Z's Learning Log

Greetings, JustinGuitar Community! :slightly_smiling_face:

My name is Z, and I’m super new to learning to play the guitar. As such, I’m nervous about sharing myself on screen as a part of documenting my learning journey. I’m going to push through it – I think, LOL – for at least the following 2 reasons:

  1. I’m hoping that seeing the real, utterly raw learning of a complete, super newbie will help others know that they’re not alone in how challenging they might find it and that they should keep pushing forward to progress . . . and . . .
  2. I’m thinking that one day I will LOVE being able to go back and look at where I once was before I could play well.

I am hoping that as time goes on I will acclimate to being on video. For now, please forgive my nervousness. :slightly_smiling_face:

A Little about My Musical Experience/Background
I’m one of those people who is amazed at how wonderful music feels. I LOVE the sound of instrumental music and of voice. Chords and voice caress my heart and spirit and mind. I have the thought all the time that it’s such a beautiful gift and pleasure that we are designed able to experience music that way.

Music-wise, I learned to play the clarinet in the 6th grade and played it for years. I’ve sung for most of my life. I sang in college in a group that performed quite a bit.

A Little about My Experience with the Guitar
This is my second go at learning the guitar. The first time was a decade or so ago and very short-lived. A few months ago, a handful of Justin’s online instructional videos convinced me that it’s totally okay to not find this easy . . . and so now I actually believe I can do this, just with work and time. Before Justin, I had interpreted my struggles with learning guitar as an indicator that I wasn’t getting it and maybe WOULDN’T (ever) be getting it. So thank you, Justin, for turning that around for me. I’m really grateful and having a blast learning and growing.

I want to try to keep each individual post in my learning log brief, despite being talkative, so I will close this entry with a photo of my main learning guitar and a video of me working on playing the “E” chord and transitioning among “E,” “D”, and “A.”

Deciding to learn the guitar has been SUCH a good decision: It’s great for my mental health, and I just know it’s great for my brain health. If you are reading this and thinking about learning the guitar but are worried that you’ll be slow at it, please consider giving it a go anyway. I’m RIGHT there with you and am still getting major joy from it. My intention is to share in this learning log what’s making that the case. :slightly_smiling_face:

My Main (Learning) Guitar
I am a small woman with short fingers and small hands. People strongly advise us small people to learn on a regular-sized guitar, and I tried . . . I really did :sweat_smile: . . . but it was so discouraging for me that it made me want to quit. Instead of quitting, I decided to see what would happen if I picked up a 3/4 size guitar. This was maybe a decade or so ago, and at that time Wechter guitars were being produced and sold. I obtained an acoustic-electric travel-sized one . . . and I’m really glad I did.

Every now and then I pick up my standard-sized acoustic Yamaha – just to make sure I can replicate on it what I’m doing on my Wechter.

Here’s the Wechter:

Video 001 of My Learning Log

Practicing the “E” chord and Practicing Transitioning among the “E,” “D”, and “A” Chords

Well, that’s it! Thank you so much for visiting my learning log! Many blessings all around!

Until next time!


Your post is awesome. Welcome to the community. Your story takes me back to when I started learning 10 years ago with A E and D chords. Justin’s one minute chord changes lesson helped me a lot. Keep at it, you won’t regret the hard work it takes at the start and it gets easier once you start playing full songs.


What a gorgeous video sounds great well done on the progress!

1 Like

Hiya Z and welcome to the community!!

Such a relatable story with your previous failed attempt, I really like your comment that Justin’s lessons make it clear that it’s ok to not find this easy, so true and probably the biggest thing we all need to hear when we’re starting out. Really not sure why we assume we’ll be able to pick up a guitar and just play!

Awesome job with your video too, terrific idea to start logging progress this early, you’ll definitely look back in time and smile at how far you’ve come. Chords all sounding clean and I’m impressed that you’re deliberately not staring at your fretting hand for the changes, nicely building the muscle memory early on.

Really looking forward to seeing you progress and to more video updates :+1:


Hi Zys,
Nice and clear story. You will get there, I am convinced, … and how cool that you immediately post a video of your exercises. :sunglasses:
What I want to give you as a tip (and maybe not necessary at all)… Practicing chord changes without looking you should only start if you can handle them completely well by looking first, because now your fingers don’t learn the right position at once to take the shape,…because that’s how you don’t build muscle memory,…by doing it right (practice perfect) you are buiding muscle memory…but maybe it’s already right in your head and this is the first time without looking…and it’s the red button that works against you :grin: …have fun and I look forward to seeing and hearing more from you,


Hi Z, thank you for sharing your story with us. Very nice written. I like your video. Have a lot of fun with your guitars. A singers background will be very helpful for the future when you can sing along with your playing. Seeing forward to see you in your next video!


Welcome to the Community, Z. What a wonderful first Log post, much wisdom shared in it.

Excellent idea to post the videos and to review them after posting. Studying the videos will provide invaluable feedback.

Look forward to following your progress, slow and steady, and in due course you’ll be playing and singing songs that use the A D E chords.


Well done Z and vibes from me for posting your first video.
I’d echo the point about looking at your fretting fingers. Of course in the long term you want to be able to form and change chords without looking. (the occasional glance is fine of course especially much further on when you start playing barre chords up the neck). In the initial stages you have to look in order to make sure your fingers are in the correct place and to build muscle memory.
As you’re already a singer I also look forward to hearing you play and sing in the future. :smiley:


Welcome to the Community Zys and thank you for sharing your story and your progress to date. Huge congrats on posting a video at this stage, very courageous even if it is just practice. But we all start at the same place. So starting a video log is a good way to track your progress and see how far you’ve come, later down the line. Well done and if you ever have any questions shout up and someone will be along to help !




Hi Z, welcome. You are playing the guitar yeah! You’ll master those chords and will be playing and singing soon. Just go step by step and you’ll get there.


Hi Z, great start to your learning log.
You have a good attitude. You allow your ears to tell you if it’s right and you show patience and calmness. We could all do with a bit more of that! Well done.

Best of luck

:guitar: David


Hi Zys thats a great start to your learning log and a lovely looking guitar. Thats a fantastic idea incorporating video logs. It will be amazing looking back at them as you progress in your guitar journey and see how far you have come along. Look forward to following your progress.


Hey Z great to have you here and love your attitude - I think with keeping at it you will get far. And I am seriously admiring your guitar and how it sounds with I assume just a phone recording, wow!

I reckon a few weeks or months and you will be smashing those changes with some nice practice songs in your routine :wink: best of luck!


Oh, wow, everyone!

Your comments are blessing me so much! I’m so grateful for them. I’ve read them several times. It is so valuable and heartening to receive your encouragement and feedback. Thank you over and over. What a great community. It’s so good to be here. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@ tony
Aw, Tony, thank you so much! Wow, you are 10 years in. Congratulations! :muscle: It’s good to know that about the one-minute chord changes. I’ve been doing them, but I think I will gain more from doing them now that I’ve begun to look at my fretting hand while doing them. And it is oh, so encouraging to hear that it gets easier once one starts playing full songs. THAT will be lovely. Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ RobDickinson
Rob, thank you so much! Yay! I feel encouraged. :hugs: That “well done” went straight to my heart: It’s good to hear that, particularly when you are a self-learner learning without much feedback. Thank you for taking the time to say that. Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ Notter
Notter, awww, thank you so much! Your comment is so encouraging. I’m grateful for it! Yes, I agree: It’s so important to hear that difficulties at the beginning don’t indicate lack of ability to become good at the guitar. I think because I never had this level of difficulty when learning to play the clarinet, my difficulties with the guitar SHOCKED me. Especially since I was not learning with or from others who might have advised me otherwise. I wonder how many people start learning and then just lay it aside, incorrectly assuming that they shouldn’t be struggling the way they have. You wrote “Really looking forward to seeing you progress and to more video updates.” Awwww: This is incredibly encouraging. THANK YOU. And godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ roger_holland
ROGER! I could KISS you. :hugs: What you are saying makes SO MUCH SENSE. And it’s so important!!! Thank you for taking the time to share that piece of advice. I address it A LOT in my next videos. Awww: Thank you so much for the encouragement. It means a lot to have others care about your progress. Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ Helen0609
Helen, aww, thank so much! I’m glad to share, and thank you. And thank you for the advice to have fun. Ha!: Thank you for the wonderful encouragement. It’s such a huge support to see others caring about your progress and cheering you on. :heart: Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ DavidP
Thank you, David! Awwww, thanks so much for your feedback. I can’t tell you how encouraging and supportive it is. You are so right: I’ve already learned a lot just from watching myself in Video 001, and it’s really helped (especially combined with the helpful feedback here). Slow and steady. :slightly_smiling_face: It’s so affirming to hear. Blessings, and godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ sairfingers
Sairfingers, thanks! And OH MY GOODNESS, you are so right about looking! When I saw feedback about this from you guys, my brain said, “OH MY, OF COURSE! That makes so much SENSE.” :woman_facepalming: :grinning: Thank you for taking the time to share that with me. Aww, thanks!: It’s so encouraging to hear that others care about your progress. :hugs: Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ TheMadman_tobyjenner
Aww, Toby, thank you so much! What an encouraging comment! :slightly_smiling_face: You wrote: “Well done, and if you ever have any questions shout up and someone will be along to help!” What a wonderful community! That’s so good to know. And thank you for the “Well done”: Learning in isolation without feedback, that “well done” means a lot. I’ll carry it with me. :hugs:Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ dobleA
DobleA, you’re right! LOL. I am playing the guitar, aren’t I? Woot, woot! :smile: Thank you so much for the encouragement. It means a lot and truly helps. Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ BurnsRhythm
BurnsRhythm, aww, thank you so much! Your comment is so supportive and encouraging. I hadn’t even thought of those qualities (patience and calmness), but once I read your comment, I sat up a little straighter in my seat and thought, “Yeah. That’s right. I’ve got those going for me.” :hugs: Thank you for pointing that out for me. I’ll carry that with me as I go forward. And as I mentioned to another poster, the “well done” is soooooo appreciated: As a self-learner, I haven’t had the chance to hear that very much, and it really encourages. Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ Socio
Socio, aww, thank you so much! :hugs: Your comment is very encouraging. It is deeply encouraging and supportive to hear that others care about your progress. Ha!: I think so, too: It’ll be so fun to look back at my progress. Godspeed with your playing! :grinning:

@ adi_mrok
Adi Mrok, awww, thanks! That means so much to hear! Thank you. Your comment is so encouraging. :hugs: And thank you for the compliments on the guitar. It’s making me like it more :smile:. (I, too, was surprised at how good it sounded on the video. I used my laptop’s webcam to record it.) And, yes!!!: I’m looking forward to the day when I’m strumming a song. It’s mindboggling to imagine myself being at that level, but I know it’s coming! EX.CI.TINNGGG! :grinning: Thanks again, and godspeed with your playing! :grinning:


Video 002

Hello! I hope this post finds you well! :grinning:

Below are my next video log entries. I’ve divided Video entry 002 into 4 shorter videos to make them more easily digestible.

My aim is to get in a few weeks of practice before posting my next video log entry.

I look forward to any (gentle) feedback you might have. :slightly_smiling_face: As always, many blessings!


Video 002a
2 minutes, 58 seconds
What I Learned from Watching Myself in Video 001 and from Your Feedback

Video 002b
2 minutes, 39 seconds
Physically Learning the Fretboard: Using My Guitar along with the Fretboard Quiz App

Video 002c
52 seconds
The Peter Gunn Exercise from the Justin Guitar App: How I Presently Fare at It :grimacing: :smile: :slightly_smiling_face:

Video 002d
3 minutes, 7 seconds
NEW TACTIC Based on What I Learned from Your Feedback:
Practicing Chords and Transitions While Looking

QUESTION: Do you think my fingers are too slanted?

Thank you so much for visiting my learning log!

Until next time!


Hi Z, you’ve taken your feedback onboard. Your chords are better now that you’re watching your fingers. By watching them you can make them go where you want them to go. Once you have them trained you can try not watching again.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the angle of your fingers at this stage. The most important thing is to fret the strings cleanly so that the notes ring out. If you can do that you must be doing something right!
Justin brings in all sorts of exercises throughout the grade to help get your fingers moving. One such exercise is the Peter Gunn riff. It’s not just a little riff, it teaches you to use your fingers independently, fretting notes and building up finger strength. Your worst note in that riff is the fifth fret A with your little finger. Try playing all the fretted notes with that finger. Try playing them with your third finger. Go back to playing with all four fingers. Try playing the riff on any string. Play around with it and it’ll build up finger strength and dexterity. Think of this building over months and years rather than days and weeks.
Also slow the riff down. Try to make it sound even. Even in time, even in volume, even in tone. Then you can build the speed back up again.
That’s what I’ve been doing with all the Grade1 riffs and it’s helped my general playing.

Good luck

:guitar: David

1 Like

Thanks for this feedback, @BurnsRhythm! Very, very helpful. Your comments about the slants of my fingers will help me not to worry. That means a lot, because I definitely don’t want or need my guitar practicing to become a source of worry. :slightly_smiling_face: Your comments about the riff are also very helpful: I really wasn’t too into practicing the riff, but now I can see a purpose in it. I won’t mind slowing down and getting gains from it, now that I can see what those gains can really be.

Thanks so much! Take care!

1 Like

Good share Z, you are taking onboard advice and making good progress. Also cool you are learning the notes on the neck early in your journey and that app seems very supportive of the process. Doing good with Peter Gunn, slow and steady to start. Get the right notes, the right timing and the build the tempo. You are learning well grasshopper. :cricket: And don’t worry about the fingers too much. Yes to start with you should keep them perpendicular and when Justin first teaches scales, this is what he suggest and being on your finger tips. But as you progress on to learning licks, you actually need flatter finger for a number of reasons - string muting, supporting bends and vibrato etc - so yes try and straighten up a little but don’t get hung up on it. As Justin says “if it sounds good it is good”.

I think folks starting to learn after you will find these insights into your practice very useful, so keep sharing !!



1 Like

I am sure these videos are helping you, Z, and may also help others who are at a similar stage in their learning.

You appear comfortable and articulate on camera plus mastering the video production. This bodes well for that point further down the road when you begin to introduce, play, and sing songs.

Finger-string orientation: I think @BurnsRhythm makes a good point not to obsess about it. That said, I think giving it attention and working slowly towards the palm being closer to parallel to the neck is a good idea. You can take it slow and make small adjustments which will feel less uncomfortable.

Good job on learning the names of the notes on the low E or 6 string. I’d suggest make a habit of always saying the note name as you fret. You did it sometimes. I think it helps internalise by playing, saying, and hearing. I have also heard a suggestion that it is better to have a reference in front of you to check, even if it takes time, to ensure getting it right every time. Again a muscle memory thing.

On Peter Gunn I thought you did well to be playing it at the tempo you did, and David’s suggestion to be slower and even is a good one. You can begin to use a metronome to aid that. I liked the head bob to keep in the groove. Much like the comment on the angle of the palm, try to get some stretch on the note played by the pinky by sliding the hand up the neck a little less. You may have to slide it for now, but slide it only enough to be able to reach the note with some stretch.

Last suggestion would be to find something to raise your right foot rather than crossing your leg. I think that will be better for posture.

Once again, excellent update and progress!

1 Like

Hi Z
I agree with the others that your learning log will be useful to others at the same point in their guitar journey. (I don’t like that expression but can’t think of another!).

Justin has a series of lessons that he did a while back with a girl called Tammy. I think perhaps Covid put a stop to the lessons and I don’t know if he plans to restart them or follow up on her progress. Have you seen them? Here’s the link. You’ll find the answers to a lot of your questions in the videos.