I have browsed a bit in the community, and was not sure that I should prepare a learning log. It seems somewhat of an effort, and to what use, as I am not following the grade precise JG grade 1-2-3 logic here to learn guitar. That would have been helpful some ten to fifteen years ago, when I started finding material to learn on the JG website. Nonetheless I guess, I hope to be progressing in the things that I do with a guitar, and with that I guess it is a good thing to put pegs in the ground where I am, and to leave a trail of breadcrumbs how I meander from one challenge to the next.
So, and taking a leaf out of the various examples of a Learning logs, there seems merit in recounting some history, of the things I have learned, and to register in a central place the material I have posted here, and probably update them as I will go on.
Broadly, in my guitar play, I am mostly acoustic. I am working on what Justin calls solo Blues, basically Country Blues, slowly working on a variety of styles and performers, dating back before the 2nd World War, until say the Folk revival period in the 1960’s, and the UK’s discovery of the Blues, through travelling emissaries such as Big Bill Broonzy and Brownie McGhee. My source for this is the DVD series by Stefan Grossman, which gives me more material than I can ever hope to master. So various songs by Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, Rev Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee and Robert Johnson are all on the Bucket list.
Solo however means alone, doesn’t it, and given that I am a member of a music club, where the emphasis is on harmonica playing, and the guitar work is mostly on accompaniment, Blues rhythm guitar is an important part of it. And, to boot, many great harmonica players were active in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in the Chicago style Blues. So there is a bonus to be had to learn more different styles and the different guitar parts used in the accompaniment of people like Slim Harpo, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters etc. Also, when playing together in a Jam there is always the unavoidable question of doing a lead solo, which I have consistently ducked.
Finally there are many good songs in the various songbooks by JG, and have I think the complete series, both beginners books, the acoustic book, the vintage book as well as the rock guitar book. They are an excellent basis for wandering out of the straight blues repertoire, but also provided the material for the very first songs that I brought with me in the Harmonica club. Among the very first songs that I ever ‘performed’ in the club are straight out of the songbooks: ‘Where did you sleep last night’, ‘Folsom prison Blues’ and of course ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’, and they stayed with me all these years.
Somehow I would need a plan it seems, and that is where perhaps this Log may help me in mapping where I came from, and the particular challenges that I would face.