Week 4 of learning - please can you offer help & feedback on That's Alright Mama play-along

Ok, here is a video of That’s alright Mama. Week 4 of learning the guitar from scratch and playing at 50% speed. I would like any pointers as to what is wrong and that I need to work on. I do realise that there is a lot wrong, but what should I concentrate on first?

My views are that the strumming is not consistent, I miss many of the chords and the A chord is the hardest one for me to get right.


Hi Tony, first off well done for putting yourself out there! Bearing in mind you are just starting I wouldn’t be so hard on myself, as you are still starting and in early days of your journey. Few suggestion from my end:

  1. keep the strumming hand moving all the time, when you were playing same chord for most (but not all) the time you kept moving your hand, whenever there was some doubt or you were changing chords you hesitated and lost focus. In order to get rid of it you must mostly focus on…
  2. one minute changes between A and D. Practice that along with Perfect Chord Changes, once you jump onto 30 changes a minute at least it will become more automatic.
  3. last suggestion I have is to roll up your strumming hand sleeve so your hand can get a better grip against guitar’s body, at the minute your hand is loosey Lucy and you want some sort of a support in order to not get any pain in your arm or to make strumming easier.

Hope that makes sense and will be of use to you!


Hi @adi_mrok Thanks for that. I know what you mean about loosing concentration on the strumming. When I practice just the strumming or just the chords, both are a lot better than this. However when I want to put it all together, it goes to pot! :wink: Still, as you say with practice this will improve.


Hi Tony,
How good that your first video is one where you are at the beginning of your guitar trip :sunglasses: :clap: … such a video would also fit very well in a Learning Log then you can look back at all your questions and your process over time (but that is what you personally prefer) , although you have the risk that far fewer people seeing it, but you only need one person to give you good advice so that you can go on with it (as above :sunglasses:)…anyway, you are doing great in this way and I wish you lots of fun and a long learning curve :smiley:


Hi @roger_holland ,thanks for that, I wasn’t sure that putting the link into 2 topics was ok. I will add it to the learning log as well as that will keep my 'journey ’ in one place.


Hi Toni,

how brave that you share the start of your journey with us. It reminds me of many good travel books, that always emphasise how difficult the first steps are in any journey, and actually spend many more pages in relative terms to those first steps than to the sum total of the journey.

@adi_mrok has got you covered with some good advice on the here and now.
Practice the changes, so you don’t have to look at the fret board. Make the chords sound right, without buzzing etc.

If the A chord is a bit tough with three fingers, don’t dispair, it will come.
There is an alternative two fingered one, where one finger maked a mini bar over the d and g strings and the second finger does the 2nd fret of the b string. That leaves one finger free to do fancy stuff, is less crowded at fret 2, but I would not call it easier per se.

After that all of that try and work on a consistent and interesting rhythm. You are for the time being strumming on the 1st beat, and you can let the notes ring out for the major part of the bar. It is easy to miss because you are just waiting for that one beat, and then you miss it. It is so important to be in the groove, so even if you play the first beat only, keep the arm moving, even if you are not playing the chord on that beat. You can practice that by making a strum on every beat, and count them out, using the newly developed skill in making quick changes between chords.

In the end the particular song you are learning will sound great with the ‘old faithful’ strumming pattern (down down up up down up) , and will support you doing the vocals, once you have locked it in your muscle memory wth the strumming.


Congratulations on your first AVOYP posting Tony.

Four weeks in, I thought you did a pretty good job. Some great advice from others though.

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Just wanted to add another thumbs up to you Tony for posting up a recording, 4 weeks in I’d be happy with that but certainly take onboard the advice Adrian’s given above. The only other thing I’d add is try and be a bit bolder / confident in your strumming with bigger movements, I found it helped with some of my consistency early doors.
Bravo, keep 'em coming :+1:

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Hi @Notter , I have been trying the bigger hand movements in strumming. Great idea it is easier to keep moving to the beat than the smaller hand movements. More practice needed to get it so that it doesn’t stop when the chords go wrong, but getting there. Thanks for that.

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