Tony's Learning Log - 3rd installment added

Here goes.

Part one ------

For many years I dreamed of learning to play guitar. I tried about 30 years ago but it didn’t take. Life was particularly busy then (I was a single father with sole custody of 4 kids and held down a full time job, followed by meeting my 2nd wife and putting together a step family of 7) and I had teachers pushing me to do scales and such and my goal wasn’t very specific, just “learn to play guitar”. The busy life is what mainly contributed to me not sticking with it.

10 years ago a good friend of mine picked up the guitar and when I saw the progress he made in a relatively short period of time, I decided to start to learn again. And start over it certainly was, I could not remember any chords, all I remembered from my previous attempt was that you needed to hold your fingers close to the actual fret and for some reason I also remembered that the full F barre chord was better than the easier ones.

I also started with a more specific goal: “Learn songs that people will sing along to around a campfire”. We lived in a small town and had gotten into a circle of friends where live music was a constant, whether it was a birthday celebration or a friendly bbq, invariably one or more people brought out guitars and ukuleles and lots of music happened.

I also found Justin Guitar at the same time and his beginner lessons sure made a difference. I didn’t follow them super closely, but the ones that I remember that made a difference were:

  • Time your practice - so you do an actual 15 (or whatever) minutes of real playing
  • One minute chord changes - I stuck with changing between A E and D
  • The anchor finger using A with the index finger on the G string for chords A E and D
  • His lesson in the key of A for Blowin in the wind

Because his lessons were free and we felt a strong need to support him, I bought a number of his paper back song books and still have them. When I started playing my fingers hurt to where I could only play 5 minutes at a time, so I played 5 minutes 3 times a day to reach my goal of 15 minutes a day. Once I learned to play my first song all the way through, my motivation increased and it wasn’t long before I was playing 30 minutes and much more daily.

The first song I learned to play was Blowin in the Wind and by sticking to my goal it made such a difference keeping me motivated to play compared to my attempt many years earlier. My initial interest was only fingerstyle so when I did the quick chord changes from A to E to D it was while playing each chord fingerstyle.

I didn’t plan to sing and play because the other guitar players I’d spoken to said it was a lot harder to do both. My wife sung Blowin in the Wind with my playing guitar many times. One day, after she’d sung it 50 or 60 times, I accidentally started singing along in the chorus and thought to myself - this isn’t so hard after all. And since that point I’ve been singing to every song I learned.

To celebrate my 10 years of playing, I’ve recorded Blowin in the Wind for you as I do it now, only a slight variation on the original version.

Tony - Blowin in the Wind

A friend who saw my progress suggested a local music club on the Gold Coast of Australia which I joined. It made a HUGE difference in my progress. The ethos of the club is very much that everyone gets to have a go, whether an absolute beginner or someone who’s been playing most of their life.

I remember the first time I led a song at one of the club’s jam nights. The song I was playing was Let it be. I started and got about 3 bars into the song before I stuffed it up and had to start all over. Then I made it about 4 bars and stuffed it up again. All I got from the others there was encouragement and patience, and I made it all the way through the song. I learned heaps from those jams. Lots of new songs and also a recognition that when you lead a song in a jam, it’s up to you to own the song and own the temp. Having a dozen or more other players join in means it a cacophony of noise and tempo which was initially a bit daunting for me.

My wife and I loved the music club experience and we’ve made many great friendships there. I got involved in the committee for a number of years and served a stint as the president of the club. I’d encourage anyone to search out local music clubs and get involved.

Part two ------

A few of the things I learned along the way.

While playing at a jam at our music club which this time was outdoors, my song sheets kept blowing away. Another member commented to me that I typically play the same 3 or 4 songs in public and she encouraged me to memorize them. I took that one and what a difference it has made. I realize I was using the song sheets as a crutch and memorizing songs, once I did the first couple, became far easier than I expected. I’ve got about 50 songs or so that I can play completely from memory now. The ones I’ve not played in a while I have to look at the song sheet for couple of times and then it’s all back to memory. Besides being easier to play when around a campfire and there isn’t enough light to see your song sheets, playing from memory puts you much more into the flow of a song.

My first open mic was definitely a learning experience. And thankfully the audience was kind. I learned that in spite of nerves making you rush through your setup, resist the urge to rush. At this stage I’d only been playing for about a year and the other lesson I learned is to practice with as close as you can get to your stage setup in advance. I’d not sung in to a mic before and because I was still very much having to look at the fret board while changing chords, I could hear my voice fading due to the directional nature of the mic. So I tried to play a chord without looking at the fret board. Badly. As I said, the audience was kind.

I quickly got more open mics under my belt and they were going fairly well. I’d done a fair bit of public speaking in my career so being on stage in front of people didn’t cause me any major attack of the nerves. I still had nerves but nothing crippling or concerning to me. That is until I started playing more complicated fingerstyle on stage.

With my more complicated fingerstyle, suddenly I was faced with notes just not playing as I expected and when the nerves hit, they hit big time. There’s a saying about it being good to hit one’s head against a brick wall because it feels so good when you stop. That’s how I felt when I got off stage. But I was determined to get on top of the nerves. This puzzled my wife. She commented that when I play to family and friends either at dinner or around the campfire, I have no problem with nerves, so why bother trying to beat them on stage.

What I explained to her was that all my life I’d dreamed of being able to be on stage playing music. Many years I’d been in the audience wishing I could be “that guy” on stage. Now that I was able to grasp that dream, wild horses couldn’t keep me off the stage.

What did I do to get the nerves more under control? First was I stopped playing the more complicated songs I’d learned on stage. I stuck with the simpler and slower / easy songs. I also got my home gear setup a lot closer to the sort of gear I encountered on stage. Bought a good quality acoustic amp and the same mics we use at the music club. And I practiced a lot using that setup particularly before an open mic. It made a huge difference. I remember my first open mic after rehearsing with my improved gear. Dare I say I was almost relaxed.

The problem with nerves still reared it’s head from time to time and I was able to keep at it and do more open mics as each one gave me more confidence. I also formed a duo with another club member and we played at various open mics and got a coffee shop gig. I used to let him lead the first song due to my nerves only to find out his nerves were far worse than mine. After that I always lead with the first song. And I did a lot of mind over matter mental gymnastics to help me with my nerves. Reminded myself mentally of the many times performances had gone well, that sort of thing.

A bit less than 3 years ago we performed at a nearby open mic. It was at a community hall and there would have been about 100 people or more in the audience. They were a very welcoming crowd and as we started our set, I led the first song. It was going so well I mentally gave myself a high five. I mentally thought “wow, you are nailing this, what a star”… I also quickly adjusted the ego remembering the old saying about pride goes before the fall. Haha. We finished our set without issue and the crowd gave us the warmest of imaginable applause.

When I walked off the stage it felt like I was walking on 10 feet of air. It was an amazing experience and at that moment, every single frustration, ever hour of countless hours of practice, every sore fingers, etc, all was well and truly worth it.

Have I had problems with stage nerves since then? You bet. And I’m sure I’ll have them again. Yet it’s such a buzz when it goes well that I’ll keep at it. And thanks to all those great audience members who cheer and encourage us stage amateurs.

Part three ------

Stuff

When I first started playing I would hear Justin and others encourage me to play along to the original song / video. I just couldn’t do that so I’d play the song my way. In my head it was close to the original, in reality it was a fair ways off. It was just such fun to be playing old favourites. Now I’m much more able to play along to the original song yet don’t feel compelled to always do that. I’m proud of several of the songs I do that are along the lines of the original song, and also love it when an artist reinvents a cover. One example of that is the Civil wars cover of Billie Jean.

Completely different to the original and yet awesome in it’s own right.

After I’d been playing for a while, I noticed many of my songs sounded too similar. Justin has commented on this in a number of his lessons when he talks about the D D u u D u strumming pattern that’s very common, esp among beginners. So I started looking for songs that forced me to mix up the playing styles I have. At times I’m a bit lazy about this and that doesn’t worry me too much as I’m doing this for fun, not for a career. I’ve got a friend who has an enthusiastic exuberance with his playing that’s quite infectious, yet he seems to have only one strumming pattern and all his songs have that same sing songy feel to them. Hearing that sameness in his songs helped me to recognize the same in my own.

When I started playing, I tried using a metronome from time to time and at first it just didn’t gel with me. Trying to stay in time with it really sucked the fun out of my practice. I’m not suggesting learning new things is only fun and games but there’s a point where it becomes such a chore that I lose motivation and that’s what happened the first time I used a metronome. So I ignored it and tried it again some months later. Same thing. It wasn’t till I tried it a 3rd time, probably a year later, that it finally worked well for me. I had a real fun moment when I experienced the silent metronome effect that Justin talks about where your timing is so aligned with the beat that you don’t hear the metronome.

Along the way, a friend who’s a very experienced musician agreed to do a small set with me at a local open mic. We got together for our first rehearsal and played the first song. I thought it went well and asked him what he thought. He explained to me that I was speeding up through the song and he was trying to pull back my tempo through the whole song. Bummer. The next weekend I pulled out the metronome and played the song to the metronome dozens of times. Next rehearsal with him, we played the song (without a metronome) and when I asked him how it went, he said I’d nailed it. Accordingly, I encourage any / all to become friends with their metronome. I picked up a Boss DRS-01 acoustic drum machine which is more enjoyable than the various metronome apps you can get on your phone.

When I later formed a duo with one of our music club members, when we’d rehearse, the metronome came out when either of us struggled with the tempo of a particular song in our set. I really appreciated his willingness to grab the metronome. In my perspective the metronome tells the truth as to tempo and it’s your choice whether you want to ignore or listen to the truth. I’ve heard tell of others experiences in group rehearsals where people’s egos got hurt when even the suggestion of using a metronome was made. I remember being amused when I asked a musician friend purely out of curiosity if they used a metronome and their response was that they didn’t need to as their tempo is pretty good.

If, when listening to some of the tracks I share here on the forums, you notice my tempo isn’t as good / stable as it should be, using a metronome is a discipline and I’m far more lazy at times than disciplined. I don’t want to give anyone the impression I practice with a metronome all the time. Far from it. Recording songs via a DAW is useful as it’s easy to have the metronome / click track going when you record.

My initial passion was fingerstyle. After a while I started using a plectrum on some songs as there are songs that just cry out to be strummed. Also when jamming with others, it’s nigh on impossible to hear my fingerstyle over the sound of a dozen other strummed guitars. I remember watching a video where Mark Knopfler held up a pick and described it as the best / cheapest amplifier for any guitar. I still predominatly play fingerstyle. My wife often comments that she prefers the mellower / quieter sound of fingerstyle as compare to strumming. As we’ve traveled together on this guitar journey, she saw the immense pleasure I was getting from playing the guitar and decided to learn to play the ukulele. When we’ve played together, the quieter sound of my fingerstyle made it easier for her to play along as she could hear her own uke sounds over the sound of my guitar.

I learned a few fingerstyle patterns, and they were all fairly straight forward, even timed patterns. Then I learned a syncopated travis picking pattern and have had a lot of fun incorporating it into various songs.

So I learned this as a pattern, much as I learned the other finger picking or strumming patterns that I play. Then I’ve come across various lessons on Travis picking and it’s typically taught differently to how I learned it. They start with the thumb and introduce alternating bass notes and only after that’s mastered do they go on to the fingers. This wasn’t how I learned is and it made me wonder if I had the thumb independence that’s fondly talked about.

Several years ago at a post festival jam my wife and I were privileged to have another musician introduce us to what he called his favourite song. Guy Clarke’s The Cape. This song very much reminded us of our youngest son. He never actually jumped off the roof of the garage as described in the song, but the essence of the character in the song reminded us so much of him.

So I decided to learn to play The cape. And our son’s 30th birthday was coming up so my goal was to play it for him at his 30th birthday party. It took me 8 months to learn the song, quite a challenge. Along the way I discovered that I well and truly have that fondly discussed thumb independence. I also started using a thumb pick and now use it for most of my fingerstyle songs. I’d tried using a thumb pick a few times previously and it just didn’t work / gel for me, but with this song it made all the difference.

My version is quite similar to Guy Clarke’s version. One time I played it to someone we know and they commented, that’s not a song, it’s a workout.

When I was able to play it for our son at his 30th birthday party, it was another one of those experiences I described earlier where all the hours, all the frustrations, all the discipline of learning something difficult musically was completely and totally worth it. Such a buzz. Halfway through the performance at his party our 6 month old granddaughter became captivated by my playing as well. It was all I could do to maintain my composure. A moment I’ll remember for a long long time.

My wife has commented to me on numerous occasions how thankful she is for that day I decided to finally pursue the dream of playing guitar. The people we’ve met, the experiences we continue to enjoy, have definitely enriched our lives. For me, it’s become a lifestyle. If, on reading this, it makes you ponder taking it up, I encourage you to go for it. Don’t be concerned about how long it might take you to learn. That time will pass regardless so don’t let how long it might take factor into the decision. For me, the first few months were the biggest challenge, to maintain the motivation doing those early techniques like changing from the A chord to the D chord 60 times in one minute, feeling like your fingers have a mind of their own. For me, once I could play my first (admittedly very simple) song all the way through gave me the reward and motivation to keep at it. For you, it might be learning a simple riff or melody, but you’ll get that spark that tells you that yes, you can do it. After that it’s still a challenge at times, but it’s a fun challenge and you are doing something amazing. Making live music!!!

Some of the things I’m working on…

Blues. I’ve long been a fan of acoustic blues. Yet when I started playing and even after many years of playing, I didn’t have any blues songs in my repertoire. I realized it was partly because I was having such fun with the sing along songs that I play. I’d say about 3/4 of the songs in my repertoire are well known songs that many will sing along to. The remainder are songs that I’ve fallen in love with for one reason or another, typically less known folk songs. One of those is Motherland originally done by Natalie Merchant. The first time I saw Natalie perform this song (NPR Tiny Desk concert) it just grabbed me and I just had to learn it.

I’ve now got several blues songs in my repertoire and will continue to expand on that over time. When I first started playing the blues I kept stuffing up the timing. It was more like I was playing the 11 1/2 bar blues. So out came the trusty metronome and mostly I’m playing 12 bar blues finally. I’ve written a song - “I’ve got the 11 1/2 bar blues” but I can’t seem to play it in 11 1/2 bars now. Ha. On the subject of tempo, a friend of mine learned a song that I play, but in one of the verses, he dropped a beat out of one of the bars. He suggested we play it together and I struggled because his timing was different to mine. He seemed to feel bad about it. I put it to him this way, it doesn’t sound bad at all. When you play it that way, it works so don’t beat yourself up for missing a beat. It’s only when you play it with others that it becomes a challenge.

This leads me to discuss the challenge we all have when we compare our playing to others. DON’T!!! I’d even encourage you to not compare your playing to yourself. It’s a rabbit hole that’s not worth going down. There will always be others that can play far better than yourself, unless somehow I’m lucky enough to have Dave Rawlings or Tommy Emmanuel or Justin Sandercoe reading my ramblings. There are times I hear others play and I’m in awe of what they can do with their guitar. When that happens to you, be in the moment and enjoy their performance. And when you are playing your own guitar, be in the moment and enjoy the moment and realize you are doing something amazing… making live music!!!

Another challenge for me is more complicated strumming patterns. The blues has been useful because it’s taught me the swing beat. 16th note strumming is my current challenge. 8th note strumming is easy enough, but strumming on songs like Wish you were here is currently doing my head in. I’ve got a good exercise I do that incorporates quarter note, 8th note and 16th note strumming into the one exercise. Hopefully I’ll get out of lazy mode on that soon.

Another dream is to be able to play Doc Watson’s version of Deep River Blues. I’ve experimented with it and realize it’s within my grasp. I suspect it will be, for me, a bit like learning The cape, a long term effort.

Songwriting is another dream. I come up with lyrics quite easily, it’s turning them into melodies and complete songs that is my challenge. My suspicion is that I find this difficult for 2 reasons. First is I’m not really putting the effort into doing it, i’m too busy having fun with honing my current repertoire. The other reason is I’m primarily a rhythm player so I don’t focus as much on the melody with my playing. Yet I know with my singing I’m certainly in touch with many melodies. I’ve started Justin’s ear learning course as part of this. I’m not keen to see these comments generate any debate, it’s more of a timestamp of my perspective on where I’m at.

Also in the longer term category is learning to play lead / do improvisation. I’ve bought Justin’s lesson(s) many years back on Music Theory and on Mastering the major scale and have spent countless hours learning scales. And I’ve played a fair bit of improv to backing tracks. My efforts there underwhelm me in how they sound. I do play a lead break on one song in my repertoire and I keep at it and have several that I plan to do in the future. For me, so far, the countless hours spent on scales have been a colossal waste of time. Again, this isn’t meant to generate debate, just my current perspective. And also meant as encouragement to others who struggle with scales. You are not alone.

Music and mood

Like a significant percentage of the population in this day I suffer at times from bouts of depression. Music, specifically playing live music, has been a real benefit for in managing my depressive moods. If I’m having a down day, I can grab my guitar, start playing and singing and within 15 minutes or so I almost always feel noticeably better. It’s not a cure by any means, but certainly is a nice salve. I also noticed that the vibrations of the acoustic guitar against my torso are an important part of the experience. I have a Yamaha Silent guitar which is great for playing when I don’t want the noise to disturb others. Yet I noticed when playing it that for some reason the experience just wasn’t quite as enjoyable and I eventually worked out it’s the lack of vibration that was making the difference.

Dealing with mood is far too complex of a subject to be dealt with here and by a rank amateur like me, it’s definitely in the domain of qualified professionals. So if you suffer, like me, please seek professional help. Medication, exercise, sleep management and professional help are most important. Also pick up your guitar and have a strum and a sing. It certainly can’t hurt things.

Music Theory

I have a chequered past with music theory. When I first attempted to learn and went to beginner lessons with a guitar teacher, they told me I HAD to learn scales and it just didn’t work for me. It sucked all the joy out of learning and was definitely the wrong thing to teach at the wrong time. This was during my first attempt to learn about 30 years ago. When I started again 10 years ago, I avoided any theory like the plague. I was really focused on learning songs and just knowing the chords, the rhythm and the lyrics was all I cared about. As I progressed, I remember attending a Guitar Master Workshop and thoroughly enjoying the experience. During the workshop, the guitar master there would bring up various topics around music theory and such and that’s what triggered me to change my attitude and embrace learning as much theory as I can.

I recall my wife asking me why the change of heart. I explained that at the workshop discussions were happening that centred around music theory and I couldn’t even understand them, much less join in the conversation because I’d been avoiding it. I’ve certainly gained a lot of knowledge that I enjoy and that helps my musical journey now that I’ve embraced theory, I’m certainly no expert in it and there are times when a new theory subject really does my head in. Sigh.

My suggestion is if theory interests you, go for it, if it doesn’t, enjoy the music and have fun without worrying about theory or being pressured to learn it.

Highlight

Several months ago, when this now live community forum was still in its early / beta stages, there was a post about submitting a photo to Justin Guitar and a release form associated with it. I submitted the form and was pleasantly surprised to get a personalised response from one of Justin’s assistants. I responded to that post with a short testimonial about Justin Guitar and the difference it’s made to my guitar journey. I was quite pleasantly shocked to get a response asking if they could use my testimonial as part of their Star student series on social media. Such a buzz for me, here are the links.

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=460835485399711&set=a.292411212242140

Current update - Feb 2022

I retired in 2019 and we spent 6 months renovating our house ready to hit the road in our SUV and caravan (aka RV / camping trailer) and circumnavigate the continent of Australia. This is called doing the “big lap”. We signed a 12 month lease on our house and moved into our caravan only to have no where to go as covid hit and travel restrictions meant we had to delay our trip. Thankfully we live on 6 acres and were able to live off grid in our caravan until we could hit the road later in 2020. Many evenings were spent sitting around an open fire playing guitar and singing. We had fun in our own back yard. We’ve now been on the road permanently since late 2020 and hope to keep going for another 2 years or more.

When I chatted to a local friend about our plans, he said with the guitar we’ll be popular on the road. I wasn’t really sure what he meant, as time has gone on, we’ve had some great camping experiences thanks to the guitar. Much of the time I’m playing around our campsite on my own. Then some magical / impromptu moments come along that are most enjoyable. One time, in a state forest, I played guitar in the afternoon outside our camp while a group of young rock climbers set up camp on the other side of a dirt road. One of them came over, complimented my playing and asked if I’d mind coming to their campfire to play some songs. Those sort of requests never harm one’s ego. Another time, I was playing on my own in the camp kitchen and I heard a voice behind me say “That sounds pretty good”. When I turned around it was a young boy, barely a teenage. Soon he had another 4 or 5 of his mates show up along with 3 dads and we had a great sing along. Ghost riders on the storm was a hit the the young boys enthusiastically making cowboy hoot and holler noises. One of the dads shook my hand at the end saying it was part of an annual father son weekend that they’ll remember for a long time.

It was on this big lap that I started to get more serious about recording the songs I do, some of you have seen posts of mine on other threads about recording into a DAW and such. Doing this sort or recording on the road / in campgrounds has it’s own challenges which is why I’ve enjoyed recording next to the sound of running water and living with the more raw sound of a live performance.

I’ve got 3 songs from my repertoire to share here. Disclaimer: These are not fully polished or tidy and have plenty of mistakes that I at least notice. I’m happy with them as they are, and am posting them as a reflection of my progress over 10 years of playing. I started this learning log with an example of my first song and want to give a realistic idea, not a tidied or polished idea of where I’m at with my guitar playing. I’m very happy being an amateur musician and enjoy the raw / live vibe these recordings have. All three of the songs I’m playing here I play completely from memory.

The first song is Guy Clarke’s The Cape that I mentioned earlier. We just love the lyrics of the song and the chord progressions are fun to play.

The next song is Gordon Lightfoot’s If you could read my mind. I learned this song quite a few years ago and only started playing it again in the last few months.

The last song is Richard Thompson’s Dimming of the day. This was one of the earlier difficult songs I learned. I struggle to play this at open mics as the nerves still kick in with it.

Thanks for your patience with my long ramblings, I wanted to present a full history of the learning process I’ve been on and will continue to be on for some time to come. One of the greatest things about music is the community of musicians that we all are, sharing songs, and ideas and frustrations and joy with friends is what it’s all about and this forum certainly is a great part of that experience. I look forward to sharing tunes with as many of you as possible around a campfire, be it on the road or in the virtual community that we have here.

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That’s a great story, Tony.

It’s definitely inspiring to see how far your guitar journey has taken you!

I’m only on year two but I hope to still be at it in another 10 or 20 years.

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Hi Tony, great story and I really enjoy the song!

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Thanks for sharing your story (and the song), Tony, inspiring for us who are walking a similar road.

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I love this Tony and I’m so very happy that you are now living the dream.

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A very inspiring story of your progress Tony, great to hear how you achieved what you have!

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Inspiring and enjoyable story Tony. :slight_smile:

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Good to read Tony , and the song is beautiful :sunglasses:

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Cheers for the good yarn, Tony.
Having followed your posts since you joined, I recognise a number of those recollections, but it’s good to have the whole in a narrative in one place.
For me, the joy of your story lies not in overcoming your reluctance to sing, nor conquering your stage fright, nor your impressive acquiring of skills and public performing-
It is simply the way that guitar and making music has become such an central feature of your life.
Long may it continue.
Good on ya, mate! :sunglasses:

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Great read Tony. Looking forward to the next chapter.

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Really interesting read Tony, great to see you were able to beat the fear and fulfil your dream of playing live music. I admire your courage and hope to get some one day as well. And I admire your memory, wow remembering 50 songs and being able to sing them without any sheet of music in front of you, even if I train a couple of songs over and over again I keep forgetting words for some reason, which is very annoying!

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Thank-you for sharing your story with us, Tony. I look forward to learning more about your journey. Reading these learning logs really helps put all the other posts folks make into perspective with the background story adding a nice dimension.

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Most awesome story Tony, thanks for the share!

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Tony, I probably already said it, but your story just blows me away. You are showing me how much is possible with the right attitude, desire, determination, and patience. You are an amazing dude, but also just a regular guy. If a regular guy like you can accomplish what you have done so far, then so can I. Thank you, brother!

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I’ve just added the 3rd installment to my learning log. Thanks to everyone for their kind words on my 1st 2 installments. I’ve really wanted to capture of good summary of how I’ve gone along the way.

@Dave911 - Thank you so much. I’m glad the regular guy came through.

@Schmidtrock - You are very welcome.

@ChasetheDream - It’s a fun journey for sure.

@adi_mrok - I still forget words regularly. There are also times when I’m playing and mentally think while singing the 1st phrase of a verse that I have no idea what the 2nd phrase is, yet when the song gets to that point out they come almost as if by magic. And then sometimes they don’t.

@sairfingers - The next chapter is there now. :slight_smile:

@brianlarsen - Thanks, I did want to get a full narrative there. It will be interesting for me to come back to and read in years to come. Guitar is definitely a “lifestyle” for us.

@roger_holland - Glad you enjoyed the song.

@Richard_close2u - You made me smile, thanks.

@DarrellW - It’s great when I have those days that feel good, this morning I tried to play The cape again to see if I could improve on yesterday’s rough recording. My wife listened to my attempt, it barely succeeded as an attempt and laughed with me at how dodgy my playing was. Thankfully it improved and I was able to record the Dimming song.

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@batwoman - It’s an amazing dream! I still pinch myself to check that it’s really real.

@DavidP - That reminds me of a Darrel Scott song I hope to learn. I walk a crooked road. :slight_smile:

@firstrazor - Thanks Mark, really appreciate it.

@Rider2040 - I remember year two fondly, keep at it, the years roll by quickly.

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Quite an update, Tony, thanks for taking time to share your adventure, all the various facets. Lots of useful insight and wisdom for us following our own crooked road :wink:

Your performances reflect a competence and confidence that is the end result of your deliberate practice as you followed your own path towards mastery, that never ending path and adventure.

And Darrel Scott sure can play :smiley:

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Such an amazing and inspiring story in so many ways - thanks for writing up and sharing! :smiley: :heart:
I love how your music touches others and brings people together :grinning:

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Thanks. We are camped at a campground adjacent to a large music festival - the Port fairy folk festival. Just had a fun impromptu mini concert. Was playing at the camp kitchen on my own. Rather quietly two young boys came up to listen. After a couple of songs they ran off suddenly. They came back with their mums and their gran. The ladies had heard the playing from a distance but couldn’t hear that well so sent the boys as scouts to see if it was worth coming down. Ha. Played for a good while to all of them. They reckon I should get a gig at the festival. Such fun.

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If someone had told you when you were young you’d be playing to mums and grans ……:joy:

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