Here are two more interesting emails I have got this past week, about the most hated chord and painting a house for a guitar.

I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…


Email #1

After sending the Mr Miyagi/Karate Kid email the other day, this is what Nancy replied…

“Dan your emails always crack me up. I love all your comparisons, analogies, etc. Although you are much younger than me, I love how you reference all the decades of music, movies, events, etc.  

This email talks about the struggle with C to G. I struggled with that, but for some reason I got it down pretty fast. I practiced it relentlessly and now it’s super flow. My struggle, for the life of me, is anything to with D minor. I have the hardest time even doing a D minor. Any suggestions?

That is the chord I hate the most. Even more than barre chords. 



 I’ve always preferred older culture/movies/music, etc.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my uncle who influenced me on a lot of this stuff. Plus, the older artists and bands are generally just better in my opinion.

Barring the odd exception, music and film had way more personality back then.


Anyway, the D minor…

I actually rarely play the open version.

It’s just not a chord I like to play.

I actually tend to prefer the barre (A minor shape at fret 5) version but most people find that harder though.

Some students play the open version with the index, middle, and pinkie, not using the ring finger at all.


This would mean:

  • Middle – G string (fret 2)
  • Pinkie – B string (fret 3)
  • Index – high E string (fret 1)


This often helps, especially for those who struggle to stretch.

If you struggle with it, I would also think closely about which chord you struggle going into and out of with it and how you can leave a finger on to “pivot”.

Anyway, Nancy emailed back quickly to say this index, middle, and pinkie version of playing D minor helped almost immediately.

It might work for you but it might not, either way you may want to give it a try.

Anyway, on to the next one…


Email #2

This is a comment Debbie left on a video of mine the other day…

“Twenty years ago, I painted a house and used the money to buy a beautiful mahogany Martin guitar.

I was currently taking lessons on an old classical nylon string, one that someone gave me… this Martin was amazing!

But I don’t practice unless I have a reason, Dan is very diligent at giving us reasons, so here I am struggling, trying to assure my beautiful guitar that yes, it does have a reason to exist. – Debbie


It makes it all the more special when someone has worked for it.

By that I mean the guitar and the rewards of being able to play it.

Debbie physically worked painting a house and rewarded herself, which is great.

…Also the playing side.

I know there are those “teachers” on YouTube who like to kid and say you can learn guitar in ten easy steps and all that waffle.

You know and I know that that ain’t right and there is much more to it than that.


I’m not sure about Debbie’s situation but 20 years is a long time to try to make music.

I often find students who have struggled for that long have to spend their first month or two re-setting and starting from scratch.

All the old stuff is useful (chords and scales, etc.) but the new beginning starts the moment they either walk through my studio door (back when I used to teach one-to-one a lot more) or they open up one of my lessons the first time.

Guitar playing takes work, but if you have the right tools, lessons, experienced tutor, AND mindset, then you can truly make progress.


How long does it take to see results?

That depends on many factors (mindset, available time, open-mindedness, positivity, the quality of lessons, self-belief, etc.) but there’s one guarantee…

Do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always got.


On the flip side, if there’s one thing you can do today to make better progress…

Start going easier on yourself when you struggle, believe you can do it, (you’ve no doubt achieved other things in life so you can do the guitar too), and follow my #1 rule, which is:

Improve one super tiny thing each day and play something fun – no matter what it is or how simple it is


Hope that helps those of you out there who need it

Have a great Wednesday

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. In a follow-up comment a short while later, this is what Debbie said:

“The Guitar Theory book is wonderful. I have only used it with piano, and to have it applied to guitar takes away so much mystery about the fretboard.”


In case you don’t know, you get my theory book for free posted to your door when you join my membership programme.

Plus, as a one-time special, if you join before the end of March, you will also get another book of mine posted out to you for free. It’s a book I’ve not promoted in a long time, but it is a special one.

In short, join before the end of the month and you will get two high-quality books of mine at zero cost to you.

You can find out more about both below…


The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy 


P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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