Principles of Practice
Based on "The Principles of Correct
Practice for Guitar"
by Jamie Andreas
Nov 21, 2004 Volume
GP HELP! Principled Solutions To Your Playing Problems
Rainbow's "Man On The Silver Mountain"
Fast arpeggios and hammer lick
Submitted by Bradford Stevens on 11/2/04
There are two specific points in
Rainbow's "Man on the Silver Mountain" that are giving me difficulty. The first passage is the chorus, which begins
"Come down with fire..." It sounds like an arpeggio or perhaps tapping. The second section is from the guitar solo.
The first part of the solo is OK, but when the pull-offs and hammers on the high E string begin, my pinky starts
flying around and it's been difficult for me to gain any control. Thank you very much, and keep up the great work!
arpeggios with alternate picking and palm muting.
Problem 2: "Fast hammer lick"
Okay, let's talk about the first part. Yes, it is arpeggios on simple 3 note chord forms. In the music I found
(power tab) it is given, as usual, with no fingering for either hand. This is the first source of trouble for most
people, they begin practicing something like this without really thinking about the fingering, or planning it out.
This must always be done before beginning to practice, we must decide on the fingering strategy we will use.
Here is the beginning of the arpeggio section............
So, the first order of business in practicing this is to make all of the decisions regarding fingering, rather than
just jumping in and having a go at it. Okay, maybe you can jump in at first, but then, get serious about it!
Now, the next thing to consider is how to go about working up the speed once we have decided what we are going to
do. At this point, a few things need to be mentioned concerning why you may be having trouble with this part. First,
let's talk about the right hand.
See the complete
solution to these problems....
Get A New Grip?
I play mainly electric, which allows me to play
with a grip similar to what Hendrix used, meaning with my thumb usually fretting the 6th (sometimes 5th) string and my
index in a position ready to bar when needed
I am worried that the "principles" approach in the book is pretty specific to the classical/jazz way
of fretting, and would not allow for what I would like to keep doing with the guitar. I would like to know from you if
and how the principle can be applied to the grip that I would like to perfect.
I am also open to learning the classical grip if the principles could somehow spill over and benefit my usual
The Foundation Exercises for the left hand contained in The Principles develop all the musculature of the hand for
maximum strength, stretch, and independence. The need for these attributes is not limited to any style, and it would
be the rare guitarist whose range of music being played was so limited as not to call for these abilities in the
The problem with the fast lick dealt with above is a good example. It arises from a weak 3-4 combination, and most
players' hands could not play that lick with the thumb wrapped over the neck. You will need ALL the muscles of the
hand developed, including the many muscles that connect to the little finger.
Also, it is important to realize that gaining new abilities in technique never takes away from what you have, or
makes you unable to use previous attainments. New abilities simply add to your store of possibilities.
So, after having met so many rockers in my life who have insufficient development of the left hand, I am confident
that you or anyone else in your situation will greatly benefit from The Principles (like you expected me to say
Can I Be Great at 38?
My question is this: What is your opinion on someone becoming an outstanding guitarist starting later in life? I am 38
and have had a burning desire to play the guitar/compose since age 10. And not in just an average or normal way, but
an outstanding way.
I've had a couple disappointing teachers and have not advanced at all. The
thing that has been holding me back is doubt, negative or false beliefs about my ability; saying things to myself
like, "You are too old to get really good." or "Only the people who start young can have that privilege."
I have purchased "Principles for Correct Practice" from you and I barely
even use it because of these beliefs I have in my head. Do you know of anyone who started playing the guitar later in
life and became an exceptional player (not necessarily celebrity status or getting famous). I think about being a
guitarist every single day and how fulfilled I would be if it were so.
Thanks for replying back. I do respect your opinion.
Chino Hills CA
Well, this is like a trick question, because in the final analysis, whether you can do it or not will mostly depend
on whether you believe that you can. And so far, it sure seems like you don't believe it! Where have you been for the
last 28 years while this desire was "burning" inside of you? You had better figure that one out, because if the
reasons you did not go for it back then are the same doubts and fears you are expressing now, you are in for trouble.
It is reasonable for you to try to get a realistic prognosis about the feasibility of your desire, I am not one of
those people that thinks you can achieve ANYTHING with a positive attitude, I have lived a little too long to believe
that one. Some things in life are "time sensitive", like being a professional athlete, or a rock star! But, as far as
developing a professional level of technical ability on the guitar in a 10 year period for a HIGHLY motivated and hard
working 38 year old, yes, I think it is definitely possible. I think this mainly because developing technique is my
specialty, and I firmly believe The Principles are your best hope, period.
However, if you are not even working with the Principles, you are guaranteeing the opposite. There has never been a
better chance of doing this than there is now, because of Guitarprinciples, but you must seize it. You cannot sit
around thinking about it, and if you REALLY want it, you won't!
Shay, the best thing you can do is hang out in our forum, you will find the encouragement you need. Many people are
doing what you want to do. In fact, there are people older than you, working hard, and seeing results, and getting the
assurance they need that yes, they can have a professional life as a guitarist. WHO you hang out with, when you are
trying to adopt new attitudes and behaviors, is CRITICAL. Hang out with the people in our forum, they are winners, or
on their way!
So, what are you waiting for?!!
Visit Our Forum!
This predicament is quite common, that is why I addressed it in "The Deeper I Go, The Deeper It Gets". Having
either experienced or witnessed the major obstacles to success on the guitar, I made sure I gave insight into them in
this book. I have included an excerpt below.
From "The Deeper I Go, The Deeper It Gets".............
There Is No Path To Success; You Make One
By Taking The First Step . . . Anonymous
"I want to know if I should buy a bass guitar. What tells me that I won't suck at it and just waste my money on
the guitar? Also, how hard is it to learn the bass guitar? I need some encouragement. I just can't tell myself that I
should buy a bass guitar because I don't know if I will enjoy playing and I won't suck at playing. Another question:
how can I prevent myself from getting sick of playing bass guitar and stop practicing?"
Whew! Houston, we have a problem! Well, what is really going on here?
Here is someone with some degree of desire to play the bass guitar but who immediately creates for themselves
feelings of intense doubt, which then make him unable to take any actions to move toward his desires. So he then tries
to get some "certainty" that he will be successful from me!
It seems he wants to be sure there is a path to success before he even takes the first step! Then, he wants to make
sure that he will not for some reason decide to stop walking on the path. He actually wants someone to guarantee that
he won't feel various negative emotions as he goes along. And even more than that, he seems to
someone to pick him up and carry him along that path because he is not sure he has the energy to travel it himself!
This person's attitude is about as bad as it gets. While it may be difficult to find someone who is this far gone
and this immature in their attitudes about life, it is probably true that we all have at least a touch of this whiny,
self pitying person inside of us, at least once in awhile. It is difficult to know where to begin to provide an
"answer" to this "question". It is necessary for this person to know what it is they are really doing and why. The
following points are what this person, and all of us, must realize.
When someone wants something badly enough to deserve getting it, they do not let themselves be pushed around by
fear and doubt. THEY DO IT ANYWAY! When we have the courage to act from our need and desire rather than our fear and
doubt, a magical thing occurs: after we take the first step the second one appears! And so on and on.
After we have been on the journey awhile, always feeling our need, desire, and joy (because that is what it turns
into) and always giving all of ourselves in our efforts, we discover we have something to show for it. We get good at
what we are doing. People look at us and say "Wow, you're a good guitar player!" We may look up from the guitar and
say thank you, and yeah, it feels good, but it's not the point, and it is not why we do it, and it would never be
enough of a reason to keep doing it.
Taking it to a deeper level, understand this: There is no future that is not connected to the present moment. This
person thinks, as do most people, that "the future" is out there somewhere lying in wait, and it is something he is
not going to like when it gets him. He doesn't know he is creating his future in every moment and so he is not paying
attention to his moment, he is busy worrying about the future which doesn't, in fact, exist. If he understood his
present moment, what he is doing right now and why, the future would take care of itself.
Anyone who reads this book will have a tremendous
advantage in learning and mastering guitar!
Your understanding of learning and playing the guitar will be on a whole new level!
Other Essays Include:
"Sometimes Itís Not How Fast You Move, But How
Soon You Get There...Bruce Lee"
"Penetrate Form, Uncover Essence-Discover Wisdom" "
"Happy Is A How, Not A What, Where, Why, When, Or Who"
"The Peace I Feel As I Take This Breath Is How I Measure My Success"
....Journey far beyond "The Principles"
Info & Contents!
material copyright © 2004 by Jamie Andreas, GuitarPrinciples.com