One of the best books I've ever come across.
I must say, this is one of the best books I've ever read. Not just on guitar, but probably on any subject.
You'll find a lot of guitar books which tell you a lot about chords, scales and lots of stuff. But not a single book ever tries to give you the fine points, fine points that need to be trained with from the very beginning, so that bad practices and habits are not set up in your playing. Self-observation is not something that any tutor tells you about, more than once or twice. This book makes you realize that it is not how many songs you can play, but rather how smoothly and well you can play them.
The principles that the author stresses again and again, are so valuable and essential, that these should be stressed by every author out there writing on guitar.
As far as the author having a big ego, or talking down from a pedestal, I fail to see where this happens. Sure, she does talk about various people whom she has guided, but nowhere does she actually bash them around verbally. Rather, one gets the impression that she is genuinely ruing the fact that even though so many people work so hard, they don't get the maximal benefit out of those long hours of practice.
This book reminds me of the books written by Bruce Lee, one of the greatest known martial artists. Bruce Lee constantly stressed that no matter how high your kicks, or how powerful your punches, the thing you must see is whether your motions are kinesthetic at root.
In short, I'd recommend this book heartily to anyone who has an introspective bent of mind, and genuinely wants to become the best damn player that he can. Beginners especially will be able to benefit most, as they can learn good practices from the beginning itself.
“Zorro the Fox”.... Guitar Student, India
Practice without the principles feels clueless, no consistent learning and things like that, once you get the principles and start to follow the wise directions there, I'm sure you will have another perspective about playing the guitar, you will begin to feel it in your fingers, and have lots, lots of fun discovering new ways to learn the guitar.
Good luck! Saludos,
-César V. , Cananea, Sonora, Mexico
I'm am so glad that Jamie published "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar" (that title strikes me a little funny, more like a doctorate thesis then just another 'Be a Ripping Shred Monster on Guitar' but I guess that's just one more thing that separates you from the crowd) because now I really feel like I can reach my full potential as a guitar player.
I've been playing for twenty years. Two years ago I decided that I will become the best I can be, I was not impressed with my playing and didn't really see any musical growth. I started getting all kinds of of books and DVD's that stated I would, with this one magic product, be a shredding monster. Of course most were just the same scales, chords, bits of theory - sometimes inaccurate - that every other course offered. Here's the sad part. When I did get a great DVD from a player I really liked, ie. John Petrucci, the examples that were shown were beyond my ability. I didn't give up and finally stumbled across your site when I was searching for speed guitar.
I read the reviews of "The Principles" and decided that I HAD to get this book. It was a real - "When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive" - moment. From the profound to the blinding stupid, I found all kinds of things that I was doing wrong with my body. The biggest thing I got from "The Principles" book was I actually enjoyed playing guitar - for 20 years I "enjoyed" playing, but wow, I had no idea how much TENSION I was hold in my arms, fingers, toes, stomach, etc.... I may have liked playing but my body was going through the pits of Hades to do the easiest things.
I'm so glad I didn't stop with just the one book. I've also picked up Scales Mastery, The Octave Exercise, Six Essential Scales, Hammer and Pulls and (drum roll) my latest buy--Rock and Blues Foundation Course!
I'm to lesson seven right now and loving it (I almost have a decent vibrato)!! This is what I got into guitar for! Another happy thing is that I can now make use of the Petrucci and Troy Stetina material!
Guitar Principles gets you to really perfect your technique. With enough discipline and time you'll be able to play Yngwie before you'd think you would.
That's what it has done for me; I can play much better than people I know who’ve been playing as long as me. Playing well technically will really help you create better music
Also I’ve found it's made me 100x more dedicated to the guitar
You will need A LOT of discipline, it's not just randomly practicing scales, more like doing exercises very slowly and with huge concentration until you perfect them, then moving onto more advanced ones - which will be easy if you really do like the guitar enough.
Buckinghamshire, Great Britain
The principles are not simply exercises like you will find in guitar magazines or the latest "PLAY GUITAR NOW!!!!" book at Guitar Center. It is a method of learning to train your body to play the instrument so that you can learn any style of music that you would like. It is a more disciplined approach than the typical haphazard one taken by most people in their music store lessons or self-taught methods.
It's not for everyone, but those who are serious have reaped huge rewards, and those who have used this method from the very beginning of their instruction are light years ahead of those of us who have been hacking for years before we discovered this method.
I personally have been more than satisfied with every item that I have purchased from this website.
Do yourself a favor and buy the Principles. It is and amazing book I know money can be a problem sometimes, but the value and wisdom of Jamie's books has no price. Reading and working with the Principles can really change your whole life for the better.
I can only speak for myself here so the last I can say is that this book changed my life and that it's mandatory for every true guitar student.
All the best,
Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
The Principles book makes a big difference in the long run. But if you are looking for a short term miracle, it doesn't exist. Even armed with the knowledge of this book, learning to play the guitar is hard.
Guitar Principles has changed my whole approach to practicing. I used to follow the "repeat it a thousand times until you can do it" approach. Now I am much smarter, focusing in on exactly what needs work, using exercises from the book to fix things, or using the Principles learned from the book to devise my own exercises.
It also taught me a novel idea: to use my brain. I.e., when there is a problem or a difficult passage, stop and think about it; figure it out; pay attention to the right things; analyze it, do an inventory of what is going on with the whole body that might contribute to the difficulty. Before, I used to just play something over and over hoping that my fingers would eventually figure out a workable approach. Sometimes they did, and often they didn't, but even when it worked it was a horribly inefficient use of my practice time. So if you are in it for the long run, this information will empower your practice. It will save you years of wasted time.
Severna Park, MD.
In short, the Principles have helped me with:
...along with a dynamite set of great hands-on exercises.
Fort Collins, CO
I purchased "The Principles" as part of a commitment to become more systematic and disciplined in my practicing. I took a few group lessons early on, using a friend's guitar. I started feeling that I was attempting to play way beyond my ability. The number of complicated slides, rhythm changes, chord positions, pinches, pull-offs, whammys, hammer-ons, and general musical complexity boggled my mind and frustrated my fingers.
I started wondering if I had a shoulder injury. My right shoulder kept aching so much that I would have to stop playing and rub it and try to stretch it out after every forty five minutes of playing. Looking back now that actually seems really funny to me. But at the time I would frequently wonder if my hands were deformed in some way that would prevent me from ever playing.
I figured that my shoulder was too weak to hold my arm up during playing so I started lifting more weights in order to strengthen it. HA! I feel so embarrassed now to think that my first impulse in trying to address this pain was to throw more muscle at it. But that led me to Jamie's online articles and to the GuitarPrinciples website.
The Principles explained many things about playing guitar that I had not noticed or known to be on the lookout for. It helped me establish a mental basis for what I am trying to pay attention to during my time with the guitar. Before I was trying very hard to learn the song, play the chord transition smoothly, play faster. Now I sit very still and calm and pay attention to very subtle feelings in my body that I wasn't even looking for before.
I have looked at many guitar instruction books, and this is the only one that really addresses where to be within your body in order to become a musician. It helped me become more committed to establishing a strong foundation of good technique so that now instead of rushing to see how much of a snazzy new song I can play by the end of the week, I will spend lots of time just watching my fingers respond to my thoughts with the guitar. That rushing, frenzied, frustrated feeling in practice is gone now.
Also, I was in pain before and I am not anymore. I had shoulder pain that limited my playing and reduced my practice time severely. I have not felt that pain since started using the Principles and letting my shoulder relax each time I detect it tensing.
Finally, the "Principles" have helped me redefine and rediscover success in my playing and practicing.
Salt Lake City, UT
It's funny, the first time I read the book I had a great time, I felt that Jamie Andreas knew everything about me and my guitar playing difficulties and illnesses. What was even better, I was offered a cure! I actually read the book a couple of times before putting it down and I keep picking it up all the time.
When reading the book initially, I understood (for the first time since I started playing some years ago) some of the things that had been keeping my progress at bay. Unnoticed excessive muscle tension and lack of focus and awareness. Before reading this book and using the exercises in it, I was a very good example of a frustrated guitar player, not having fun practicing because I couldn't see any progress or development.
After the first reading, I promised myself I would stick to it and do exactly like the book's author (whom I knew nothing about at the time) said for better or for worse.
Now 2 years later (or so) I practice 2-4 hours a day (weekdays) and more on weekends. And I'm having a ball! This book has helped me more than any other guitar lesson material or teachers in the past (before I got "Principled"), even if you put them all together.
Mind you, nothing is for free so a lot of dedication, desire, work and love are needed on the guitar playing path. But reading and using this book and the whole Principles theory/philosophy has helped me and countless others go from being frustrated and stuck to being able to play what you want to play, have fun and love growing as a guitarist and at the same time, as a person.
This is "the bible" for the serious guitar student.
Hi! I'm new to the forum and quite new to the Principles, but I'd just like to thank Jamie for this inspiring work. Motivation is a major factor for any aspiring musician, as you will all know and Jamie has enabled me to maintain my motivation in the early and most difficult stages of my playing. I am a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist by day and I'd like to say that Jamie's approach ties in very well (uncannily so!) with my therapeutic approach. It really is about the cognitive or thought process and behavioral awareness, and technique!!
Personally I feel that this is what is lacking in most guitar tuition books/material and Jamie has obviously recognized this over the years, so I'd like to thank you Jamie for de-mystifying, and clarifying what it takes to achieve guitar playing goals, and making this accessible to all.
I have just started with The Principles, but from what I have read so far in the book, (and what I had read on the site before I received my copy of the book), it applies to much more than just guitar.
The Principles, at least portions of them, can be applied to everything from golf, to the martial arts, to bodybuilding, to shooting a rifle.
Muscle memory applies to EVERYTHING we do - whether we acknowledge it or not - it is a wisdom that transcends time - most people don't think about it, and many people don't even know it exists, but I can assure you, The Principles (at least, the principle behind it all) applies to everything.
Even sitting here typing this, I found my shoulders tensed, my abdominal muscles tensed - becoming aware of tension and following The Principles will 'bleed' over into so many other facets of your life, and general awareness of the way you carry yourself, at the very least, will make you feel very different, if you think about them outside of playing a musical instrument.
I would first like to take a minute to introduce myself and to say thank you to Jamie for giving me a new lease on my guitar playing life. I cannot stress enough how fortunate I feel to have stumbled across this site while browsing around halfheartedly in a search for a yet another guitar instruction book.
I am 36 years old and have been "playing" guitar since I was 15. I quote the word "playing" because I cannot actually play anything, at least to any degree of accuracy and skill. I used to practice constantly early on, but was incredibly naive in that I didn't feel the need for an instructor and thusly my practice, as I have found out thanks to Jamie and the Principles, has been more or less worthless. I now know why my progress has been stalled for all these years. You want to talk about tension and bad habits? My playing is the very definition of the words.
I received the Principles in the mail last Friday and am working on my third reading of it already. When I read page 14 in particular I was thrilled. This book was written for ME. The guy who had the desire but was getting beaten down with the frustration of not seeing any real progress. I’m no better now than I was when I was 20! Yet I’ve put in MANY, MANY hours since then.
For the last year or so I have not even picked up my guitar, though I kept it on the stand in my living room. It was painful to see it sitting there, knowing I couldn't do anything on it but play butchered renditions of the beginning of about 100 songs, but I had accepted I didn't have the talent to play guitar. After all those thousands of hours of "practice" I can't play, so I obviously just don't have what it takes.
Now, finally, that's all changed. I now KNOW I can do it. I now know that I have never really practiced in my life. I feel pretty stupid really. I kept making the same mistakes in the same spot in the same licks I was trying to play for YEARS. I never really considered isolating a particular weakness and focusing on it with the type of focus and intensity that is explained in the Principles. Eliminate tension? So simple and yet so brilliant!
Now, when I play a part I've struggled with forever and I watch my pinky flying all over the place, when I feel my whole left arm as tensed up as a banjo string, when my left shoulder starts to ache, I laugh out loud and then want to cry. If only I'd had this information 20 years ago!!
Starting last night, I am on a mission. I have no doubts this time. I am going to FINALLY become a guitarist. I put in three hours last night of finger flapping, posing and some no tempo, and confirmed my suspicions. Those bad habits are very deeply engrained and are going to take some time to dredge out, but knowing this will work, as proven by the testimonials of those folks who have been in my shoes, gives me a newfound determination and MAN it feels good.
I used to sleep with my guitar. I have a stack of guitar magazines over six feet tall, I've owned and sold thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and except for the last year or so, guitar was my central focus in life (excepting my family of course). Now it is once again and for that I want to say,
THANK YOU Jamie Andreas.
After toiling away, reinforcing bad habits, practicing ineffectively and so on for 9 months, I discovered, "The Principles." The book's unique approach is unique among books I've seen and read. The book includes mental aspects of playing that have enabled me to make my practice time much more effective. The left and right hand exercises have helped me understand and begin to improve my playing ability in a matter of days. Much of what is in the book is nearly common sense, but not obvious to a beginner. It's based on Jamie's many years of experience as a player and teacher. I wish I had this book when I started...
Suitable for all skill levels of guitarists.
I have been playing guitar for a few years, and recently, have began taking lessons, and practicing for hours at a time.
After going to lessons I still had a number of flaws in my playing. I practiced playing a major scale for a year and could never get through it smoothly and efficiently at a medium speed. When I practiced riffs, my fingers would consistently miss notes.
Then, I purchased "The Principles" a month ago, and it has already changed my playing dramatically. (I had to follow the teachings very thoroughly, practice very slowly, and use a metronome for the book to work --- but it does). Muscles that I never knew existed have become alive and aware, and with some practice I am able to play passages flawlessly. My own guitar teacher never made me aware of my fingers, or how to control them.
The Principles has changed the way I look at the guitar and will shave off years of wasted practice time (this is especially important if you are 27, like myself). The techniques force you to relax, and guide your hands and fingers into the correct playing positions.
I read 100's of the articles and lessons on the internet and Jamie's ideas and articles have always inspired me to try and become a better player. The Principles are eliminating my bad habits and I am now on the road to becoming an accomplished guitar player!
Coventry Ct, England
In two short months, since applying "The Principles", my playing has improved by leaps and bounds after trying so hard unsuccessfully for the past 30 plus years.
Practice is no longer a chore; as a matter of fact, it is now difficult for me to stop a practice session. I feel a sense of satisfaction, relaxation and euphoria during and after each practice session.
To those out there who are contemplating buying "The Principles"- BUY IT. After you receive it READ IT CONTINUALLY, not just once. Practice as you normally would but learn the method taught in "The Principles" and repeatedly access yourself during practice to see if you are sticking to "The Principles".
If you are not, make the necessary changes so that you are applying "The Principles". Don't be selective, read the book and apply ALL of the techniques taught not just the ones you feel are important - They are all important - trust me. Watching yourself play in a mirror is most important because you don't have to bend forward to see if you are playing properly. Mirrors allow the player to watch the fingers with no disruption to the attention required to learn how to practice.
The barriers to good playing which once haunted me are gone and I still have only managed to incorporate some of "The Principles", I am gradually adding more with each practice session.
I suggest that those who are achieving limited success are those who are making limited use of "the Principles". I still have a long way to go to achieve my goals with the guitar, but I finally have the tools which are necessary to get there.
Have you ever watched great guitarists? They looked so relaxed. It all looks so easy. That's because it IS, once you understand the importance of how to practice, it will become easy for you too.
I picked up the guitar more than 5 months ago and engaged the services of a teacher. After a total of 4 months of weekly paid lessons I found that I had not progressed one iota and knew that there must be another method.
I was practicing diligently daily with no signs of progress. I purchased a copy of "The Principles" in October and just gave it a quick glance. Meanwhile, I continued with my weekly lessons. Again, I was not having any progress so I resolved to return to the book with renewed vigor.
My teacher soon noticed the changes and wanted to know if I had engaged the services of another teacher! I then turned him on to the "The Principles".
My progress has been steady and measurable since I have been using the book religiously. What my teacher was doing was loading me up with all these different chords without any regard to technique. He felt that I was going to "get it" eventually. "The Principles" has taught me that "getting it" is not a hit and miss affair but rather a concerted effort of learning and ensuring that you "get it" and then keeping it with constant practice until all "The Principles" become second nature.
Thanks a lot Jamie! Waiting for other great books from Guitar Principles.
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