Socio's Learning Log

Thanks for the feedback, Rick, it’s much appreciated. Yes, I’m trying to listen to my playing these days and trust that my fingers will do what I want them to do. I guess I’ve been focusing so much on my picking hand technique and controlling that pesky little finger on my fretting hand that I’ve somewhat neglected positive finger placement. I’ve added it to list of things to work on along with ensuring I’m applying just the right amount of pressure.

Thanks Alexis for the feedback. The Scientist is a great song to work on when starting out in fingerstyle. You should definitely give into that itch. It gives you that opportunity to either sing along or let the guitar do the vocals for you. I just don’t know what to do with my face when I’m not singing.

You are doing great James, I think with some more practice you will nail all of those down very well :wink: I couldn’t see anything to critique upon as all the bits I saw and didn’t work is just a matter of extra practice to polish rough edges out.

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Really nice James. Will be great when they’re done and the minor issues are ironed out. Where did you get the tab for twinkle twinkle? I want to give that one a go, I think my kids will like it.

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@adi_mrok @jkahn
Thanks Adrian and JK. Yes, the songs are still a work in progress. I’m still trying to learn and memorise the bridges and choruses. I thought that it would be best to post a work in progress version on my LL for some early feedback to ensure that I am applying the techniques correctly and not reinforcing poor techniques.

Jk I will DM you the lesson and tab for Twinkle Twinkle. It was one of the seven recommended songs to learn to consolidate the techniques I’ve been learning. It is very straightforward, a lot easier than Happy Birthday.

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Good plan, James, and can see you’ve done a fair amount already to get to grips with those songs.

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Three good songs to work on James. Can’t add much from a technical perspective but your picking hand looked to be in a good position and plenty of room for the thumb. I’ll watch with interest as I still have “folk” fingerstyle on the backburner, while I am focusing in the Blues stuff but I expect there will be some crossover as things get more complicated. Good line in the sand to refer back to !

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@DavidP @TheMadman_tobyjenner
Thanks guys. I feel that as I’m progressing further in the course the techniques are getting more difficult and merits a recording posted in my LL to ensure that I’ve actually got them down right. I plan to do similar for the blues whether its a short recording of a boogie woogie blues variation or a phrase repeated over a backing track that I’m learning. That way I have some form of reassurance that I’m on the right track or pointers on what I need to work on to get it down correctly.


Hello James, reading your updates was really interesting…you have a rich list of things to work on, but if you can keep your practice sessions enjoyable without putting too much pressure on your self anything is going to be fine! Slow progress is also something to aim too, as one can take the time he/she needs to properly digest new things and consolidate the fundamentals…I’m also putting a lot on my plate for 2023…and just be happy to do as best as I can. I had a listen to your clips and I think it’s beyond my level of competence to give advice and all I can say is that to me it seems you’re doing very well. Twinkle Twinkle sounded lovely, you know how much I love melodies, I know playing out from memory is demanding, but it’s something you should aim too (if you’re not already doing it, It seemed like you were reading, which is totally fine at this stage)…it just brings your playing to an amazing feeling good level of enjoyment of your guitar. I Wish you an Happy 2023! :slight_smile:

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Hi Silvia, I think that’s a great sentiment “just be happy to do the best as I can” and one which I plan on living. Thanks for taking the time to give these work in progress recordings a listen. Everything that I play is from memory, I’ve always been good at memorizing things after a couple of repetitions. Though, I have found the process of memorizing melodies like that of the Scientist a bit more challenging so it is taking longer to learn the full song. Though, I think something finally clicked when I thought back to a previous post of yours advising that learning the lyrics helps with learning the melody. So thanks for that piece of advice. Wish you a happy 2023!

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Hi James ,
Great job,…and how good that you are now recording it in short clips,…really, you will look back on this with great pleasure in a few months, because you are making really good progress ,and for sure you keep doing that,…:sunglasses:

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I’m glad to read this, you’re so lucky you can memorise easily…it takes me so much time, but it’s all worth it.

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This bit of advice really struck a chord with me and after some consideration I have spent some time prioritizing my practice activities and ensure that I am not taking on too much.

Exploring the blues is my first priority. The three core interests that I will be focusing on are rhythm playing, soloing and fingerstyle.

To ensure that I do not end up bouncing around too much I have structured my approach to working on them with a list of practice objectives that I can check off once I have nailed them.

With the rhythm playing and soloing I’m planning on practicing each practice session objective with a metronome first and then to a jam track to work on locking in with the rhythm section.

With the fingerstyle I am on the final module ‘the blues’ so it ties in quite nicely with the blues theme for the months ahead. After that modules it’s learn songs, learn songs, learn songs.

At the same time I will likely complete one module at a time from the Beginner’s Grade 3 Course excluding the transcribe modules.

I will probably leave the transcribe modules for later and create a playlist to familiarize myself with the songs listed to be transcribed.


Hi Rogier,
Thanks, I thought short clips would be great for picking up any issues earlier whilst setting down a progress marker whilst getting some feedback on the techniques as I learn the full pieces i.e. don’t practice bad habits. I did record a short simple fingerstyle blues piece the other day but I was not very happy with my positive finger placement. So I might record that one again later at the end of the week.

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February 2023

What am I working on this month:

This section of my practice sessions is focused on alternate picking and string skipping with an emphasis on precision, timing, endurance and speed.

This section of my practice sessions is focused on completing the chord explorer lessons and learning melodic phrases using the minor pentatonic scale.

This section of my practice sessions is focused on completing the last stages of the master fingerstyle beginners course.

This section of my practice sessions is focused on learning to improvise with the boogie woogie blues riff against a backing track.

This section of my practice sessions is focused on learning root position phrases incorporating string bending and inflection with practice against a backing track.

This section of my practice sessions is focused on learning and polishing up songs.

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March 2023

Time for a recap of where am on the learning journey and plan for the next couple of months.

Beginner Grade 3

Module 15
  1. 6 Guitar Areas You Should Practice - Completed
  2. D Chord Shape Explorer - Completed
  3. Play Better Guitar: The Finger Gym Exercise - Completed
  4. How to Link Guitar Chords using Scales - Completed
  5. A Capo for Two: Jamming for Beginners - Completed
  6. Mindful Listening for Guitar Players - Completed
  7. Great Tone Starts Here! - Completed
  8. 4 Easy Steps to Transcribing - Not Started
Module 16
  1. Supercharge Your Guitar Practice with Timeboxing! - Completed
  2. How to Play Easy Chord Shapes Up The Neck - Not Started
  3. Rolling Chords to Spice Up Your Fingerstyle - Not Started
  4. How to Play Greensleeves on the Guitar - Not Started
  5. How to Play a Melody on Guitar - Not Started
  6. Flexing Time: The Falling Leaf - Not Started
  7. Learn Your Guitar Amp & Settings - Completed
Module 17
  1. Goals & Destinations - Completed
  2. C Chord Shape Explorer - Completed
  3. How to Pick Individual Strings While Strumming - Not Started
  4. How To: Thumb & Finger Strums - Not Started
  5. How to Use Easy Triads on Guitar - Not Started
  6. Meet The Musician In You! - Completed
  7. Your Ultimate Guide to Reverb - Not Started
  8. Transcribing Easy Riffs - Not Started
  • Note: Item 4 I have covered in the Master Fingerstyle Beginner course.
Module 18
  1. Perfectly Starts Slowly- Completed
  2. Open Tuning Basics - Not Started
  3. Legato Pentatonics - Not Started
  4. Solo Blues 1 Lick-in’ Riff - Not Started
  5. Triad Chips Basics - Not Started
  6. Neuroplasticity to Learn Guitar Faster- Completed
  7. Transcribing Open Chords - Not Started
Module 19
  1. 3 Types of Songs You Should Practice - Completed
  2. G Chord Explorer: Tasty Variations! - Completed
  3. Learning to Sing - Not Started
  4. 4:4 Fingerstyle Patterns - Completed
  5. Guitar Pro Experiments - Not Started
    6.Transcribing Power Chords: Be a Detective! - Not Started
Module 20
  1. The Spacing Effect - Not Started
  2. The Lifted Barre Trick - Not Started
  3. Singing & Playing At The Same Time - Not Started
  4. Chords In Keys (super easy!) - Not Started
  5. How to co-write a song - Not Started
  6. Record Yourself & Production Basics - Not Started
  7. Transcribing (Not So Easy) Riffs - Not Started
Module 21
  1. Exploring the A Shape - Completed
  2. Introduction to Vibrato Techniques - Not Started
  3. Framing: The Double Strumming Technique - Not Started
  4. Feeling Stuck? Here Are My Top 10 Rutbusters! - Not Started
  5. Transcribing: What about the guitar capo? - Not Started
Module 22
  1. Exploring the E Shape - Completed
  2. Transcribing Difficult Riffs - Not Started
  3. Easy Barre Chords For Beginners - Not Started


For this section of my practice sessions I have been focusing on development of power chords, alternate picking, string skipping and hybrid picking with an emphasis on precision, timing, endurance and speed. I have been making steady progress with these techniques and starting to see some rewards. I will continue to focus on them as I work on applying them to songs, riffs, solos etc.


For this section of my practice sessions I have been focusing on learning melodic phrases using the minor pentatonic scale and learning new chord grips for songs that I am working on. As part of the blues studies I have also been furthering my knowledge in essential blues foundations. With the updated practical music theory course interactive tests being released, I’ve delved back into Grades 1 and 2 for a recap before progressing with Grade 3.


For this section of my practice sessions I have been focusing on completing the Master Fingerstyle Beginners Course. I have now completed all lessons and have entered the consolidation period which involves learning songs, songs, songs :smiley: I’m not going to name the songs that I have chosen as I may do a compilation and see if anyone can guess all the songs played :wink: If no one can guess any then I will need to find a new hobby :roll_eyes: Whilst I am learning songs I have decided to commence and gradually progress through the Complete Guide to Fingerstyle Blues Volume 1 Course to maintain the steady progress that I have been making in my blues study.


For this section of my practice sessions I have been focusing on developing my acoustic and blues rhythm playing. I feel that I have been making steady progress and plan on continuing along this path in developing my rhythm chops. For the blues rhythm studies I am currently working on turnarounds using the pick and fingers which ties in quite nicely to the development of the hybrid picking technique.


For this section of my practice sessions I have been focusing on learning basic vocabulary, musical concepts and approaches, and the essential techniques to be able to solo over a blues. I also plan on starting to learn solos for the songs I am working on to develop my lead play.

Ear Training

Well I finally got around to incorporating ear training into my practice routines. So far I have been working on identifying single and two bass notes. Surprisingly, I’ve been quite successful in identifying the notes played and have a rough idea where the pitch is located on the fretboard.


For this section of my practice sessions I have been focusing on learning campfire versions and then the various parts proper versions for a number of songs including:

  • Wonderful Tonight - Rhythm Guitar - this has been a good for practicing and developing hybrid picking. I’ve almost got this guitar part memorized and looking forward to learning the guitar part played by EC. For some reason I think having played with a pick since the start of this learning journey along with the time that I have spent on learning fingerstyle that has eased the transition to learning hybrid picking.

  • Sitting at the Dock of the Bay - Acoustic Guitar Part - this has been a good for practicing for development of the E shaped barre chords. It’s has it’s positives and negatives. On the positive side its only one chord shape; on the negative side its the same chord shape throughout the song. Therefore, each practice session seems to be more about building up my endurance in order to play the song from start to finish. I was going to wait until I learned the acoustic guitar part first before learning the electric guitar part but the time is taking to build up my endurance levels I may start learning that part concurrently.

  • Maggie May - Acoustic Guitar Part- this one is a bit of a strange one as the song was recorded on a 12 string guitar but since I don’t have one I am learning it on a 6 string guitar. This has been a good song for working on my acoustic rhythm along with some stretchy chords. There are a couple of solos in the song, two of which are played with Mandolins. Since, I have no plans to purchase a mandolin, I will leave those two parts for the backing track and focus on the electric guitar part which looks achievable with practice.

In addition to learning songs by the book per say I’ve also been experimenting with the Oasis song Supersonic to find the musician in me. Forgetting about specific strumming patterns used by NG when he plays it on the accoustic and seeing what sounds good to me. In saying that what sounds good to me may not sound good to anyone else. Hey, it’s all part of the learning and development experience.


Since my last update I’ve posted a couple of recordings to track my progress:

Humpty Dumpty Love Song
Blues Fingerstyle Piece #3
Blues Rhythm Piece #1
Blues Fingerstyle Piece #4

Next recording on the list to do is Kindergarten Blues in E. The first piece from the Fingerstyle Blues Volume 1 Course.


Hello James, your practice seems to be very structured and I think this is good as I’m experiencing myself how much structure can help. Also you’re working and progressing in different areas, and I think this is also good…well it’ s only my humble opinion, take it with a pinch of salt, but if you’re perceiving yourself as progressing then it is surely good!

Is it Mike Dawes’ course? After Justin’s video on how he arranged Jump I’m very much inspired to start his Course.

I think this is a very good idea, one needs to experiment and risk.

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Hi Silvia,

Yes, I find that practice has to be structured otherwise I would end up going around in circles and get no where. The one thing I’m finding is practicing in different areas is helping in the other areas, if that makes any sense.

No, it’s a six strings fingerpicking course. It’s a very systematic course with the same ethos of practice perfectly and builds you up gradually from the ground up.

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Hi James, I’ve found also that alternating the areas I am practicing benefit all the areas although initially I may see a slowdown in my progress with a specific area.


Great update James. You maintain your log with the same dedication as your practice. Look forward to more blues and the songs in due course.

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A very comprehensive update James. Well done, I wish I had your organisational focus!:grinning:

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