not sure if this is the right forum, but I'll shoot anyway, and if this is the wrong one, please move it without much bitching.

So yeah, as the title says, I'm pissed off at the way I play guitar. I feel like I'm playing the same stuff over and over again. E.g, Power chords, arpegs like 5-7-8, and doodle around with that for a while. I then go learn some songs, and then that's it.

I play mostly the br00tz, and I kinda want to be able to be creative at it, I think I have a good deal of natural talent, I just need to put it to use.

I know absolutely no theory at all. I imagine that would be a good place to start, but I don't want to limit myself to theory because of the rules it kinda places. That's why I haven't taken lessons.

So yeah. Help would be much appreciated. If I'm not explaining this well, then just shoot some questions and I'll update the OP. Thanks guys.

Quote by CalumFraser
have a go at a different genre of music for a while?

I'm not "bored" with metal, far from it. I just wanna learn how to play it better

Quote by afrika18
just out of curiosity, what exactly does theory provide that your ear doesn't?

My question (almost) exactly. What will I gain if I learn theory?

Last edited by NosralTserrof at Jun 11, 2011,
Myth: Learning theory creates rules of playing.

It doesn't. If you want to learn it, stop making excuses and do it. It in no way, shape, or form puts constraints on your playing. It can do nothing but open constraints that you've already placed on yourself, intentionally or unintentionally.
I listen to other styles and it makes me think about the guitar differently, and sometimes helps me write things differently within my own genre.
Quote by afrika18
just out of curiosity, what exactly does theory provide that your ear doesn't?

If you learn theory, you might find out just how weakly trained your ear actually is. Even basic chord and scale construction can really put you on the right start. Being able to find a good scale by ear doesn't make you better than someone who knows theory, so why limit yourself instead of working on both?
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Theory is always helpful, even to the br00talz shr3dd3rz like you. You get at the foundation of why things sound good, why things work the way they do. Without theory, you will (almost certainly) never be able to write your own material. As for a tutor, I certainly regret never getting one. You can't get feedback on the way you're playing, what you're doing wrong. I had to completely relearn legato after playing for a year because I didn't have a teacher who could've nipped it in the bud. And if you're frustrated with the way you're learning, having someone else can help remedy that situation.

On a personal note, completely unrelated from any semblance of helpful advice, the reason that you are bored with what you're playing is because metal tends to be a very monotonous genre. While there are very notable exceptions, the majority of metal is minor scales, pinch harmonics, tapping, etc. ad nauseum.

Back onto a professional note, I strongly agree with CalumFraser's suggestion to learn a different genre. Adding a different style of playing to your repertoire works wonders for reinvigorating your love of music.

EDIT: My little rant, despite being completely unprofessional, is based on the sheer number of metalheads who think they are too good for [insert standard musical subject] because of some bs reason. I am in no way attacking you personally nor intending you any personal offense.
Quote by SonOfPest
Its the Lydian mode; formed in Eastern Arabia when the Persians invaded England.

Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
try the sexolydian scale.
Last edited by jwd724 at Jun 12, 2011,

I know absolutely no theory at all. I imagine that would be a good place to start, but [B[I don't want to limit myself to theory because of the rules it kinda places. That's why I haven't taken lessons.

Regarding the bolded part...oh dear...

Theory is not "rules" or "restrictions". What it is, is knowledge- knowledge of music (how and why music works and sounds like it does). Learning more knowledge about something can never restrict you.

If you knew how to fly a plane, would that restrict where you could fly to? Would you be better off not learning how to fly a plane and just jumping in? Would you be able to go to more places that way, rather than actually knowing what you're doing?

In this case, learning how to be a pilot is like you learning theory. Do you think you will be able to play less things if you learn more about it?

Think about it.
What is it you actually want to achieve? To be able to play the stuff you can play better and cleaner, or to play different stuff?

Actually decide what it is you want and go from there.

If you want to be more diverse, learning some theory and listening to some different stuff will help you.
If you want to tidy up your techniques, then spending more time doing things more 'deliberate' and slowly will achieve that.
Quote by afrika18
just out of curiosity, what exactly does theory provide that your ear doesn't?

What does Google Maps provide that your eyes don't? A way to get exactly where you want to go in the shortest amount of time.
Learn lots and lots of other people's songs. You'll pick different things up, and it's good to see the application of any theory you may have learnt.

If you learn a song and the solo's in G minor for example once you have the solo in your head you have different positions for the G minor scale in your head, if that makes sense.

Learning songs and learning the nuts and bolts behind it has helped me branch out from 'pentatonic laziness' a lot so I can't see how it will do any harm for other people.

Theory without application often leads to boring things that lack creativity. Application without theory holds you back from realising your full potential.

In some very rare cases theory can be replaced with a really good ear, but we're not all Jimi Hendrix.
Last edited by Duv at Jun 12, 2011,
Don't worry about theory putting "rules" in place, I was in the same boat as you a long way back and I feel more than a little silly now.

Just start with simple things like figuring out how to move a lick to different positions on the fretboard. If you can't do that by ear or by spotting patterns, perhaps consider getting in touch with a recommended local teacher.

just out of curiosity, what exactly does theory provide that your ear doesn't?

Not much, if your ear is good enough.

That said, the number of people I know who have ears THAT good...

Well, I know of two. And both of them both thought it worthwhile to get really into theory, and both thought it really worthwhile.
First, there is nothing wrong with being eclectic since it opens up many doors for you. Second, never listen to those people who denounce theory or technique. Studying musical composition and theory can make you a better musician, composer and seeing as how hard it is, if you dedicate much time and effort to learning it, will make you very humbled about the music itself. Humility within music is more important than almost any technique or guide you can find. The first step is admitting you are beat by it and then learn as many different standards each genre represents.

As someone who is fairly eclectic, if I ever get bored with a style I simply move onto another genre.

If you are tired of playing the same things over and over again, then I would suggest stripping back everything and playing some Classical music or maybe even some acoustic Jazz. Really challenge yourself as a musician. Doing these styles will help you identify your strengths as well as weaknesses as a musician and provide you with an abundance of new and exciting avenues to indulge in.

The reason I would suggest dismissing the words(Cant call it advice) that learning technique and theory is bad is because that is the exact opposite of being productive. That is telling a boxer to simply go out and throw as many punches as possible. Sure, he/she might be throwing a lot of punches, but how many of them are actually being effective?

Knowing how to do more techniques and things makes you a better guitarist by default because you can do more things, which is much more effective.

Since music is all about expression, the higher your plain is, the broader your launching pad will be. The more you know makes you appeal to a larger audience and regardless of who you are, the more you know, the more you will feel accomplished and the less you will feel bored.
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What's the harm in exploring some theory?

You don't have to get a PhD in music, and you don't have to follow rules or do anything else you don't wanna do.

On the upside, you might learn a thing or 2 that turns out to be really useful to your own musical skill set... Just take from it what you want.

After all, there is a reason why millions of people choose to study music theory. There must be some benefits