TAC Family Forums

Share your wins, get unstuck, or see how others use the TAC Method to create a fulfilling guitar life!

  • Really struggling

    Posted by coachpattybgmail-com on January 30, 2024 at 10:21 am

    I am a newby and it’s taken me 2 weeks to work on the first week’s lessons in the 30 day challenge. I’m not improving at all despite practicing at least 15-20 minutes 4 times per week. Anyone else feel like the beginning lessons are too far advanced? I can barely reach the fretted strings, much less chord the correct strings….I can’t even think about progressing to lesson 3 of the first week yet. UGH. IS anyone else in the same boat?

    StevenEEE replied 3 months, 3 weeks ago 15 Members · 20 Replies
  • 20 Replies
  • Guitargeezer-Jack

    January 30, 2024 at 12:15 pm

    My personal experience has been consistency is the most important factor. In other words, keep at it. Don’t fall into the “perfection trap”. If it takes you 60 or 90 days on the basics, so what? Given enough time and effort you will find progress in your own guitar journey. Took me about a year before I really caught on. It’s got to be fun or why do it?


  • albert_d

    January 30, 2024 at 12:38 pm

    I’m sure you will get there. I’ve been volunteering teaching Ukulele to underserved 4th graders. They are so bad when they start, but they are getting it even if they only get to come to lessons once a month. One might try playing in front of a mirror so you don’t look “down” on the fretboard laying too flat. That makes one’s wrist stressed and makes it very hard to get one’s fingers to curl around the fretboard. Or just hold the fretboard more perpendicular to the ground. I know you can’t see it as well but you may picture it and your fretting hand will love you more.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  albert_d.
  • Kim-Fitz

    January 30, 2024 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Patti,

    Hang in there. It will come. It’s going to take time for your fingers to strengthen, limber up, built calluses and develop muscle memory. Please don’t expect perfection. You may not get a clean sound when first learning or you may think you will ever reach the frets. Eventually you will!

    I looked at the first week of 30 days to play to see what you were learning. As for you reaching the frets, you can lift your index finger off the 2nd fret when you are moving your ring finger to the 4th fret. It’s kind of a rocking motion.

    Tony will build on what you are learning. Once you learn the first 3 chords G, C, and D in week 2, you will learn strumming patterns in week 3. You will be strumming the chords learned in week 2. Week 4 guitar solo is really just learning a scale. It is kind of repeating week 1 only on a different pattern in different location on the guitar neck.

    I would suggest to keep moving along and not getting too stuck on a day. You can always repeat the 30 days to play. Also once you learn the 3 chords in week 2 there are lots of song you can learn to play with those 3 chords.

    Good luck and have fun! Kim

  • coachpattybgmail-com

    January 30, 2024 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks everyone. I was super bummed about my lack of progress.

  • ProbablyBryan

    January 30, 2024 at 4:06 pm

    I get it; it’s not easy. I’m on the end of the 2nd week and it’s slow, but consistent.

    Yesterday was a mess. Nothing went right and I stopped many times just to refocus.

    I knew it was my mood, which got worse when my playing was not “working”. 🫤

    After 20 minutes, I stopped and watched a movie.

    Today, I started at 5:10 pm and finished the last lesson on the 2nd week after 45 mins…

    …but compared to yesterday, mostly things worked. I was moving the cords G-C-D back & forth, up & down and backwards!

    Sometimes, your brain will need to learn, sleep on it, try again, refocus, sleep… and — look!! — it’s working!

  • Moose408

    January 31, 2024 at 7:30 am

    I’m going to get a little philosophical here…

    Frustration is the result of unmet expectations. Expectations are a prediction of the future which we as humans are not good at. Most beginner guitar students get frustrated because they think they should do better than they are, and that unrealistic expectation is the driving force.

    Learning the guitar is hard, and it takes repetition and time to build up the muscle memory necessary to successfully play. Think of it like going to the gym. If your goal is to bench press twice your body weight, you don’t expect to be able to go in the first day and lift that. A beginner in the gym can typically lift 1/2 their body weight and by adding 5 lbs a week can expect to take months to get their body weight. The issue with the guitar is that it is very hard to measure and observe that “5 lbs/week”. It seems like we aren’t making progress when we actually are.

    Tony stresses progress over perfection. Don’t try to get the exercises in the 30-day challenge perfect, just do the best you can and move on. The perfection and improvement will come over time from the repetition.

    I started my guitar journey 2.5 years ago, I started learning, got frustrated and quit after 4 weeks because I didn’t feel like I was progressing fast enough. A year later I decided to try again but I had a different mindset, the mindset was, I suck at guitar, I’m going to suck at guitar for a long time, and it is ok that I suck. That mindset helped me get through my frustration and I’m not 7 months into my guitar journey. I still occasionally get frustrated, but I also can look back and see the amazing progress I’ve made over that time which causes me to reset my expectations and continue on.

    There is a great book called “The Laws of Brainjo” by Josh Turknett, he’s a neuroscientist and banjo instructor and discusses how the human brain learns new things and the best thing you can do to progress and Tony’s method of progress over perfection fits right in. Here is a link to a podcast he does about frustration


    • atroutcatcher

      January 31, 2024 at 9:27 am

      @Moose408 Good stuff. I’ve seen this called ‘the Tyranny of Expectations’. I was experiencing this tyranny since I was expecting that I could play quickly. This because, in my mind, I was a guitar genius waiting to emerge (aren’t we all). Not the case for me.

      I had to also keep reminding myself that it’s not going to be easy and is, in fact, quite difficult. The fact that we are playing an instrument, where you are positioning your fingers on a plane / surface that you really can’t see, was something I had to accept. I was fighting with neck issues for a while as I was finding myself trying to see where to place my finger on the fretboard. So I have to remind myself to keep pushing and sooner or later the sound that’s in my head might emerge.

      So my playing sucks again as I’m working to change chords without seeing but based on muscle memory – and after a year, my chords and changing weren’t that great to begin with. However, now I think I’m on the right path – keep at it and let the crappy sound just happen until it sounds better. Be easy on yourself rather than having such a high expectation – quit expecting that perfection shows up so easily. If that were the case, wouldn’t everyone be a star?

      Thanks for sharing. Will have a closer look.

    • Marty73

      January 31, 2024 at 4:48 pm


    • redeki66

      January 31, 2024 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks for that link just what I needed at the moment, brilliant, ordered the book straight away 🙂

      • Moose408

        January 31, 2024 at 9:51 pm

        The book is fantastic. This time through my guitar journey I’ve really learned a lot about the science of learning and have applying those techniques and it has change my mental attitude as well. I’m have really progressed in my guitar abilities since reading that book.

  • TerriG

    January 31, 2024 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Patty,

    I’m new here as well (just started last week). A couple of things that I discovered that made this week’s journey a little easier.

    First, check the width of your fret board. They come in different sizes. I was using my husband’s old guitar and the fret board was way too big for my short fingers. Luckily, I found a Yamaha junior guitar (at Goodwill) that I could practise on where the reach was so much better for my fingers. I promise myself a new guitar once I hit the 6 month milestone, so the junior guitar is temporary but functional for these lessons.

    Second, check out Tony’s stretching exercises for the fingers within the skill section. They are a huge help in getting those fingers limber. I have been jumping between the 1st Lesson and the Chord lesson. Trying to make some of the chords (C especially) will take a lot of movement in those fingers to strike the notes correctly. I am still struggling with the C chord, but I am noticing improvement as I do these exercises.

    Finally, journalize your wins in a journal. Give yourself kudos for practicing for 20 minutes each day. It is definitely frustrating in the beginning, but that is to be expected. Hang in there and one day, it is going to click and you’re going to say, “Wow!” – I did it. Good luck!

    • Marty73

      January 31, 2024 at 4:49 pm


  • Joyfinder

    January 31, 2024 at 7:41 pm

    Others have said many good things. I would just remind you that Tony’s premise is consistency not mastery. We want to be able to do the exercises perfectly, but we won’t until one day we do as we keep pressing on and challenging ourselves each day with things frankly beyond us by a bit. It’s like with bodybuilding lifting the same weight after it becomes easy doesn’t do much. I have been playing for 2 years mostly just strumming songs, with no real accountability about timing. I debated on whether or not to do the 30-day beginner course but being self-taught I figured and turned out rightly that I would have holes in my guitar knowledge and skills. TBH though I kind of thought I’d breeze right on through. HA! Not even close how do you spell Humbled?😀 The scales the fingerpicking it is all a mess. I started to get discouraged but then I remembered that Tony said to get better is about consistency, not mastery. So we need to lay aside our perfectionism and recognize like any new skill it is going to take practice. So just mark complete and move on you will eventually pick up your guitar one day and those pesky chords will just fall into place. Be proud of yourself… You show up, you are doing the work and it will pay off eventually. Mark complete and move on and if you want to return to certain lessons on off times mark the heart you will have them in your favorites and can practice them more if you want to, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Glad you posted because posting to you reminded me this is all true. I thought the F barre chord would be forever out of reach for me, but now I can play it pretty well. Don’t compare yourself to anyone and let your journey with guitar be just that…Your journey and remember why you wanted to take it. You got this. I will be cheering for you. One last thing…just because it’s called a 30-day challenge doesn’t mean you can’t do that in however long you want to or need to. Take however long you want to. I know for myself there are some things in there that it is going to take me a while to get but I do have some experience and play quite a lot so I’m thinking these techniques will continue popping up and I have hearted them and printed the tabs so I can practice more. We can do this. 😀

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Joyfinder.
    • Moose408

      January 31, 2024 at 9:55 pm

      Well said.

      (although I’m suspect about your comment about the F barre chord. I’m resigned to fact that I may never master it. 😛)

  • kaiyabear

    February 1, 2024 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you for this… I have been feeling the same things for a month now. I guess I will just keep on truckin’ and hope one day some things just click, lol!

  • BarbaraM

    February 2, 2024 at 2:54 pm

    I feel your pain! I too, am a newbie to all this, and I am in the 5th week of the 30 Days, working on the 3rd week’s lessons. I practice about 20+ minutes every day, though sometimes if my wrist or fingers are too sore I will do less. But I pick up that guitar and tune it and do *something* every day. I too struggle with reaching some of the chords (I may never get C cleanly, but who knows–I won’t ever tell myself “I can’t”). Everyone here has been super encouraging, and while you may think, yeah sure, they’ve been at it a while, I am here to tell you if I can see improvement as a beginner with some arthritis, then you can too. It’s all about mindset. And I am having a blast!

  • Theedman22

    March 1, 2024 at 8:39 pm

    All these good comments, glad I found your question. Have been thinking my progress wasn’t….progressing too much for the last FEW DAYS. I also have a teacher now (just started with him, so I can get specific direction), and, lol, after a few lessons with him, it looks like I’m JUST STARTING (I re-started guitar playing about 6 weeks ago, started TAC January 11, ’24, so I guess maybe I did “just start”. lol)

    Anyway, I’m going to keep plugging along, practicing, recording what I want to specifically get better at “today”, keeping a schedule of the practice, times, TIMER on each thing, and hopefully see myself get better.

    At some point I’d like to connect with other like-players on Zoom or something to play/connect with each other. Is there a group that already does this, in TAC? Please let me know if you’ve heard of anything like that, and if you’d like to connect sometime, to support each other.

    • Moose408

      March 2, 2024 at 12:15 am

      I don’t know about any specific Zoom meetup but that might be interesting.

      I have found multiple beginner guitar get-togethers in my area through Meetup.com. One meets once a month and another weekly. I’ve been going for a couple of months and have learned a ton from the other participants. Might want to check if there are any meetups in your area.

      • Theedman22

        March 3, 2024 at 8:44 am

        Thanks Moose408. That meetup.com idea is good. And I’ll keep poking around here, too, to see if any groups. Just to let you know, I’m thinking about leaving TAC soon (I’ve been with TAC for almost 2 months. I find myself not coming here as often as I thought I would.)

        Ya’ll are great at answering questions, and supporting each other, but I, personally, don’t think this is focusing on the specifics of what I want. I’m looking at other ideas that will work with my specific goals vs me having to “follow their ship” to progress. I’m open to any thoughts you, or any of you have, for or against my leaving TAC. Thanks!

        • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Theedman22.
  • StevenEEE

    March 3, 2024 at 1:24 pm

    I’m a newbie and I felt the same way for sure. Tony keeps saying there is no schedule or time frame here; just encouragement and motivation to move along. I need to remember that I’m not in a rush. It was 7 weeks before I checked completed on the 30 days. I just spent over 2 weeks on the 5-day guitar routine before checking complete.

    I’ve moved along at “my pace” and am amazed at my progress, definitely not perfection. I start out each session with the shuffle, baseline, boogie, scale, and chords. I’m getting better! Then move on to the rest.

    I do have the luxury of being retired and am able to sit here with the guitar for an hour plus, almost every day. This was something to pass the time over the Alaska winter, but has turned into a very nice habit! Dare I say obsession? Take it easy on yourself!

Log in to reply.