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".......
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.).
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:
Hold the 3rd finger down.
Make sure you have good separation between
all fingers. For a good example of how your
hand should look (and will be able to look
if properly developed with the
Foundation Exercises from The Principles),
take a quick look at this
lesson on left hand positions...............
C to D:
This is a toughie,
there are no common fingers, each one has
to pick up and get going to its new location.
The best thing you can do to master this change
is to apply the methods for switching into
the D chord taught in the GuitarPrinciples
Path: Chords & Rhythm". If you
have the book, use it, if not, well, I guess
you have a decision to make!
As always, you have
to make sure you can play the song with a
straight beat first, meaning, one strum per
quarter note beat. You have to also gain the
skill of being able to sing it as you play.
A good way to do this is to sing it in your
head as you play the chords, then try humming
it softly. Also, practice tapping your foot
to the beat as you play.
Here are two rhythms
to use for this song. As usual, make sure
you can do the whole song in basic quarter
notes, strumming and singing, before you try
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
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...............
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.
Lepage is an intense, dedicated guitar
has been using The Principles for many
years to become the
best he can be.
recently asked in our forum “how
can I change limiting beliefs”?
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
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.
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
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”
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!
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.