#1
to become a good guitarist. I can't get lessons, so I'm self teaching myself theory through books and the internet. it's quite possibly the hardest thing I've taken on.

Now how much do I need to understand to be able to, say write well, or solo really well? Do I need to know keys? All chords? do I wanna learn all possible scales and how to move them up and down the fretboard? (cause that seems daunting and scary)....

I just need a little push in the right direction on what to learn :/
#2
you don't need to know anything, really...
Last edited by Ibbod0 at Jan 7, 2010,
#3
always depends on what you want to do. in your situation I would always study some theory when I feel its not enough for what you want to do. If you want to play jazz, you obviously need lots of theory. I have been playing for years and I dont know any theory.
#4
To start with, there is a lot of theory. The more you know the better.

However, to contradict myself;

Just learn what you need. Especially when you are starting out. If you have some goals then generally you can work out what you will need to learn. As a basis though, most people will start with learning about the major scale and intervals. There are some links in my sig, overwhelming amount of info there, but with patience and drive you can pick out the information you'll you'll need.
#5
yeah, as ibodd0 said, you don't really need to know any theory, but it can be very useful, especially for soloing. i've never bothered to learn any theory, like scales or notes, and i'm doing just fine.
Quote by Zangetsu 101
Rolling Stone is to the music industry what TheOnion.com is to news.

Ambivalence.
#6
thanks guys, basically the gist of what you're saying is, I can be a good guitarist without theory, but it doesn't hurt to know it at all.

My main goal, is being able to write and get a band going. I'm 18 and have only been playing since I was 17 so I'm not that experienced but i think with enough practice and theory studying I can get there
#7
another thing to keep in mind - theory is guidelines not rules. Don't ever avoid using a chord or something just because it's not in that key.. always do what sounds best.

theory might seem difficult at first, but after you get past a certain point, it's actually kind of fun.. well, for me at least :P
#8
There is a great series of articles on here called The Crusade. It teaches you a lot and after you read through it you pretty much have a good grasp on a lot of theory. Take an hour and read through them I promise it will jumpstart everything theory related for you
#9
Learn as much as you think you will use and how much you enjoy.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#10
Quote by As cold aS iCeE
to become a good guitarist. I can't get lessons, so I'm self teaching myself theory through books and the internet. it's quite possibly the hardest thing I've taken on.

Now how much do I need to understand to be able to, say write well, or solo really well? Do I need to know keys? All chords? do I wanna learn all possible scales and how to move them up and down the fretboard? (cause that seems daunting and scary)....

I just need a little push in the right direction on what to learn :/


Here's the skinny about doing it without theory. You can checkmark these off if you have them

If you want to write well you need to have a developed ear for melody and an innate feel for what should go over a piece of music. Either be a natural at it, or develop this over years of playing and exposure to melodies that you can hear in your head and find on the guitar when you are hearing them.

You said you can't take lessons. Why is that?
#11
Quote by As cold aS iCeE


Now how much do I need to understand to be able to, say write well, or solo really well?


no exactly definable amount. You could write and solo really well with little or no theory knowledge.

If you want to study theory though, you're definitely at a disadvantage if you can't take lessons. I would consider finding a way to make it happen. There is alot to it, and guidance will make this task more realistic.

in the meantime, I would recommend preparing for theory by learning standard notation 1st.

Then get yourself a theory book, and work your way through it if you haven't convinced yourself to get a teacher.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 7, 2010,
#12
if it ceases to be useful then you've went as far as you need to go.
High Templar of the UG Secret Society
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aNOMaly
#13
Quote by `NeXxuS`
if it ceases to be useful then you've went as far as you need to go.


And that has ever happened when?
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
#14
Quote by blueriver
And that has ever happened when?


well for example, i don't think understanding micro-tonality really helps me.

i don't think ill ever use serialism. Or Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.

the theory i know has helped me to create the music i love, if I learn something and can't apply it, then its useless.
High Templar of the UG Secret Society
PM SickMetal or Sanitarium24 to join.
aNOMaly
#15
Quote by As cold aS iCeE
to become a good guitarist. I can't get lessons, so I'm self teaching myself theory through books and the internet. it's quite possibly the hardest thing I've taken on.

Now how much do I need to understand to be able to, say write well, or solo really well? Do I need to know keys? All chords? do I wanna learn all possible scales and how to move them up and down the fretboard? (cause that seems daunting and scary)....

I just need a little push in the right direction on what to learn :/

you are making it seem harder than it really is. there is no realistic way to go about learning every single scale and chord.

things you NEED to know, is how to play in key, major and minor scale, minor and major pentatonic and blues scale and how they relate to the major and minor scale, major and minor chords AT LEAST the 6 string root forms and 5th string roots, every open position chord, should have some knowledge of 7th chords and maybe 9ths later.

you should be able to play a scale anywhere on the neck too. its not that hard acually. the minor scale is the same pattern for each key. you just need to know where the root notes are and its just a matter of shifting the pattern up or down the neck according to the notes. but also, what kind of music do you wanna play? if its rock and blues you might only "need" half the stuff i mentioned. if you wanna play neo classical stuff you might need to get into more complex stuff.

now there are also the modes of the major scale. i suggest learning them but dont worry too much about them right now. they arent used a whole lot in popular music but they can be good for organizing accidentals in you solos. for example, the blues scale and harmonic minor scale arent actually scales. but we use them as a guidline to help us remember certain accidentals. i can do the same with modes. again, dont worry too much about that right now.

but really, there is no set in stone amount of theory you need. most players dont even "know" theory. they pick things up from listening and just playing. they know what they are doing, but they never had any formal theory lessons or books. over time you will pick things up and remember things that sound good to you. whether or not you know the formal definition of what you are doing doesnt really matter.it helps though if you want to explain things to others.

so fo now, just take it one step at a time. learn your major and minor chords and scales, learn the pentatonic scales, and then take it bit by bit from there. theory is an on going process. there will always be something you dont know.
Last edited by Blind In 1 Ear at Jan 7, 2010,