My copy of Hal Leonard Guitar Method arrive in the mail today. I decided that I’ll log my activities for that as well. The series is comprised of three books, bound as one, which keeps things nice and clean. Since this is in no way as comprehensive as Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar, I’ll be using this guide merely as a source of additional songs to play. You can follow along with my progress below.
June 22, 2012
Practice time: 5:15 – 6:15
Since I am currently working on the third string (G), I decided to skip the first and second string songs and jump right into something that is more aligned with where I am in the other course. With that in mind, I worked on Rockin’ Robin, Yankee Doodle and Surf Rock. I started out playing all these songs at 60bpm and within a half hour, I was playing them at 120bpm. These are fairly simple songs, but really help with finger movement. I’ll tell you one thing though, by the time the third song rolled around at 120bpm, my head was sort of spinning. My hour was almost up and my mind was somewhat numb.
June 23, 2012
Practice time: 7:10 – 8:20
This afternoon, I played Au Clair De La Lune, Aura Lee and He’s a Jolly Good Fellow for about forty minutes. All three were fairly simple songs and it didn’t take me long to crank things up to 100bpm. I believe I made it up to 120bpm on one of the songs, but I was getting tired again, so I stayed cool for most of what I did.
Funny thing – the simplest song was He’s a Jolly Good Fellow, but I had the most difficulty playing it. For some strange reason, that tune is so ingrained in my head. I had such a tough time playing the subtle differences in the notes from what I’m used to. I wish they put more notes in the sheet music because I really would like to have done a better job. Stumbling through a song like that because my mind wants to do something different than what’s written down is annoying.
Otherwise, I had a great practice session today.
June 29, 2012
Practice time: 5:00 – 6:00
As an extra bit of practice, today I played the melody of “Worried Man Blues” on page 18. It only took a few minutes to get the hang of it because the song only consisted of quarter notes, but it was a nice way to wind down from practicing Session 3 exercises.
July 1 & 2, 2012
Practice time: 5:45 – 7:00 & 4:15 – 5:15
I described what I’ve been doing recently on the Session 3 page, but specifically, the songs I worked on for the past two days are “Tom Dooley,” “Pay Me My Money Down,” “12-Bar Rock,” “Amazing Grace” and “Riffin’.” Believe it or not, Amazing Grace was the toughest. This song has a measure where an A goes to a high D. Throws me off almost every time. I tried working on it over and over with marginal results. I got better at it as time went on, but it’s still so unnatural for my fingers to move in the required direction. I’ll keep working on it because the L&M bonus material has another version of the same song, only they use eighth notes a few times. Makes things a bit more entertaining. I’m getting those eighth notes down pretty nicely.
July 3, 2012
Practice time: 5:45 – 6:45
I remember not too long ago when Steve Krenz said that our goal is to play such and such a song at 90bpm. My jaw nearly hit the floor when I heard that. Well, today 120bpm wasn’t fast enough for me. Strange how time works and the mind learns.
Anyway, I finished up the two final songs before the fifth string section. “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Will the Circle be Unbroken.” They weren’t difficult songs at all and were a nice finish to a somewhat lengthy session.
July 18 & 19, 2012
Sometimes I need a break from the increasingly challenging exercises in the Learn & Master Guitar course, so I turn to my Hal Leonard Guitar Method book for some songs. I’ve been doing that over the past few days, just to keep my spirits high. I don’t know yet if this is taking my eye off the ball, but I suppose time will tell.
I’ve been working on the fifth and sixth strings, so I tried my hand at “Blues Bass,” “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho” and “Greensleeves.” These are fairly simple songs, but they really go a long way in putting a smile on my face as I struggle with more difficult exercises on the other side.
July 30 & 31, 2012
Since the exercises I’ve been working on in the Gibson program haven’t been too tough, I decided to warm up with song songs over here. Specifically, over the past two days, I played “Doo-Wop,” “Give My Regards To Broadway” and “Bass Rock.” I didn’t necessarily enjoy any of these songs because they all consist of quarter notes and are quite simple – meaning slow with not much rhythm. But they were okay to warm up with.