SS7's Learning Log


All the cool kids are transferring over their Road Cases from the old forum but I’m not that interesting so I’ll just start fresh. Here are the juicy bits from my journey so far:

November 2019 - decided to try and learn a song or two from YouTube on an old Ibanez acoustic guitar I found while moving. I started with Blackbird by The Beatles and then tried learning Dust in the Wind by Kansas - progress was really slow and I had a terrible, frustrating time but my wife loved it and was really supportive so I stuck with it.

March 2020 - the COVID-19 pandemic happened and we were sitting around at home on our first lockdown. Suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands so I downloaded the JustinGuitar app and started learning in earnest.

May 2020 - found the old forum, made my first post there and been part of the community ever since.

A few highlights since joining:

  • built a few partscasters
  • shared a bunch of recordings
  • played a couple virtual Open Mics
  • performed for Justin on his livestream test run

…and here we are.

Recently I took a break from playing for a couple of months. I signed up to perform on the upcoming Open Mic in February so I have some practicing to do (understatement of the year award goes to…).

@DavidP suggested a while ago that I should do another series of posts showing my learning process / progress of a song like I did for Deep River Blues by Doc Watson. I might just do that for one of the songs I’m planning on playing on OM6 since I’m learning it from scratch.

Tune in next time to find out more!

Toodeloo. :slight_smile:


Good to hear from you Ivan, to be honest I was concerned you are gone for good after not hearing back from you for a while :frowning:

You’re not that interesting? Give me a break, if you are not that interesting then you are casting a big dark shadow over all of us with our playing :smiley:

Glad to see you on a roster on February OM and can’t wait to see what you’ve prepped up. Those videos of how people learn songs with multiple takes across different days are quite good material giving an idea about the process so would be very interesting to see how you getting through with the learning process :slight_smile: All the best.

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I’m with Adrian, you are more than interesting and your Forum RC was great, a cool story, well told.

Now if you’d said you didn’t want to amplify your time learning so people like myself don’t feel inadequate when we watch your percussive finger style at an Open Mic, I could have believed it. Though I’d say share anyhow as I am beyond feeling inadequate watching others play :grin:

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Ivan great write up of a short whirlwind like progression. You have shown with the right focus and dedication what can be achieved when you put your mind to it, pandemic or not ! You always entertain and your playing is a joy to watch. I hope your journey will inspire others.



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@adi_mrok @DavidP thanks so much but you guys really need to start giving yourselves some more credit. You both delivered mighty fine performances at the OM the other day which you ought to be proud of. OM1 was not that long ago but the difference is night and day, watch them back and tell me if I’m wrong.

@tobyjenner thanks for the kind words Toby! I’ve cut a lot of corners for the sake of progression though and there are some serious gaps in my knowledge and abilities at the moment. My journey so far looks something like this:

I’ve been working a little on being more well-rounded and will focus on that fully after the next OM.


Thanks Ivan. I was being a little tongue-in-cheek, tried to convey that with an emoji. So in all humble seriousness. I am more than happy with my progress, how I am able to play and sing now, and for sure I know I have made progress in this year (you are not wrong). And as I said, I am past comparing myself to how others play or worrying about how long it takes me to get something under the fingers.

Still, I am quite in awe of what you have been able to achieve to play the percussive fingerstyle pieces you’ve performed. It just blows me away, it’s astonishing. But I know it is the result of desire, determination, discipline to practice, practice, practice to be able to develop the techniques needed to play those songs.

Love the image. :rofl:

Keep doing what you are doing, follow the path of your musical desires. Whatever you choose to play, I look forward to enjoying it, over in AVOYP and at the next OM.

Keep on picking, tapping, scraping …

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Whoa Ivan you’re one of the coolest dudes I know and you live in a country with an exotic (to me) name.

Some good things have come out of the pandamdemic, having you join and share your music is one of them. :bat:

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@DavidP thank you David, I appreciate it very much!

I think this is the most important step anyone can take to being a happy guitarist. Especially when starting guitar later in life (as most of us here) you just need you accept that you don’t have the time to learn how to do it all and instead focus on areas that interest you the most. That’s my approach anyway.

@batwoman thanks so much Maggie! :heart:

The pandemic was / still is horrible in so many ways but it did give me the gift of time which I’m thankful for. Silver linings and all that.

Good stuff Ivan. I really enjoy your percussive style of play and look forward to your next AVoYP.

Love the image of the guy climbing the stairs. Who says you have to climb up one step at a time and that they go straight up? Most stair cases have some sort of a dog leg and a landing where you can sit for a while :grinning:

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@sairfingers thanks so much Gordon! Sorry for the ridiculously late reply, this place has gotten so lively it’s hard to stay on top of things. You’ll see me play real soon now, not much longer till the OM. No shellfish allergies I hope? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Hi there!

As promised I’m going to start writing a series of posts following my process learning one of the songs I’m going to perform at the upcoming Open Mic in February. The idea is to document my progress learning all the different parts of the song, showing all the bumps and stuff I encounter along the way, and then play the whole thing live as sort of a conclusion / culmination. So here’s part 1 of my road to OM6:

Song selection
Initially I chose to learn Anchor by Rob Scallon - people have been asking me to play something on electric guitar for a good while now and I really wanted to show off my AZ2402 which is perfect for it with its 24 frets.

However, after learning a good bit of the song I realized how much of a hassle it is going to be to set everything up and switch guitars since the other song is going to be on acoustic. Previous experience shows that everything that can go wrong probably will so I’m going to shelve it for now and save it for AVOYP or the OM after.

Instead I’m going with a song I’ve been wanting to learn for a long time now - Ragamuffin by Michael Hedges.

Michael Hedges
The late Michael Hedges is one of my favorite musicians ever. I don’t think you’ll find any fingerstyle player who at least hasn’t heard of him. Michael was a pioneer of modern fingerstyle and was instrumental to its development. He had a direct influence on current famous guitarists who helped popularize the genre such as Andy McKee, Mike Dawes, Jon Gomm, and so on.

@DavidP sent me an absolutely fantastic documentary about modern acoustic fingerstyle a while ago and it has a good bit about Michael Hedges (segment starts 34 minutes in). If you have some time to kill and have a remote interest in the genre it is well worth the watch.

To my surprise I actually couldn’t find a single correct tab for this song. Fortunately there is a video of Michael himself teaching it by playing slowly so I’m using that along with his live performance:

It took me a few days and a couple revisions but I think I’m finally happy with part 1 which is the intro / verse. I think I got pretty close to how Michael used to play it so it’s time to stop messing around with it and really get it under my fingers.

I’d like to spend a couple more days with this part before moving on to the chorus in order to work out all the nuances but here it is at around 80% speed:

No effects or anything, just plain DI from my guitar and normalized peaks to -3 dB in Premier Pro. I think I’ll be using a reverb pedal and probably a little compression as well for the performance but there’s still time for all that.

Till next time and thanks for the read! :slight_smile:


Hey that’s a cool idea Ivan.

Sounding good at the end there as well. Looking forward to this at OM6, which reminds me I need to get some songs sorted ! I’ll take a look at the video as well, as I am just a couple of weeks back into fingerstyle/picking and its early days but enjoying it along side some blues work as well,



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@TheMadman_tobyjenner thanks Toby! Still over a month to go so you have plenty of time.

If you’re doing fingerstyle and Blues why not combine the two :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: fingerstyle Blues is easily my second favorite genre. There’s plenty of players to check out but definitely have a look at Lloyd Spiegel, the guy is a monster player and so underappreciated. I think I remember hearing that @batwoman saw him play live. Here, I’ll introduce you:



So thrilled to see you back in action, Ivan. Man, I looked at Hedges play the first chord in the slowed up playthrough (I’d not refer to that as teaching :laughing:) and that would have been enough to send me scuttling off to find something else to learn.

Look forward to hearing you play this at the OM at whatever tempo you eventually achieve that allows you to play it to your own level of satisfaction … already awe-inspiring to watch your WIP Part 1 video.

Thanks for the LS video … if there was a fairy god-mother I’d be wishing to play like that, without having to go down to the Crossroads. And doubt I have enough time, drive and discipline to get close, but who knows what a decade may bring.

Yeah, metaphorically speaking, luckily I am not the kind of person who while wandering across the plains of the Serengeti dreaming of summitting Kilimanjaro sees people playing who are climbing and summitting peaks in the Himalayas Big 14, and thus decides to forget guitar-playing and take up a different hobby more within my grasp, say novel reading.

Later today I shall practice my two songs for OM6 (assuming the roster allows me two, even one, given the number of people currently showing interest) and perform them with great satisfaction.

Keep on keeping on, Ivan, looking forward to the next update and live performance!

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Sounds super cool, man I am really impressed how you play freely those little harmonics. Awesome and looking forward to the next update! :grinning:

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@DavidP it’s not about the height of the mountains we climb; it’s all about the growth we achieve and happiness we find on our way to the top, or so the saying goes. Thanks for your kind words David, much appreciated as always.

The song sure is intimidating but I try not to second guess myself and just plow on through full steam ahead. What’s the worst that can happen right? I’ve already made my fair share of mistakes on previous OMs and I’m still alive and kicking.

I’m more than happy to do just one song as well, would be awesome if more people had the chance to perform.

@adi_mrok thanks pardner! :smiley: Harmonics are super fun to play and there’s just so many different ways of playing them - natural, artificial, slap, tap, and you can even play them with your fretting hand! Have a look at Vicki Genfan she’s all about harmonics.

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Super fingerpicking, harmonic and percussive play there Mr Ragamuffin! I love your style of play.

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Good memory Ivan, yes indeed, twice. He’s remarkable for his talent and his skill as a performer.

Your LL is a treat, so much excellence, exploration and music to uplift and inspire. :star2:

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Hear Hear Ivan. That’s my mindset too. And I think it is worth reiterating here on a regular basis, since it is easy for people to fall into the trap of unhelpful comparison and self-criticism.

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Color this newbie impressed.