(April 15-21, 2019)
Wait, what? Didn’t Week 4 just get published all of 30 seconds ago? Yeah. Week 4 was very rambly, done throughout the week, and I was too tired last night to edit it up into something resembling structure. I’m still going to continue on with that style, but I’ll just post every edit and follow up so it’s chronological.
I have a very important bit of news to share – I’m finally done with stage 1 of the JustinGuitar beginner course! It only took me, what, three and a half months? Not consistent of course, as I’ve shared before. It was really a tale of two halves: a couple weeks of meandering practice in January and early February, and real honest focused nigh-daily practice from the beginning of this blog in March on.
I rewatched the lesson videos many times, trying to gleam new nuggets as my practice routine developed. I think I was holding myself to too high of a standard. According to Justin, I should have knowledge of the D/A/E chords from memory (check) and be up to at least 40 changes per minute with the chords sounding not perfect but good. I was just under that for D to E for a while. Over the weekend though I had another of those giant leaps in productivity. Note the last part of the requirements. I was so determined to get to 60 per minute with each chord having zero buzz that I was stuck. After I relaxed and decided to count “good” chords (little buzz, fingers in the right spots), my count skyrocketed. I beat 60 on D to A (surprisingly my highest number of all at 63), 60 even on A to E, and 47 on D to E. Congratulations self, I passed!
The self-confidence boost was overwhelming. I had thoughts from time to time that I just couldn’t do this, that I’d be stuck in stage 1 purgatory forever because I was seeing minimal to no gains. After reading inspiring accounts from the website, I was able to not give up and just keep hammering at it.
It paid off.
I still have a very long journey to go. I’m not doing myself any favors by using 11 strings and a .96mm pick, but no guts no glory. Everything’s totally possible.
So what’s on the agenda this week? I spoiled myself and watched the next few lessons. Stage 2 is about E minor, A minor, and D minor. Another horrid D-style chord. I’m going to focus on E to D changes as the thing to improve and that new trio to start getting familiar with. I think there are also some strumming videos in stage 2 as well so I need to start working those into the routine, even going back to stage 1 with basic rhythm. It’s okay. I have to have to have to have to be patient.
I’d like to do longer practice sessions but I’m still having some issues with my fingers not being fully calloused up yet. I use my index finger for a ton of things, fingers 2 and 3 less so. That’s the roadblock. I have to hold the strings down hard to get clear notes. It’s a skin problem, not a finger strength problem. I hear the skin gets better and better over time. If I’m losing patience with anything, it’s that. I took a day off last week to let my fingertip recover and it did well. Just can’t push myself so hard I have a setback.
More to come.