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Dec 21

Mystery, Beauty and Grace

By Jamie Andreas | Guitar Philosophy , Uncategorized

In my study of great musicians, I have noticed that the very greatest are also very spiritual. Bach, Beethoven, Barrios, Santana -  anyone of whom I have ever heard or read, and believe to be a divinely inspired musician, has a very strong spiritual sense.

I believe that  Spirituality, or the forms it takes when encased in Religion, is rather simple in its essence. I  believe it is the expression of three things, a Sense of Mystery, a Sense of Beauty, and a Sense of Grace.  If you have these three things then you are a truly spiritual person, if you lack these, you can pray all day, but your words will be hollow to elevated ears.  

 I think it is essential for everyone on the artistic path to know about these things, because although you can be a person in this world without these things, you cannot be an artist in this world without them. These three things are waiting inside all of us. If you can locate them, touch them, and hold onto them throughout your life, then what you bring out into the world will be real art, and real religion.

A Sense of Mystery


The most primary spiritual quality is a sense of mystery. To be able to contemplate the unfathomable vastness of the universe, and feel it enter into your very cells, filling mind and body with excitement and awe, is the mother of true reverence, and true religion. It has been said “ a fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom”. In those days “fear of God” was how the perception of Mystery was described. It simply meant a proper understanding of your place in relation to the vastness of creation.

This sense of mystery is the wellspring of all human creativity, and so it is essential for the artist. Every artist feels that their creative work “emerges” from some mysterious source within, and it is their job simply to connect with that source, and, like a mother, be the vehicle for its birth into the human world. There is nothing worthwhile that has been produced without having begun from that intensely emotional feeling and foundation, so peculiarly human. All great music proceeds from there.

The greatest minds, intrigued by the curiosity that the sense of Mystery inspires, are constantly probing into themselves and into the world, seeking to deepen their understanding. At the end of the day, it is with a childish laugh that they dissolve back into Mystery, resigning themselves, like the great Issac Newton, to the realization that they are merely “children playing on the shore with pebbles, while the great ocean of the Universe rolls on.”

The eminent scientist Sir James Jeans, in his classic exposition of the philosophical implications of 20th century theoretical physics “Physics & Philosophy”, concludes:
”To sum up, physics tries to discover the pattern of events which controls the phenomena we observe. But we can never know what this pattern means or how it originates; and even if some superior intelligence were to tell us, we should find the explanation unintelligible. Our studies can never put us into contact with reality, and its true meaning and nature must be for ever hidden from us.”

I agree. Our immersion in mystery is built into the system, guaranteed!

A Sense of Beauty

After the knee and the head are unbowed from the overpowering experience of contemplation of the mystery of existence, we are left with a feeling of separateness, limitation, and dependence. We realize our seeming insignificance in the universe, we are a separate little dot in infinity. But now we are positioned to discover the most amazing and wonderful birthright of a human being. We can now look out to the world around us, and find ourselves in it.

Beauty is the silent language of the universe, through which it communicates its nature to the beings it creates. The language of Beauty imparts to us the knowledge of our oneness with nature, other people, indeed, all of existence.

To feel beauty is to feel a oneness with what is outside you, because on a deep level, you are feeling yourself within that other. Whatever brings you to this state of union, you will find to be beautiful.

There are common altars at which we gather to converse with reality in the silent language of Beauty, such as Music and all of the arts, all the forms of human contact, and especially Nature. From whence comes the power of Nature to inspire us with such transcendent feelings of awe and beauty as we contemplate the mountains, oceans, or stars? It is the very recognition of our own nature in Nature.

The rocks of our skeleton, the flora of our intestines, the water of our blood, and our inmost soul, recognizes itself in the world without. Just as the earth has birthed all the rocks, oceans, and trees and animals, so has it birthed us.

In our confrontation with Mystery, we realize the limitation of our nature to ever fully comprehend the ultimate reality. Having accepted that, we simply claim this part of our human birthright and enjoy direct communication of that unfathomable reality, which is the experience of Beauty.

The life of the artist is an immersion at one of the altars of beauty, and working to gain proficiency interpreting and speaking the language of Beauty. The job of the artist is the communication of ultimate Mystery, spoken in the language of Beauty.

A Sense of Grace

Mystery has revealed to us a sense of that which is greater than us. Beauty has responded by bringing that which is a part back to its Source, creating union, and Love, the desire and the fulfillment of that desire, to “be with”. Now, there directly arises, as a consequence of this positioning of the soul, the sense of Grace.

The word “grace” is from the Latin “gratias”, which means “good will”. There naturally arises in us now an overwhelming feeling that the universe, the Source of creation, has good will toward us. “It” is bestowing blessings, all blessings in fact, upon us. This becomes a powerful emotional experience, this ever present feeling of being the recipient of good will, of being loved. It seems to be not just a feeling, but a recognition. All religions contain this concept of Divine Grace. It is essential.

As the sense of Mystery imparts the feeling of awe, and the sense of Beauty imparts a feeling of love, so the sense of Grace imparts a feeling of gratitude. This is the distinguishing difference between someone who professes to be religious, and an atheist. The atheist has no one to thank.

The sense of gratitude is the purest human attribute. A person who is constantly and firmly founded in the sense of grace in response to everything life delivers, can never be corrupted, but will be and remain pure.

For an artist, this sense of gratitude becomes the reason, and the fuel, for creative work. The desire to use what one is given by grace is the form our gratitude takes. For each of us, in whatever way we sense the good will of the universe, in that way will we direct our good will outward, and that offering is our creative gift to the world.

All of this shows why it is true that many people who think they are atheists are not, and many who think they are religious are not. If you have within yourself the sense of Mystery, Beauty, and Grace, you are a religious person. It will be evident to anyone who knows how to look. If you do not, it is equally so.

All that I have ever achieved as an artist has come from my sense of Mystery and Beauty, and all I do for guitar players always has, and always will, proceed from my sense of Grace, my gratitude for what has been given to me.

GuitarPrinciples wishes you a Blessed and a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Feb 04

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and Guitar

By Jamie Andreas | Uncategorized

Unfortunately, many guitar students, especially adults, find themselves developing pain in various parts of the body due to practicing guitar. The good news is that this situation is completely avoidable, and also easy to reverse. In order to do so, we must understand where this "repetitive strain injury" as it is called, is coming from.

It is not coming from the fact that you are repeating something over and over. It is coming from the fact that you are repeating actions that are fundamentally unbalanced, and this imbalance places strain upon delicate muscles in the hand, upper body and lower back. When we practice and play in this state of imbalance, pain is inevitable.

Where Guitar Pain Begins

Pain in playing guitar begins with how you hold the guitar when you practice. This is something I have to fix with virtually every student who comes to me complaining of pain. If we are not sitting and holding the guitar correctly when we practice, it will be impossible to position and use the hands correctly, or to develop the muscles that operate the fingers. It will also be impossible to be truly relaxed and flowing in our playing.

When we play, we can sit, stand, or hold the guitar any way we want, or I should say any way that works, that enables us to get our notes. But when we practice, we must be in a balanced and ergonomic relationship to the guitar. This is because practicing is different than playing, practicing is where we train our muscles to be able to do new things, so they will be able to them when we play.

To learn about the best sitting position for practice, regardless of what style you play or what kind of guitar you have, see "How To Sit With the Guitar For Practice".

How Guitar Pain Continues

When our sitting position is unbalanced, and various muscles of the upper body are under strain simply trying to hold the guitar steady, it becomes impossible to position the hands and fingers in a way that allows for their careful and gradual development. This begins a series of problems in both right and left hands. This video will explain the many problems that we will have if our hands and fingers are not properly developed for the left hand. See "The 4 Diseases of the Left Hand on Guitar".

If our sitting postion is corrected, and we develop our left hand correctly for operating on the guitar, your pains will diminish, and disappear.


“The Principles” has cured the pains of guitar players around the world! They WILL get rid of your guitar pain, and playing problems....

The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar 

"""Being able to operate a guitar probably would not have been possible without the Principles. The challenge of holding the guitar and making notes was difficult, painful, and therefore seemed like an insurmountable challenge."
- Allen Francom, Texas

"Hi Jamie. I recently ordered your ‘principles- DVD’. It is truly amazing! I have played both the classical and the electric guitar a coulpe of years. My muscles developed tensions, resulting in growing pain. Then someone told me that correct playing should be done through relaxation, but there was one problem. I couldn’t find anyone telling me HOW that should be accomplished! Thank you for that!"

- Annica from Sweden

"Most people might think that after playing guitar for 20 years, I’d be able to spot “trouble” areas... easily. Not so! After reading Chapter One, I discovered that I was experiencing a significant amount of pain when playing certain passages. After taking a close look at my playing, I discovered something that I learned 18 years ago was causing me all kinds of grief “today”.
- Chris S

“ I had no consistency in my performance. And at higher tempos, I was experiencing pain during practice. Your book (“The Principles”) has made me understand “why”. Until I tried your principles, I never knew how much tension I had."
- Brian

guitar struggle
Jan 20

Why People Struggle To Learn Guitar

By Jamie Andreas | Uncategorized

Very likely, you’ve already seen many guitar lessons and methods, and perhaps have had a teacher or two. Why have none of these resources given you what you need to build this first level of success on guitar?

Knowing the answer to this question is vital, because it is going to show you what is missing from all those wonderful guitar lessons you are trying to learn from. Whether you are beginning, or recovering, you need to know these things so that you can avoid these pitfalls, and travel firmly on the path to real guitar success that I will show you.

Watch this short video and you will get a good understanding of why the guitar instruction you have had so far has not given you the essential First Level of Success On Guitar!

If you want to build the essential FIRST LEVEL OF GUITAR SUCCESS

You will find everything you need to know, and everything you need to do in

"The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar"

The ONLY guitar training method that sets you up for SUCCESS, instead of failure!

This package is best if you are beginning to learn guitar.

The "Principles" book & DVD will show you exactly what you need to know and do to train your fingers for relaxation & control, and get solid results from every practice session.

PLUS

"First Chords & Songs" to teach any beginner their first chords PERFECTLY!

This package is best if you can already play but are stuck in your progress.

Jan 20

Why Is The Principles The Best Way To Learn To Play Guitar?

By Jamie Andreas | Uncategorized

Guitar Tip: You Are Not Learning Guitar, You Are Training Your Fingers!

The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar

The first thing that might come to mind in answering this question is to say “The Principles is the best method to learn to play guitar  because it enables anyone to learn to play, even those who have nothing but a history of failure with all past efforts”. Well, that is a true statement, but it is merely descriptive, it merely describes the results of using the method. I want to look more deeply; I want to look at why it is so effective.

The first and most overarching reason the Principles is the best way to learn to play guitar is directly related to what is wrong with all existing methods, and that is this: all existing methods for learning guitar teach you from the logic of the guitar itself, and not from the logic of how the body learns and develops. And so, even though the hardest place to play on the guitar is the first fret, even though starting to learn by learning the notes down there will absolutely cause moderate to great excess tension throughout the whole body (especially for the beginner), and even though this tension will become locked into the muscles and severely affect all future playing -- still, that is where every method begins, down at the first fret. And why?

Well, because that is called the first fret, so I guess we should start there, huh? That makes about as much sense as learning to type by learning “A” first, then “B’, and so on through the alphabet, rather than allowing the learning method to be dictated by the actual structure of words and sentences.

It is of supreme importance to realize the fact that when we learn to play the guitar, we are not, in fact, learning to play the guitar. We are learning to use our body to create music from the guitar -- that is what we are doing. We are learning to use muscle, nerve, and bone, to create music from strings, wood, and frets. Because this is what we are really learning, we must allow our method to be dictated by the logic and rules of the body’s learning process and operation, not according to the physical construction of the guitar itself. Let the guitar makers be concerned with that!

I have given one example of how this wrongheaded approach degrades the learning process, I could give hundreds more. Because the physical reality of playing is ignored, because the fact that we are really learning to use the body, not play the guitar, is not recognized, all training methods are a torment to the body, and continually violate the laws by which it learns – and those laws are the laws of motor control learning.

All of those laws are recognized in The Principles, and their unbreakable power is used to master the guitar, not become its slave. There is an old saying “you cannot break the law, you can only break yourself against it”. This is what happens for so many guitar students, and it happens because conventional teaching methods remain in the Dark Ages.

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look inside the principles
Jan 18

A look inside The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar

By Jamie Andreas | Uncategorized

From Chapter One...

One of the biggest myths and misunderstandings that I would like to dispel is the idea that a lot of time spent practicing is the key to playing guitar well. It doesn't matter how much time you spend if you don't know the correct things to do, and the correct way of doing those things. Fifteen minutes of correct practice will do you more good than 5 hours of incorrect, unintelligent practice. (Actually, bad practice doesn't do you any good at all. It just makes you better at playing badly!

Understanding: There are no "mistakes", only unwanted results

In order to practice effectively, we must change our idea of what the word "mistake" means. When a mistake happens in our practice, there is usually an immediate emotional reaction. Some annoyance, some feelings of inadequacy, and probably the feeling that it shouldn't have happened, or probably won't again. It was some act of God. (This is especially true when playing in front of someone else, when all the weak spots come out).

The fact is there is always a reason for mistakes. They always have a cause. Usually, the cause is not even that difficult to uncover if you know how to look. If we have allowed our first finger to be held stiffly, sticking up in the air, in reaction to what our fourth finger is doing, we shouldn't be surprised if that first finger misses it's next note, especially in a fast piece.

I have learned over the years that we deserve every mistake we make. In fact, we have created and guaranteed them by the way we practice. They are simply the result, or effect, of our practice. Our practice is the cause. This is good news, because if we change the cause, we will get a different effect, or result. This means we can figure out how to get the result we want.

So begin to replace the word "mistake" with a much more accurate and useful phrase. A "mistake" is just an unwanted result. No emotion attached to it. Our job is to know the result we want, and figure out how to produce that result by working according to our understanding of the mechanics of playing.

From Chapter Two...

Muscle Memory: Understanding: How The Fingers Learn

Our fingers have this amazing ability, as does every muscle in your body, to "remember" anything they do. We all use this ability of the muscles in different ways in various things we do in life. We’re all familiar with how a carpenter will take a few practice swings with a hammer before striking a nail. He will slowly bring the hammer to the nail head, guiding his arm and the hammer along the path he wants them to take when he swings fast and with force. Then, after a few practice swings, he’ll let it fly. The muscles "remember" the path they took at the slow speed, and have no trouble repeating the exact movements necessary to take that path again, and hit the nail accurately.

The same process occurs in practicing an instrument. The person practicing performs various movements with the fingers, directed to a certain result. If the movements were done slowly and accurately, with no extra tension in the muscles involved, the fingers would have no trouble reproducing them at a faster speed. Why slowly? Because that is the only way to have the mind control the fingers and make them do what is desired, and keep extra tension to a minimum, or eliminated entirely. That’s why the carpenter does his practice swings slowly, so he can control the path of the hammer. What he’s really doing is allowing his muscles to experience the exact movements and adjustments that are necessary to hit the nail accurately. Remember this: Whatever your fingers experience doing slowly, in a state of total relaxation, they will be able to do very quickly.

This ability of the muscles and nervous system of our body to remember and repeat movements they have already experienced is the foundation of how we learn to play the guitar, or any instrument for that matter, and is called muscle memory.

It’s important to realize that this is not some special secret thing only some people have or some people use. We all do it already, but you must understand it and respect it when you practice, in order to be able to practice effectively, that is, get results. The great players understand these things, and they practice like they understand them. You can too!

For You or Against You

Finger memory is a great thing, but it can work for you or against you, because if you do the right thing once, than the wrong thing, and then various combinations of right and wrong, you end up with some pretty confused fingers. This is what most people actually do when they practice, and why they experience little or inconsistent results, and a lot of frustration.

When they practice, they do not make the fingers do the right thing. They are allowing the fingers to make haphazard and inaccurate movements. In ten repetitions of a passage, the fingers may actually do it ten different ways (resulting in various mistakes, wrong notes, or "oops" moments). Usually, the person practicing is not aware of the fact that he was doing it ten different ways. It may be something relatively obvious like using slightly different fingerings, or something more subtle like tension in various muscle groups. The person practicing is not aware of the differences, but the poor fingers are! When the player then tries to play that passage for someone, well, how will they ever know which of those ten ways the fingers might decide to do it?

This leads to a very useful definition of good practice. Good Practice is knowing the right thing to do, and then making sure your fingers do it. This means you must know what the fingers should do, and then you must make them do it over and over. This is another way of saying, "do the right thing and do enough of it".

The key to knowing how to do good practice is to realize that your fingers are your faithful servants and friends. They have great memories, but they have no conscience, that is, they will remember and repeat whatever they do, but they don’t know the difference between right and wrong. So, they are just as happy to do the wrong thing as the right thing, they just do what you have taught them (actually, they are happier doing the right thing, it’s just that they really have no choice, since they can only repeat what they have already done). Since they don’t know if what you just had them do is the right thing or the wrong thing, they leave that up to you. It’s your job to make sure it’s the right thing.

I hope you are intrigued by what you have read so far. There are many more vital Understandings in "The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar", as well as the Tools and Exercises which are based on them. Taken together, they will enable you to see why you have had trouble learning to do certain things on the guitar, and most importantly, what to do about it!

From Chapter Four: The Left Hand

The Light Finger And The Firm Finger

We have discovered the Floating Arm, and later we will work with the Heavy Arm. Before that, we need to discuss the two states the fingers will assume when we practice and play: The Light Finger and the Firm Finger.

The Light Finger is the completely relaxed finger brought to the string and touching the string with only the weight of the finger. It does not press the string down until told to do so. We will discover the sensation of the Light Finger in the following exercise.

Foundation EXERCISE #17: Finger Flapping
Discovering The Light Finger


Raise your arms in front of you without the guitar, and take hold of the index finger of your left hand with the thumb and index finger of your right hand. Completely relax the left index and wiggle it around with your right hand. This is the “Light Finger”.

Touch the palm of your right hand with your left index. Raise the left index two inches from the palm. Now let it drop by its own weight back to your palm, touching it very lightly with no pressure. This is how the finger feels when it first touches the string.

Now hold the guitar and do the Balloon, again bringing the hand up so that the index finger is lined up with the ninth fret. Have your fingers in a relaxed curl over the 6th string. Allow your Light, relaxed middle finger to fall to the 6th string, behind the 10th fret, so that it touches the string but applies no pressure. Look at the string under your finger and see the distance between the string and the fingerboard. Make sure the string does not move at all down toward the fret.

Raise your finger an inch, and then bring it back to touch the string again in the same way. Do this over and over, touching the string with the Light Finger, bringing it away, and touching it again. This is called “Finger Flapping”. Do this a few times with each finger every day. Make sure you keep the inactive fingers as relaxed as possible while touching the string with the active finger. This will get you used to the feeling, and over time, very sensitive to the feeling of complete relaxation.

This light feeling is how your fingers will be when they first touch the string to play a note, and it is the feeling they will return to when they release from a note. It enables them to be prepared for their next job. Many people never have this light feeling,  and play with tense fingers all the time. Their playing suffers greatly because of it.


There is a world of wisdom and one​​​-of-a-kind training waiting for you in "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar". You must know and use the information in "The Principles" in order to play guitar well, and keep making progress without constanty running into probems. Get your copy today!

The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar

May 05

Where Do I Start On Guitar?

By Jamie Andreas | Uncategorized

The PHYSICAL & The MUSICAL: Understanding the 2 Aspects of Learning Guitar

Q: I am 58 old and I am wanting to learn to play the guitar. I do not know where to start!

Hi Jamie,

I can buy all the guitar courses I want but I do not understand the guitar. I am a retired lineman for the power company and I have done a lot of trouble shooting to find out why the electricity went out and find out what I need to do to repair it. In life threatening situations I have understood what is needed to be taken care of first but I can not just jump in and play. I can read music but understanding notes and chords on the guitar leaves me scratching my head. Can you please tell how I can understand the guitar and what do I do first?

Thank you, Christopher

Hi Chris, 

There is ONE very important thing you need to understand Chris. There are 2 aspects to learning guitar, and in the beginning, one is much more important than the other. The 2 aspects are:

1) The PHYSICAL part

2) The MUSICAL part

If you do not have the physical part on guitar, you can never get to the musical part. Think of baseball.....

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Apr 25

The Primacy of The Mind In Guitar Practice

By Jamie Andreas | Uncategorized

The title says it all. If you don’t realize that we use the mind to train the body when we practice guitar, you will have very little power to achieve results from your practice.

All of your power to teach yourself to become a guitar player and musician begins with your mind. And you also need to understand that even if you have a teacher, you are still teaching yourself every time you sit down to practice. If you don’t know what to do, and you don’t know how to do it, you will wander aimlessly.

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Mar 23

Separating Fingers 2 & 3 On The Left Hand On Guitar

By Jamie Andreas | Uncategorized

A very common technical issue for all guitar students is the problem of separating fingers 2 & 3. Every time the 2nd finger is used, the 3rd finger squeezes against it! This will cause problems with just about everything you play.  This problem shows itself especially in scalar playing, and for people using The Principles, it often appears as an obstacle when working on the Walking Exercises.Continue reading

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