Over the next couple of months, I plan to perform six songs for my Grade 1 consolidation ( Todd's Learning Log - #83 by SocratesDiedTrolling ). As such, I figure I’ll make a thread here, and just post each successive song to it, so as not to clutter up the AVOYP area with more awesomeness than necessary.
My first song, and the subject of today’s post, is “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. As this is a guitar learning consolidation, showing I could play this song by memory at a party or a campfire, it’s just me, playing this song, no backing track or metronome, and not even my beautiful voice. I welcome your feedback.
Same video, but taking you right to the start of the song, avoiding 57 seconds of me introducing it:
Hi Todd. Well done, clean chords and steady strumming.
I’d suggest you try for a softer more flexible wrist action. At the moment your strum action is coming from your elbow and forearm which is ok at the moment when you’re playing slow single downstrums. Along the line when you introduce upstrums and faster more complex strum patterns, you’ll want your strum action to be a combination of elbow and wrist movement as your elbow alone won’t move quickly enough.
I do, indeed, have a learning log. It’s linked in the quote within your reply.
I did hem and haw a bit about where to place these. I considered posting them to my learning log, but figured I would get more feedback here. I decided to post rough drafts or works-in-progress to the learning log, but the final performances here. In making this decision, I also considered that these audio-video recordings of me playing are, in fact, audio-video recordings of me playing, so perhaps I should post them in the Audio-Video Of You Playing section.
If that seems unreasonable, though, you could delete the thread.
About the wrist action: something I noticed is that during slower strumming my wrist seems tense even when it’s not, but once the strumming speeds up my hand starts flopping around like a wet noodle because of the lack of tension.
Does your wrist FEEL stiff when strumming or does it only look stiff?
Sounding good Todd! I see you took that feedback around some people liking the chatter and others not . I listened to your chatting, you’re such a relaxed friendly guy.
Chord changes were great.
Here’s some potential strumming homework for your next video. If you wanted some .
Try to use an old faithful strumming pattern. Or vary strumming patterns within the song.
You’re strumming very close to the neck, really common beginner thing. Try holding your right shoulder back (like you’re going to sit up straight) - it should move your hand close to between the pickups.
It looks like your fingers are curled up. That actually makes it harder to strum. When doing strummy stuff, try to relax your fingers. Look at how JG holds is fingers in this one at the beginning: Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan | Easy Guitar Lesson - YouTube. They’re relaxed and floppy. That was literally the first video on my youtube home page, btw.
That sounded great!
You’ve had good advice on wrist action. You seem a pretty relaxed guy, I think your wrist may well loosen up without you having to think about it too much.
The only thing missing was a backing track or metronome and your beautiful voice.
@Willsie01 Thank you! I think you are right, regarding the wrist. It may loosen up naturally as I get more comfortable on the guitar. But… also… I think I tend to be a pretty stiff person in general (don’t ask me to dance !) So, perhaps I need to work on it a bit!
@jkahn Thanks, JK! I always look forward to your comments. They are always insightful. Regarding fingers, I never thought about that. So, now I will!
Some of my other consolidation songs I plan to use the Old Faithful pattern, so, we will get to see how that goes!
@Cingen Thanks! I think you are right about my wrist being a bit stiff. I don’t think it feels stiff, but I see what everyone is saying: I am getting all of my movement from the elbow. It should include more movement at the wrist and less from the elbow. I’ll have to work on that.
Having just watched it over again, to offer some self-critique: I started to increase the tempo about half-way through.
I think it coincided with when I accidentally hit my pickup selector switch. I wonder if me pondering that and laughing at myself sort of got me off tempo.
The second performance for my Beginner Grade 1 consolidation. Happily enough, I’ve really gotten back into guitar the past couple of weeks. (I had a rough time in December and January, and have been trying to get back in the swing of things.)
Some of the chords that were giving me trouble are definitely getting faster when I do my chord perfect and one-minute-changes. It appears I’m still having some trouble getting into the C Major chord fast enough in actually playing here… but, I’ll keep practicing that one for sure!
Anyway, without further ado, here’s my performance of “Silent Night” (More and Gruber, 1818). I don’t know which song I’ll do next. It will probably be “Mad World” by Tears for Fears (I know, I’ve got an eclectic list. )
Oh, one other note, it’s in 3/4 time and I’ve decided to do D, DU, DU. I like the sound of it better than just D, D, D.
Hey Todd, sounded good to me, the changes got smoother as you went on, bar the little stumble in the third go around ). It also seemed like your tempo picked up a bit going into 2, were you using any backing or click track into your headphones? That would help alot in keeping you honest so to speak.
Strumming was really nice and consistent and the pattern you went for was certainly more interesting than all downs.
A really good “getting back into it” recording, would certainly pass grade 1 for me. Don’t beat yourself up when you have a slightly extended period away from the guitar, it’s happened with me a couple of times due to life (in fact also through December and January!), the point is you’re pushing on when you can, and clearly still smiling which is frankly all that matters!
Hi Todd, coming along nicely. Glad you’ve got back into the swing of things.
One thing that would improve your performance here would be to add a bit of a dynamic by putting more of an emphasis on the beat 1 downstrum of your strum pattern. Doing that will also help to keep your timing consistent.
Looking forward to the next episode.
Hi Todd ,
Good that you are playing,and with improvement …at the end of the first video (8+minuut) your hand/wrist seemed to be moving a bit smoother…that will help starting with what Gordon says to make it more dynamic… and a little more view of your wrist / forearm gives the viewer a little more insight into whether this will go a bit better next time, good luck and above all have fun
Great job! I love how happy you are when you play. You can tell that you are enjoying yourself and that is half the battle with continuing to learn when it gets hard.
C is one of those chords, like many, that get easier the more you use it. Continue to learn songs that include it and you will find over time that your fingers will start to navigate to the correct strings. Find some Beatles songs with C. I know Hard Day’s Night has it, but that one is probably best saved for grade two once the F chord comes along…By the way, I have that same chord book
As others have said, I would love to see you add some more dynamics to your strumming. As you progress through grade 2, I’m sure you will pick up more ways to do that.
Would be great to see a Beatles song from you once you’ve learned one!
Thanks, all! It was a busy day (did a shift for clinical rotations for nursing school), so, I didn’t get to reply quickly, but I appreciate all of your feedback!
That all makes sense, I definitely could work more on strumming dynamics. I do play with it a bit during my practice sessions (especially the 6:8 strum practice, since it just sort of comes naturally to accent the 1 and 4). I should try to apply it more to this song for sure.
I definitely do have a problem with accelerating through the song. Watching it back, it seemed like the speed really ramped up with the start of verses 1 and 2 for some reason. I do try practicing with a backing track or a metronome, and it’s helpful. It seems when it’s just me, on my own, I tend to start speeding up though. (I’ve heard that’s pretty common with beginners, so I guess I don’t feel lonely at least.) I guess that’s something that might improve with more practicing with a track or metronome.
Thanks again! I’m looking forward to posting my next few consolidation songs and moving on to Grade 2.