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#1
What famous guitarists do not know theory? I'm not trying to determine if I should learn theory or not, I'm just curious.


EDIT: I'm already learning theory, so please don't reply in this thread if you are going to try to convince me to learn theory.
Last edited by alander321 at Aug 15, 2009,
#2
You should. Every guitarist of any skill knows theory as it applies to their practical use - for example, Jimi Hendrix understood consonance, dissonance, and intervals enough that he could create chords of his own. He also understood the major scale and various applications and modes, but not in the traditional music theory sense - rather, he understood how they applied to his use of them in his playing.

The best thing that's happened to me as a guitarist is learning theory. It has improved my songwriting and improvisation dramatically.
#4
Quote by Geldin
You should. Every guitarist of any skill knows theory as it applies to their practical use - for example, Jimi Hendrix understood consonance, dissonance, and intervals enough that he could create chords of his own. He also understood the major scale and various applications and modes, but not in the traditional music theory sense - rather, he understood how they applied to his use of them in his playing.

The best thing that's happened to me as a guitarist is learning theory. It has improved my songwriting and improvisation dramatically.


I'm learning theory, no need to try to convince me .
#5
Every (good) guitarist that said they never learned it was lying *coughSRVcough*
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#6
I do believe Protest the Hero don't really know any theory.
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#7
I'd just learn the basics and build your own musical ideas around what you know.
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#8
Here's the thing I've come to learn about Theory. After 8 years of playing without learning a lick of it, then beginning to learn it, I realized that I was already using the methods familiarized in music theory, I was just ignorant to what they were or what their related functions were.

Now that I'm learning theory, it doesn't make me a more amazing player, but I'm starting to understand why things work they way they do, and why I play the way I do. If I could go back and start off differently, I most definitely would learn theory at the start and save myself years of stumble-upon learning.
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#9
every "good" guitarist knows theory, u can tell who has a better understanding of the theory in their music but in order to make music you need to know theory or else it will be a CD of random noodling
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#11
Mick Mars and George Lynch don't know theory
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#12
I don't believe that Chuck Schuldiner knew theory.

But it doesn't mean you shouldn't.
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#13
Quote by alander321
What famous guitarists do not know theory? I'm not trying to determine if I should learn theory or not, I'm just curious.

well lots of players were never taught formal theory. but that doesnt mean they dont know what they are doing. they still need to learn the same musical concepts. they just dont know the formal definitions.

you shouldnt base your learning on something like that. theory can ONLY help. theory helps you understand music better. it will help with making songs. before i knew some basic theory, i was always wondering where to go with a song. i could never find the next chord. but now that i know some basic theory, that doesnt really happen.
#14
Quote by The Horror!
Sounds like TS is trying to convince himself he don't need no school'n to get famous


*sigh* I already know theory, so shutup.
#15
You need to understand what you're doing to sound good, so you can either use other peoples experience by learning theory, or you can reinvent the wheel and do it the hard way by working everything out for yourself from scratch.
#16
Quote by zhilla
You need to understand what you're doing to sound good, so you can either use other peoples experience by learning theory, or you can reinvent the wheel and do it the hard way by working everything out for yourself from scratch.


So your trying to convince me to learn theory???? I'm already learning it, please stop and only reply if your gonna answer the question.
#18
Quote by alander321
So your trying to convince me to learn theory???? I'm already learning it, please stop and only reply if your gonna answer the question.


Keep in mind that for the most part, none of us really know the exact answer to your question. You would have to ask the artists themselves, or do some research on your own.

So far, this is a thread of here-say.


The truth is that there are successful musicians at all ends of the spectrum in terms of theory knowledge. There is not much to consider beyond that (unless of-course you're trying to convince yourself that you made the right choice by studying theory).
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 15, 2009,
#19
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
well lots of players were never taught formal theory. but that doesnt mean they dont know what they are doing. they still need to learn the same musical concepts. they just dont know the formal definitions.

you shouldnt base your learning on something like that. theory can ONLY help. theory helps you understand music better. it will help with making songs. before i knew some basic theory, i was always wondering where to go with a song. i could never find the next chord. but now that i know some basic theory, that doesnt really happen.

Very nicely put.
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#20
theory is good to know, though as some one said, everyone knows a little of it even if they dont realize it. what most guitar players do not know however is guitar sight reading . This is a subject that gets very little attention from many guitar players.
#21
Quote by alander321
*sigh* I already know theory, so shutup.

WEhat do you mean you "already know theory". So your saying you know everything about theory and music?
#23
Wow people, wow.

TS specifically said that he's going to learn theory whether his favorites know it or not. This thread isn't about whether he should learn theory, it's about guitarists that don't know it.

I was surprised at how little music theory Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) knows.
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theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#25
Quote by Uber Man
im pretty sure metallica doesn't know theroy, or at least james didn't. i saw an interview with him saying he didn't know the names of the notes on the fretboard anyway. it's kinda old interview so he may have learned by now...


Kirk was taught by Satriani and he's a bit more of a progressive metal player, I'd say that he knows something.
#26
Quote by Nilpferdkoenig
Kirk was taught by Satriani and he's a bit more of a progressive metal player, I'd say that he knows something.


A good example of how knowing theory doesn't necessarily make you a better musician.
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#27
The guitarist from band of horses knows buggar all about theory but can still create songs like the funeral. wow.
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#28
Consider Clapton's knowledge of theory and reading music was mostly gained after Cream terminated. Did his playing improve? You be the judge. I'm just being Devil's advocate.
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#29
Quote by Lurcher
Consider Clapton's knowledge of theory and reading music was mostly gained after Cream terminated. Did his playing improve? You be the judge. I'm just being Devil's advocate.


IMO ..... NO
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#30
I believe that Neil Young pre-1971? did not know much formal theory.
Also, I believe that alot of 1960's guitarists who emulated the American blues scene did not know alot of theory at first. Rock and Roll does not require testable knowledge, but instead a "feel" for the fretboard and the tones that each fret make; and the progression of complimenting tones.
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#31
Quote by nathanlamb01098
WEhat do you mean you "already know theory". So your saying you know everything about theory and music?


ok, wrong choice of words. I'm learning theory currently, so shutup.
#32
AnalxCuntx has the best music theory evar.

Seriously there more wicked than malmsteen.
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#33
Quote by StewieSwan
I do believe Protest the Hero don't really know any theory.



You've got to be ****ting me. Thats impressive if you are correct!
#34
The guitarists listed who claim to not know any music theory must be incredibly lucky to play in the same scales and keys for the songs.

Or maybe they know music theory.
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#35
Quote by StewieSwan
I do believe Protest the Hero don't really know any theory.

You're kidding right?

Well, all you really have to do is just get a sweet riff and then build from it. Just using the things that sound right, but still. The only time it would really be obvious is if they tried to improvise.

And to TS, I don't really know any famous guitarists who don't know theory.
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#36
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
well lots of players were never taught formal theory. but that doesnt mean they dont know what they are doing. they still need to learn the same musical concepts. they just dont know the formal definitions.
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#37
Allan Holdsworth can't read or write standard notation, and he's said he's bad at communicating musical ideas with bandmembers.
He doesn't know alot of theory though, or at least practical theory.
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#38
Surprisingly - Alex Lifeson. He took 2 classical lessons when he was young because his buddy Ben Mink wanted to go...Ben broke his arm after the second lesson so Big Al quit as well.

...that being said...

BASIC THEORY IS A MUST...and all of us with experience have learned it in one form or another...WHY? Two HUGE reasons...

1. THEORY is the WHY the notes, patterns and beats sound like they do.
2. COMMUNICATION is essential in ANY meaningful relationship.
#39
I don't understand why people assume that Hendrix didn't know any theory - he was in dozens of bands including plenty of jazz bands before he moved to London. He did loads of session work in the 60s before the Experience, and no one leaves that world without learning something.

Eddie Van Halen definitely knows theory - he started out as a classical pianist and learnt his theory well before Van Halen I.

Any modern guitarist: Slash, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy etc all know theory, if only from having learnt it at school.


They all play it down in interviews though, because a) they don't want to look like a geek, and b) it makes them a bit mysterious if it seems like they don't know how music works, they just "feel it inside" or whatever.
#40
Did Dime know theory? Seeing as he solo'd out of key quite a bit.
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