Swas' Learning Log

Hi everyone, I am Swashata Ghosh from India. A Software Engineer by profession and a wannabe Guitarist.

So I have started Grade 2 and this has opened up quite a lot of possibilities for me. I am learning songs that I like. Not all of them are English songs, my native language is Bengali, but I am from India, so Hindi songs are also my Jam. I see no reason why I should create new topics for things I am learning and practicing (they don’t always sound good :grimacing:), so I am creating this learning log for just sharing with you awesome people and my safekeeping. Maybe I should start from the beginning.

Sometime in 2011-2012

I am blessed to have a very dear friend who is a great guitarist (not professionally). I know him since college. He would play at our cultural fests and I’d always be there on the front seat to cheer. I loved the music he played. He and another guy did a fusion on Indian classic and Blues and it was mind-blowing. Sometime during 2012/2013, when we were in our final year (or maybe 3rd year, I don’t remember much) we made a deal. I would teach him programming and he would teach me to play the guitar.

So one fine evening, we sat at his place and he introduced me to his electric guitar (Epiphone Las Paul) and let me make some sound. What an awesome feeling. Then he handed me over his acoustic guitar and started teaching me a few things. I don’t remember what exactly we were doing, but I lost interest very soon. Mainly because of the finger pain (this I remember very vividly).

I thought it would be “cool” to play the guitar and have all that attention, but certainly, I wasn’t ready to commit. Truth be told, I already had a lot of attention being the “wizard” programmer of our college and I was happy with it. I have always enjoyed music, but maybe I wasn’t ready then. My focus was on something else entirely.

June 2016

Fast forward to 2016. I have moved to a different state and was not in touch with my friend a lot. At that time he was working at a Software company. One day I was talking to him on the phone and the topic came up that how we both tried to teach each other music and programming and how we both failed miserably, and now it is a little ironic that he is working on developing software. Of course, he teased me a little that I never really learned the guitar and I was like, “you know what, I am living alone with my dog and working from home, I have quite a lot of free time, this time I will learn”.

I asked him what guitar to buy and he suggested a few. But he forced on the fact that I should go to a store, just play a few in my budget and choose the one I like.

“Pick the guitar that you see yourself playing in front of people in a few months”

that was what he told me. Sadly I did no such thing, just bought a Yamaha F310 from amazon (being one of the top-rated ones) and started to play.

I played for a few weeks, but the finger pain was too much and I stopped. I packed the guitar and just stored it away.

Mid October 2021

Fast forward to 2021 and one day I had the urge to play my guitar again. I said to my wife, I am going to pick up the guitar again and this time I will learn. Let’s not get into the reaction I got (I absolutely do not blame her bdw) :rofl:.

Anyway, I unpacked the guitar and found it in a really bad shape. The bridge was coming off, the body was swollen. I took it to a local shop and they did a really bad job. On top of that, they fitted with a bad and cheap string. But this time I didn’t stop.

I found this app “Yousician” which had a gamified approach to learning. I did enjoy it for a month, but then I realized I wasn’t learning anything, apart from a few chords and looking at the app to guess when to make a strum or when to pick a string. I had absolutely no idea how to play on my own, without using the app, at all.

November 2021

I googled and thank god I came across JustinGuitar’s website and app. Subscribing to the app was a no-brainer and since then I have really started to enjoy my journey. I soon learned the strumming, the rhythms, beats, bars, how to practice, and whatnot.

The experience got better and better as I started progressing. I did record a few videos around then but the most fun was me and my niece “jamming” on my dog Scooby’s birthday :sweat_smile:. Here’s the video.

I did appreciate the progress I made in a month with Justin. He is an amazing teacher.

I also did the course on Beginner Guitar Buying Guide and changed the strings to a D’addario 9 gauge ones. I wish I had known it earlier. The cheap ones my local shop fixed with had already started rusting.

December 2021

I finally told my friend that “hey, look I have learned a few things” and man was he happy. This is a video I recorded back then.

I kept on practicing for at least an hour every day. I must mention that this is also the time I was interviewing for a great job (the one I am doing at the time of writing) and being able to play the guitar was a stress buster for me.

The day I got the job offer, I couldn’t resist my itch (or GAS maybe??) and started bugging my friend to suggest me a good electric guitar. We researched, I went to a shop, played a lot of guitars, and finally settled on my Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder “Sassy”.

Finally, I posted my first video on the JustinGuitar community and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. This boosted my morale and I kept on practicing more. I also posted my first AVoYP and learned a lot from the feedback.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in this great community to make my journey enjoyable. I couldn’t have done this without you all.

January 2022

I finished Grade 1 and moved to Grade 2. Not much to share right now. But there’s this one song “Dooba Dooba” (a Hindi band song) that I always wanted to play. The strumming pattern is too hard for me right now and also the chord changes. But after learning the 16bit strumming and stuck 3&4, I improvised a little and today I was able to play this.

Still, miles to go, but I will keep going. My new job starts in Feb and I intend to keep on practicing and playing for at least 30 mins every day.

That’s it for now. Thank you very much for reading about my journey. I will keep on updating as I find myself at a milestone moment.


Enjoyed reading your story, Swashata, glad you’ve finally found the right path to learn.

Rhythm of the new piece sounded pretty good.

Keep on keeping on and look forward to more recordings as you go.

1 Like

Thank you @DavidP for always encouraging me!

1 Like

Such a good vibe story, truly enjoyed it throughout. Really like the swift from first video to last, I can clearly hear better rhythmic lines and more fancy stuff added on, you are doing great Swas! Justin has a cool fingerstyle version of Happy Bday for beginners I think next time around you will play the more difficult one and it will be a great example how you moved on as a player :slight_smile: all the best!

1 Like

Hey Swas, I really enjoyed reading this and watching your videos. Thank you so much for making me smile before work on a Friday morning!

1 Like

Good stuff Swas’ looks like you’ve found the right place to learn, just like so many more of us!
Looking forward to seeing you progress down your journey to learning to become a musician!

1 Like

Thank you, Adi, yes I have also seen the happy birthday fingerstyle from Justin. I actually tried to learn that, but it was too difficult for me. But I absolutely love the idea of giving it a shot again. Thank you for the inspiration.

Thank you, Dave. I am glad to have made you smile :smile:. I read your introduction and looking forward to your first recording. Keep rocking :sunglasses:.

Thank you Darrell for the inspiration. It really means a lot to me!

LOG: 16th Jan, 22

NOTE TO SELF: Always check if a song is available as YouTube video lesson before relying on the app and trying to figure out on my own. Maybe I should let the app team know that it would be good to have links to YouTube videos inside the app. Also the app doesn’t show the “Songs for Module X” videos.

So I am on Grade 2, Module 8. I have learnt stuck 3&4 chords. The app suggested I play Wonderwall. I liked it very much.

The chord progression in the app is (2 bars each) [Em7 → G → D → A], [C → Em7 → G → Em7] and [G → D → A->A]. I didn’t realize Justin meant it to be practiced with 3&4.

The good thing, I realized the strumming pattern on my own. I am writing it down, but I have a feeling the ending [3e-a4e&-] is a bit wrong.

1-&-2-&a3e&-4-&a [bar 1, from Em7 to G]
1e&-2-&a3e-a4e&- [bar 2, from D to A]

I have practiced it with open chords. I have also recorded. I am having trouble finding my way from D to C, so it needs practice.

Bdw, last week, I had my old F310 fixed again. It turns out, the bridge is still coming off, but the repair will suffice for now. I have adjusted the truss rod to turn the neck a bit backward. This has decreased the action and the guitar is very much playable now, Yayy!

Now I will watch the lesson and play accordingly. Still waiting for the delivery of my capo though.

Need to practice for open chord progressions (even though I have a feeling that it will be easier to play with 3&4)

  • Work on C → D chord changes.
  • Overall work more on finding fingers on C chord directly.
  • Em7 is a new chord that is not yet taught in the videos. So I am going to be forgiving to myself.
1 Like

Hello @swashata! Great write up and story. I look forward to hearing more. You are moving at a faster pace than I am, so serve as good inspiration to me.

Also good vibes for posing you playing and story! I am still one of these camera shy, so have yet to do so. I think it helps, should be fun and there is no reason not to, but…ha! Thank you again!

1 Like

Good update, Swashata.

As you point out the intention is to play the song with the pinky and ring finger on 3rd fret of e and B strings for the G, C, A, Em chords. Not sure if the pinky stays down for the D, effectively then a Dsus4 (not sure if you’ve encountered sus chords yet), or gets lifted just for the D chord. The lesson will surely clear that up.

Strumming rhythms sounded good but beyond me to comment on accuracy. When you are ready you can read the lesson discussion for more input on the strumming pattern.

Keep rocking on, you’re doing great.

Glad to hear the F310 is playable.

1 Like

Thanks Jamolay, I am glad that you liked my story. I used to be camera shy too, but maybe after many online/offline conferences, presentation and everything I just don’t care anymore :sweat_smile:. Why don’t you just post a recorded sound of your play and we can go from there? I will be looking forward to it.

And about the pace, really I am just practicing a lot. I will be joining a new job on Feb 1st and I have had nothing to do since November (also the time when I found JG’s app and course). I am pretty sure things will slow down once I start my day job. But I think if you are happy with your progress (like I am), then that’s the only thing that matters. Playing for ourselves mean, we can play whenever we want, whatever we want and enjoy it.

Thanks David. I have watched the lesson and have modified the practice. I will be posting a video of it too!

1 Like

LOG: 20th Jan, 2022

Still practicing the Wonderwall by Oasis. It is not there yet. I can play almost good with the app, but certainly not without it. I have written out the chords progression for verse 1, verse 2, bridge and chorus from the video.

Also I am practicing Heart of Young. If I am not doing the little riff, then it is pretty good. But when I try to do that, I struggle. Any tips for that is really appreciated.

The video below is the recording of my practice session. Before recording this, I used the app to play along Wonderwall and Heart of Young, two times each. I think I did good. I am not sure how I held up the tempo in the recording, without any background metronome or the app. Please let me know.

Things in the video (in the order)

  1. wonderwall
  2. Heart of Gold
  3. Zombie
  4. Some improvisation
  5. Dooba dooba

I didn’t cut anything, so you’ll hear me starting over the songs again and again :grin:.

Question to the community

  1. Any tip on managing the little riff on HoG? I’d like to be able to play this anywhere I have access to a guitar. I love this song. I can play pretty good if I skip the riff, but would like to get it done. Is there any practice routine I can follow?
  2. I’d also like to include a 6 strumming song (like Nothing Else matters). The one mentioned in the website course, isn’t available in the app and for Nothing Else Matters, I can’t play the B7 chord yet. So if any app user can suggest a song, I can practice along.

You’re doing well, Swashata.

Your strumming action looks relaxed and fluid, you keep the hand moving smoothly. Chord changes generally good, and will just keep getting better.

In terms of the HoG riff, all I can suggest is slow it down and do it over and over and over. You should also check the lesson to make sure you have it right. I am not 100% certain if you are spot on.

You might look at “House of the Rising Sun”. In the app it is 4/4, but it is really 6/8 and Justin’s lesson on the website goes through it in several ways. You could do a simple strum and use a mini F instead of a full barre F and do fine.

Thank you David. I will start the practice on the legendary F chord now. With the new job and all, I plan to spend 2-3 months on module 9. Finally the time has come to take things slow :frowning:. I will manage to find atleast 30mins everyday. Posting videos here really helps keep me motivated, especially knowing I have you :hugs:.

Thank you Jamolay for the suggestion. I will take a look.

1 Like

Short entry: Still practicing HoG. About 10mins everyday.

I am putting up video of my fretting hand because I don’t feel very clean on the D and C chord, especially C. It’s relatively harder for my fingers to find the exact position at the same time. With D, I think my first and second fingers know their place, but 3rd finger lags.

1 Like

Looks good swash was expecting a longer lag than this, only at the end C chord became bit sticky but early on was great which suggests it’s the changeover from G to C is a tricky part. Add some One Minute Changes to your practice for a few mins a day plus practice this song over and over and you will hit the jackpot, you are pretty much almost there :blush:

I hear you @adi_mrok I’ve been doing that. I don’t understand how my brain works.

When I am doing one minute changes, my brain and fingers are like “get on there, fast fast”, when playing songs, it’s like “hold up, what’s the hurry” :rofl::rofl:.

But yeah, now I have started to enjoy the whole thing and sometimes I actually like the music I am producing. Thank you very much for all the inspiration :hugs:

1 Like

Such a good idea to post such a close-up to get some feedback, Swashata.

My 2cs worth as am advancing beginner grade player …

The C chord fingering and changes generally looked good.

Looking at the D chord I’d suggest working to get the index and ring fingers closer to the fret wire. Perhaps try rotating the hand, dropping the outside edge (pinky side) down.

As you have observed the ring finger is lagging the index and middle fingers. Perhaps spend some time with the technique of placing the fingers, lifting them just up and off the strings but staying in shape and then placing again. Over time lift the fingers further away from the strings. Eventually make the shape, touch your knee, make the shape, repeatedly to help school the ring finger.

1 Like

Thanks David for your insights. I followed your advice to lift up my hand while keeping the shape and yes, my ring finger just wandered off, breaking the shape on its own. I will keep on practicing and log my progress.

1 Like