Midlife Beginner Guitar Journey


I’m Luke and this is where I document my journey from beginner guitarist through to, one day, probably a long time from now, competent guitarist.

As a Dad approaching now 40 years old and with two young girls, my time is limited and I don’t really know anyone learning guitar or who plays guitar that lives near me.

So my learning will be quite isolated which is partly the reason I am doing this, to connect with others out there on their guitar journey and to help hold myself accountable.

I will be following the Justin Guitar beginner course from the start and will be uploading my progress once a week on YouTube where you can watch me stuff up anything I have learned and let me know how you are getting on.

Along the way, I will upload additional videos that I think might be helpful as well as blog posts about what I have learned.

I find that YouTube has a lot of experienced guitarists telling us how to play which is great but nothing I can really relate to as a beginner.

So I want to change this and show what it is like following an online course as a beginner. Hopefully, this will encourage others to pick up and play the guitar, whether its one that has been sitting in the back of your closet or the new one you are about to buy.

It would be great to hear from you along the way, so please reach out to me on my YouTube channel here let‘s have some fun learning and playing guitar.

Beginner Guitar Journey Weekly Videos

If you are interested, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the notification bell. I will be releasing videos every week and look to improve the format of these as I go.

Justin Guitar Beginner Course Progress

Week 20 – Justin Guitar Beginner Course Completed

Well, it has been 5 fun-packed months of learning guitar with no musical experience and I have now completed the beginner course. In this video, I showcase the 10 songs that I have learned as part of the final consolidation phase.

A big thank you to Justin and to any of you have supported me along the way so far.

Week 19 – Stage 9 – Final Stage – 2 More In The Bag

Worked on tidying up Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix this week. I love a bit of Jimi Hendrix, one day when I get an electric his songs will be right up there to start learning and perfecting.

The other song I have been working on is a fingerpicking song and that is Everbody Hurts by REM. A really recognizable song and one that is cool to play.

For some reason, I didn’t connect my mic correctly this week, so apologies for the sound for this one.

Week 18 – Stage 9 – Final Stage – Another 2 songs

I worked on a finger song this week, this one being Madworld, the Gary Jules version. I had previously learned this with a strumming pattern but revisited it to improve my fingerpicking. I thought it turned out ok but you can see for yourself.

Also, I worked on a song I struggled with a few weeks back but now it has come together. I found the strumming and percussive slap a little difficult previously but it now sounds ok.

I have mentioned this many times in my videos but every time you work on one technique it can benefit another but you don’t realize it until you revisit song with a little more experience under your belt.

I have been trying out the Pick Ninja, you can get them here on Amazon. If you struggle with grip or just want something that makes using a pick easier then I highly recommend them. Cost is cheap and that provides a great deal of confidence.

Week 17 – Stage 9 -Final Stage – 2 More Songs and The Pick Ninja

So the songs I have been learning this week are

  • Let It Be – The Beatles
  • Once – Liam Gallagher

I was also The Pick Ninja to review, check it out in the video.

Week 16 – Stage 9 – Final Stage – Songs – Part 3

This week I have been learning a few more songs:

  • Madworld – Gary Jules – Fingerstyle
  • Fields of Gold – Sting
  • Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz

This final stage is really pushing me to get techniques down and is proving a great change. I’m slowly starting to see some improvement on the songs I am learning.

Week 15 – Stage 9 – Final Stage – Consolidation – Part 2

This week I have been learning two new songs as part of the ten songs required to pass this final stage.

The two songs I chose are a real challenge for me, but for different reasons.

Lay Down Sally is a big challenge because of the technique. What the video below doesn’t show is that it took me probably 20 – 30 takes just to get it to as good as you see. The techniques are an obvious weakness of mine, so its one I need to work on!

Summer of ’69 is a challenge because of the different parts. I feeling I’m getting to grips with the parts ok but putting them together fluidly is the biggest challenge.

Anyway, I hope you all had some good practice this week, I’ll see you in the next one.

Week 14 – Stage 9 – Final Stage – Consolidation – Part 1

So this final stage of the course is like 3 to 4 stages rolled into one. There are a number of new techniques to work on which aren’t simple and being able to play 10 songs through from start to finish requires some refinement.

I am not aiming for perfect I aiming for done and some slight improvement. I do this because I know that momentum is key to progress.

This week was about 12 bar blues improvisation which involved creating a loop of my playing and then using the Am pentatonic scale to try and improvise over the top. You can see how well that went in the video.

I also worked on a couple of songs, one of which I play in the video Redemption Song by Bob Marley.

The next few weeks will be about getting to the 10 songs I need which will include some practice of songs that I have been learning previously.

Hope you have had a good week of practice!

Week 13 – Stage 9 – Final Stage of The Beginner Course

This week I am on the final stage of the JustinGuitar Beginner Course. There is a ‘test’ at the end of this Stage to know whether you are ready to move on.

This stage involves some new techniques which include: Slash chords, Fingerpicking variations, Minor pentatonic pattern variations, Introduction to blues improvisation and more.

Lots to get my fingers and head around but so much fun!

Week 12 – Stage 8 – Blues

Limited time for practice this week but I managed to work on my 12 Bars Blues technique and my first riff.

The song I was learning was Eric Clapton’s version of Before You Accuse Me Take a Look At Yourself, and the riff took me close to 3 hours just to get the sequence of notes right!

Week 11 – Stage 8 – Fingerstyle

This week I have been working on some fingerstyle songs. I really enjoy both blues and fingerstyle and it certainly feeds the mind for what I want to do next.

I am fast approaching the end of the beginner course with one more stage to go but I know I will need to do some consolidating of what I have learned so far.

Week 10 – Stage 8

I have moved on this week and this stage is all about Blues and Fingerstyle. It is a great little introduction to these styles of guitar and I have really enjoyed getting to learn the ‘chunka chunka’ 12 Bar Blues as well as little bits of fingerpicking.

I revisited one of the songs I learned earlier in this course ‘Mad World – Gary Jules version’ and it has been fun to apply fingerstyle to this.

Week 9 – Stage 7

So this week has been all about consolidating what I have been learning in the last 2 weeks. Stage 7 has a lot packed into it and there was no way that I was going to be ready to move on in one week.

I feel like I have set my own expectation of moving on to a new stage every week but that isn’t why I am doing this. It isn’t about how long it takes, ‘it is about the journey, not the destination. This week has helped remind me of this and by doing so it helps keep the whole thing enjoyable.

Week 8 – Stage 7

Wow! lots to learn now. The course is really ramping up so this stage is going to take me some time to get the handle on. Power chords, Am Pentatonic, Notes of the 6th String, Mastering the F chord and more.

Looking forward to getting stuck in.

Week 7 – Stage 6

I am still on Stage 6 this week as the F chord is a challenge but one that I am making a little progress on although the transitions will take a lot more time.

Week 6 – Stage 6

The dreaded ‘F’ Chord wasnt too bad this week. The finger exerciser I have been using seemed to prove its worth, if you haven’t check them I out, I talk about the one I use in this article Best Guitar Finger Exercise Tool And Ways To Use It Effectively.

Week 5 – Stage 5

One Month Progress

It was good to stop after a frustrating week of learning last week and play some songs and see what I have learned so far.

Week 4 – May 27th 2019 – Stage 4

This week was difficult for me. I wasn’t making any clear progress compared to previous weeks. I think it is part of the journey but you just need to keep playing, keep practising.

Week 3 – May 24th 2019 – Stage 4

This week I have changed the format a bit so there are no more 60 second chord changes and the editing is a little different. Just felt that they were a little tedious to watch. I am hoping these changes and the shorter time format is an improvement.

Week 2 – May 17th 2019

Week 1 – May 10th 2019