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Here’s my month 6 video:

If you ask me, my strumming in the beginning isn’t all that great. I think I’ve regressed a bit there. I’ve also really gotta get to the point where my fretting fingers land at the right location. I notice, especially on my C chord, that my fingers slide into place after landing.

If you stick around long enough, you’ll be treated to (or horrified by, depending on your perspective) the song that my 9 year old son and I have been working on for the past few weeks. It started with a simple power chord riff that I came up with on the spot months ago and we built off of that. I know it’s not a masterpiece, but I think it’s catchy and fun to listen to. It is very satisfying to write a song. I definitely think I’ll keep writing songs!

Anyway, I’ll probably do a separate video for the song, to keep them segregated from the guitar progress videos. My son sang the song, and I got a lot of footage of him doing so, so I’ll try to get some of that in it.

Thanks for watching! Constructive criticism welcome.

Ever since I’ve started playing barre chords, they’ve been difficult for me. I’ve probably been practicing them for 3-4 months now, and every time I practice them for any length of time, the fleshy area between my thumb and my index finger on my left hand swells up. It’s not filled with fluid, so I think it’s the muscle, as it gets firm too. I was concerned about it at first, but then figured it was my hand muscles being weak and needing a workout.

Well, 4 months into barre chords, and my hand is still doing the same thing. I expressed my concerns to my guitar teacher and we looked closer at my technique. He noticed that I had an extreme angle with my wrist and suggested that I try to reduce that angle as much as possible. Well, I just did a practice section where I reduced the angle and I noticed significant improvement in my hand. I have a little bit of the same symptoms, but at no point did I have to stop because it was hurting too much.

I know that face to face lessons can be expensive, but if it’s at all possible, I recommend them. It’s extremely valuable to be able to pick the brain of someone much more experienced and to have them review your technique for problems.

Here’s hoping I’ll be able to master barre chords now!

Here’s my 5 months video. I’m starting to get more comfortable in front of the camera. I think it also helped that I was still a bit loopy from being rear-ended earlier in the day. It was a very minor accident and there was no damage to either vehicle, but my concentration and thinking was thrown off for a few days. So you’ll need to excuse me…

It’s take 2 because the first month 5 video I made was done on my MacBook Pro, which looked and sounded awful. Prior to this video, I had been playing around in GarageBand and having a blast, so I purchased some recording equipment. The take 2 video was recorded using the studio microphone instead of the camera’s mic. It made a world of difference. At least in the video on my computer. The YouTube compression makes the difference not so noticeable, but it’s there.

This video introduces my Taylor acoustic. A great guitar, but more difficult to play than an electric. I only included the song I’ve been playing in each of my videos. The rest of the stuff (power chords, scales, lead patterns) are better suited for an electric, and I suck at barre chords on the acoustic (see month 4 video, it’s worse than on there).

This video contains parts of the song from the last video, but in addition to that, includes my progress on a variety of other aspects: barre chords, power chords, scales and lead patterns.

This was my first video posted. I was nervous. I had been playing just over three months at the time of this recording. I’m playing my Fender Stratocaster, which was a Christmas gift from my wife.

Try to guess the song I’m playing!

Were you able to guess the song?  If you don’t want to watch it all the way through, here’s the answer: Take it Easy, by The Eagles (highlight the text to the left to reveal the answer)

Up until this point in my guitar playing, I primarily focused on strumming and chord changes.

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Any time you hear or read an interview with a musician, one of the questions that is asked nearly ever time is “What are your musical influences?” Although I’m not at the point where I can call myself a musician yet, I’ll go ahead and answer that question anyway.

Basically, here is a list of bands I’ve listened to for any extended amount of time:

  • Nirvana
  • Green Day
  • The Offspring
  • Godsmack
  • System of a Down
  • Megadeth
  • Disturbed
  • Metallica
  • Tourniquet
  • Skillet
  • Brian “Head” Welch

This isn’t a comprehensive list, it just gives you a general idea.  I like heavier stuff. I’m usually not into the really heavy stuff with growling, incomprehensible vocals, although I do enjoy the musical part of it.  Really though, I enjoy all kinds of music, except for rap and most of the stuff you’ll hear at dance clubs.

Expect to see covers from some of the above bands and others that are similar.  Probably not anytime soon, but they should appear in the future sometime…

I know a lot of people say they have guitarists they look up to or inspire to sound like.  Not me.  Not really.  I’ve never really been one to idolize people, although at some point in my learning, I’m sure I will study various guitar experts to learn from them.

I’m a beginner. Most of what I play right now sounds awkward at best. Why on earth would I post videos of my playing?

I’m the kind of person that when I pick up a new interest or hobby, I do a ton of research on it. Often, this period of research lasts several days to several weeks. Since my first two attempts at learning guitar failed due to being unable to reach a level of proficiency quickly, I wanted to get a realistic idea of how long it would take to get any good at this thing.

I ended up at YouTube and wanted to find videos on people’s progress over time. I found a lot of “guitar progress” videos, but very often there were only one or two videos and none that were consistent over any real length of time. After I had been playing for about three months, I decided to create my own videos.

I have no idea how long I’ll keep making these videos. I have no intention of quitting guitar, and if I’ve lasted this long, odds seem to be in my favor on that. I’ll likely keep making progress videos until there is little visible progress month to month. I don’t expect that to happen for at least a couple years. As I get better, I’ll also start posting videos of me playing cover songs, and hopefully eventually some originals.

I hope that my videos will prove to be inspirational to other people just starting out. It can be frustrating and discouraging when you’re starting out and even simple things seem to be extremely difficult. You see all these videos of people who play incredibly well and you think you’ll never get there. I want my videos to show me going from bad to good to really good. I want to show newbies that it can and will happen, it’s just going to take a very long time.

I’ve decided to document my journey as a guitar player.  I’ve been putting up videos on YouTube for a few months now, but there are times when I want to document something, but don’t want to take the time to create a video.  That’s where this will come in.

I’ll give a quick overview of my guitar playing history.  I got my first guitar when I was 15-ish (give or take a year).  I remember my motivation.  I was introduced to a guy who had only been playing a few months and he was awesome.  Seriously.  He was.  I thought if he could do it, so could I.  I didn’t take any formal lessons and this was in the dial up internet era, so there were no internet instructional videos.  I think I lasted all of two or three weeks before I got frustrated because I wasn’t shredding it up like that other guy.  Looking back, it’s possible that they were pulling the wool over my eyes, and it’s also possible that he merely learned to play power chords and used a lot of distortion and my memory is fuzzy…

I didn’t pick the guitar up again until over ten years later.  This was a few years ago.  I had been playing the Guitar Hero games for a while and was decent (most songs on Hard I could beat and a few on Expert).  My desire to learn to play was rekindled and I bought a cheapo starter kit.  I don’t think I lasted three weeks that time.  I seriously overestimated the amount of time I had available.  I was dating my soon-to-be-wife at the time and she lived over two hours away from me.  That, combined with work, didn’t leave too much time to practice and it was a pain to pack up the guitar to take with me when I went to visit her.  So I shelved the guitar until I had more time available.

Fast forward a few years.  We’re now married and I have time (I work at home).  We moved to North Carolina and we started attending a church down here.  After years of living in rebellion of God, I gave my life back to Christ and I started getting the desire to learn to play so I could worship in that way.  After much deliberation, I decided the best way to keep myself motivated was to purchase a nice guitar instead of using the cheapo I had.  That motivation works, too.  When I get frustrated and don’t feel like playing, I think of all the money I have invested and I pick it up anyway!

I also decided that lessons were in order this time.  Instead of trying to teach myself, which didn’t work the first two times, I wanted someone to teach me.  I found a local instructor and at the time of this writing, I am still taking lessons once a week.  It’s really helped.  He’s able to correct any bad habits I start before they get too ingrained and he’s able to give me new material based on my current skill level.  It also gives me motivation to practice as often as I can, so that I can show some progress in my next lesson.

Okay, so that wasn’t such a quick overview, but there you have it.