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The GuitarPrinciples

You CAN be a great guitarist!

May 6, 2007                                                                                                  Vol 189

In This Issue


Beginner Song: Free Bird


We all know there comes a time in every mans life when he needs to tell his girlfriend that he has got to be free, he has got to break those unbearable chains with which she has bound him, and go off and drink beer with his buddies in front of the game on tv. And, um, oh yeah, can I borrow $20 before I go, I'm bringing the beer!!??

Such a noble venture needs a theme song of course, and thanks to Lynard Skynard, we have the classic "got to be movin' on song"....... "Free Bird".

This southern rock anthem is a great beginner song because it is in the key of G, and because it is slow. One challenge however, is that most of the chords last only 2 beats, so there is a lot of chord changing going on. (Note: If you have trouble changing chords, the best thing you can do is to get a copy of "The Path: Chords & Rhythm", which is specially designed to show beginners how to master chord changes.).


Changing Chords:

G to D:

We will leave out the 2nd finger from the G chord. It is usually used on the 5th string, but that note is not necessary. Leaving it out will free us up to have the first finger ready for its note on the upcoming D chord. While you are playing the G chord, keep the 1st finger hovering over the 3rd string, 2nd fret. And keep it relaxed!

D to Em :

Usually, we would finger the Em with 2 & 3, or 1 & 2, but I am using 3 & 4 here just to make a point about changing to the upcoming F chord. Using 3 & 4 has some advantages that some people may find worthwhile. It depends on your exact level of development. Try it, and if you like it do it that way, if it is more trouble than it is worth, don't use it, but remember the logic of it for future use in other situations.

The logic of using 3 & 4 for the Em chord is that those two fingers can stay on the string and just slide up when it comes time to switch to the F chord. Then, the bar can just come down, along with 2. This is easier for some people just getting used to switching to the dreaded F bar chord! For those more experienced, it is just as easy to switch from one of the other fingers. Choose what works best for you.

Em to F:

Make sure your 2nd finger is relaxed and low to the string, as well as the 1st finger, which should already be extended over the first fret, ready to go down. With these fingers positioned like this, slide 3 & 4 up one fret from their position on the Em chord, placing the bar and 2nd finger as you do. Hello, F bar chord!

F to C:

C to D:

Quarter Note Strum
Eighth Note Strum



"The number of revelations opened to me by your words and work is indescribable. "


 Hi Jamie,

I got the Principles DVD 1 and the Principles book almost a year ago. The number of revelations opened to me by your words and work is indescribable.

Practicing in the manner described in your book and DVD greatly helps with technique and the physical barriers to playing well. The level that has been opened to me so far covers finger movement/body awareness, etc.

I must admit, that since doing no tempo posing, slow tempo practice, etc .I have on occasion noticed that my awareness of the time, rhythm and place in progression, has "magically" improved. I truly appreciate everything you have done for MY instrument in your quest for answers. I feel in my heart that this is not just a "talent" thing, not something unattainable by mere mortals such as myself. Thank you,

Your friend and devotee,

Bob L.



Problem Cause Solution

Problem: Inability to play smoothly, or learn ANYTHING well or completely

Cause: Lack of basic understanding of how to practice effectively. Lack of a solid technical foundation.

Solution: "The Principles Of Correct Practice For Guitar", which provides a complete practice methodology, as well as the most effective set of exercises for gaining a solid technique you will ever find!

more info..... order info.....


Problem: Inability to strum and sing, or change chords smoothly.

Cause: Lack of knowledge of how to practice chord changes.

Solution: "The Path Level One: Chords & Rhythm"

Shows you how to practice and master chord changes.

more info......   order info.......

Problem: Confusion, complete or partial, about how to read or understand rhythms.


Cause: The correct concepts have been very badly taught, as they are presented in almost unintelligible form in ALL guitar methods.

Solution: The Rhythm Course contained in "The Path Level One: Chords & Rhythm".

You will get the understanding you need.

Problem: Trouble playing hammers or pulls fast or evenly.

Cause: Lack of knowledge of the inner dynamics of the hammer & pull action on a string.


Solution: "Hammers & Pulls According To The Principles"

What your teacher never told you about how to do hammers & pulls! Vital info not found anywhere else!

more info....order info.....


Problems: playing scales, especially fast.

Cause: Lack of knowledge of the intimate behavior of each finger.

Bad form in hand and fingers. Lack of finger spread and independence.

Solution: "Beyond The Walking Exercises: Toward Mastery of Scales".

Would you like to be able to play a scale like this?

This lesson is available instantly online! more info..............

(to be used after your fingers have received basic training with"The Principles")

Problem: Inability to deal with the inner struggles that all developing musicians face.

Cause: Lack of experience and self-knowledge.

Solution: "The Deeper I Go, The Deeper It Gets: Essays on Guitar, Artistic Development & Life"

The psychology, philosophy, and spirituality of learning the guitar and traveling the path of the artist.

"What you are as a person is what you will be as a guitarist"....

see excerpts.....


New Book: Strategies For Higher Levels of Achievement On Guitar

A Powerful Resource For All Players

I am pleased to announce the publication of our new book "Beyond The Basic Practice Approach: Strategies For Higher Levels Of Achievement on Guitar". '

The knowledge in this book will bring your practice to a whole new level, in fact, it will go a very long way toward taking you to whatever level you desire. As far as practice technique and theory goes, it is the appropriate and worthy successor to "The Principles Of Correct Practice For Guitar". It contains all the practice approaches I use myself to make continuous progress. These methods are what I teach to all students after a correct foundation of technique has been acheved with The Principles.

These methods will never outlive their usefulness to you. They are THE path through all the obstacles we guitar players face on the road we must travel. It will make your journey fulfilling, and your arrival to new levels of playing ability certain. ............. see more info.



Q & A: Beliefs--And YOU!


Here at GuitarPrinciples, students approach their growth on the guitar from the viewpoint of something I have stated often, and in many different ways: "what you are as a person is what you will be as a guitarist". And so, we have players who are pursuing success not just in guitar, but in all matters relating to personal growth and expanded awareness.

An interesting question was posed in the GuitarPrinicples Forum recently relating to just such an important, all encompassing subject: beliefs. One of our exemplary forum members, Guillaume LePage, was seeking some insight into how to change limiting beliefs. I thought it was worth a detailed answer...............


Hi Jamie,

It is often discussed in this forum that limiting beliefs are useless and that it is better to just replace them with useful and empowering beliefs. I would like to know how to get rid of limiting beliefs? I have identified limiting beliefs that I hold and just knowing that I don't want to hold them anymore is not enough to get rid of them! In certain situations, bad feelings arise to remind me of the useless belief.

However, I have a seemingly unshakable belief that I can get as good as I want on the guitar (and it allows me to always do correct practice and experience a lot of success with the guitar). I am not sure how I got to hold this belief and why other people don't hold it as strongly.


Guillaume Lepage is an intense, dedicated guitar player who
has been using The Principles for many years to become the
best he can be.

He recently asked in our forum “how can I change limiting beliefs”?

Hi Guillaume,

Yes, there are thousands of books about the power of beliefs, and in fact the subject has been discussed for thousands of years by sages and teachers of all traditions There are many current and popular books on the subject, and there have been many more in the recent past.

I am going to look very deeply into the matter with you. When I do that, when I look very deeply into beliefs, here is what I see.

I see that no, it is not possible for you to change or remove your limiting beliefs and replace them with better beliefs. Beliefs may change, but not because of something you do. That is why you don’t know how you came to believe that you can be as good as you want on guitar. Somehow, that belief took root in you without you knowing it. It is also why you cannot change other beliefs you would like to change. If you could change beliefs, I’m sure you would! If people could “do” something to change beliefs, I am sure the secret would be bottled and sold in supermarkets by now, and we’d all be changing beliefs to make our lives better on a daily basis!

As I look further, I see that the reason you cannot change beliefs is very simple, it is because you ARE your beliefs. You probably don’t know it (most people don’t) but you are your beliefs. Beliefs can change, but you, being your beliefs, are not the one who can do it.

I also see that before you go about trying to change beliefs in any case, you should know something very important about beliefs: all beliefs are limiting. When beliefs do change (and they can), all we are doing is trading one set of limitations for another, hopefully, a set of limitations with different possibilities, which will be more useful to us.

The last thing I see is that the reason it is so difficult to change beliefs is because the reason we keep the beliefs we do is because we NEED them. All relationships are based on the satisfaction of needs, and your relationship to your beliefs is no different. People hold on to the beliefs that they need to hold on to, for one reason or another, good or bad. Sometimes, a belief is needed simply to keep other ones from being considered and accepted, and thereby disturbing our comfortable life. When you no longer need a belief, it will leave, or change, by itself. When you, by one means or another, have become the person who does not need a particular belief, that believe will change or leave on its own.

These things I know. I also know it is not what you will hear when you read any of those aforementioned popular books on the subject. They will tell you that of course you can change your beliefs by “believing” more, or “believing” in yourself, or something like that. And yet, you can hear all this, and still not be able to change anything, or get rid of those persistent bad feelings you talked about. And that is because you can hear all of that, and still not understand anything about the subject of beliefs.

“You” ARE Your Beliefs

When I say “you are your beliefs”, you might think that this is a very absurd statement, at which point I would ask you to show me this “you” who wants to get rid of beliefs. Tell me about this “you”.

As you would try to tell me about “you”, all you would be able to communicate would be a list of beliefs that “you” currently operate from. Very quickly, you would not be able to distinguish between the beliefs, and the believer!

You might say “I am Guilluame, I am a human being living on the planet Earth, I am a 21 year old male, I am a nice guy, I like to play the guitar, and I am nice to little children and nursing mothers, etc., etc. You would be giving me a list of beliefs (ideas) you have about yourself, or a list of attributes and actions that are outgrowths of your beliefs (i.e. I am nice to people because I believe it is good to be nice), as you attempted to describe YOU, the believer. In fact, anytime someone says I am __________(fill in the blank with anything), they are actually expressing a belief about themselves, or we might say, an idea about themselves, which is the same thing.

All of the above description of yourself is a list of beliefs and ideas that have been presented to you as “explanations” of your perceptions and your existence, that you have accepted as facts, as “the truth”. But what could they possibly really mean, if you really thought about them? How could anyone really know what it is to be this thing we call a human being? How could anyone possibly know where they really are?

You were not born believing “I am Guilluame”. This idea was taught to you, you learned this, and started believing it. Obviously, you existed before you learned and believed this. Who were you then, who were you when you had no name? Is there not a more basic, fundamental “you” before this “Guilaume” idea?“ When you first began your career as “Guilllaume” (as an infant), you had no idea who you were. You had to depend on what Mommy and Daddy and the rest of those giants who lived in the world reflected back to you to tell you who and what you were.

After awhile, you learned to do it for yourself, as the idea of “Guillaume” became an idea, a belief that has grown year by year, carrying more and more attributes with it as it went (“Guillaume, you are so nice, so cute, so generous, etc”), until it has ended up with quite an impressive resume! It is constantly changing, can it really be YOU in the most fundamental sense?

All ideas are simply beliefs about reality. Most of them are a special kind of belief actually; they are the kind called “assumptions”. Assumptions are untested beliefs, and our lives are full of them, maybe entirely composed of them. We really cannot avoid living on the basis of untested beliefs, because there is no way to test all the beliefs and ideas we need to have in order to live.

I’ll illustrate what I mean. Let’s take a simple belief we all have: we all believe we know “where” we are, and “where” everything else is. This means we can locate ourselves and other things in space. But, what do we know? If you ask me where I am, I might answer very glibly, with perfect assurance like I really know where I am “well, I am sitting in a house in Woodstock NY.” Then I would pat myself on the knee and say “yep, here I am right here”, as if I knew what “here” meant.

But really, what do I know? Well, if I look closely at this “where” thing, this “being located in space” thing, I know this house is located on the planet Earth, which is spinning around at around 1,000 miles/hr (at the equator). So, I guess I am spinning with it. So, I’ll have to include my ever changing location in my estimate of where I am.

I would probably start giving up trying to figure out where I really am when I thought about how the whole planet itself is sailing around the sun at around 18 mph, and the two of them together are hurtling through the galaxy at 155 mph –and on top of that, the whole shebang is moving through a larger group of galaxies at 185 mph! At this point my head is spinning at about that speed too, just trying to figure out “where” I really am, and yet I live with an undeniable sense of being SOME where!

So, if I really probe the matter, I see that I can’t actually know where I am, I can’t actually locate myself in space. There is simply nothing to locate it in relation to. I can only make up my own little “local” idea of “whereness” and use that. I cannot actually know “where” I am in any ultimate sense whatsoever. The very question of “where”, as well as its answer, is ultimately meaningless IF I THINK ABOUT IT.

And yet, believing I am in this room right now, choosing this as the somewhere that I am, is incredibly useful to me (because my guitar is in here with me!), but I will not make philosophy, science, or religion out of the belief.

You could put any one of your ideas or beliefs through this rigorous process of enquiry, and you would come out in about the same place --nowhere! Now, human beings don’t like being nowhere, it is simply of no use whatsoever, and so we create our world, just like mathematicians, scientists, and priests and philosophers, just so we can play the game. Personally, I love it, but I don’t “believe” it.

Just like our assumption about “where” we or anything else is, we experience all of our assumptions as our ideas and beliefs about who and what we are, and who and what the rest of the world is. Since it is inevitable that we must live on the basis of untestable beliefs, we prefer to “be real”, and act as if everything we need to believe is “the truth” or “reality”. While doing so does serve some very useful purposes, it also leads to a lot of confusion, disagreement and trouble between people, and within people, but it seems to be a part of the charm of being a human being!

continued here..................... "Why Are All Beliefs Limiting"..........."Beliefs & Identification"...."Reaching Freedom"..............


Recording: Bach Prelude For Cello

Played by Jamie Andreas


Hear Bach's Prelude For Cello in D

Here is a favorite for guitar, and not just classical guitarists! Pick style players love to use this piece to improve their chops, especially for practicing wide string skips.

And remember, anyone interested in pursuing excellence as a classical or fingerstyle player cannot do better than the GuitarPrinciples "Online Classical & Fingerstyle Foundation Course"!


ONLINE COURSES! Available INSTANTLY in our Member Area!

Stairway To Heaven: Note by Note

-how to play every note

-how to make every move

-mp3, video, pix, detailed text instructions

Toward Mastery Of Scales

finger by finger instructions for scalar movement

Classical/Fingerstyle Foundation Course

THE essential foundation for all classical/fingerstyle players

Bach: Prelude #1 "Well Tempered Clavier"

a unique and beautiful arrangement for steel string guitar

GP Newsletter Archives

All Essential Essays, Mel Bay Course, Practice Secrets, and much more!

Mel Bay Vol1: Note by Note
Principles applied to Mel Bay Method--

Learn to read music,

Music theory

Pick style chord melody


Lessons with Jamie: Jamie is currently accepting students who want serious growth in their abilities. For information on lessons with Jamie in Woodstock NY, contact geraldine

See more info on lessons with Jamie......