Spacey's Learning Log 2nd Installment

I ran into a rut and also stepped away from the lessons for a bit. I got a bit discouraged as I could not figure out what I was doing wrong with holding the pick. My strumming was coming along except I could not strum long without losing my grip on the pick. I went back to Justin’s lesson where he introduces the proper grip and I had not realized I was doing it incorrectly. I was pinching it between my first finger and thumb using only the pads of my fingers. Once I corrected the grip, surprisingly it took me a while to become smooth in my strumming again. A feeling of having to go backwards, discouraged me slightly but I am more or less back to where I was but not no longer lose grip. Coincidentally I see Justin has a set of strumming lessons. Another thing that has helped me was practicing ‘the push’ in module 10. I was determined to learn not just the push but also to do the proper count as I did the push strum. I finally got there. Lastly I dabbled with Dave Matthews’ song Crash. It is quite a stretch to do the c#m7 the way Dave does it. Overall, I can’t say I really have any one song down perfectly yet and tend to work more on pieces of songs and spend a lot of time in front of the TV working on chord changes. Progress is slow but loving the progress I do make.


Great stuff. For me, learning a complete song from start to finish made a real difference. After learning my first, the next songs happened much more quickly.

1 Like

Hi Steve, getting out of the rut was the first step to move on and you will for sure! You solved your pick problem and that will help you along the road. I highly recommend Justins Strumming SOS and Strumming Dynamics Course with a lot of helpful advice.

Nothing wrong with practicing pieces or parts of songs, but you should do yourself a favour and try to learn at least a few songs from beginning to end. It makes a real difference. So many little points of success to see while learning a whole song. First it’s the chord progression, then you nail the strumming pattern, you learn how to apply dynamics, maybe some embelishments and maybe vocals. It’s good to see, how it grows, step by step. Even if it takes you ages to get there. Learning a song is a project and takes time. Keep it simple in the beginning, take an easy one you can develop over time and you’ll grow together. Be patient…that’s the hardest part! :joy:


I’d second what Helen says in terms of learning songs…after all that’s what you’re learning guitar to do. Also bear in mind songs tend to be a combination of parts that repeat. So you’ll only normally have 3-4 parts at most. An intro chord progression (probably the same as the verse), a verse chord progression, a chorus chord progression and maybe a bride. That’s all so learn those parts and you’ve got your song.

1 Like

Hello Steve, to stay motivated, it helps me to have a clearly defined goal I’d like to reach. In most cases, it’s a particular song I wanna be able to play and sing. Sometimes, it’s ‘just’ a new technique or a new chord, I’d like to master. Tiny goals help me to get a sense of achievement in short time :innocent:. (Although, this is not true for the F chord. I’m still struggeling with it :see_no_evil:.)

Oh yes, I absolutely agree with that. But I love these projects. Sometimes, I’m just learning one part of a song (e.g. the intro), and then nothing else for a longer time, while concentrating on another song. But if I really like the song, I’ll come back to it and continue learning it, until I feel satisfied. It doesn’t always have to happen in one go, I think.

These are only just my 2 cents :blush:.

1 Like

Thank you Helen, I will for sure do the Strumming SOS course. My first goal was to complete module 10 and now I will begin the SOS strumming course. I suppose in truth I have learned a couple of songs. I really focused on Heart of Gold but I need to go back and improve on this one now that I hold the pick properly. At the stage I’m at, I think adding my voice as well would help in the motivation of learning the entire song…although my voice is very bad and as soon as one starts to sing strumming patterns go terribly off…lol. I agree whole hearted with you though. Thank you for commenting. It amazes me how others take the time to inspire and comment on each other’s journeys. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Good choice! I did that too and had my breakthrough with this song at playing and singing at a time. Still can’t sing to every pattern :joy:. But this is a rewarding song, a classic to keep and develop.
Singing adds a lot of motivation, I remember, that I was a little unsatisfied as I realised, that three or more repeated chords seem to be more a chord progression than a “real” song, as long as you don’t have a melody. So I decided, that I simply have to sing. My voice isn’t great, but I’ve a lot of fun and I think I’ve improved too…or maybe just lost some scruples?

1 Like

That is exactly it! I felt the same with respect to it being more of a chord progression. I watched Justin playing it very carefully trying to figure out how he made it sound more melodic and in addition to singing I think he does something as he moves from D to G but I can’t figure that out. My voice is beyond terrible but maybe it is time to record myself and see where I can improve it a little…lol. This fall I will meet with my old school mates and if I feel ready may bring my guitar to play. I think with my playing and there singing we can muddle through a few lol.

1 Like