by me” and started to learn to play it fingerstyle for grade 2 consolidation.


James, another worth looking at is Mad World. Justin provides a finger-picking pattern for the song that sounds pretty good to me. And you can push that a step further and perhaps finger strum the pre-chorus and chorus. I find it quite challenging to go from strumming back to finger-picking.

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Hi David, thanks for the suggestion. That is one of the other songs I’m actually thinking of learning fingerstyle and will definitely be giving it a shot as it’s another song that I’m comfortable with the chord progression. I have learned Wonderful Tonight picking and did think about doing that fingerstyle but thought it may be better to stick to picking that song as still working on building up competence on picking without looking.

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Hey just finished reading your log from the start - awesome work and great inspiration! Thanks for being consistent with the updates it’s really nice to see the progress :slight_smile:

I know you’re dropping Dont Think Twice for now, but I had to mention the Peter, Paul and Mary cover of this song, one of my favourites. I love the fingerpicking guitar on this recording and the wonderful harmonies from the group, a song I go back to regularly!

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I’ve been summoned - I miss this hand :sob:


Hi Tom, thanks for the read and the link. That was a lovely rendition of Don’t Think Twice. It’s definitely a song that will try to learn when I get to intermediate level of fingerpicking. Glad my learning log could offer some inspiration to you.

One to watch again when I’m a bit more advanced

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Great lessons, James, thanks for sharing.

I too can come back to these.

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Grade 2 consolidation continuing to go well. Though not quite full on consolidation as I’ve been learning new things along the way. The past few weeks I have really been focusing my efforts on fingerstyle and the blues.

I’ve now memorised the blues lead and blues solo given in the bonus material for the classic course. I am now focusing on my timing and quality of the notes being played. I’ve really enjoyed learning and playing these arrangements.

I’ve been working on the classic 12 bar shuffle riff basic pattern along with the 4 variation patterns given in the classic course. I still find it a bit difficult using the little finger rather than just sliding along but with perseverance I’m slowly seeing improvements.

Next on my blues list is to learn Sweet Home Chicago which applies everything that I have learned so far. I found a decent lesson on YouTube, which I have studies and created a tab to refer to on Guitar Pro. I found this to be a good exercise to learn how to use the software and create tabs.

With regards to fingerstyle I’m quite comfortable with the 6:8 pattern taught by Justin in Grades 2 and the 4:4 patterns taught in Grade 3. As I have enjoyed fingerstyle to supplement my learning I enrolled in a beginners fingerstyle course which I am finding really good as it is built in a modular>lesson structure with exercises to build up the skills and knowledge bit by bit with a quiz at the end of each module.

In terms of fingerstyle songs I have been making reasonable progress learning Wonderwall, it’s proven to be more difficult that I anticipated but that makes it feel more rewarding when I play the intro and first verse. Just have to keep plucking away and I will get there in the end.

Where am I with the songs that I was learning? I’ve now got to the stage where I can play the following from start to finish:

  • Supersonic by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - this was a good song for practicing the Stuck 3&4 chords.
  • Don’t Look Back in Anger by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - this was a good song for practicing Stuck 3&4 chords (that Cmadd9 was a stretch)
  • Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton - this was a good song for practicing picking technique
  • Why Does It Always Rain on Me by Travis - this was a good song for practicing the Bm chord
  • The Circle by Ocean Colour Scene - this was a good song for practicing those sus chords embellishments, it’s probably my favorite song to play at the moment.

I’ve still got a bit of polishing up to do on that Bm chord used in the last two songs but I’m starting to see improvements. I’ve also got some polishing up to do on Wonderful Tonight to be able to play it without looking at my picking hand.

So it feels like although I’ve stuck in the gap between Grade 2 and Grade 3 that I have continued to learn new things which should hopefully hold me in good stead for when I move on to Grade 3. But still got some things in the pipeline for consolidating such as rock techniques. I’ve been thinking about getting a new amplifier; at the moment I’m using a boss katana mini.


Great update James. Sounds like you’re really getting into finger style which is awesome.

I have the same feeling about consolidating as you do. While a lot of it is tightening up the grade 2 techniques, each new song has these little things that are brand new that really add up. Also supplemental material has a lot of new material to get into, not to mention Justin’s classic course!

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Hi James,
It’s good to read that you’re also busy playing the guitar :grin:… set good goals, have fun with that… :sunglasses:

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Thanks Alexis :smiley: yes, I’m definitely getting into fingerstyle and enjoying the learning process. I’m looking forward to exploring fingerstyle blues.

Likewise, before starting Justin’s course I would never have thought about learning to play the blues. Now I’m enjoying every opportunity to explore it more.

I expect it will be the same when I start consolidating rock. Once I get started I’ll be enjoying every minute and exploring more rock music and techniques. I’m really looking forward to that master your power chords lesson.

When you think about the classic course quite a few things from it are in Grade 3 so you are also preparing yourself for whats to come when you move on from consolidating.

Hi Rogier, thanks :smiley: yes it’s difficult to put the guitar down when your having so much fun. Slowly making progress on the consolidation goals. I have to keep myself in check from wandering too far off the beaten path.

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Hey sounds like a great process you have, looking forward to hearing some of these pieces you’re working on!!! :wink:
Btw when you reference the ‘classic course’ do you mean the standard Grade 1/2/3 courses or is this something else? Ty!

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