Willsie's Learning Log

25th July, 2022
I’ve revisited the 1 year goals I set at the beginning of 2021 and think that I have only partially achieved any of them. I think I’ve made progress with adding picking into strummed accompaniments to songs, although some way to go. I also had a goal of learning 12 songs as a repertoire but I’ve actually not learned that many completely. I have started more then 12. Some quite near complete. Here’s some I can remember:

Blackbird (very incomplete)
Across The Universe (Thereabouts but too slow)
Harvest Moon (Not all chords played cleanly)
Help! (Needs a lot of work)
Heart Of Gold (Thereabouts, a little to go)
I will (Lots of Barre Chords and I struggle with them)
New York State Of Mind (Very Tricky Chord Shapes)
Paint It Black (Iconic picking pattern. Accuracy needs improving)
Sam Stone ( Slowly Learning finger picking)
Shallow ( Easier then I thought it would be)
The Last Time (trying to play a hybrid version, which I’m learning slowly)
The Needle And The Damage Done (Nearly there)
The Wind (Have a simplified intro and verse finger picking but need to get the
strummed chorus down)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Close but haven’t played it for a while. Might have slipped!)

Additionally, easy strummers.
California Dreaming’
The Ballad of John And Yoko (the fast lyrics trip my tongue)
The Fool On The Hill (Nearly there)
You Know I’m No Good (Nearly there)

Is this a reasonable situation for 18-24 months learning?

Songs I want to add, off the top of my head:

Me And Bobby McGee
Love Will Tear Us Apart
1952 Vincent Black Lightning

24th July, 2022.
I made three attempts tonight to make an AVOYP of Harvest Moon but each time a huge flub messed it up. I’ll probably give it another try next weekend but in the meantime I’ll post a short YT clip of the song here as part of my log. Didn’t know where else to put it. Hope this is an ok approach. I’d welcome your advice on this one, which is pretty tricky.

Old Info Below

I’m creating this “Road Case” without the foggiest idea what one is. I gather it’s somewhere to record one’s guitar journey. While being fully aware that there is absolutely nothing about mine that could be even remotely interesting to anyone I’m doing it to help me break out of the Cul De Sac my guitar and I have been stuck in for quite a while. My experience of this forum is that there are members knowledgeable enough and generous enough to give me the advice I need and I’m hoping that won’t change!

I’m a member of a rehearsing group and we have the ambition of open mic nights. That is currently on hold because of Covid and we meet like so many do on Zoom.

I’ll put my personal history with guitars, before I came across Justin’s site, at the end of the post because it’s not very significant and I’d advise skipping it! For now I’d like to talk about my goals! These are the thoughts I came up with after watching Justin’s video on goals in his Effective Practice series. And put here after reading Batwoman’s post on her goals for this year, in her road case.

1 Year:
Learn/Revise 12 songs that I can play and sing with a little bit of embellishment.
Continue with PMT and learning fretboard.
Learn jamming skills (but what are they :D?).
Work on barre chords.
Finger picking/strumming techniques.
Work out a lesson path. (This possibly is the most important step)

2 Years:
Become a reasonable, jamming, band member.
Rhythm & solo player.
Refine and advance 1 year goals.

4 years:
Develop as a solo acoustic player and singer with expanding repertoire.
Refine and advance 1 & 2 year goals.

Long Term:
Recognising the fact that I’ll be 73 in April I’m planning on becoming a digital musician in the future so I can continue with music if the time comes I can’t play the guitar due to arthritis in my hands, etc

Pre-Justin Guitar Journey
The first time I had a guitar was when I was given one as a Christmas present. Probably late '50’s, when I was pre-teens. I also had Bert Weedon’s Play In A Day, which I worked through and ended up being able to strum the open position chords 4 down strokes to the bar with my thumb. Tried plectrums but never got on with them. The guitar must have been cheap and not very playable because it never stayed in tune. it was never a satisfying experience so I ended up not touching it very often. No idea what happened to it.
Fast forward to the 70’s and I’m living in a small flat in Woodside Park, N. London with my girl friend. Drawn into a guitar shop at Tally Ho corner one day I see one of those adverts for a guitar teacher, albeit a classical guitar teacher. Were there contemporary guitar music teachers in those days? I never found one. Maybe I didn’t know where to look. I contact him, he helps me choose and buy a classical guitar and I have weekly lessons which end up with grade 2 and 3 passes! But they don’t help me know what to do to play Beatles songs on the Yamaha acoustic I bought at the time! I move to St Albans and lose touch with the teacher as well as losing the enthusiasm to play guitar.
Marriage and children came along and guitars willingly put aside for the new experience. We moved abroad for a few years and the guitars were locked in the attic while the house was rented out. When we came back the padlock had been broken and the guitars gone!
Fast forward well over 35 years to December 2016: I come across the Justin Guitar website by chance. Can’t remember what I was looking for. I was 68 and thinking about a retirement hobby although I didn’t get around to actually retiring till I was 71. After a few videos I end up in Denmark St., London, on a Saturday, (on my way to watch West Ham play). I buy an £850 Faith Blood Moon Venus. Not at all what I had set out to get! Been my daily instrument ever since.


Look forward to more updates, John. I remember that stolen guitar story. The Faith sounds fabulous, as showcased on the cover of Fire and Ice just shared.

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It was good to read your story again John and it’s even better having you here. Like you, learning to play guitar was part of my retirement plan.

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Good to see you move this across and great to reread old stories. I think it is really important the the “old” forum regulars do this, so those joining us from the old “discuss” pages on the website, get to know who we are and that we’re all just like them, doing what they are doing. I hope these “newbies” start to fill the Roadcase section and add to the ranks.

Next update please !



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