#1
I find it really difficult to understand music theory, not just one or two litle bits, basically all of it, I can play, but just cant tell you really what im playing. Do I really need to know when it comes to things like being in a band and writing songs?

I dont understand things like keys, which chords match keys, scales matching keys/chords, fifths, sevenths major third flatted fifth..... These are just words I remember hearing, but I have absolutley no idea what any of it means. Well about 90% of it anyway.

Is that really bad?
Does it mean im doomed to be a crap guitarist?

How best to learn all this confusing stuff??????????


Thanks alot for your help.

What i do know is names of the chords Im playing but that is pretty much as good as it gets.
Last edited by gary1991 at Apr 25, 2011,
#2
Quote by gary1991
I find it really difficult to understand music theory, not just one or two litle bits, basically all of it, I can play, but just cant tell you really what im playing. Do I really need to know when it comes to things like being in a band and writing songs?

I dont understand things like keys, which chords match keys, scales matching keys/chords, fifths, sevenths major third flatted fifth..... These are just words I remember hearing, but I have absolutley no idea what any of it means. Well about 90% of it anyway.

Is that really bad?
Does it mean im doomed to be a crap guitarist?

How best to learn all this confusing stuff??????????


Thanks alot for your help.


1. How are you trying to learn?

2. How does theory fit into your overall goals as a guitarist?

3. Is paying for private lessons/instruction an option?

Best,

Sean
#3
1. I have about three books plus on playing guitar plus a book crammed with nothing but scales, and cannot understand about half of each book, Makes me feel like such a retarded dumbass when i cant follow word on a page.

2. I want to play in a band i really enjoy and write music which i really enjoy and have a fun time doing it, regardless of wether or not I "make it", but making it would still be good.

3. I would be fairly happy to pay a Good teacher if he managed to teach me
#4
Quote by gary1991
1. I have about three books plus on playing guitar plus a book crammed with nothing but scales, and cannot understand about half of each book, Makes me feel like such a retarded dumbass when i cant follow word on a page.

2. I want to play in a band i really enjoy and write music which i really enjoy and have a fun time doing it, regardless of wether or not I "make it", but making it would still be good.

3. I would be fairly happy to pay a Good teacher if he managed to teach me


Gary,

I have my own reasons about why I think you are ending up frustrated. I've been in your shoes.

Based upon your goals I could probably help you, but it would be best if you contact me privately, so that I could discuss your needs in more detail, and assist you with any questions you may have.

If you're interested, let me know. I think I can help you.

Best,

Sean
#5
It kind of depends what you want out of playing the guitar and what you want to play. Many thousands of musicians of all sorts all over the world play amazing music without knowing any theory at all.
Folk, bluegrass, "roots" music in general, blues, singer/songwriter types.....I would hazard that the majority of folks playing in these genres couldn't read a note of standard notation and wouldn't know a chord inversion if they saw one.
Nor is advanced study necessary for producing such music.

However, if you intend to get involved in serious composition, jazz, studio work, and a variety of other fields you're going to need to be at least fluent enough to read lead sheets and have some notion of the standard aspects of music... Harmony, intervals, scales, etc.
Gear your study to the areas that will benefit you the most.
#6
Quote by Bikewer
It kind of depends what you want out of playing the guitar and what you want to play. Many thousands of musicians of all sorts all over the world play amazing music without knowing any theory at all.
Folk, bluegrass, "roots" music in general, blues, singer/songwriter types.....I would hazard that the majority of folks playing in these genres couldn't read a note of standard notation and wouldn't know a chord inversion if they saw one.
Nor is advanced study necessary for producing such music.

However, if you intend to get involved in serious composition, jazz, studio work, and a variety of other fields you're going to need to be at least fluent enough to read lead sheets and have some notion of the standard aspects of music... Harmony, intervals, scales, etc.
Gear your study to the areas that will benefit you the most.


This man is correct. You don´t need to have theory but if you want to play more complex things then you deffo need some theory, unless you are django reinhardt.
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#7
I disagree, I think anything that you can play and understand will make you a better musician and able to respond faster and more intelligently.

It's like hitting a tree with the spoon, or an axe, both will eventually topple the tree. Years and years of trial and error and devloping pitch collection recognition will make a fairly competent sounding guitarist, through sheer practice and exposure. But, understanding theory, will do more than that. It won't just make someone into a highly functional guitarist, it will also help the player see, and thus respond to the big picture a lot faster than other wise, especially if it is taught, and the guitarist is given the tools, challenges and environment to apply new concepts to real life playing, as that guitarist learns them.

To relegate it to an advanced application is way off base. Theory can help anyone, simply because we play music that has some sort of inherent form or logic to it, whether we understand it or not. Understanding it is always better than not, in terms of uncovering our options for making better music. The more we know, the more competently we can flow through the creative cycle as well. Theory, exposure, and learning to use your ears is a trifecta that is hard to beat.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Apr 25, 2011,
#8
Quote by gary1991
1. I have about three books plus on playing guitar plus a book crammed with nothing but scales, and cannot understand about half of each book, Makes me feel like such a retarded dumbass when i cant follow word on a page.

2. I want to play in a band i really enjoy and write music which i really enjoy and have a fun time doing it, regardless of wether or not I "make it", but making it would still be good.

3. I would be fairly happy to pay a Good teacher if he managed to teach me

3. Get a teacher - books are great and all, but it can be easy to slightly misinterpret them or not quite get it.
With a teacher he can teach you something, then you can go away and practice it/try examples and come back and he can tell you whether you've understood or not/

Music theory is remarkably logical once you get the basics sorted out - but there is NO purpose in going beyond simple chords if you aren't absolutely certain of the basics - you'll just end up with a load of fancy words which mean nothing - i've been there telling people i was "jamming in the augmented phyrgian in 13/7 time" when in fact i had no idea what i was doing and not getting anywhere. I've since gone back to basics and understand and appreciate music all the more for it.

EDIT: with a good teacher you can pick up the basics in just a few weeks if you apply yourself - at that stage you just need to find a band to jam with, preferably some friends who don't mind if you take a while to pick stuff up/make a lot of mistakes.
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
Last edited by doive at Apr 25, 2011,
#10
Quote by gary1991
I find it really difficult to understand music theory, not just one or two litle bits, basically all of it, I can play, but just cant tell you really what im playing. Do I really need to know when it comes to things like being in a band and writing songs?

No, but it can help.

Quote by gary1991

I dont understand things like keys, which chords match keys, scales matching keys/chords, fifths, sevenths major third flatted fifth..... These are just words I remember hearing, but I have absolutley no idea what any of it means. Well about 90% of it anyway.
Is that really bad?


I don't see it as "really bad".

Obviously you have an interest in it though, or your wouldn't be posting here. Wanting to learn it, but looking for excuses to avoid it..... that's what I would consider to be "really bad".

Quote by gary1991

Does it mean im doomed to be a crap guitarist?


on it's own, No



How best to learn all this confusing stuff??????????

Ideally in a classroom. Other options...

books, private lessons
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 25, 2011,
#11
If a teacher isnt an option (which youve said it is) then the internet is a very vast sea of knowledge. There is a FAQ on here (its stickied) which teaches some theory, theres a huge amount of resources online as well.

One thing I do when learning theory: take it slow. If you try to internalize all this theory at once, you will suffer. But if you go one day at a time, one concept at a time, at your own pace, you will learn better.

Edit: a good place to start would be to learn the location of the notes along the fret board.
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

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I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
Last edited by vampirelazarus at Apr 25, 2011,
#12
I started out in very standard self-taught fashion; copping licks from my friends who played, picking up basic "how-to" books from the library, that sort of thing.
Several years into all that, I decided to expand my horizons a bit and started getting the basics of theory down. The essentials of chord construction, scales and how they relate to chords, harmonization.. That sort of thing.
However, I realized it was way too late for me to gain enough proficiency to say, learn to sight-read, and since I had no notion of becoming a professional musician, it simply wasn't worth expending the time and effort.
I have sufficient knowledge to learn any tune in the genres that interest me, and to write the sort of funny little ditties I do.
So I'm happy.
For a young lad intending to address music as a profession at some time; I would recommend learning as much as possible. It can't hurt.....
#13
Theory can be really overwhelming at first if you let it be. Just take it easy, think about one thing at a time, and you'll start to get it eventually.

I recommend that you start with learning the notes on the fretboard. A basic understanding of the musical alphabet is absolutely fundamental to music theory.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#14
Quote by food1010
Theory can be really overwhelming at first if you let it be. Just take it easy, think about one thing at a time, and you'll start to get it eventually.

I recommend that you start with learning the notes on the fretboard. A basic understanding of the musical alphabet is absolutely fundamental to music theory.


This. Learning the notes on the fretboard is a very good idea, one that I would guess very few musicians actually do when they start theory. I know I didn't.