#1
Hey there,

I've been playing guitar for like 5 months now and I put all pressure on practice, I mean I try to play songs, I train changing chords etc.

And my question is: how important learning the theory is? Should I learn it first or should I learn it along with playing on guitar?

And also: do all guitarists from music bands play from music notes or they use tab sometimes?


Sorry for a bit noob questions.

Thanks
#2
Theory is important, but you can easily get by without it. That being said though, it makes things a hell of a lot easier, especially to figure out by ear.

And no, I can't read sheet music, and half the time I don't use a bloody tab either; I use my ears.
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#3
How important it is and how much you should learn depends on who you ask. I think all guitarists should at least know the basics of theory though even if you dont go in depth with it you should at least know that.

Not everyone plays from music notation I play exclusivley from tab and its never really hurt me.
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#4
Practice is the most important thing with guitar. But music theory is pretty important too. Most bands know music theory and follow it in their work. Especially Dream Theater and advanced musicians know theory. I suggest for you to learn the basics of playing the guitar then after about a year of playing, start to study music theory because it really helps you out in the long run.
#5
Try to balance it. Never force things. It must remain fun, not a chore. I think where you are now, you should indeed put a lot of effort into practice. Theory is something that will come along with recognizing scales in tablature and learning names of powerchords bit by bit.

Second question: No, not all guitarists read notes. In my band, the only one who's able to read notes is our drummer.
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#6
Music theory is important, but you should practice untill you're at a level of playing you're happy with, then start leaving theory. Leave it till later, or it'll put you off.

Or just read music theory books on the bog, 'tis what I do.
#7
There was just an article about the Practical vs. the Theoretical.

Summary: :Learning theory makes you a better musician. Practicing guitar makes you a better guitarist.

Its a personal choice... I actually like not having to guess what note I'm playing and it helps alot when jamming with others.
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#8
Quote by gizmodious
There was just an article about the Practical vs. the Theoretical.

Summary: :Learning theory makes you a better musician. Practicing guitar makes you a better guitarist.

Its a personal choice... I actually like not having to guess what note I'm playing and it helps alot when jamming with others.


Well said
#9
Theory is gonna help you so much, there are gonna be a lot of people who will tell you you don't need it, but none of them know any theory and never thought about studying it. Anyone who does study theory though will tell you how useful it is. Listen to those with experience, not the lazy buggers who think they know things they have no clue about.

So yes, by all means learn theory. The only problem might be that if you're not a good enough player yet to put what you learn into practice, then it might get confusing or irrelevant. But that's the thing about theory, it's a huge bulk of knowledge and it'll take you years of study any way you slice it. So let it take its time.

About tabs and notation, my recommendation is to practice picking out songs by ear first and foremost, that's the best way to develop as a musician. Standard notation isn't at all optimized for electric guitar, it's only really useful for classical and maybe jazz music. Tabs are sh*t, you don't need them.
#10
learn a couple theory basics like your keys, chord structure, scale structure, modes, etc and then think about whether you want to learn more


knowing the basics makes jamming with yourself and others much easier, and it makes writing easier


try tabbing some stuff out by yourself too. it'll help you learn the fretboard better and quicker
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#11
i have been playing for about 5 years played a small festival bout 30 shows and i knew nothing about theory and at that point thought theory was useless i knew how to read tab and that was it it was only when i had a jam with a big band and they gave me a piece of music and it was notatation that i realisedi really should learn and i am another year on and im just getting to grips with notataion it really helps. use this site http://www.musictheory.net/ learn maybe one thing a week not even that but learn it but do practice ALOT but the guy above me learn it later ignore that learn it asap it really widens your playing skills you automatically know where your fingers are going to go if you learn your scales of course there will be the guitarist or so that say theory is stoopid go learn it by ear or tab ignore them sorry for that little rant but yeah learn some theory
#12
look at it like this:

plenty of people learn 0 theory, and play well. (describes me)

However, when it comes to improv, jamming, etc...all I can really do is play songs I know, not much of my own stuff.

Ive always just been into covering bands i like, and so far its been more than enough for me, since I enjoy quite challenging music.

However, if you hope to be great at improv, understanding what you are playing, or generally just being able to jam with buddies and sound good...id say go out and learn some theory!
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#13
Know the notes of the fretboard by heart and know your keys and you should be fine. Know how chords are structured and know tons of variations as well. Learning modes can help give you a ceartin sound you might be looking for, as well as scales.

As you can see, the more you know the less guessing you have to do. I personally know few scales and modes but makes use of what I do know and some of my personal opinions, e.g. if you just hit notes in key you should be fine 90% of the time for when I'm just jacking off around the fretboard.
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#14
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Practice is the most important thing with guitar. But music theory is pretty important too. Most bands know music theory and follow it in their work. Especially Dream Theater and advanced musicians know theory. I suggest for you to learn the basics of playing the guitar then after about a year of playing, start to study music theory because it really helps you out in the long run.


You make good points, but I don't really think you can separate musicians who "know" and "don't know" theory. Both Dream Theater and Green Day know theory, only Dream Theater know a lot MORE about it. Anyone who can play an A chord knows some theory. Anyone who can play an Amaj7 knows more theory, and those who can say it's a subdominant to Emaj7 and improvise in the Lydian mode over it knows even more theory. Everyone knows a bit of theory, but there's a pretty broad line between those who keep studying it for the sake of it and those who stop caring after they learn their powerchords and minor scale.

I don't doubt that you know this, I just think it's good to sort out the terminology. Cheers!
#15
As far as progressing on guitar, practicing is the most important skill you can learn. Note, I said "skill". It is indeed. And I'd say a lot of people aren't very good at this skill if they even realize it is a skill.

As far as theory goes, this isn't something disconnected from practicing. There is certainly some reading to do to learn theory, but it doesn't have to be all that much. The things you read about you can (and should) most definitely include in your practicing.
#16
Im going to say that yes theory is important but no you dont need to know a lot to pass with guitar. This year in my first semester of highschool i took a music theory class and my world with guitar just opened up. I feel that now, after taking that theory and applying it ive become better. At first i was drilling technical studies and just normal practice but after taking that theory class i understood what i was playing instead of just playing it.

Before hand though you can play very well without knowing theory and just the basics should get you by through jam sessions and other things ..

best of luck
kenny