View Full Version : Jamey Andreas' Principles...

12-06-2002, 01:57 AM
Do some of you guys have Jamey Andreas' book? If so, what do you think of it? I have to admit that a lot of what the guy says does not resonate with me. Like the "Time" article presently up on this site. Several of you liked it, but maybe I'm too much of a Philistine, but I didn't get much out of it.

However, other articles of his I have read have had quite a positive impact, mostly on my attitude, as opposed to my playing skills. Anyway, I fear that for the most part, he does have a good approach to practicing, that will bring progress for many people. I use the word "fear" because I would really prefer to just get on my guitar and bang away. I think that if I try to take his approach, all the fun will be taken out of my guitar playing. I did try some of his ideas in my practicing a couple of times, but I felt handcuffed, like I was so worried about making mistakes that I couldn't make any music.

I am frustrated at times because I pretty much play like crap. So I'm sure that I would progress faster if I would buckle down, and spend a larger fraction of my practice time working on problems instead of trying to make OK-sounding music right away. I like giving myself goosebumps when I play, and that's not easy when you're focusing on identifying problems like "ring finger bumps into wrong string when playing lick X" type stuff.

Methinks I am also biased against Andreas to some degree because I sometimes get the feeling that each of his articles is just a commercial for his book, and that irks me.

Anyhoo, after all this rambling, my main question is, if you have his book, do his methods work for you?


12-06-2002, 02:07 AM
Hi Dan.

No, I don't have the man's book.
But I can tell you that there are a lot of methods for doing what you want done. You have to find one that you feel comfortable with and covers the topics you want to to learn.

I would suggest going to a Barnes and Nobles or someplace and spending some time preusing the books they have. Possibly the library. Don't just get one, see if you find it to your liking first.

Bongo Boy
12-06-2002, 05:56 AM
I bought the book, read it quickly then put it down for a while. I've just, in the last week, picked it up again and am going thru it with a little more intent to take the prescription.

But let me digress to this matter of Jamey and his style or manner. I share some of your sensitivity to how he gets his message across--it's quite prescriptive, and definitely conveys a "here the irrefutable facts" feel. And yes, he also has a bit of the old marketing flair going on there.

Still, you said it yourself Danster--we all are impatient, want to just blast away, and all want to be way better than we are. We also just want to have fun.

On my second read of Jamey's book, here's what I felt--I felt the excitement of what it's like to see continuous improvement. Contrast that to the far more familiar feeling of reaching a plateau, or of being 'stuck'. His 'go slow', forget the tempo for a moment, teach the fingers the right thing to do and give them time to learn--these all make sense. I'm thinking it works, and is based not on magic, but on what we already know works in so many other areas--golf again comes to mind.

So...I'm taking what he says as a technique for learning technique. As he himself admits, it will work just as effectively for learning bad technique as it will for learning good technique. Where folks can certainly take issue is on the subject of what 'good' technique is. Here again, Jamey conveys a little bit of a dogmatic flavor--whether he intends to or not, he does a "here is the right way--that is the wrong way" spin on everything.

This poses exactly the same risk one takes when they sign up for golf lessons (or tennis, or anything else)--you sign up with an instructor that 'shows you the way' and you train your muscles to remember patterns. That muscle memory may be good technique memory, or poor technique memory. You may never know for sure--especially since it could be it's only poor technique for YOU.

I don't know the answer. But, I take his style to be based on what he believes he KNOWS works, and also from his personal excitement about his business and exposure--that's natural.

I think it was James (szulc) who recommended that, at the end of your practice session, make sure to save some time for pure, unconstrained fun. You don't have to have a rote, boring and lifeless session--better not, or you soon won't be practicing.

12-06-2002, 05:30 PM
Originally posted by Bongo Boy
Still, you said it yourself Danster--we all are impatient, want to just blast away, and all want to be way better than we are. We also just want to have fun.Yeah dagummit. After I wrote all that, it was pretty obvious what I need to do.... spend more time working on fixing problems, and less time trying to make music NOW. I don't intend to stop trying to make music now, but for the sake of progress, I know I need to devote more of my practice time to less exciting things. Its the old instant gratification thing (which I like to criticize everyone about :o ) vs. longer term satisfaction. I s'pose its best to try to strike a healthy balance between the two of those.


B A Stone
12-07-2002, 05:16 PM
I just discovered Jamey Andreas and this board a few days ago.

I read everything on Jamey's website and was completely blown away. Everything sounded so right. He sounds like he has a very Zen approach to guitar, and life in general.

As far as the sales pitch(es), he's just making a living doing what he loves.

Bongo Boy
12-07-2002, 05:54 PM
Originally posted by B A Stone
He sounds like he has a very Zen approach to guitar, and life in general.

Oh yeah. One time when in my teens we were working under my old Chrysler and my buddy was getting incresingly angry with his inability to get an oil-pan nut started. After watching the spectacle for several minutes, I told him, in my usual smartass way, "You can't make the nut go on the stud. You can only set up the conditions whereby the nut will go onto the stud itself."

Of course I was just being humorous at the time--but that's my connection to Jamey's approach--weird as it may seem. It's the only way I will learn this instrument without ending up smashing it against the wall :)

12-07-2002, 06:56 PM
Hi everybody!

I bought the book a couple of months ago. Im just starting to learn the guitar myself, but I can tell that his approach is very good. About his method: It all depends on your goals as an artist. I you want to be a shredder like Gilbert or Petrucci, or if you just want to be able to play more advanced things, you need to work on your technique alot, and this book really helps, because it really makes you zoom in on all trouble spots. It might seem boring to just sit in a room and play a passage with a metronome and play a lick slowly over and over, but its just something you have to do to be able to play it at high speed without hitting the wall. After a while, when the lick is "in your fingers", put on a CD or something and jam over it, trying to use the lick in the song. That way, you can still have fun making music. As stated, we all want to make music right away, but in order to do that you need the physical ability to play the instrument, and that takes practice.

Originally posted by B A Stone
As far as the sales pitch(es), he's just making a living doing what he loves.

Damn right!:D