Todd's Learning Log

Hi @SteveL_G99!

Thank you so much! And, I’m glad if I can help inspire others to put themselves out there. Especially here. It’s a very friendly, warm community, so, the risk is very low.

Yes! I do use the Presonus AudioBox USB 96, which comes with their software, Studio One 6. I have enjoyed it so far without any real problems. It works well, and all three of my videos were recorded with it. It was a bit hard to figure out at first, but, there are a lot of videos out there explaining things, and that got me through.

Let me know if you get one and have any specific questions!

Best Wishes,

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Your enthusiasm is indeed contagious Todd and kudos to you for putting yourself out there so early in your journey and doing so well in your playing and progress too. :bowing_woman:t3:

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@Nancy15 Thank you so much!

I figure I should update the log, since it’s been a couple of weeks! Do not fret, for I have not given up guitar! :wink:

I’m still practicing Grade 1, Module 5. The chord for Module 5 (Cmaj), and the chord for Module 4 (Dmin) are still my two slowest, and I feel like they can still use some work, so, I’m still repeating this practice, and making sure to pick songs with those chords involved for the end of my practice sessions. I’m planning to stick with this module for a couple weeks more. It’s a busy time for me with school and work, so, I didn’t practice as many times last week (once, instead of the usual 4-6 times). Final exams are next week at university, so, who knows how much practice I will get in this week or next, either. But, hopefully I’ll get in a little.

Some of us only update our logs every few months :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

One practice a week though - if you can, try to pick the guitar up for just 10-15 minutes a day if you’re busy. Or even 5 minutes if that’s all you’ve got. 6x 10 minutes beats 1x 60 minutes hands down.

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Yeah, that makes sense, as far as trying to get some time in, even if it’s just five minutes or what have you.

There is a thread here

with several good suggestions, especially mine :wink:

Seriously, a lot of music is written in 4-bar chunks, so I find writing out the chords, 4 bars per line on the page, often reveals patterns that help a lot with memorisation.

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Thanks! I’ll check it out. So far, I’ve memorized one song, and that was just via repetition. It was a fairly simple song, though, “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. I like your idea of breaking it down into 4-bar chunks. That would work pretty well for that song, actually, as the intro, chorus, and verse, are each multiples of four bars (Intro: AAAA, Chorus: AADA AADA, Verse: AEAD AEDA).

Hi Todd,

Yeah writing it out 4 bars to a line was a big help for me, like @jjw says, a whole lot of music is written with a 4 bar repeating pattern, so if you can identify that, the task of memorising is suddenly a whole lot easier.

I’ve found a lot of songs have a 4 bar repeating pattern with exceptions, so it’s the same 4 bar pattern, except in the bridge where it switches to a different 4 bar pattern (often with many of the same chords), or maybe they mix it up for the outro or for a guitar solo.

You’ll still find songs that are a struggle to memorise even with this technique, but it’s good for a solid majority of the stuff I’ve been trying to learn.

Once I’ve worked out the pattern, written it out by hand, and got to the point where I can play it without looking at the chord sheet, that’s when I start using Justin’s memory spacing strategy to get it fully baked in. Seems to be working pretty well so far.


Thank you for that! I’ll check out that lesson as well!

One of the songs from the app I’ve practiced before wouldn’t fit the 4-bar pattern. It’s easy enough to remember anyway, as it’s just the same rotation of three chords repeated for the whole song. It makes for nice practice, though, if you’re trying to work on one of the chords involved.

I have my one-to-one lesson scheduled for this Wednesday with Justin. I look forward to that, and will make sure to let everyone know how it goes. It’s still pretty amazing to me that I was offered such a lesson, so, I plan to try to just soak up as much as I can from it.


Hi Todd,
Very nice for you, … lots of fun :sunglasses:, and don’t be afraid, it is safely behind glass :sweat_smile:

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My one-to-one session happened, as scheduled, and it was pretty great! Thank you to the forum member who donated their session to me. I was downright shocked when I was given this opportunity, and I’m sincerely grateful! Because Justin never mentioned your name in the forum, I won’t mention your name here, because I don’t know if you prefer to remain anonymous. So, you know who you are. Thank you so much! :heart:

For my full write-up, here it is in the one-to-one lesson thread: The 1-to-1 Sessions - #79 by SocratesDiedTrolling

Grace and Peace,

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” - Socrates


I’m getting back into the swing of things in the New Year. I had maybe only practiced once in the past couple of weeks, and practice was pretty spotty for a little while before that as well. I’m not going to delve into it here, but, December isn’t always a jolly time.

To break out of that slump, I finally played a song I had been wanting to try for weeks, Silent Night, a traditional Christmas ballad, in 3/4 time, at a peaceful 61bpm, only requiring three chords: G, C, and D7. Having recently gotten G and C, this seemed like an obvious, easy song to play for Christmas. So… here is me just winging it without having practiced for quite a while, or having practiced singing and playing it at all, last night!

Also, today, I got in my full, prescribed, practice, plus the othet little things I usually try to get in with practice (ear training intervals, riffs, songs that I’m working on [e.g. The Addams Family theme]).


One of my friends, when he heard I was learning guitar, said he wanted to do a song together, me playing and him singing. I’m pretty excited at the prospect, honestly! I gave him a list of songs from the first few modules of Justin’s program, as I was fairly certain I could learn to play any of them with some minimum level of facility. He chose “That’s All Right Mama”.

I can play it with a quarter-note strum pretty easily, but, that’s probably not the most interesting way to play it.

I’ve also tried playing it with “Old Faithful,” but, in his video, Justin says it sounds a bit funny playing this one with Old Faithful. Also… the song seems a bit slow, relative to how I’ve previously practiced Old Faithful… I keep running away ahead of the backing track. So, obviously, if I’m going to play that one, I’m going to have to work on slowing down and staying with the track.

Finally, I’m thinking of “boom-chuck”-ing it. I think, normally, a boom-chuck would be done at double-speed, and I’m not there yet. I just decided to try playing it with a slower boom-chuck, bass notes on the 1 and 3, strumming the higher strings on 2 and 4. Here is the video:

What do you think? Any advice? This is just a bare proof of concept. It’s the first time I tried playing this song through (or any song) with this pattern. I think, with some practice, I could get it a lot smoother (e.g., make fewer mistakes).


What a cool project, Todd. I think that sort of thing gives added purpose to practice, making the practice all the more fun.

Good plan to try a boom-chucka rhythm. I know you said boom-chuck but I think it will lift the level if you can add the upstrum after the down strum on 2 and 4. In theory just a matter of hitting the high strings on the way up to play the bass note. I’m not sure how far you into strumming to know how much of a challenge putting theory into practice may be.

I also liked your body movement in those moments when you were getting into it. Sure you can build on that as you keep playing the song and get more and more familiar with chords and the rhythm.

Rock n roll on!


Hi David!

Thanks! I, honestly, hadn’t even thought about doing anything on the up-strums there. I’ll have to give it a try on my next practice time! I’m currently at Module 6, and this strum isn’t directly practiced anywhere (at least not with the app), but, it’s mentioned in Justin’s video on this song, which I found on YouTube. So, I just sort of picked it up from there.

In about 11 months or so, my friend also wants to try performing an original song of his together. He’s written the words and I think he has sort of made up a melody to sing it to, but he hasn’t come up with a chord progression for it. I might be working on that, and asking for some help here in the Community for that!

If you’ve heard of the cycling sub-discipline of cyclocross… that’s what his song is about. Both he and I are big cyclocross fans, and he even runs a cycling podcast, which he’s had me on before. Anyway… that’s what the song is about, cyclocross. With his podcast, he actually works as press/media at the big US cyclocross events. We wants to try to perform his song at one of the professional team tents at our cyclocross nationals. So, that could be pretty wild. :rofl:



Hi Todd,
As David says this isn’t a boom chuck thing, because (or as I’ve learned)…that includes that up strum,…but now we’re going to talk about naming…whatever you does is a good start, and it’s just a matter of a lot of practice,…unfortunately for me, what that boom chucka boom thing looking easy to learn,…it took me quite a long time and if I don’t practice it for more than a month, I need quite a long time again,…but there are players who learn it with a much much shorter time,…I’m often a bit slow, but luckily I have a lot of time,


Hi Rogier!

Thanks! That totally makes sense. I’m sort of imagining it in my head. I don’t think it has come up, the boom-chucka, in any of my lessons so far, so, I was just trying to imitate what I saw Justin do in his YouTube video on this song. I didn’t even think of the up-strum part, but, I’ll definitely give it a shot!

And, hey, we all learn in our own time, and all have different things and modes we are better with. I, for example, have some proficiency at learning Philosophy, hence why I went and got a graduate degree in it and teach it. Many people find it dense and useless. :rofl: All that to say, I’m sure you’re doing awesome! Besides, it’s all about the journey! Just keep swimming, or, practicing guitar! :slight_smile:



All good Todd.

And once you have the upstrums worked in then try the alternating bass note. You’ll find that in the song lesson that Roger shared, I’m sure.

And I am sure it will be in this lesson which if I recall correctly was the song lesson Justin referenced when he introduced boom-chucka in the old Beginner Course. Not sure what chords you are playing abut given grade, I figure this will be right up your street, since it is simply played with A D and E.

Wonderful longer term project to work on an original. Sure there’ll be plenty of jumping in when the time comes if you post up a Topic and look for some help.

As for cyclocross … that is a new one on me. I assume it is like motocross on bicycles.

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It’s most popular in Europe, especially Belgium and The Netherlands. It’s not as popular here in the US, but, still has a decent ‘cult’ following here. I don’t know if there is much of a cyclocross scene in South Africa. Anyway, it began as off-season practice for Euro road cyclists, riding their road bikes through the Belgian country-side in the Winter, but became a sport of its own around the early-to-mid-20th century. Basically, it involves riding bikes which are mostly like road bikes, but can allow somewhat wider tires, and the terrain involves a mixture of dirt, mud, grass, and even some human-made obstacles which often require dismounting the bike and carrying it. There is often some paved area, but it’s generally less than 10% of the course, usually the start/finish straight. The races are about an hour or less, so it’s a shorter, but therefore very intense, bike race. Oh, and it’s a loop, like less than 2km or so I think. So, the race usually involves anywhere from 4 to 10 laps of this loop, so, many cyclocross races have “grand prix” in their name, due to this grand prix format of the sport.

So, yeah, we’ll be working on this cyclocross song sometime this Spring/Summer, to get it ready for our cyclocross nationals in December.

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