old dusty books

Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately.

I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…

Today we are talking about old books and a new start, plus a very useful tip from a student…

Email #1

“Hi, my name is Kay from Cornwall, UK.

I have been trying to play guitar since the age of 13. I am 55 now.  

And like a lot of people, I started on a 3/4 size nylon string classical guitar that I had begged my parents to buy me.

I broke loads of strings as my musical ear was non-existent and then came the problem of how to change a string which was quite amusing in itself and frustrating.  

My first guitar book was Play in a Day by Bert Weedon that a neighbour gave me. This was before the internet and video and DVD players, so it was quite a slog. There wasn’t even any tab, so I had to painstakingly transcribe the fret and string against the music in the book from the map of the fretboard at the front. I think the first tune I played was Bobby Shafto.

Over the years, I have picked the guitar up and put it down again. Flitted through different genres of music. But finally decided that I need to organise myself. I bought your book Fingerstyle 101 off Amazon and then became aware of your other material, hence this course. I would eventually like to play Streets of London by Ralph McTell. I know this is ambitious. But I can dream.

I have a few parlour guitars as I am small just 5ft. I also have a squire classic vibe Jaguar as I like surf music, well I am in Cornwall after all. Anyway that’s enough of my waffle. I am very pleased to start studying with you. All the best.”



Very interesting to read about Kay’s background with the guitar.

I can picture it now.

Kay learning from an old book with no music to listen to, but just painstakingly working things out for herself.

…But now, there’s no doubt a better picture is being created.

Kay sitting on the beach in Cornwall, watching the waves crash as she enjoys her playing, and the music resonates through her like the sea travelling through little streams of sand on the beach.

(I’m getting a little excited thinking of the beach as I will be going to Cornwall soon myself to do some surfing).


I’m very familiar with Kay’s story of struggling with an old book, but I’ve also enjoyed those wonderful moments playing on a beach and feeling very tranquil.

I have no doubt Kay will be enjoying her playing very soon, and as for the Ralph McTell song, to Kay I say, “Go for it”.

To you and everyone else, I say, “Dream big”.

Learn the songs you love.

Remember, with enough patience and a good method, you can learn anything you want.


Email #2

“Hello Dan,

I have a tip for your students who struggle with chords, especially barre chords, in regard to s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g to reach some notes.

If you just keep practicing, usually you will eventually achieve the desired results. This will guarantee those results more quickly:

Place a piece of notebook paper on a desk or other flat surface. Place your outstretched fretting hand, palm down, upon it and mark where the end of your Pinky is and where the end of your thumb is.  

Now, simply stretch one or both beyond the marks for 10-30 seconds and mark those increases.

Do this 2,3, or more times a day and you might be surprised at how rapidly you achieve those impossible-to-reach chords. You might experience a little discomfort in your hand and/or forearm at first, but this is to be expected whenever exercising unused muscles… 

Well, that’s it from this side of the pond, Dan.

I hope this may help some of your students. As usual, keep up the thoughtful, inspirational teaching.




Well, I tip my hat to you, sir.

That is a very good tip.

I’ve talked before about increasing your hand span and measuring it as it gradually increases over time.

…But I like this tip of measuring on paper.

It’s simple and as long as it works, you can’t beat simple.

Just be careful not to overstretch.


Like anything when it comes to training any area of the body…

Use “progressive overload”, but go slowly, don’t strain, and listen to your body.

Increasing your finger stretch is possible.

…But do it correctly and don’t rush.


Anyway, for more help on technique and stretching, you might want to check out my eBook bundle.

Inside, I cover a whole range of key lessons, from barre chords to technique, chord changes to theory, and much more.

Find out more below…

Guitar Domination Super eBook Bundle


Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


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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