TheFeralK’s Learning Log

Hello, here’s my Learning Log!

March 30, 2022

Where I Was

With no musical background, I started playing clawhammer banjo at age 47. That was almost 8 years ago, and while I still play, I am quite happily mediocre at best. About a year ago, I happened to pick up a guitar that was lying on someone’s couch and an amazing thing happened … I could play it! Well, I couldn’t actually play the thing, but it sounded nice when I touched it, and I was all Wow! I learned how to make a G, and a C, and then a D and I was hooked.

So in June 2021 went and bought myself a Taylor GS Mini, and thus began my Guitar Journey. This is two days in.

I played around for a little while and learned a couple chords and some strumming, then — thinking, hey with all that banjo playing I must be intermediate already! — I signed up for some Skype lessons. I liked the instructor well enough, I could start to learn Travis picking and some other finger style patterns and hack away through intricate stuff and I could spit it back, woot! Then it so happened that life interfered around Christmastime and I stopped playing ENTIRELY for about 3 months. Now that I’m back with the guitar in my hands, ready to re-start my lessons, it occurs to me Hey! I’m learning this fingerstyle stuff etc etc but just because I CAN learn it, that doesn’t mean I can actually play guitar and maybe I oughta learn THAT first, hmmmm?

So here I am, ready to learn. From the beginning.

Where I’m at Now

My approach to learning is far from structured. I’ve gotten Justin’s Beginner Songbook, and from there I’m picking out songs that I like, and can play, and am chording through them. Just now I’m working on What’s Up, Killing Me Softly, Dock of the Bay and How to Save a Life.

As far as Justin’s lessons go, I’m vaguely about Grade 2 Module 8.

I practice regularly, usually 1-3 hours a day. I just noodle around, and don’t follow any kind of rigid practice schedule.

What I’m Planning to Work On Soon

Wish You Were Here, Landslide, minor pentatonic scales, (trying to work up enthusiasm for) using a pick, and oh-god-do-I-have-to? the F chord.

Where I’m Going

I don’t have any stringent goals; I just wanna play guitar. Campfire level will be fine! I’d like to be capable of playing with other people. (Nobody wants to hear me sing, including me)

Well, now, I was going to post more recent thing , but as a new user I only get 2 links per post. I’ll be back to post more, or in another post.


Welcome to the Community, Kelly. A wonderful introduction with the clips. I can see you have great rhythm, get fully into your playing. Keep on with the lessons and that fluid practice routine. Look forward to following your progress. Now I am off to your AVOYP video.

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Welcome aboard Kelly :sunglasses:
I don’t recall many forum folk having come to the guitar via the banjo, but if it worked for Lennon, you’re in good company!
What a refreshing debut post in AVOYP playing What’s Up al fresco.
Solid strumming and magnificent views.
As an unstructured learner myself, I appreciate your pursuing the path of fun. Play what you like and you will improve at the same time.

Well, there are a couple of goals right there that will be greatly aided by following Justin’s course in a more structured way, albeit at your own pace.
Look forward to following your journey :smiley:

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Hi Kelly,
Welcome …and I have nothing to add to what the boys above me have said… Have fun :sunglasses: :sunglasses:

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Welcome to the Community Kelly. You’ll get lots of advice and support here. I’m off to listen to your debut AVoYP now. :smiley:

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Great stuff, welcome to the community. Keep having fun and don’t let the F chord get you down. When I started I was determined to do the full F barre chord and it took a couple of months of sounding dodgy before it started to work for me. Now I’m so glad I stuck with it. It’s a gateway chord to much fun.

April 2

Thanks for such a warm welcome to this community, I very much appreciate all of the comments and encouragement.

I’ve looked around the site a bit here, watched some of everyone’s videos, and possibly figured out how this forum works. I think maybe I’ve found a little home here!

I’m going to use this Learning Log as a little personal diary of sorts — mostly for my own uses — and y’all can look over my shoulder if you want. I have found that keeping regular notes of progress and achievements not only serves as a motivational role for me but also conveniently leaves a nice trail that I can look back on and see how far I’ve come. I first started doing this years ago with banjo videos, that link being the latest in a long series. I also paint, and I’m in a Discord group where I have a little diary of THAT. It’s good for me to have something to ‘answer to’, so that’s what this thread is intended to do.

I’ve been away for the last three months due to a complicated family crisis, and have been “home” for about a week. (I have home in quotes because I live with my husband in a tiny truck camper in the western US and am fully nomadic — this little tidbit has many impacts on my guitar playing, I’m sure). In the time I was gone I didn’t play at all. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been OBSESSED. I’ve totally drunk the Justin koolaid and am diving right in, songbook in hand. I’m eyeing up the music theory course as well.

I’ll tackle Wish You Were Here as my first ‘big’ project. I started yesterday !with a pick! and am into trying to nail that intro. I saw @sclay ‘s AVOYP and loved it!

Also yesterday, I verrrry slooooowly snuck up on the F chord and maybe, just maybe, it’s not as bad as I think.

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Looking forward to ‘looking over your shoulder’ and following your progress, Kelly.

If convenient, would love to see some of your paintings.

Keep on keeping on, ever onward!

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Good to see you starting a log Kelly, it will keep you on the straight and narrow. Look forward to hearing more as you travel down the road.

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April 8

My immediate goal this week has been just chording through things, without a whole lotta thought towards how ‘good’ it sounds, but rather how smooth it sounds and feels to play.

I’m happy with my progress, and sitting and playing by myself (I’m always by myself) sounds WAY better with guitar than it ever did with banjo. :slight_smile:

By request, here’s a painting of mine, the most recent thing I’ve done was a CHONKER at 75x75 cm (I usually work MUCH smaller)


Thanks for the update, Kelly

Beautiful landscape, majestic mountain range in the distance, sitting under the trees to play guitar, finest kind.

Beautiful painting. Colours are vibrant, sense of texture. Appreciate you sharing. But what pray tell is a CHONKER. I figured it might be the flower but a Google search result didn’t confirm that.

And your playing is sounding strong and steady. You are driving the rhythm with your thumb-strumming, lots of energy. As a suggestion you might want to a lighter, softer strumming action. And then be able to blend the tone to add dynamics.

Keep on keeping on, ever onward.

April 12

You’re right on it with the ‘softer gentler touch needed’ suggestion — I definitely feel like I harsh on my strings quite a bit and am actively trying to relax my grip. Playing with a pick I think helps because it really sounds terrible when it’s too hard.

I do it, too, as I’ve been making my first tries at finger style — here I harsh on a couple notes, and struggle just a bit with thumbing the F# …

Meanwhile, a cow!

Ha, ‘chonker’ would be referring to its large size :wink:

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The finger-style sounding really good, Kelly, lovely chord progression and good right-hand action.

Some would suggest trying to drop the anchor with the pinky to allow the hand more freedom to move forward or back to vary the tone, but certainly nothing wrong with anchoring. Perhaps experiment and see how it feels.

A most curious cow, looking at me looking at you playing :laughing:

Thanks for clarifying ‘CHONKER’ … new one for me.

That was nice. “Girl from the North Country”, right? (Or maybe “Boots of Spanish Leather”? They are pretty much the same.)

Well done.