Current active level of lessons: Grade 3 Module 21
(I am adding more electric guitar to my Grade 2 consolidation activities, since identifying that weakness in my last recording. I have decided to record songs from the RockSchool exam books since they include downloadable backing tracks).
I am starting this learning log, after 4 months of daily practice and working through the new Justing Guitar beginner course. If that seems a little fast, it is because this is not the first time I have practiced through the beginner course. Now I am starting to slow down the pace.
How I finally created a learning log (for anyoneinterested)
For the benefit of the 4 people in the world who may be as clueless as I was setting this up, I wanted to share that a month ago I decided that I needed to start a journal log to track my progress. I was able to find these logs via searching on the site (for some reason I overlooked Community Hub). When I finally tried to start a new topic I had a warning of “other topics may be similar to this topic”. I thought that I had tripped some automatic warning so I backed out of my entry. After a month of experience in the JG Community, I tried again and this time realized that the warning could be ignored. I thought, no joke my cyber Sherlock, I am not surprised that there are a lot of other topics with learning log in the title in a category called learning logs.
I’ll start by adding the content from my original intro and began to update and show my progress.
How I Created a Link to Introduce Yourself section (if interested)
I finally learned how to copy and paste a link (go to the post and select the post title from the content you are trying to link and copy and select the “chain” icon on this page and paste into the link box), I have just included the link instead of copying the entire introduction from the Introduce Yourself section.
By practicing for 20 to 30 minutes in the first hour after I wake up and using the practice app to track my progress, I have managed to achieve the astounding accomplishment (for me) of almost 5 months of practice 7 days per week with only a few missed days. I even took my guitar on vacation. My current motto is guitar first, then coffee, not to disparage the JG t-shirt message.
SONGS - In Progress
Wonderwall - obligatory Grade 3 piece - goal is to nail the correct rhythm at recorded tempo and correct chords.
Fast Car - cool finger-style rhythm that will take a while to learn
The Sound of Silence - I’ve found that I am pretty good with cross-picking.
I can pick the exact finger-style pattern of this song with a plectrum, even without an anchor finger and my eyes closed. (Note: I was rightly humbled when I tried to learn the Grade 3 song “Wherever You will Go”, where I stumbled over Justin’s cross-picking example.)
Wonderful Tonight - this is actually easier than The Sound of Silence, so I may record this first since I worked on the intro when I was finishing up the classic beginners course years ago.
Angie - I have tried to learn this before and have the tab in a 1999 Guitar Techniques that I have saved.
Behind Blue Eyes - easy to start but I may also practice the electric part
Mary Had a Little Lamb - easy to start but difficult to do SRV version
Beginners Safe Space videos:
12 Sept. 2022
14 Sept. 2022
Killing Me Softly - 2 recording
25 Sept. 2022
I did.a quick Christmas carol video, inspired by the new free Justin Guitar Christmas carol book. Selected, practiced and recorded on same day.
Fields of Gold
Fields of Gold
California Dreamin transcription project and eventual full song
MY GUITARS AND GEAR
I am mostly playing on my Martin 000-MMV (a Guitar Center special model which is like an OOO or OM model body with a D-28 style neck and a slightly cheaper neck joint). It plays well though. I had tried out a Taylor 400 series acoustic and a then purchased a Martin D-28, then turned the D-28 in to get the cheaper Martin, plus a Taylor GS-mini mahogany for taking to the beach and other vacations. I wasn’t happy with the D-28 Dreadnaught body with my short arms and the 000 or OM body style was better suited to a combination of strumming and fingerpicking at least to me.
Taylor GS-mini mahogany (left) Martin 000-MMV (right)
I also have a Mexican made Stratocaster that I hang near my pracice area with an attached Fender Mustang Micro headphone amp/modeler, to use for electric guitar practice.
I have an Epiphone Les Paul Ultra that is in the case (that I am constantly thinking about replacing with a PRS model) in the closet and a no-name classical guitar purchased from a pawn shop that I started with also stored in the closet.
Here is the picture of my no-name classical guitar. My dad got it from a pawn shop in 1974 near a military base. I always guessed that it was purchased by someone in the military while in another country where classical guitars are made by lesser craftmen to sell in shops. It has no manufacturing mark. Unfortuately, it was left in a university dorm over the winter break in 1976 and thus the crack near the bridge. I am considering taking to a luthier to inject glue in the cracks to stabilize the bridge. i also haven’t played it in over 10 years and need to change the strings.
I also have an electric and an acoustic amp that I use occasionally:
Fender Mustang GT-40 amp and looper pedal Fishman Loudbox Acoustic amp
I plan to add a DAW to my gear to upgrade my recordings.
JG Guitar Beginner Course (to date):
I completed the Justin Guitar Classic Beginner’s Course in 2015 and played through all the songs in the Beginner’s Songbook (volume 1) at least once and played along with any of JG Song video lessons for the Beginner Song Book.
Just to show I purchased a lot of products from the Justin Guitar website while I was working on the classic beginner course, here is some of the course DVDs and books that I purchased:
I mostly use the lessons on the JG website, instead of the DVDs, but put this picture in to remind me that you can’t become a better guitarist by buying new guitar courses. You still have to learn and practice the lessons. I have only completed the Beginner Course from this list of course materials, so I have a ways to go complete my studies
I didn’t show the Beginner’s Songbook original and volume II, because I have the pages torn out, songs rearrangesd and marked up with notes.
I made a few attempts of learning the Intermediate Course, but made the mistake of just working on Fondation Techniques and no songs.
Finally, with the addition of the new Grade 3, decided to redo the Beginner Course and try not to cut corners and really soak up Justin’s teaching and what I can get from the JG Community.
i have also signed up the the Justin guitar Lesson and Song App subscription. I thought that it would only be useful for grades 1 and 2, but there are plenty of songs that can be used for Grade 3. I like that some of the more advanced songs have really professional band and vocals tracks. Check out my aspirational song Behind Blue Eyes in the song app which can be used for grade 4 or higher.
I also purchased the JG metronome app and several other training apps from the Apple store and purchased the JG Rhythm reading textbook recently. The rhythm book curriculum will take a long time to complete and can be part of my technical and knowledge practice. I also purchased the lifetime access to the theory course and currently working on the Grade 3 material (Module 3).
HIdden retrospective tracking of recent Grade 1 and 2 progress and dates:
BEGINNER GRADE 1
Here is a listing of Grade 1 progress (completed in 2022) and notes of what I have learned. I am also transferring some of the content from the discussion that may not be completely on topic or too verbose or no interest from the community.
UPDATE - I started by copying some of the posted comments but violated the 32K character limit for single posts. I changed the goal to recording the lesson name and date of posts and recording the deleted posts.
I had already gone through grade 1 several times in the past, but after a couple of years of working on riffs I had lost my strumming mojo. Also tended to just do just one strum, so wanted to practice a variety of strums.
How to Hold the Guitar:
How to Hold a Guitar Pick
You picture looks like the standard, but I did notice that your fingers are curled into your palm. I had used a well known folk acoustic guitar method that suggested that was the best method, but it made my fingers hurt. Now that I am older and have a little arthritis I have to avoid that as much as possible. I was happy to see that Justin in his demonstration uses a more relaxed finger set up with the first finger joint only bent a little. Also I keep the other fingers relaxed when I play. Maybe you were just curling up the fingers to get them out of the picture?
(I decided to delete since no one responded or liked and at the time I didn’t realize that Richard was a JG teacher ).
Using My Practice Assistant
Peter Gunn Theme
Seven Nation Army Riff
Beginner Finger Stretches
Songs for module 5
About Time Signatures
I was the only person posted anything in this discussion. I had a question about the use of the metronome app in the video lesson.
- a couple of people posted and Richard provided a detailed explanation and I responded:
There were a few other additional posts, so my question did result in some helpful discussion in this case.
Feel old SStruming
Grade 1 Feedback, Please!
BEGINNER GRADE 2
Now I am starting to see more content that wasn’t in the classic course.
The Stuck 3&4 Chords
Open E Minor Pentatonic Scale
After playIng the Wish You Were Here intro a few times in practice, I realized the song intro is actually played with a G major pentatonic scale (same notes, but different root starting point) since the intro riffs start and resolve (or end) on the G. Since it is played over the Em7 chord, you get a major/minor tension to the intro that gives the song its bittersweet vibe.
I found at least one reputable source online that agrees with me.
Wish You Were Here Riff for Beginniers
I use a bit of a cheat on the Em7 3&4 stuck chord sometimes when I am in a hurry. I just use my index finger to play both the B and E notes at the same time as a two note min-barre with my finger at slight angle. I works OK and helps when you are still getting the fingers stretched out.
When I try to learn a more difficult piece like this I always try to simplify it in my head as much as possible.
Look at the tab and notice that other than the initial fretted G note to start the phrase, there are only 2 fretted notes in the intro. All the other notes are the open strings from A to G (or 5th to 3rd strings).
Play an Em chord from Grade 1 and you will know what fretted notes you need to play (or you can remember from the E minor pentatonic scale, but it is easier to remember 2 notes). You just alternate between open strings and those 2 notes going up and the down mostly just strings 5 and 4 and only play the open 3rd string (G) 2 times when the first phrase repeats.
It might be easier to do like I did and just work on the single note phrases first until you are familiar with the individual “riffs” and then add the chords, since the individual notes and the strummed chords alternate.
It may be just me, because I come from a singing background, but I usually try to hum the rhythm, or sing it in my head, and then the rhythm cames naturally without courting.
If you have trouble remembering the Wish You Were Here intro song structure, you might benefit from this summary:
Riff UP = Play riff notes going up the scale in pitch
Riff DOWN = Play riff notes going down the scale in pitch
Riff UP - Strum Em7 - Riff DOWN - Strum Big G - REPEAT
Riff UP - Strum Em7 - Riff DOWN - Strum A7sus4 - REPEAT
Riff Same string - Strum Big G
or even more condensed:
(RU - Em7 - RD - G) x 2
(RU - Em7 - RD - A7sus4) x 2
RS - G
It’s a little easier for me to keep in my head than the TAB.
Finally one last tip for the riffs. Everyone is correct that it helps to learn and practice the E minor pentatonic scale for this song, but it helps even more to focus on the notes from the 6th string fretted G (3rd fret) to the 3rd string open G in the E minor pentatonic scale. As I mentioned earlier, those happen to be a G major pentatonic scale which uses the same notes as the E minor pentatonic. Those are the only notes that you use from the E minor pentatonic scale in the riffs in Wish You Were Here.
Notes in the Open Position
The F Chord
Involved in a discussion about string tension, guitar action and the F chord.
Also posted first link of playing with older guitar with older strings by tuned down a half step and capo on the first fret.
I probably had a few more posts in this lesson (F chord) than I should, but they were mostly relevant and the F chord discussion is a large and active discussion, so I don’t feel to bad about my posts.
Weak Finger G
The Rhythm Push
Happy Birthday Fingerstyle
Added my tips for learning the song and annotated TAB
No comments or posts by me for this module
Open 7th Chords
Playing Without Looking
The Backbeat Hit
Module 14 Practice
Rut Busting & Consolidation
BEGINNER GRADE 3
6 Guitar Areas You Should Practice
The Finger Gym Exercise
I’m also hoping this exercise will help with fingering for some of the more advanced chords such as sus4 barre chords
How to Link Guitar Chords Using Scales
A Capo for Two
6 easy steps for transcribing guitar songs
If you want more power chord songs to practice transcribing you can use the songs in Justin Guitar App. The song search function for the app is a little limited at this point but you can clear out the chords in the chord search and select all the major chords (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) to search. I counted at least 27 songs with all powers chords in the search result.
Just listen to the audio, but don’t look at the chords until you transcribe the song. At least you can slow down the song in the app and leave out the vocals
Module 15 Practice Routine
“Summer of 69” is the first song listed for Stage 7, since I am playing in the order listed in the book. That is 120 songs ( 1 Book One Grade 3 song and 11 Book Two Grade 3 songs in stage 7 to 9 have no video lessons, but there are 12 bonus songs with associated video lessons).
I counted 164 total Grade 3 video lessons, so there are more than 44 additional songs that are not listed in the beginner song books and so I may be looking at the additional songs later.
My apologies for writing too much, but this has been helpful for me to plan my Grade 3 practice and others might benefit from this discussion.
Easy Chord Shapes Up the Neck
Practical Music Theory Course
Reading Chord Box Diagrams
Music Theory Grade 2 Test
Aug 14, 13, 16, 17
Why Are You Studying Theory?
Rhythm Guitar Courses
Rhythm Guitar 1