New Beginner's YouTube Channel - Going from Dreadful to (hopefully) Decent

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ShawnEShawnE Frets: 5
edited August 2023 in Plug My Stuff
Hey guys & girls, I'm Shawn.

I started learning on an acoustic a little over three weeks ago at the age of 38 (with zero instrument experience) & I'm periodically documenting my progress (started from day 1) with video updates on a new YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar

I've started with self-teaching via online lessons but hope to introduce weekly in-person lessons in the near future.

First reason for this is so I can of course look back at these in years to come & appreciate this journey we're on of continual improvement - second reason is I think it could prove a collection of useful content for other beginners - both now & in the future - as a sort of reference point or somewhere to get the perspective of another beginner who may be at their current level. I already find it more helpful than you may think to see or hear about other learners struggling with the same things I am & then later explaining how they found ways to overcome this, that & the other.... it has already produced a couple of lightbulb moments in my first 3 weeks... but content from a beginner's perspective seems limited for obvious reasons... we're rubbish & generally want to hide away 'till we're half decent.

Anyway, I'll try to remember to post my updates in here. If any other beginner's want to follow along (as well as any of you more advanced curious minds) feel free to subscribe & offer words of motivation, advice, or even just to have a general guitar chat!

Day 1:
https://youtu.be/zT9ij0RV4M4

Week 1 Update:
https://youtu.be/05H5KqOKR_U

Week 2 Update:
https://youtu.be/ZXif-NdEz4w

Week 3 Update:
https://youtu.be/gS_215iNyyk


Thanks in advance for anyone who may be interested in following along &/or getting in touch!

For now, I'll plough on with my current week of practice/learning/frustration/enjoyment/finger pain etc...
Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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Comments

  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 3333
    edited August 2023
    Good luck...your links are all over the place in the above post.

    Just paste the URL directly into the post like this:
    h ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT9ij0RV4M4
    I had to bung a space after the 'h' to stop it rendering!

    I think you've used the forum editor's link facility and, if you're not careful, it munges the 'http' stuff at the start.
    You don't need the '?si=whatever' suffix either.

    Also note that, if you subsequently edit the post, previous Youtube embeds will turn into static images (just a forum quirk).
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  • ShawnEShawnE Frets: 5
    Good luck...your links are all over the place in the above post.

    Just paste the URL directly into the post like this:
    h ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT9ij0RV4M4
    I had to bung a space after the 'h' to stop it rendering!

    I think you've used the forum editor's link facility and, if you're not careful, it munges the 'http' stuff at the start.
    You don't need the '?si=whatever' suffix either.

    Also note that, if you subsequently edit the post, previous Youtube embeds will turn into static images (just a forum quirk).
    Ahh thanks a lot for pointing out! I think I've sussed it... 'till I forget next time haha! Much appreciated!  =)
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • ShawnEShawnE Frets: 5
    edited September 2023
    One Month Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRKal4t-JQs

    One month update... that's 30 days learning & practicing how to make sounds with this beautifully handcrafted piece of wood with 6 strings.... I take a look at the progress I've made during my first month by comparing clips from day one through to week four.
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 2095
    Interesting vids...I would improve the lighting for the vid, add some more camera angles of the chord shapes, you could get interaction from folks learning with you as well as watching you...drop me a DM if you need and pointers ;-)  


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    Reddit r/newmusicreview 
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  • ShawnEShawnE Frets: 5
    edited September 2023
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80304_UivLw

    A little run through update of the "easy" songs I've been going over (& over & over) to drum these 3 chords into my unmusical brain - Of course, I've still been doing all of my slow daily technical practice (probably up to around 45-60 minutes of total practice per day on average) & often practice these songs at a slower tempo, certainly at first.

    I also introduced Am & Em chords last week & a couple of new "easy" riff practices to get my fingers working in new ways. 

    As of yesterday I've also introduced the Dm chord, a simplified version of the spider finger exercise to ease me into that & a slightly more difficult strumming pattern to work with (the "old faithful" - missing one downstrum for the first time - D-D-U-x-U-D-U).

    Of course, with these new minor chords I have a few new practice songs added as well - I have a LOT of different things in my routine now so will see how I get on over the next week & will then look to condense the exercises & songs in the routine so as not to overwhelm myself with a ton of different things every day - maybe split things up into alternating daily exercises &/or pause things I'm more comfortable with & focus more on what I feel needs work. I'll reassess & see.

    Could be a good few weeks before I'm comfortable enough to progress onto a new chord & such - Will put together a video update of all of this in the next week or two.

    Thanks for watching!
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 7480
    edited September 2023
    I think you're doing really well for just being at the One Month stage.  It's a very long time ago, but I think at the same stage as you I was still sometimes having to use my right hand to help hold one of my fretting fingers in place.  I didn't use a structured learning route like you are doing, so my learning was much more haphazard.

    One thing I would expect that you will begin to experience over the next few months is having to concentrate less on changing chords and your strumming will begin to become less chunk-a-chunk (i.e. across all strings with equal power allowing them to ring out) and more "feel" than just mechanical.  I saw this at 3:07 in your last video where you quickly showed the strum pattern without fretting a chord.  It was suddenly much more fluent because momentarily you weren't having to concentrate on holding a chord and count rigidly.  As you progress you will find yourself being more selective about what strings to emphasise while strumming down and upstrokes and how hard to strum them, so that the strumming takes on more nuances and flows better with the song.  When that starts happening everything will sound so much better.

    You are doing great, so just keep practicing and learning and it will all come together nicely in stages.
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 3036
    Stick your elbow out, don't keep it next to your body until you have developed the 'guitarists wrist'. Makes grabbing chords a lot easier. But well done so far, keep on keeping on, you'll get there.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • BillDL said:
    I think you're doing really well for just being at the One Month stage.  It's a very long time ago, but I think at the same stage as you I was still sometimes having to use my right hand to help hold one of my fretting fingers in place.  I didn't use a structured learning route like you are doing, so my learning was much more haphazard.

    One thing I would expect that you will begin to experience over the next few months is having to concentrate less on changing chords and your strumming will begin to become less chunk-a-chunk (i.e. across all strings with equal power allowing them to ring out) and more "feel" than just mechanical.  I saw this at 3:07 in your last video where you quickly showed the strum pattern without fretting a chord.  It was suddenly much more fluent because momentarily you weren't having to concentrate on holding a chord and count rigidly.  As you progress you will find yourself being more selective about what strings to emphasise while strumming down and upstrokes and how hard to strum them, so that the strumming takes on more nuances and flows better with the song.  When that starts happening everything will sound so much better.

    You are doing great, so just keep practicing and learning and it will all come together nicely in stages.
    Thanks so much! Yeah you're totally right & I do notice that clearly when practicing... I feel that I have very limited control over the strings I'm strumming & the sounds or accents I can out on them... natural of course for how little I've been at it but do look forward to the future when I'm suddenly able to do as you describe & put a little more emphasis on the sort of sounds I want to produce.... really appreciate your input..!!
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • ShawnEShawnE Frets: 5
    edited September 2023
    blobb said:
    Stick your elbow out, don't keep it next to your body until you have developed the 'guitarists wrist'. Makes grabbing chords a lot easier. But well done so far, keep on keeping on, you'll get there.
    I've never paid any attention to my elbow... guess it just subconsciously tucks in tight to my body.. I'll have a little play around with it stuck out a little more to gauge the difference - especially now I have a few new minor chords that I'm particularly struggling with (changing to D minor... though still struggle with changing to D major!).... thanks so much for taking the time to feedback to me!!
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 3036
    It will feel uncomfortable but stick with it until your wrist adapts. Right angle to the board puts your fingers in the right place for now. And as above, you have a left hand, and a right hand. These were the two best tips I got when I started.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • ShawnEShawnE Frets: 5
    edited September 2023
    https://youtu.be/RnWqrKICg8I

    Introduction of the Em, Am & Dm chords at the 5 & 6 week stage. Still have lot's of work to do with these minor chords (particularly the Dm) before I'll be comfortable enough to add a further chord & whatnot.
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • ShrewsShrews Frets: 3089
    I'm with you on this, because it is a relatively new journey for me. I started at 53, 4 years ago and happy strumming away without real any motivation to get to an intermediate stage. And really I'm still stuck there now, happy with being able to make a tune. I know 8 chords and find really I can play hundreds of songs with those.

    I followed Justin for a while and the '60 second challenge' worked for me. Nevertheless one thing I would add was even though I got those chord change times spot on, they still sounded 'bitty' until I started up-strumming. So I did the one minute challenge for downstrumming and separately for upstrumming.

    But it still sounded 'bitty' and I could not understand it. My chord change times were pretty good.

    Then one day, I got a bit frustrated and just picked a fast song I liked and went for it. Suddenly it all came together!

    It was like a breakthrough moment. Like that scene in Karate Kid where he spends ages painting the fence but then only realises why when he has to use his skills for real. It's like the muscle memory kicks in.

    That was maybe two months later. Took me ages to get 'D' 

    I went G - Cadd9 - Em - D - A - A7 - Am - E.  I did learn Dm but never really used it so that fell by the wayside. I also use another one but no idea what that is. Also a two finger D which to me sounds like a Bm (or certainly not out of place in my singalong ears).

    Can't play an F, can't play a B. Can't play a Power Chord (finger stretching issue) and in most cases play 2 finger chords nowadays because they're not a million miles off and I'm lazy.

    In my favour my timing is pretty good and can learn a song (in my style) in literally minutes.

    Not sure if you know of this resource:

    https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/bob-dylan/mr-tambourine-man-chords-1092233

    Find a song you like and google it eg 'My way chords', a few website options will show but Ultimate Guitar is best (IMO). Press the 'simplify' button if there seems too many chords or chords are too complex and lastly use the Transpose (-1 and +1 buttons) to find your opening chord (when you start singing along this will usually match your voice), you will notice all the other chords change automatically when you find the opening chord you like

    Finally click autoscroll and it will scroll through the words and chords as you play along. Press the + or - on your computer to make it scroll faster or slower.


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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 7480
    You're progressing well.  If it's any consolation, I often fluff the open Dm chord and get buzzes if I haven't played the acoustic and any songs using that chord for a while, and that's after 45 years of playing.

    One thing that will be making it quite difficult to do your "spider walk" exercises is the fact that you have the guitar lying back in against your body, and your fretting hand and fingers need to go further forward and up to reach the strings and your wrist is at a more acute angle than if the guitar was sitting vertically.  While you are having to look to see where your fingers are it's only natural to have the guitar leaning back so you are looking down across the fretboard at an angle.  As you begin to be able to position your fingers and get more of a feel for the intervals between frets and the distance between the strings, it would be a good idea to start raising the guitar body into more of a vertical position to put less of a strain on your wrist and elbow.  You still have the side dots, and in time you will be able to feel what strings your fingers are fretting.
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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 7480
    edited September 2023
    People develop their own ways of fretting chords, and sometimes change the fingering of a chord deliberately because they know what chord is coming next and an alternative fingering makes it easier to move to the next chord.  I don't mean playing different notes, I mean just using different fingers to fret those same notes.

    One thing I noticed is that you are playing the A (major) chord the same way as I do, and the same way that most people I know play it.  Some tutors teach learners to fret the 4th string with the index finger, the 3rd string with the middle finger, and the 2nd string with the ring finger, with all fingers cramped into the 2nd fret space diagonally.  You are using the middle finger for the 4th string, the 1st finger in behind for the 3rd string, and the ring finger for the 2nd string, in the reverse triangle shape of the D (major) chord.  This is usually a lot less cramped and more comfortable to fret, but also has the added benefit that when you change to the D chord you can anchor your 1st finger and move the middle and ring fingers, and when you change to the E (major or E7th) chord your 1st finger can still be anchored on the 3rd string and just slid back one fret.

    That economy of movement is helpful with chord changes because that 1st finger is just working like a pivot point.  Wherever possible, try not to lift all your fingers at one time and plonk them down onto other strings in a new shape.  If you delay the movement of one finger until after the other fingers have moved towards the new shape you stand more chance of making the changes more fluid.  Just keep strumming (or picking) as you do this.  Any "wrong" note as you are changing chords will only last for a very short time and it's unlikely it will be noticed by you or others.

    An example of changing the fingering of a chord to make the change to the next one easier, try alternating the G chord by fretting it with the middle finger, ring finger and pinky rather than the index, middle and ring fingers.  Your 1st finger is left free with this fingering ready to go onto the 2nd string at the 1st fret for the C chord first before you then move the other fingers (i.e. another anchor point).  It also makes it quite easy to form a G7 chord when you get to learning that chord.  Try also swapping the fingering of an E chord around so that your index finger is free.  Getting the feel for this will be helpful when you later get to barre chords.

    Whenever you are learning a new "open" chord (i.e. the ones you are learning now) or just practicing changes, try fretting some other notes around the chord on different strings with a spare finger listening for notes that sound good with it and those that sound bad.  Practicing movement of a free finger will be helpful once you start picking out melodies between chords and useful simply for added dexterity.  There's nothing wrong with experimenting like this in between the proper learning schedule, and it can help to keep things interesting.

    Can you hold up your left hand and instantly do the Vulcan hand greeting as used by Spock in Star Trek?  A lot of people can't.  Try doing that then putting all your fingers back together and splaying out only your pinky.  That's usually when peoples' fingers seem to be inexplicably tied together with an elastic band.  I'm not saying that you should persist at this as some kind of exercise.  I'm only mentioning this because this is the same issue most learners will experience when it comes to moving their fretting fingers independently of each other (for example while doing your one finger to a fret "spider" exercises).  That's the reason I mentioned moving a free finger around and fretting some random notes while holding a chord with the other fingers.  It encourages independent finger movement.

    Just some tips that might be useful to you.
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  • Well done mate , keep up the good work 
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  • @Shrews That's awesome... I've heard a lot about these type of breakthrough moments where suddenly as if out of the blue you pick up the guitar one day & something that you were practicing in order to get better, say specific chord changes or a certain riff or something, all of a sudden seems way easier and more natural than it has at any point before.... I'm guessing you playing a faster song immediately kicked into gear the unknown muscle memory and skills you had built up over time while learning. I think it definitely pays to get out of your comfort zone from time to time if progressing is the objective... all about find that balance of slow, methodical balance & pushing boundaries at the same time I think.... thanks for your input! Was really interesting to read. I've seen Ultimate Guitar here & there but never paid much attention so I'll check that out... thanks a lot! Always find playing along to tracks in this way really helpful.


    @BillDL I'm not sure if you still fluffing the Dm is consolation or just a further realisation at the difficulties I have ahead with this instrument for the rest of my life haha..!! Appreciate your advice regarding the way I'm doing the spider walk exercise... I'll pay close attention to all of that. I think I need to look at my thumb placing as well when performing it (as well as thumb placement for general play as well to be fair).

    I've heard a lot about the fretting of different chords as well... behind the scenes I dabble with a few different ways just so that they aren't totally foreign to me if it comes to making use of them further down the line... I'll still have my main way of fretting in these very early stages but appreciate it can be super helpful having other ways of fingering a chord in the arsenal when it comes to doing as you say and finding easier way to transition to the next chord during play.

    Always appreciate your really helpful advice and tips so thanks so much!!


    @hollywoodrox Thanks a lot I'll certainly keep it going!!
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • https://youtu.be/BRMs1juRIag

    This is after 7 weeks of learning. For the second week in a row I put the main focus on the Am, Dm & Em (I wasn't comfortable enough with them last week to move onto new stuff) so now we have a little run through of the 5 songs I've been practicing once a day to start getting to grips with them.

    Took me a little while to warm up so there's plenty of mistakes in the first 3 songs in particular but pretty happy with my run through of the last two songs - overall I'm pleased enough after just 7 weeks.

    Still doing all of my other regular practice of course, playing through these songs is just what I do at the end of my more technical exercises etc.

    This coming week I look at the C chord for the first time.
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 7480
    You are doing really well, and your strumming is definitely beginning to sound much more fluid and natural.

    Observations:

    When I watch your fingers when changing from Am to Dm you are doing just what I would encourage somebody to do i.e. release your index finger first and aim to get that across onto or above the 1st string ready to fret it as you then move your other two fingers into the new chord.  This is going to vary depending on the chord changes, but it is very useful to have one finger move into or almost into position before you move the other fingers.

    You are bang on when you spoke about the Katy Perry song as being one that allows you to build up finger stamina.  A lot of people learn the chord changes but then rarely play the song ALL the way through.  When you do play a song in its entirety you begin to realise how taxing it can be to play more than one song back to back in a concert or gig setting, or even during a less formal jam.  Building up stamina is very important.

    When you go on to learn the C chord, I think it will be helpful for you to visualise the relationship of the D chord to the C, and vice versa.  If you look at the high three strings as you play a D chord, imagine sliding that backwards until the fingers on the 1st and 3rd strings are at the nut and therefore become "open" strings, while the 2nd string is now being fretted at the 2st fret rather than the 3rd fret.  You still have that triangle shape, and if you just play the high three strings you are now playing a C chord fragment.

    As you progress you will begin to see how small groups of fretted strings in one chord can be moved up or down the fretboard to make other chords, for example the notes on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings of an A chord would be part of a G chord if you slid them back until they were being played as open strings.
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  • @BillDL Thanks a lot! That's great that you've pointed out leading with the index finger first is a good thing.... what I do find however is that my ring finger lags quite significantly when forming the D major & I'm also now finding the same with the C since I started learning that yesterday....

    The fingers naturally place down in order - index finger, then middle finger a split second later, then ring finger lagging last... it's not a big issue at the moment but would be nice to eventually get the ring finger dropping at the same time as the middle (& I guess beyond that would be all finger dropping in unison!) ... is this likely just a case of more time & repetition or would you recommend spending a little time every day forming the chords with the ring finger placing down before the middle to sort of train it to get up to speed?

    Big thanks!
    Follow the journey of a beginner: https://www.youtube.com/@NewLifeWithGuitar
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  • I'm not speaking for @BillDL here but I don't think he means 'always lead with the index'. It's specific to the transition...and maybe even what the right-hand is doing, e.g. if you're strumming downwards, I'd get that part of the chord down first (or at least make sure you've got some muting going on so that bad notes don't ring out...an experienced player's fingers are never far from the strings).

    Don't overthink it though: just keep doing what you're doing. By all means, do some finger independence exercises if you find it fun...but don't overdo it and pick-up an RSI.

    Bonus round...C to D transition:
    x-3-2-0-3-3 -> x-x-0-2-3-2

    That C chord is a common variant but don't worry about what it's called yet: it sounds cool.
    Finger it with the ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B string.
    Keep that finger in-place while you form the D chord around it.
    n.b. you get an almost free G chord with 3-2-0-0-3-3...careful though: you'll be playing Wonderwall before you know it!
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