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Old 01-19-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
JimmyDean73
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Ive spent many many many hours sitting in front of computers/teachers/fellow guitar players learning shit about playing guitar and theory and whatever else. Im at what Id call a technically proficient level. I can play most anything I come across given the time to work on it. Im not saying im the best ever by any means just that I have put the time in to understand the mechanics of what I'm doing. Now that Im at this point and have been playing for fifteen years or so I feel compelled to repress all that I have learned and write the most simple things I can with structures and melodies that dont conform to standard music theory ideas on purpose and find myself wishing I didnt know some of the rules I did so that I wouldnt have expectations going into every phrase, chord, riff, or whatever. But I listen to substantially less technical stuff then I used to and firmly believe the less notes played to convey an idea the better for the most part. Most of my ideas just come straight from sounds and less from what "should" work according to theory.

But at the same time I feel if I had never learned any of that then I wouldnt have eventually arrived at my simplistic approach or really understand it. Because it took me being a wanky douche bag to learn how to write effective, original music.

I was just wondering if anyone else had really done the same thing kind of. Like, been really into becoming a guitar virtuoso only to eventually shun thatand just wanna make simple music without any particular focus on an instrument like that. i guess haha eat dicks
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:06 PM   #2
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:06 PM   #3
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I can relate.


In 2011, I was wayyyy into bands like The Human Abstract, Between the Buried and Me, Protest the Hero, shit like that. I was able to play several of those artists' songs competently and proficiently, but simultaneously hit my biggest writer's block I've ever had.

I realized it was because I was learning songs that were technically proficient, but were terrible in aspects of actual songwriting. I spent time getting good at the instrument instead of as an artist.

So I started listening to different music, took notes on how to actually write a good song instead of stringing together complex riffs, and I couldn't be happier for that decision.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by blake1221
I can relate.


In 2011, I was wayyyy into bands like The Human Abstract, Between the Buried and Me, Protest the Hero, shit like that. I was able to play several of those artists' songs competently and proficiently, but simultaneously hit my biggest writer's block I've ever had.

I realized it was because I was learning songs that were technically proficient, but were terrible in aspects of actual songwriting. I spent time getting good at the instrument instead of as an artist.

So I started listening to different music, took notes on how to actually write a good song instead of stringing together complex riffs, and I couldn't be happier for that decision.



yes exactly but i feel like i use all that i learned from before as reference for stuff i do now.like seeing just how far i can get away from certain ideas but still put it in a coherent way that ill like to listen to. but yeah literally those are even the same types of bands i used to try and write like.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:13 PM   #5
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:14 PM   #6
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blake1221
I can relate.


In 2011, I was wayyyy into bands like The Human Abstract, Between the Buried and Me, Protest the Hero, shit like that. I was able to play several of those artists' songs competently and proficiently, but simultaneously hit my biggest writer's block I've ever had.

I realized it was because I was learning songs that were technically proficient, but were terrible in aspects of actual songwriting. I spent time getting good at the instrument instead of as an artist.

So I started listening to different music, took notes on how to actually write a good song instead of stringing together complex riffs, and I couldn't be happier for that decision.

THA has some brilliantly crafted songs, especially on "Digital Veil", but most of BTBAM's song structures really bother me.

OT: I've never really run into that problem. My technical proficiency grew with my writing skills since I decided early on that I wanted to WRITE music instead of PLAY music... ya dig? I dunno. I'm still not a super technical player, but my music is pretty good.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:17 PM   #8
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i guess i had trapped myself. and when i began to explore visual art as well it really opened up a whole new world of music to me because it allowed me to see past all the standard ways of making music on guitar and work toward a less formulated approah
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DiminishedFifth
THA has some brilliantly crafted songs, especially on "Digital Veil", but most of BTBAM's song structures really bother me.

OT: I've never really run into that problem. My technical proficiency grew with my writing skills since I decided early on that I wanted to WRITE music instead of PLAY music... ya dig? I dunno. I'm still not a super technical player, but my music is pretty good.


yeah thats a great way of putting it. i had wanted to play music but didnt really understand the whole idea of writing music. when i tried my ego got in the way and made for cluttered shitty corny songs.

at this point i can see that a lot of people i play music with are in that stage as well. they are just playing guitar not really making music. but you cant really put it that way to someone before they know what you mean because they cant dsee the difference.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:28 PM   #10
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I always wonder if Steve Vai or Satch with all their musical knowledge could write something like No One Knows, or Gimme Shelter (or insert your classic song here) . A really awesome, catchy, raw rock & roll tune that loads of people love and want playing when they're pissed.

I don't mean that I think it's beneath them, but both those songs have 3 chords per section. It's not hard, but they must kind of be like nursery rhymes to them.

I'm not sure they could unlearn all they know and write something that would appeal to so many people, which would be simple, catchy riffs based (largely) on the minor pentatonic. Ultimately. You can't unlearn some stuff.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:20 PM   #11
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I used to want to be super technically proficient really badly, but I can't say I ever really got there. Anything I tried to play fast was incredibly sloppy, though I was still a little better than the average bear. Now I realized that I don't really like listening to technical music even, and I'd rather write stuff I can play that actually sounds good.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:23 PM   #12
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:51 PM   #13
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i'm in a similar position. i have a degree in jazz bass, but lately i just want to write shit like this:



i've had trouble throwing out theory. so i just write on guitar by just playing different chord shapes and seeing what happens. play a weird voicing, might not even know the chord, and then trying to hear where i want it to go from there.

if you know guitar too well, maybe try piano? try something that you don't associate with your technical side. at least to begin the writing process.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:21 PM   #14
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This is something that's discouraged me from getting any better on guitar, or indeed any instrument. Lacking a deep knowledge of theory allows everything I write to still have that mystical quality about it that would just be lost if I could break down exactly why something works.
I guess that's why a lot of the stuff I write is based around clashes... Wouldn't have it any other way though.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JT436
This is something that's discouraged me from getting any better on guitar, or indeed any instrument. Lacking a deep knowledge of theory allows everything I write to still have that mystical quality about it that would just be lost if I could break down exactly why something works.
I guess that's why a lot of the stuff I write is based around clashes... Wouldn't have it any other way though.


If you know how music works you can connect the dots in a way you never knew. Everything's easier and everything becomes better. The mysticism is still there, but you just understand it better and you can write lead and rhythm parts that allow you to express yourself 10x better than you could before.

Also it opens up music in a way that most people don't understand until they study it.

Of course there are some people who just pick everything up in a weird way without ever having a lesson or studying music, but unless you're one of them, you'll seriously benefit from having a basic understanding of how chords are built, what the major scale is, how chord progressions work and what the pentatonics are. Those things will increase your ability 10 fold and really, it's all really basic stuff.

Ignorance is bliss, but a little work will open up the instrument in a way that you never knew.

That's just my advice, friend.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:49 PM   #16
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I don't have any idea to help the guy who started this thread, but goddamn that picture is funny!
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mephaphil
Go learn some theory, study a guitarist and come back and re read that.

If you know how music works you can connect the dots in a way you never knew. Everything's easier and everything becomes better. The mysticism is still there, but you just understand it better and you can write lead parts that allow you to express yourself 10x better than you did before.

Also it opens up music in a way that most people don't understand until they study it.

Of course there are some people who just pick everything up in a weird way without ever having a lesson or studying music, but unless you're one of them, you'll seriously benefit from having a basic understanding of how chords are built, what the major scale is, how chord progressions work and what the pentatonics are.

Ignorance is bliss, but a little work will open up the instrument in a way that you never knew.


Well, what I really mean is that I have a decent enough understanding of most aspects of theory like chord construction, harmony and progressions and such, but I've never really applied that to my playing or composition.
Lately I've been improvising a bit with different modes on piano, and while the knowledge behind it definitely makes the general standard of ideas better than the usual hit and miss results I usually get I just rarely seem to stumble upon something that really sticks out to me.
I don't really know... I'm just worried that if I truly internalise that knowledge and don't like it that I won't be able to turn back.

Thanks for the advice though man, I'll have a think.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:33 PM   #18
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:48 PM   #19
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I started out playing wanky metal and quickly got bored.

Started playing around with garage rock, folk, psychedelic rock, shoegaze etc.

I also believe in strict minimalism as I literally have a guitar set aside set up for 4 string open tuings, inspired by the guy from JEFF the Brotherhood's 3 string and Keith Richards' 5 string.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:52 PM   #20
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I looked up the chords for Nirvana's Nevermind album

I didn't go all the way through, but it's safe to say I didn't see A SINGLE minor chord in the album- all those incredible songs written using nothing but open and power chords! You're probably thinking maybe no m9 this time, you should try something more drastic.

Think of a melody in your head and then play it out on guitar as a solo instead. That way you can come up with something melodic yet amazingly simple. A lot of the time less is more, you just have to be VERY picky about which notes you choose (and don't choose).

Keep practicing or record the progression and listen to it repeatedly and you will come up with more ideas.
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