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 a student starting the guitar 17 years after getting one.

…And a powerful little tip for learning tricky fingerstyle tunes.

Email #1

“Hello Dan. I’m excited to get started with the lessons that you offer. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar. My older brother played for years. He was self-taught but was an excellent guitar player. Unfortunately he passed away 2 years ago.  

So, here I am, at 67 years old, wanting to learn how to play. My children bought me a guitar 17 years ago, and it sat in the closet. Now I’m inspired and want to get started.

I just want to be able to pick up my guitar, sit on the porch or around a campfire and play some tunes. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. Thank you, Dan, for this program.”



There’s nothing better than being able to sit around and pick up a guitar at will and jam it.

On the porch, campfire, back garden, or even a BBQ when someone pulls out a guitar and asks you to play.

It’s a pretty amazing feeling.

Someone was talking about this recently to me.

They were saying, “You know you are playing some impressive stuff when some people look at you like you’re a magician when you just pick up the guitar and jam.”

You may see a little envy, you may see them proud of you, and you may see them inspired – or all of the above.

It’s a nice feeling for sure.


The main thing is you keep playing for yourself first and foremost.

Bill is beginning an exciting journey and I’m sure he will do his brother’s memory proud.

Be patient and enjoy the journey as much as possible.

All the best to Bill and any of you starting out on this exciting journey.


Email #2

“Hi Dan

I really need your help.  

I have been working on your finger picking program for a couple of weeks now. I have been playing guitar for many years but felt attracted to your approach.

This is my question: 

I am in the process of trying to learn freight train. It’s easy to get the alternating bass going, and playing the melody is also simple. I can play both without thinking and without looking at any of my hands. But the combination of the two is almost impossible for me.

I start thinking too much, looking at my fretting hand, and the coordination of the two that used to go by “autopilot” just doesn’t happen, no auto function starts. At all!!! And when I consciously start the bass, making it run, the minute I try the melody, even the bass run becomes unclear and muddy. 

Any advice will be welcome.”



This is one of the age-old tricky issues with playing guitar.

Combining two parts for one guitar takes some real brain power and coordination between the two hands.

It’s not easy, but I urge Hans to 100% stick with this because when you can play the bass and the melody on the guitar…

An exciting new world opens up.

It’s like being a one-man/woman band.


Here’s some advice to help with tunes like this:

Begin by playing only the bass parts.

Keep playing the bass and add in one of the melody notes.

Just one.

Keep the bass tight and “punchy” while letting that first melody note join the party, so to speak.

Do that for a few days until it becomes second nature.

Then you simply repeat the above and ADD in the next melody note.


This technique of building up the blocks one note at a time is a tried and tested method I use a lot.

Try it, but be patient.

The results will come and they will be worth it for sure.

In my Tom Dooley Mini Masterclass course, you’ll learn how to play the bass and melody for a classic song like this.

I’ll show you how to put it all together so you can have endless fun and the “one block at a time” advice I gave to Hans works perfectly with this tune.

You can check out the Tom Dooley course below.

Tom Dooley: The Travis Picking Mini Masterclass


Have a great day of practice…

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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