Latest TG Member Blog Entries

Hello Neil, I am a big fan of yours. I have been a paying member for about the last 5 years. I tell everyone I know that plays guitar about your site and particularly your skill at teaching songs. I have a are allowing Vanessa to teach too many songs, the new ones that you come up with. He seems to teach almost all of them. You have gone into the background and are rarely teaching anymore.


 I understand that you want to train someone as good as he is to teach lessons, but his presence is too much....on too many songs! I want to see you, not him. You are sacrificing your brand, your brand name, and that is dangerous. You really need to be there on the screen, teaching, etc...and not someone else.


Let me also say that I am 53 years old and I own my own business. I know a few things about the importance of establishing and maintaining a brand.  Brand is very important! Please don't sacrifice it, be careful.




JP Kraft, Jr.

I am working on Signe and wanted to answer the question that Neil raised about the origin of the title.  Neil is correct, Signe is a yacht Clapton leased the year before unplugged.  Here is an interview Eric did with the producer of Unplugged:

 that confirms this and a lot more.

Great lesson BTW.


Blog #1

Aug 16, 2014

Finally decided to start my blog. I am sure it will be a mishmash of things. Right now I don't have any friends on the site, so it could very well be that only my eyes will see this and that is okay. I plan on writing about my progress on learning to play, as well as writing about musical groups or maybe just little blurbs about songs that I think are great. 

So far my progress with playing as been slow. This is my own fault as I need to make the time. I have learned about the instrument itself, but have not yet started to play anything. I will do so. I have wanted to play since I was 14 years old and I am now 45. If  it is important enough to me, I will do it.

I am done

Dec 22, 2013

I really enjoy Totally Guitars and know that it is helping me learn. But... increasing the annual fee form $279 to $389 (a 27% increase!! is a crime. Shame! I am done


Dec 13, 2013

The essence of life is in the struggle



Hi folks,


I put the guitar down several months (years?) ago and want to pick it up again.  Thus far when I try, I go to my old stand by's and feel my fingers burn.  I know that I should take a different approach but I just can't seem to get there.  Any suggestions?


Old Dog New Tricks

Jul 28, 2013
I have play guitar since I was a teenager. I am 57 now and have stayed away from bar chords because I just could never get it to happen. Seems now I am at least somewhat able to play them but it is so very hard. I can play the hell out of open basic chords. I wonder if I have a handicap or something. but anyhow this is all helping me.

Slow Progress

Apr 17, 2013

I seem to have reached a frustrating plateau in my development as a guitar player. Though I practice every day, my rate of improvement in the songs I am currently learning: Norwegian Wood, Fast Car, You Can Close Your Eyes and Don’t Fear the Reaper, is all but non-existent.

I had hoped that by now I would be playing a much better rendition of You Can Close Your Eyes – it’s been well over a month since I began to learn it. However, though I can play each of the individual parts if I separate them out, I still have trouble stringing them together and, overall, my performance is sloppy, fragmented, out of tempo and, in some areas, downright awful!

Norwegian Wood is pretty much the same; compounded by the fact that I’ve been practicing it even longer. I know the song and I have a good grasp of each of the elements but, when strung together, my performance lacks the correct flow and metre.

Since that start of April I have added Fast Car and Don’t Fear the Reaper to my list of songs and have already got the basics down. I’m a little less concerned about my lacklustre performances here – it’s only been a couple of weeks after all – but I suspect that issues I am experiencing with them serve only to highlight a common and underlining problem with my development.

You see I’m beginning to realise that in each case my problem is technique, and I’m starting to worry that these problems may be a) ingrained and b) insurmountable.

Consider the case of Don’t Fear the Reaper as an example. In his lesson, Neil suggests that you use an alternating up and down picking rhythm to play the main riff. The trouble is I’ve spent the last 30 years avoiding up strokes like the plague. I can play the riff using alternating strokes but I have to a) recite the phrase ‘down up’ in my head the whole time and b) play painfully slowly.

In Norwegian Wood I have a similar problem. Whilst I’m pretty good at strumming if I use only down strokes (very thrash metal), I struggle to incorporate alternating strokes. It’s almost funny. I either miss the strings altogether on the upstroke, hit them so hard that the strings twang against the fret board or catch the strings with the pick at a totally inappropriate upward angle which subsequently flips it out of my hand and catapults it across the room. My two cats now refuse to stay in the same room as me whenever I pick up the guitar: justly afraid of being hit by flying plectrums.

I suppose that everyone hits these little plateaus from time to time and I just have to man up, push through and bide my time patiently. Still, my technical problems are perturbing and I feel quite childish at having to slow things down so much and go back to basics.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Easter Update

Mar 31, 2013

It's hard to believe that it's only been three weeks since I started to learn You Can Close Your Eyes ... it seems like a lot longer. I've got it all in my head now though I still struggle to play it all without stumbling and I still have to refer to the tab on almost every playthrough to get the fingering right. Never-the-less I'm quietly impressed with my progress in three weeks and have high hopes that I can polish it into something not-too-shabby by the end of April.


As it's the start of a new month tomorrow I get to choose another two songs as part of the Target Lite programme. I'm still sticking to my original plan - Fast Car and Don't Fear the Reaper - but who knows what will happen when tomorrow comes. I'm making no progress what-so-ever with River Man so perhaps a little break to learn one of my new songs will help.


I'm pleased to find that I'm still enjoying learning new songs and I'm happy that I chose Target Lite rather that splurging on the whole Traget programme. Though undoubtedly good value it's clear that two songs a month is more than enough for me at the moment.


I'll be back soon with more updates ... for anyone who's reading this. LOL :0)

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