Hi, I've just bought a guitar a couple weeks ago, and also have been watching random lesson vids and reading some of the cool info on UG. I'm an avid music listener, and vibe to a wide, wide, wiiiiiide range of genres like electronica, jazz, dream pop, shoe-gaze, 80s, jungle, just to name a few.(just some background-ish stuff)

I'm at the beginning phase where I have all the ideas on what I wanna do, but they seem to be cluttered in my noggin. I'm also LOST beyond belief on where to start, whether it'd be learning scales and on worth, or just focus on the concepts (and complexities of good ol' music theory).

I have a practice log in which i've been recording down some progress and random tips I learn (if that helps?) I've also been practicing but I feel a brick wall coming

So, my question is, HOW important is music theory to a beginner who doesn't know much about guitaring? It all seems very very confusing. How can I progress with my practicing without feeling lost? (exercises, tips, techniques) A little help for a beginner? I'm a little confused here and need some guidance.
Personally, I would focus on learning music theory to the point where you can construct songs and you know what goes together and what everything means. The problem with most people who learn to play guitar (myself included when I started playing all those years ago) is that all that matters is learning how to play fast and all that cool stuff.

Technique and all that stuff will come later, over time with practice, but music is something that you need to learn. You can play and play and play and be as fast as you want but that doesn't mean shit if you don't know what you are playing.

As for technique, start with alternate picking (up down up down, ect...) and just build up finger strength. going up and down the neck every fret and every string, 1234 and then 4321 and then 1324 - after that is learning some basic chords and songs.
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Last edited by stonyman65 at Mar 16, 2011,
Hmmm. I'd start with learning how chords are constructed, scale patterns and start working on techniques for guitar, like slides, hammer ons, pull offs etc.
@stonyman how exactly can I start learning music theory? It's something I hear and read a lot about but can not understand how it's applied with practicing. I'm mean watching videos and reading threads just made me somewhat MORE confused

and @guitarist@net thanks
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@stonyman how exactly can I start learning music theory? It's something I hear and read a lot about but can not understand how it's applied with practicing. I'm mean watching videos and reading threads just made me somewhat MORE confused

and @guitarist@net thanks

you can get books, check out the lessons here or at musictheory.net, that being said, you will much more greatly understand where to go after learning some chords and what not. if you start by learning your open chords and barre chords you will then just need to understand minimal theory to start writing songs.

now before anyone flames me for not telling you to go directly to theory, I fully reccomend learning theory, but I feel that learning some basic chords first is the best way to go. once you know the basic major and minor chords, it becomes easier to apply the theory youve learned as you go. not to mention that once you get into chords in theory, their construction will make more sense....

I find that lots of new guitarists want to start writing right off the bat, and soloing like gods, unfortunately the grim reality is that you need to understand the basics before you can move on.

learn standard tuning, get yourself a tuner, learn a few chord based songs (like wonderwall by oasis or should I stay or should I go by the clash), learn how to play open chords (Amajor/minor, Emajor/minor, Dmajor/minor, Cmajor, Gmajor) then learn the 5string and 6string barre chord shapes for both major and minor chords, and finaly get working on scales and learning the fretboard, these will lead you further into theory which will pay off by teaching you how to write.

also if its possible, I so wish I did this from the very begining, you may find it helpful to record your self as you progress, because every time you begin to feel as though you aren't progressing you can listen to the earlier recordings and then the later ones to hear how much you actually have progressed... I didn't start this till I had been playing for three or four years, and I still sometimes feel surprised listening to the difference between now and then.... anyway Good Luck and remember to have fun with it!
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I'd say scew theory at first. Take the guitar, get used to it, learn freting, picking, experiment with fingerings do the 1-2-3-4/1-3-4 etc. drills up and down the neck.
Learn basic chords, learn to switch them. Ofc if your just starting out youll need ATLEAST 3-6 months - an if youll really pick up the guitar atleast and hour/day.

Ofc. while doing all these "drills" pickup a song you like and start learning it, ofc before doing that research what your getting into, check the tabs, see some covers on youtube, so you dont end up pickup up some yngwie/gilbert or any that type of (difficult) song.

Introduce yourself to the metronome to learn the "beat"/timing. While most say "bah i can tap my foot to the beat" it's really much more difficult that that when YOU actualy have to BY YOURSELF play something.

When you get to the points where you want to learn a song, and you see that its DO-ABLE, you could start making something up by yourself, because most likely you will already have the phisical skill to play it.

I honestly dont really see the point to learn theory if youll just structure it on paper/in the head, but take ten times as much time to actualy play it.
agreed with above.

develop a basic understanding for playing the guitar and then focus on theory when you feel comfortable enough.