Learning guitar can be a frustrating experience, in fact so much so that I have written a few articles around the subject in previous months. For example, I wrote 11 Tips To Beat Guitar Learning Frustration, and within that article there are 3 tips that are particularly apt for this month of my learning.
- Understand What Causes Frustration – Expectation vs Ability and ‘not quite getting it’
- Fall In Love With The Process.
- ‘The Weight Loss Effect’
So let me explain.
After what I felt was a great month of learning in month 7, I was optimistically looking forward to what month 8 would bring. I worked 95% on learning one song the whole of month 7 and I managed to learn it. It wasn’t perfect, I hadn’t learned it in time with a metronome or backing track but I had learned all the chord changes and the picking pattern and felt quite confident in playing it.
Moving on From Guitar Progress Month 7
I felt it had gone well but you can judge for yourself in the time-stamped video below.
Off the back of my ‘success’ with Blackbird, I felt inspired to carry on with fingerstyle guitar. I was looking forward to learning Guaranteed by Eddie Vedder and getting stuck in the old Guitar Center Favourite, Stairway to Heaven.
Alas, it wasn’t to be as after a few weeks I suffered a finger injury to my index finger on my picking hand and it just wouldn’t heal. Suffice to say my plans were scuppered and I needed a new plan. Having really grown fond of fingerpicking it was a frustrating period of having to change tact and find something else to work.
So my frustration came about in not being able to do what I intended but as is often said, ‘If life gives you lemons then make lemonade’. So I set about working on a weakness which wasn’t hard as I still have so many.Buddy Holly, Me… Luke.. you know, the owner of this blog.
I decided to work on my rhythm guitar and getting back to strumming and chord transitions.
As a Rolling Stones fan, it was easy to find a song to play. I quickly decided upon learning Angie, a rare ballad for the Stones but a beautiful one at that. This leads me to my second point.
Falling in love with the process of learning guitar is an important one. If you learn to love the time you spend with guitar then the obstacles that you have to overcome in your learning become smaller than if you are always battling against it.
Pivoting from fingerpicking back to rhythm guitar was not something I was happy about doing. However, it didn’t take too long for this to turn around because playing guitar for me verges on therapeutic which I talk a lot about in my article with video here.
It was a difficult video to shoot but I was frank and honest about embracing the nature of learning guitar and how it helped my depression. It still does this to me but having committed so much time to learn guitar it has now just become part of what I do. If you can create that love and habit then I believe it will be extremely beneficial to you.
What Guitar Progress Did I Achieve This Month?
I personally like to learn songs from YouTube or a video source alongside some TAB’s if I can get them. The reason this works for me is that I can slow down the video to work out exactly what is being played and also I can get a sense of timing when the tutorial is playing in normal speed.
So I knuckled down for the last two weeks of month 9 and got stuck into learning Angie. I learned the song from Guitar Pilgrim who is a rising talent on YouTube and one that was new to me at the time. You can check out his video here for Angie but suffice to say I found it to be one of the better tutorials on YouTube and by this I mean it was the easiest for me as a beginner to understand. Along with clear video and audio, he also has a tab that shows on screen as he progresses with the song so you know exactly where you are.
So after 2 weeks, I managed to have an ok handle on the song and you can see me play it in my 8-month guitar progress video below.
It still needs some work but didnt turn out too bad.
A quick pause to just say, if you are interested in my video content please hit the subscribe button and notification bell on my YouTube Channel and the like button if you liked the video. This really helps me and helps grow the channel so I can reach other like-minded people learning to play guitar a bit later in life. Thankyou, Luke.
Alongside this, I have also been studying some music theory through Justin Guitar. I signed up for it quite a few months ago (it is one of the only things that costs money on his site) and I know that it is important to have an understanding of some music theory before you start his intermediate course which I intend to do a couple of months from now.
Here is a quick summary of what music theory I have been learning:
- Learning how the Major Scale is constructed
- Learning which Keys have which sharps and flats
- Learning how to recognize Key Signatures
- Use=ing “The Big Six Essential Notes” to easily find all the notes on the thickest two strings
- Playing The Major Scale on one string
I will admit that music theory wasn’t something I was excited to do and to be honest it still isn’t exciting. However, when you get a little spark of understanding within it I find that it really holds my interest. The reason being is that I have started to see how it can lead to ‘unlocking’ the fretboard and the ability to move around and that is something that I can recognize is extremely valuable.
So all in all what started as a frustrating month actually didn’t turn out that bad, which leads me to my third point ‘The Weight Loss Effect’.
Have you ever not seen someone for a few weeks and they’ve lost a load of weight in that time, but when you say it to them, they haven’t noticed? The ‘Weight Loss Effect’ could easily be defined as an example of close scrutiny making it harder to see progress.
I am very guilty of this. I have often been told I am progressing well on guitar by those that have seen me play but I just don’t see it. I tend to look at my faults and inconsistencies and place these on a high pedestal than what I have achieved to date. In some ways this motivates me to play more but on bad days it puts me off wanting to learn and practice.
So in reflection of this somewhat ‘frustrating’ month, I decided upon review of my playing over the 8 months that I have been playing that I had actually done ok, which for me is better than ‘meh, doesn’t sound quite right’ which is the usual description of my playing.
So What Next?
Well if you have watched the video above you already know but if you haven’t then I am announcing a challenge for the next month. I am attempting to learn 30 Songs In 30 Days. This comes from Keith Urban who has a course with the same name. It used to be you could get his songs on DVD and I think you still can on Amazon but I actually found all the lessons (except 26) on YouTube. Here is the playlist if you are interested.
For every song I attempt, I am going to make a video on YouTube showing exactly how I got on. I have chosen to do this challenge partly because I will be on holiday for some of that time and also because I want to mix things up a bit. I always believe it is of great benefit to challenge yourself, to test, learn, and improve.
I hope you can join me on my challenge and journey, so if you would like to keep updated then please subscribe to my YouTube Channel here and sign up for my email updates here. I won’t spam you, only provide tips and recommendations along with updates on my progress.
I would love to hear from any of you learning to play guitar and if you have any questions, comments or want to tell me how you are getting on then please leave them in the comments section below. I will do my best to answer them and provide any help, feedback, and encouragement I can.
All the best, good luck on your guitar journey and don’t forget to check out my other guitar progress posts below.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Guitar Progress Posts
If you are learning to play guitar or are interested in seeing my progress updates then please use these links below