Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


CliffMcCartney last won the day on March 10 2019

CliffMcCartney had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

31 Excellent

1 Follower

About CliffMcCartney

  • Birthday 02/19/1958

Personal Information

  • Location
    Walland (Knoxville) TN

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Well said, Neil, and I echo every point you made, plus: The further I go, the more I enjoy playing with other people. I hope I can be good enough at some point to sit around with great players and jam. I'm learning that music breaks down walls. I can disagree with someone and still sit down and agree on a piece of music. It's almost too cliche to say that music is a universal language, but I'm starting to see how true that is. I've read in several places that learning music keeps the brain fresh and well as you age. I'll just call that a bonus. I hope I can be good enough to share my playing with other people. I'd love to be able to play for people in nursing homes or hospitals. I guess most of all I love the challenge and the confidence that playing music brings. Learning a song, then interpreting it yourself is a blessing.
  2. Hello Everyone! Well, after 5 weeks I'm done with session 4 lessons and bonus material - easily the most challenging session yet.. Thank you Steve Krenz!! This course is really working for me so far. You would have to know me to know how hard it as been for me to slow down and be patient with myself. I'm all in with Steve's learning style, and it is paying off for me. It is a constant tradeoff for me - I'm still not entirely happy with my sound, but when I go back and play a session 2 exercise or song I'm pretty stunned at how much sessions 3 and 4 moved me along. Lots of progress and lots still to learn. I'm confident that if I stick with the plan I'll get where I want to be. On one of my earlier attempts at learning guitar (in my 20s), I had a private teacher and I was using William Leavitt's Modern Method For Guitar. I didn't stick with my teacher or with Leavitt. My life and career trumped my guitar, and I was not successful. I found my Leavitt book last year and tried to start going through it. I made it about 10 pages into the book. The problem is that the material gets pretty complex pretty quickly, and I didn't have anyone to shepherd me through it. No knock on Leavitt - it is good material (from Berklee no less), but it definitely requires a patience I've never had and a good teacher to dole it out. I feel like the L&M method is like taking the Leavitt course, but with an accomplished professional musician guiding you. Truth be told, the L&M course is not as technically complex as Leavitt, but is way more practical, and definitely more fun. Bottom line - as a checkpoint, I pulled out my Leavitt book the other night and was able to play some exercises and songs that are pretty far beyond where I've ever been before. I'm working on a duet Etude from the book with a way more experienced guitar buddy of mine. Steve said to celebrate completion of session 4. I bought myself a new guitar strap, and I gave my Taylor a thorough spring cleaning and a new set of strings. And oh, yeah, I'm going to see Pat Metheny here in Knoxville on April 7. To session 5 and beyond!!!
  3. Hello everyone! I appreciate all your advice from my previous post. I'm finally able to play Minuet in G with the fast Jam track. I think I'm done with the session 4 lesson. Just getting started on the bonus material. I appreciate your advice and feedback. Thanks again! Cliff
  4. Thank you everyone! I appreciate you taking the time to help me. All your advice is great, and it points out what is most likely my biggest problem - my own impatience. I'll work on that too. Maybe I need a metronome for my expectations BTW - the bonus exercises for session 4 are pretty tough. Right now I'm playing them so slow they don't even qualify as music.
  5. Hello Community! I'm really happy with the course and with Steve's instruction. After trying a few other methods (online and in-person) I believe this course will work for me. I've had to swallow a lot of pride by "starting over" and being willing to look stupid. I've followed Steve's direction and done every exercise and played every song - course book and bonus book. So far, so very good. I've been in session 4 for about 2 weeks now. I've made pretty good progress, but I'm now stuck. I'm playing Minuet in G with the Jam Track at the fastest speed. I have worked up to the fast version after a considerable amount of time with my metronome and on the slower jam tracks, and considerable time before that practicing smaller pieces of the song. I have yet to play through the song at the faster speed like I want to. I'm trying to record myself, and I just can't seem to get a clean playing of the song. Even when I get every note right (pretty rare) I'm not happy with the sound. I want it to be smoother. It just doesn't sound right. BTW - I have a whole new respect for recording artists. Man, that microphone (or direct box) doesn't miss a thing - every flubbed note, every string buzz or muffle, rushing, lagging, you name it - it just sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm pondering a question that I hope is worthy of the group. Steve says to play slowly until you get it right then speed up - sometimes very slowly. He also says to break the song / exercise / whatever into pieces, then reassemble them. All this is in keeping with the concepts in The Talent Code (thanks @DianeB) by Daniel Coyle. In the book, Coyle talks about "the sweet spot." In talking about it he says, "Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways - operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes - makes you smarter." Here's the question - when you're struggling a bit on the faster speed, do you go back to the slower speed until you have it perfect, even if you've been there before? Or do you stay with the faster speed, break it up, practice it until you can play the pieces perfectly 100 times, then reassemble the pieces? Or do you just "power through" it until it's good? Or something else? What do y'all think is best practice? For Minuet in G I'm going to go back to about 75bps try to record that until it sounds like I want it to, then speed it up incrementally until I get to 88bps, which is where the fast jam track is. I'll break it up again if I need to. I'll do this even if it takes another week or two. This song is not the only thing I'm working on. I'm playing the bonus exercises in session 4, and starting to pick through Fur Elise, as well as a couple of tunes from my Beatles easy guitar book. I'm spending a lot of time on Minuet in G because I want to record it and post it. Like Steve says - the completion of session 4 is a milestone and I want to make it special. I have a pretty bad case of performance anxiety and I'm trying to overcome it by playing for people - online and in person. I don't want to post or play in front of anybody until I get the confidence that I can play it like I want it to sound. Sorry for the long post. I appreciate your patience, and thanks!!
  6. No rests. To be specific, I'm talking about session 3 bonus materials page 23 - "More 3rd String Exercises" Exercise #2 starts in the first measure with 8th notes B-G-B-G-A-B-G then quarter note G then up to the D. It is the first measure that is hanging me up. Exercise #4 starts in the first measure with 8th notes G-B then a quarter note D and then sort of climbs a ladder with that same pattern. On page 24 - "Fourth String Exercises," exercise #4 measure 2 is 8th notes G-D then quarter note G then 8th notes D-D then quarter note G. Measure 5 is 8th notes G-D-G then high D then half note G When I try to play them at a faster tempo (say 90+) I just cannot get my fingers to mute the open strings. One part of me says, "it is an 8th note so you have to mute it." A different part of me says, "Steve says don't worry about it." Thus my interior battle. I want to let it go, but it bothers me.
  7. Wow! Thanks for the quick responses. It really bugs me, but I think I'll just try to let it go. It's really the only think keeping me from finishing session 3. Feeling much better! Thanks to all for the help.
  8. Hey everyone! I've been working on L&M now for about a month. I love Steve's teaching, and I'd say so far so good. I'm trying to finish up the session 3 bonus materials. The biggest problem I have is muting notes on open strings while trying to play at faster tempos. One of the 3rd string exercises has a couple of measures of eighth notes jumping between the open G and open B. I have to slow the metronome down to 40 to get my fingers to mute the strings. This is easily my biggest stumbling block so far. I'm sucking up my pride and playing the exercises agonizingly slow. Any advice other than that? Thanks!!!
  9. My name is Cliff McCartney. I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, but now I live in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. I serve as an administrator at a small private Christian university as the Vice-President for Administration. I grew up playing just about every brass instrument there is from 3rd grade and into high school. I've tried to pick up the guitar a number of times over the years, but I haven't ever broken through. I had a very busy and hectic career in software development from my 20s until my mid 50s. I simply didn't have enough discretionary time to get serious about music. I'm getting close to retirement now and I want to learn the guitar and learn it well. I've spent the last 18 months or so sort of groping for a program that will work for me. I've tried a couple of the big online sites, but I just haven't been able to get any traction. I'm drawn to the L&M Guitar course because of Steve and because of the curriculum. I like the plan and the support. I got the L&M lessons and bonus materials about a month ago. I'm almost done with session 3. I have a Taylor 314ce LTD cedar over rosewood acoustic and an Epiphone ES-335 semi-hollow electric. I use both when studying the L&M material, but I mostly play the Taylor. I also have a Jasmine S34C NEX I keep at the office for when I need some six-string stress relief. Looking forward to learning from and with y'all.

About us

Guitar Gathering is a community of guitar lovers of all types and skill levels.  This is a place of learning, support and encouragement.  We are unapologetically positive.

If you've come here to gripe, demean others or talk politics then this isn't the place for you.

But if you've come to talk guitars, ask questions and learn from professionals and guitar learners from all over the world then come on in!

Get in touch

Follow us

facebook feed

Recent tweets

  • Create New...