As you may or may not have seen in my 5-month progress update, I have completed the Justin Guitar Beginner Course and I am now taking 3 to 4 months to concentrate on fingerpicking + learning a few other random songs and then I will likely head back on the Justin Guitar Intermediate course.
However, this decision wasn’t an easy one to make and I certainly didn’t have it clear in my head what I wanted to do next leading up to the end of the course.
Below I will go into how I made that decision, which can be helpful if you are struggling to know what to do next after the Justin Guitar Beginner Course and I will show you my 6-month progress.
However, in the meantime, if you haven’t seen my final 10 songs that I showcase in my 5-month progress update then you can watch it in the video below.
If you are learning guitar or would like to join me on my progress then hit the subscribe button and notification bell. I currently release 1 progress video a month but I will be doing other type videos along the way to help those learning guitar as an adult.
Interested to know how I have got on with my learning this month? Let’s get into it.
What I Learned In My 6 Month of Playing Guitar
Below is what I have learned this month but my running total of hours learning to play guitar including this month is: 160 hours
I wrote an article at the beginning of this journey called How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar? This was an article based on a book I read plus online research and I am measuring my progress against it.
Once I finish Justin Guitar’s Beginner Course I will give feedback against this progress but in the meantime, it is well worth a read to understand what the projections are based upon the research found and whether the timescale is realistic.
Summary Of What I Learned / Did / Recommend This Month:
- Total of Hours of Guitar Practiced this month: 30 Hours
- I spent 25 hours trying to learn one song! You can see the end result in the video below.
- Worked on Stage 3 of the Justin Guitar Music Theory Course
- Songs I have been working on:
- Anji – Davy Graham
- Heart of Gold – Neil Young
- Guaranteed – Eddie Vedder
- Stairway To Heaven – Led Zeppelin
What To Do After The Justin Guitar Beginner Course?
So I completed the course but leading up to the end of it I was uncertain as to what path I would take. Over the duration of the course, I just followed any interest but within the parameters of what Justin had available on his website.
So what I mean by this is that I didn’t stray for his teachings much at all and now after completing the course I felt a bit lost and unsure as to what to do next.
I felt like I wanted to explore a bit, learn some new songs and improve my abilities but I was a bit unsure where to start. Also, I wasn’t sure ‘how to practice’ because to date it had been spoon-fed to me and now I was on my own. So it was now a ‘coming of age’ point in my guitar learning journey.
In the end, I decided to share my progress on the Justin Guitar Community forum under ‘Road Cases’ (click here to see my post) and see if I could get any advice about where to go next.
I had a few replies and it proved to be really useful as it got me thinking in a good way.
A comment from DavidP was what ended up inspiring my next move. He was a competition winner in one of Justin Guitar’s song contests after completing the beginner course and got to spend an hour talking to him.
Justin advised him to focus on one are of playing and stick with it for 4 to 6 months. Then review it and either continue or move on to some other type of guitar playing. He advised doing this rather than jumping into his intermediate course straight away and doing the different modules.
I had been developing an interest in fingerstyle and definitely was keen to get stuck into playing blues-style music as well. In the end, I settled on fingerstyle because I felt that was where my interest was strongest.
So, with this first step complete I then needed to work out ‘how to practice’. I just wanted to find a way of practicing effectively because otherwise, I knew that I could drift and that it ultimately end up not progressing.
This might sound like I am too obsessed with ‘progressing’ but it really isn’t the case. I just know that for me, my interest could wane and a habit could be broken if I cant see that I am moving forward. Small wins and progressions excite me so it was important that I found something to help that along.
I chose to look at Justin’s Effective Practice Module, which you should do also if you are approaching or just finished the course. If you take on the principles their and apply them to what you want to do next then you won’t go far wrong.
I now knew what I wanted to practice and how to practice but wanted to add one element to the mix and that was Music Theory. I paid for Justin’s music theory course and I have access for 6 months so I will be getting into that over the next few months. I wouldn’t class myself as a person who is a heavy technical person but I realize the importance of music theory so I am going to pursue it alongside learning songs.
6 Month Guitar Progress Video
So once I had established what and how I wanted to learn for the next 4 months or so I got stuck into learning.
If you have read any of my previous progress posts (you can see a link to all of them at the bottom of this one) then you may know that I had a ‘project song’ that I was learning from quite early on in my guitar journey. A ‘project song’ is a term I got after watching a video from Steve Stine where he talks about learning songs that are a long way outside your current skill set so that you can grow in your ability.
The one I chose to start but never completed was a song that I learned about when reading the book Guitar Man by Will Hodgkinson and was the driver for me starting this blog, YouTube channel and ultimately picking up the guitar.
The song is Anji by Davy Graham is a folk song from the 1960s and was covered by Bert Jansch and Simon and Garfunkel to name a few. At the time many aspiring guitarists in the UK were judged on their ability to play this song. It wasn’t any kind of formal thing but just a casual thing between those who floated around in music playing circles.
Either way, I decided to take this challenge on and to be honest I didn’t get too far with it but it was always in the back of my head to finish and it still is if you watch the video above.
Anyway, I have spent some time on it and it has improved. I have learned more of the song and I have managed to increase the tempo although there are parts of it that I pause on because I still find them very fiddly to get my fingers in position in time.
The actual tempo of the song is around 160bpm so it does have some pace to it that is currently beyond me.
Why Learning Anji is a Great Project Song
So the song has proved difficult but that’s a good thing but the main reason it has is that there are so many new elements to it, for me. If you have completed the Justin Guitar Beginner course and are in any way interested in fingerstyle then I would urge you to try and learn it.
What you can expect to learn from this song is: An alternating bass line, hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, moving across the fretboard and a quick tempo song. It has certainly taken me a long time just to get where I am on the video.
So if you are in any way interested in learning fingerstyle, then take a look at the lesson that I have been learning it from, here:
Heart of Gold by Neil Young
The other song that I have been learning this month is Heart of Gold by Neil Young and I do like a lot of his music. I play it in my progress video above. I didn’t name it in the video because I wanted to see if people actually recognized it and it turns out that did so that gave me a little ego boost.
As I have mentioned before, it can be difficult learning online as you don’t get the feedback and my wife isn’t all that interested in music so it isn’t easy for me. Posting my progress online like this helps me to get some validation, haha, so please don’t think I am some kind of big head.
Blackbird by The Beatles
So I have just started to learn this song and from what I can gather it is one of the most learned songs when it comes to fingerpicking. Either way I love the song and when I have seen it played it looks and sounds cool so I added it to my list of songs to learn.
I show my progress towards the end of the video so check it out if you are interested.
Slow Progress Or Just Focused?
It has felt like slow progress this last month.
Prior to this, I had just finished the beginner course and that always felt like I was getting to grips with so many new techniques every time I picked up the guitar. This month has really been about learning songs and I have only really managed to get 3/4 of the way through 2 of them and about 1/4 of a way through the other.
These are songs that are new to me though and they are challenging. This along with around 5 hours practice a week has meant often I cant progress as much as I would like to but, ever the optimist, there is a benefit to this that I can see.
I believe that when you focus down on a song and break it into bars or riffs then you can really start to understand the song and make sure that you are accurate in your playing. I am not saying I have these songs down perfect nor that I am intent on always being super accurate but that your overall accuracy and ability improves. Also by taking on difficult songs, you can improve your techniques and the sense of accomplishment will be higher.
Anyway, with this in mind, next month I am going to make sure that I learn Blackbird all the way through, so I will see you then (links below to my 6-month guitar progress and others).
Guitar Progress Posts
If you are learning to play guitar or are interested in seeing my progress updates then please use these links below