Just Breathe - progress video (instrumental)

Thought I’d do something a bit different… and that’s post one of my developer songs before its ready for performance. This is Just Breathe by Pearl Jam. Or rather, a shortened version, otherwise it gets pretty repetitive without vocals.

This is up there on my list of favourite songs, and when listening to it a couple of months back, while I was doing some basic fingerpicking I thought: I can learn this, surely it can’t be that hard. How wrong was I. I had to learn travis picking for it, and my chord changes needed to be fast and clean. Some still aren’t. I spent a LOT of time just practicing travis picking over C and Am.

It’s not quite a one-take. It’s a second-take after the warmup.

Highlights (lowlights :rofl:):

  • Watch me zone out and forget the next chord completely
  • I struggle to get Mini-F to ring clean on the transition from Am7. I’m good with it from other chords (e.g. in HOTRS) but something about this one trips me up.
  • Lots of buzzy notes

… but hey, it’s still a developer. Far from perfect :rofl:

As usual, constructive criticism and tips welcomed.


Pretty good for a developer. I think you are being a bit hard on yourself. I get those moments of forgetting the next chord to, I usually keep playing the same one till the memory comes back LOL.

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Much more polished than your intro set me up to expect, JK … you should see me when still developing a finger-picked song.

I think you were showing some pretty well developed skills already, both left and right hand. Lots of challenge in some of those stretchy shapes with pinky action.

Now, I can’t resist, forgive me … if that is the shortened version, my goodness how long is the full version :face_with_spiral_eyes:

OK, checked out the original and you were almost through it :grin:

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Yes you’re definitely being hard on yourself, that was really good JK. Lots of challenging stuff in there and you did a super job.
Well done.

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Well done JK love that song, you should have started with The End that I covered recently from the same album as it is a lot easier than this :grinning: good progress so far, just need to stick with the changes for now to get the clean, especially the mini barre, before you move on to a faster pace.

As usual I will be encouraging a thumb placement as per photo below in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness of your fingerpicking :grinning: just keep at it, don’t kill yourself over this song as it will take a lot of time to get it spotless. I can play the main bit up to speed but lots of hiccups along the way and unwanted string hits. Hence I know you are bracing yourself for a proper ride :laughing: all the best.


As regards playing the notes correctly and the accuracy it was pretty decent, the only thing that I could be picky about is the dynamics, but that comes with time and practice; all in all at your stage it’s good!

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Is there something that you’ve not told us about???
Do I spot a Taylor label :thinking: :thinking: :thinking:

That’s Ivan’s hand saved the photo for future reference :joy:

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Thanks for checking it out guys. Maybe I set it up too much. It’s not close to performance ready, but man… I posted it even after the zone out. But yes I’m happy with how I’ve progressed with the song since starting to learn it, that’s why I posted :grinning:. Hard to look at the mistakes and still send it.

When I started the picking pattern it was excruciatingly slow, one string at time, over and over again.

@DavidP I couldn’t do that stretch when I started. And the song isn’t that much longer, as you found out, I shortened it by probably 12 bars or so :-).

Thanks Gordon. Took me quite some time to get it to where it is!

I must have missed your video of The End when you posted it. Probably before forum reading became regular for me! I just went and watched it, and wow - that is easier than Just Breathe?

When posting this I knew I would get the thumb photo! :rofl: I’ve looked at it and can’t seem to do that position while still picking. I’m missing something in my technique. I probably need to actually do some more fingerpicking video watching/learning to try to get the position down right.

I figure Just Breathe is a song I’ll still be working on in a year :grinning:.

Thanks Darrell, I celebrate when I play it through without too many bung notes :grinning:. Overall pretty happy with where the song is at for my level, but always keen to learn.

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JK I was entranced with the sweet tones of your Maton and taken away somewhere very nice. :heart_eyes:

I’ve taken a lesson from this. As a listener, none of the ‘stuff’ mattered nor did I notice because I was in my happy place. What I remember is the happy place. I’m going to keep that in mind next OM I do.

Back to you, I have no doubt that as you develop this piece it will be gorgeous.

It makes me happy that you enjoyed it Maggie. Really good to hear that what I saw as little mess ups didn’t affect your listening pleasure.

I’m pretty lucky with the Maton. I tried a lot of guitars before picking this one, and mainly picked it for how good it sounds in person, and how great it feels to play. I didn’t even test the pickup system, I’d heard the AP5 Pro was good, but it turns out it makes some really nice sounds recorded. I did apply one of the default Ableton reverb effects to the sound too.

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As most people eluded to above, you seem to be a harsh critic of yourself in the intro that you wrote. I thought it’s sounding good so far.
I might actually try it out as a fingerstyle exercise - but doubt that my stubby fingers could do that pinky stretch that you do to the 6th fret (I think)…very impressive.

I’d say there’s a positive way to look at zoning out, as I have found myself doing that too sometimes. Drifting into another thought whilst playing a song sort of indicates that you are quite comfortable with some aspects of what you are playing in that moment - whether it’s the picking fingers doing the pattern by themselves without you even realising it or the fretting hand just doing it’s own thing without much concentration.
Well that’s at least what I try to tell myself whenever I snap out of a zoning out moment haha

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Wow JK, you certainly underplayed yourself in the writeup before hand.

I thought that was excellent playing. Really great finger picking and I can’t wait for the finished song.

We all have brain farts, it’s our age. :smiley:

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Nice share JK :smiley:
You appear to be ‘in the zone’ and I’m not just talking playing-wise. Your playing and progress, your enthusiasm and participation in the OM and community in general.
It’s obvious this has become an important part of your life. Enjoy it.
You mentioned over in the last OM thread:

That reminded me so much of my first year or two on the old forum, impatiently awaiting feedback and interaction after sharing an AVOYP or entering one of the old monthly song competitions that Justin used to adjudicate. For me, some of that fizzy excitement has been replaced by a deeper satisfaction. Not sure which I prefer really :thinking: :wink:
Oh yeah, well played.
Keep it up :sunglasses:

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I’ll take the positive from that then :grinning:. I found myself thinking - “where was I?” Thanks for checking it out Sandro. That pinky stretch, my hands aren’t the biggest either, it’s a 3rd fret to 6th so not too bad.

I’m beginning to think I went too hard on the setup :rofl:. In truth that stuff is all the stuff I’ve been focusing on, and it’s what I hear, what I need to work on. Glad you enjoyed it Stefan. I’ll blame being tired from not getting enough sleep for years on the temporary space cadet moment :grinning:.

You got me Brian… like a window into my soul from the far side of the world, is your Hagstrom enchanted? Yeah, this guitar stuff and the community are a big part of my time. A bit obsessed, learning new songs and skills. Loving watching other people’s playing at all stages (from the newbies to the pros), getting feedback & tips on mine. Trying not to post too much :rofl:.

One day maybe I’ll end up an old hand relaxed while throwing out obscure old school punk B sides (although for me that would be Kiwi or Aussie grunge). Gotta be cured of that red light fever first!

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Well I have to say that was a very enjoyable romp JK and thought you did a good job overall. I am not great at fingerstyle so can’t offer much in the way of technique bar the thumb finger position (guilty here as well!). As others have said you may have been a little too hard on yourself. But we are all our own worst critics but I think that only serves to push our development further. Well done sir !


I certainly enjoyed this. Such a beautiful song. Yeah, I agree you were too hard on yourself. You seemed to do very well as far as I could tell. You will be playing it smoothly sooner than you think!

Glad you enjoyed it @pkboo3.

Thanks for the listen and feedback Toby. If you’re guilty of the thumb thing as well, then I’ll not stress too hard about it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

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Sold yourself a bit short there mate!!

Loved it! And it sounded good! Easy to hear what song your playing and what a great somg it is.

As mentioned above, i think you are progressing and developing super quick, easy to see that you are putting down a lot of hour. I am really impressed about the range and variaty of songs you have done and working on.

(I have been messing around with AIC as we talked about, and i struggle to play sliding/bending part )

Keep it up JK, looking forward to this one down the road with vocal added, youre killing it :grin:

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