my name’s Gwyn, I’m 37 years old and currently trying for the third time to learn guitar with Justin.
The first time was in 2019, with an acoustic guitar that I didn’t really like. 2020 followed another attempt, this time electric, which, uhm… somehow trickled out around the F chord, I think. It was The F chord. The dreaded one.
I switched to the bass for a bit, only to return. This time, I’ll plan to stick to it. Especially because I found this nice community and thought being active here would help.
So, here I am. Currently somewhere in Grade 1 around Module 3 - 5. Again, electric, because I have very, very short fingers, don’t like the clunkiness of classic and acoustic guitars and, one day, want to play shoegaze, funk, surf rock, and maybe… electric country.
So far I didn’t have much trouble, my fingers still remember the chords, chord changes work better than the last time, but! I still have my old problem:
I think strumming songs is boring
Maybe I’m a very technical player so far, but it just isn’t fun to me. I absolutely love practising scales for hours, trying to play as precisely as possible, playing songs that are picking only, but strumming… eh. Might be because I somehow fail to wrap my head around the concept of strumming songs but… yeah. I’m at a loss how to explain.
But I love my guitars, I want to get better, and this time I plan on sticking to it.
Glad to be here and I hope I can participate lots in the future.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome Gwyn! Glad to have you back and the community is so helpful in their process!
I am also not a strummer. I lean towards fingerpicking and classical. However, the foundation of rhythm learned and the ability to play songs early is totally worth some effort.
Perhaps by playing lots of songs in the app for fun will help and by the end of grade 2, bring in a bit more finger style and lead type playing. Just don’t let go of the rhythm and strumming completely.
I am in between grades 3 and 4. I spend a lot of time with classical and finger style techniques, but at least half my time is still working on timing, rhythm and strumming, playing songs in the app, from the books, or from Justin’s lessons on line.
The fundamentals are important to whatever your end goal is. Don’t skip them.
Hi Joshua, thanks for the welcome!
I absolutely don’t intend on skipping the fundamentals, even if it might hurt at times. I’m in for the long run, and who knows, maybe I’ll warm up to strumming at one point. One never knows.
Is the app so much different than the page? I don’t have a smart phone, so I can’t check it out.
But, yes, I definitely won’t skip on building a foundation.
The app is like a nice karaoke way to play along with the song. It is fun and helps with timing and getting cord changes on target.
Not everyone uses it. Playing with a backing track, an original recording or metronome can all do similar things.
It is really designed for a smart phone or tablet.
Ah, so that means I could just play along with a karaoke track or something. Good to know.
Thanks for answering!
Welcome to the community, nice to meet you. For me, learning to play songs all the way through was the one thing that made the effort worth it. I didn’t do it with strumming, I did it with fingerstyle, but you can just strum only once or twice in a bar. I quickly moved to more complex strumming, but it took my wife ages to get to that point when she was learning.
Welcome to the community Gwyn. I am glad to see, like the rest of us, you never gave up and tried again. It does not matter how many times it takes as long as you succeed in the end. It sounds like you love the arpeggios, which is a difficult skill to master, so you have a leg up. Once you are ready, I recommend recording yourself and soliciting feedback from the group here. Everyone is pleasant and tactful. We all know improvements are needed, but we won’t know what to improve without asking others. I wish you the best of luck.
Jeff from California.
Hi Tony, nice to meet you, too.
I tried playing Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog a few days ago, strumming and all (well, not “all”, my singing is sub par at best) and have to admit, I didn’t finish the song. I keep at it and hope at one point it’ll click and I come to love strumming. Picking songs, though, whole different matter. I love playing The Divine Comedy’s Freedom Road, for example. Even though it’s not that hard, I could pick away at the strings for hours…
But, I’m still at the beginning of my (third) journey, or maybe the third beginning of my journey, so there’s still a lot of hope.
Hi Jeff, thanks for your warm welcome and kind words.
I actually tried a few other courses between my short visits here, but I really like the way Justin’s course is structured, even if strumming comes first. This time, though, the chord changes so far miraculously work better than before, so I’m optimistic and hope to get further than the F chord.
I’ll keep your tip with recording myself in mind, also, considering how long it took for me to make this thread it’ll probably take a lot more time for me to record myself. It will probably be easier when I’m a bit more active in the community.
Good stuff. Singing makes it harder. I didn’t try to sing at all in the beginning. That came along quite by accident. My wife sang the first song I learned and I fingerpicked it. After she sang it probably 50 or 60 times I started singing in the chorus quite by accident. And then the light went off.
If you watch justin’s video on singing and playing, really understanding / knowing the song first helps. His video covered what I did quite by accident.
Hi Gwyn, Welcome to the community. If you want to try out the app and if you are Windows PC user, you can run the app inside of an Android emulator called BlueStacks.
Hi Gwyn. I had a thought when reading your introduction. If you like practicing scales maybe you’d like playing scales over a backing track you could record. Justin has some good stuff on the blues with tips on how to play without sounding like you’re playing a minor pentatonic scale. I never thought I liked blues, wasn’t sure what the style really was. Bought a book “The Blues You Can Use” my guitar teacher recommended and have had a lot of fun with it.
Hello Gwyn and welcome.
Horses for courses. I guess strumming isn’t for everyone.
Perhaps your path ad style could resemble mine.
I play and sing and I seldom just “strum”.
You might want to check out fingerstyle technique to mix up your strumming with fingerpicking.
You don’t have to go play rhythm and melody all together; creating some fantasies with picking seperate strings of a chord and adding some decorations in the form of sus2, sus4, 9, 7, maj7.
That really spices up your regular strumming and gives you a lot of room to add your own style.
The E shape barre is a crucial step to spice up your playing as well.
It is a big leap to a new territory of chords. Moving up the F along the neck, picking the strings differently and bam; your chord library just doubled and you have now 2 or more ways to play one chord.
Either way,a good strumming primer is paramount.
You need to solidify that fundamental to enable yourself these “higher tier” skills.
You might want to check out Justin’s Strumming Maestro course. He covers many strumming patterns and you may find a few that work for you for a given song.
Ha ha, I’d say the problem with me singing is my voice, but maybe I just don’t have the hang of it yet. I’ll look at the video, thanks for the recommendation!
But… your wife sang the song 50 or 60 times? That’s dedication, very impressive!
(Just found out I can reply to several post at once, thanks, helpful blue box. No spamming in my own thread )
@nhh2oskr Hi David, and thanks for the welcome.
An Android emulator, never thought of this, I’ll look into this. Thank you.
@cdhaem Hi Chris and thanks for the tip about blues. I wasn’t exactly sure when to look into the more specialised stuff, but Blues definitely is on my list of things to look into for later. I’m a bit interested in country, so, yeah. I’ll keep the book you mentioned in mind for later.
@SgtColon Hi Stefan, thanks for the welcome! I still hope I’ll find my hidden love for strumming
@LievenDV thanks for the welcome! Fingerstyle… I’ve never been sure about that, always thought you’d need fingernails for that. I keep mine rather short, because of the bass. I’ll have to digest the rest of your post, I’m not sure I even understand half of it My music lingo is a bit underdeveloped, to put it lightly. But yes, I’ll keep practising my strumming. I want a solid foundation to build my guitar house on.
@ChasetheDream thanks for pointing me to that course, Robert. So much to see outside the regular course, this site and community is amazing!
Thank you all so much for your encouraging words and recommendations!
No, I have no nails and I manage just fine!
Ha, I’ve experimented a bit with playing with fingers and thought “hey, that’s working pretty well” and then realised I was just plucking single strings, which is nearly the same as picking…
But good to read that it works for you without nails, gives me confidence for the future!
Many musicians don’t like the sound of their own voice. What has amazed me is how much my voice has improved with practice. The rally cry around here is songs songs songs. It should also have a chorus of sing sing sing.