#1
Hey!

Okay so I have been analysing bands and subgenres of metal and I only notice bands use either power chords or single string riffs in their rythm sections ... What I mean is there is no need for theory in the rythm playing ... Sure it's GOOD and USEFUL to know what key you are playing in and what the chord is called, but it's not absolutely needed. It is possible to hear what sounds good and not in rythm playing.

As far as I see the theory lies in soloing and fills, right? I am not new to the guitar, but I am new to theory ... I only know a little bit, like 2 scales and the name of the frets on the neck.

Take NWTM (New Wave of Thrash Metal). All you really need to know for rythm playing in NWOTM is power chords and where they sound right...

I am concerned people will realize this in the future and the world becomes overflooded with "rythm players" who only know power chords :/ Thoughts on this?

And btw I am getting deeper into theory, but it annoys me that people on this forum suggest "learn some theory" and they don't tell you where to start and such ... and I just can't learn it online ... I NEED a teacher to teach me scales and such ...

Anyway thanks for answering
#2
Theory helps you make quicker decisions, and understand the context of your playing. It's also a good help in composition. It is true that a lot of metal bands use simple chords, but not all of them, and it's not always the better option. So in my view, it's essential to know. You can't break rules unless you know them.

I recommend checking out Emperor (early to mid material), and the book by their guitarist/composer, "Scattered Ashes". It has some interesting ideas and songs that explore the potential of the instrument more. Obviously they aren't the only band to do this, and the only reason I suggested them is because the material is transcribed by the band itself, hence it's a good and accurate resource. Secondly, this doesn't just apply to metal - theory is essential in any rhythm playing, - generally the more you know, the more options you open to yourself.

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#3
Well, actually learning general theory will make you a better musician all around, it doens't only apply to the guitar.

A rhythm guitarist can get by without knowing any theory, but will that rhythm player ever be able to easily create a rhythm over a cool lick or lead that the lead guitarist came up with by himself?

If everyone in the band has a basic knowledge of theory, composing music as a whole becomes much easier. Instead of taking the time, riff by riff, trying to transcribe the position everyone is playing in and memorizing when they make the switches - its much easier to just say

Hey, lets do a jam in B minor. Everyone knows where they can play and what they can get away with. Very simple example, but good enough IMO.
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#4
I like to mix things up in my rhythm work and theory has helped me use a lot of cool chords people wouldn't normally use.

It just depends how good of a rhythm player you want to be. Kinda like how some bassists are content with being mediocre, but others push themselves and write awesome bass parts that don't just follow the rhythm guitar.
Last edited by troyofyort at Sep 29, 2011,
#5
Quote by Randomguy09
Hey!



I am concerned people will realize this in the future and the world becomes overflooded with "rythm players" who only know power chords :/ Thoughts on this?


Anyway thanks for answering


Been playing metal for years and its been my experience that the world is already overflooded with players who only know power chords. Use it to your benefit, learn theory, apply it, and stand out from the rest of these mediocre players.
#6
Quote by Randomguy09
Hey!

Okay so I have been analysing bands and subgenres of metal and I only notice bands use either power chords or single string riffs in their rythm sections ... What I mean is there is no need for theory in the rythm playing ... Sure it's GOOD and USEFUL to know what key you are playing in and what the chord is called, but it's not absolutely needed. It is possible to hear what sounds good and not in rythm playing.

As far as I see the theory lies in soloing and fills, right? I am not new to the guitar, but I am new to theory ... I only know a little bit, like 2 scales and the name of the frets on the neck.

Take NWTM (New Wave of Thrash Metal). All you really need to know for rythm playing in NWOTM is power chords and where they sound right...

I am concerned people will realize this in the future and the world becomes overflooded with "rythm players" who only know power chords :/ Thoughts on this?

And btw I am getting deeper into theory, but it annoys me that people on this forum suggest "learn some theory" and they don't tell you where to start and such ... and I just can't learn it online ... I NEED a teacher to teach me scales and such ...

Anyway thanks for answering


I wouldn't be concerned too much. Most people that want to learn theory, want to be able to do it for free. Can you learn theory online for free?

Sure, but there's going to be "payment" in lack of direction, misinformation that you'll have to work out yourself, and payment of probably years of your life before you know what's going on. The potential for being "weak" is very high. In my opinion learning for free is the most "expensive" way to learn.

But can you learn it online from a paid source? Absolutely.

Here's some free sources however.

Mike Dodge and his website
music-theory.net

We teach it online, but not for free. If the day comes where you can afford a private teacher, and you'd like to learn more about our approach, you are welcome to send us a PM and I'll get you an email.

At first I misread your post as a rationalization about why you don't need to learn theory, but now I see that you just know very little about theory and it's place in music. That kind of misunderstanding is pretty common. You don't have to be dumbed down as a musician, however.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Sep 29, 2011,
#7
Quote by Randomguy09
I am concerned people will realize this in the future and the world becomes overflooded with "rythm players" who only know power chords :/ Thoughts on this?


In the rock and metal world, this is already true. Even a lot of lead players have a very minimal grasp of theory, if any, and don't know where the notes are on their instrument to even apply it to the fullest extent.


If you have any questions about theory you may PM me.
#8
Quote by Randomguy09

As far as I see the theory lies in soloing and fills, right?


I disagree, strongly.

You know which musicians invariably have a fantastic grasp of theory? Bassists. While there are plenty of good guitarists out there with minimal theory knowledge, I doubt there are any good bassists who don't have solid theoretical knowledge. Without it, they'd be stuck playing really really boring stuff. (Roots and fifths, oh boy! )

I would argue that to be a good rhythm guitarist, you need theory MORE than a good lead guitarist does. After all, the lead guitarist can sometimes get by with flash, bluster, and speed. The rhythm guitarist, on the other hand, is defining the harmonic structure of the song, and it's in harmony where theory really unfolds.

The tendency of certain genres to rely on really fast (and harmonically uninteresting) power chords is a part of the reason why those genres are, well, niche music. I think it's worth noting how the metal bands which have broken out of the "metal ghetto" happen to be the ones - like Metallica - which are doing more interesting things musically, at least some of the time.
#9
Quote by HotspurJr
I disagree, strongly.

You know which musicians invariably have a fantastic grasp of theory? Bassists. While there are plenty of good guitarists out there with minimal theory knowledge, I doubt there are any good bassists who don't have solid theoretical knowledge. Without it, they'd be stuck playing really really boring stuff. (Roots and fifths, oh boy! )

+1


Quote by HotspurJr
The tendency of certain genres to rely on really fast (and harmonically uninteresting) power chords is a part of the reason why those genres are, well, niche music. I think it's worth noting how the metal bands which have broken out of the "metal ghetto" happen to be the ones - like Metallica - which are doing more interesting things musically, at least some of the time.

Agreed.

I highly recommend Iced Earth, who are one of the most musically adept bands in my opinion. They play some complicated rhythms but they don't double the parts and stop right there. What makes them great at what they do is apply the rhythm to the bottom end and then they add a melody right over top of it. And it's not something just willy nilly thrown out there. It has a meaning and possibly a well-versed feel in theory.

Rhythm is awesome and drives the music. But if you really want to propel yourself to the sonisphere, you need have a great melody over top of that. And that can be done with a nice grasp at theory and a good ear.
We're all alright!
#10
Quote by Mathedes
+1


Agreed.

I highly recommend Iced Earth, who are one of the most musically adept bands in my opinion. They play some complicated rhythms but they don't double the parts and stop right there. What makes them great at what they do is apply the rhythm to the bottom end and then they add a melody right over top of it. And it's not something just willy nilly thrown out there. It has a meaning and possibly a well-versed feel in theory.

Rhythm is awesome and drives the music. But if you really want to propel yourself to the sonisphere, you need have a great melody over top of that. And that can be done with a nice grasp at theory and a good ear.



I absolutely love Iced Earth (and I'm super excited about hearing Stu Block on the new album), and while I would recommend them also, I don't think bands like Iron Maiden and Iced Earth and Metallica are really good examples to give here. These bands obviously have an understanding of some musical theory, but unfortunately they do fall under the TS's mention of rhythm guitars playing powerchords and note by note rhythm patterns.

HotspurJr made an excellent point about the bass player/rhythm player thing though.
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#11
Quote by Randomguy09
As far as I see the theory lies in soloing and fills, right?


I disagree. Extremely.

Do you also think the bass is easy?
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

Quote by liampje
I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
#12
Lead and Rhythm theory is the same. If you learn theory for one, you learn it for the other for free. Thats if they are even separate entities, which I don't think they are.
#13
Emperor is a great band to look at for clever rhythms, as said above. Intensive chordal layering.
modes are a social construct
#15
Haha, no.
Nope, theory is everywhere. All music is built on music theory in some way or another. It doesn't have to be made using music theory, but if you know it, it'll help with everything you do, lead or rhythm.
And even if you think rhythm guitar is just strumming out powerchords, what do you think controls which power chords you use?
#16
To paraphrase Mr Seagull somewhere "it astounds me that guitar players are the only musicians who seek to learn as little about their instrument as possible".

So people will say:

"I won't learn theory because I'm a rhythm player"

"I won't learn theory because it will impede my creativity"

"I won't learn theory because I can out-shred any person who knows music theory"

"I won't learn theory because theory is for nerds"

TS, decide what approach you'd like to take.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#18
Quote by Cavalcade
Lol at "I won't learn theory because I can out-shred any person who knows music theory". Did someone seriously say that?


Observe https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1483248

Also an entertaining thread on another site: http://www.jcfonline.com/archive/index.php/t-56192.html

An argument starts with this statement:

Theory doesn't mean shit unless you are in a band that plays off of sheet music.
I know more theory players who suck than the ones who do it naturally.
Discussing guitar theory sucks too. Who cares? I don't.
Here is my bold statement for the day.
I consider most theory players "book smart" guitarists.
I'll take a hands on street smart player anyday.
And another thing.... spewing theory to great players who don't know jack about theory but can rip a guitar to shreds makes you look like a pompous ass.
I say keep your theory... professor... to yourself and let your ears make the decision on whether they are good enough for your band.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#20
Quote by Cavalcade
Thanks, I needed something entertaining to read.


Warning: May knock self out from too much face-palming.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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