#1
I have been playing guitar for a few years and have been in a few bands but I am trying to work on my songwriting skills. I want to learn music theory as it applies to guitar but have no idea where to start.
#2
How much do you already know? The names of the strings? Whote notes/half notes? A-G tones? Basic open chords?
#3
I know names of strings, various tunings, time signatures (I'm mostly familiar with 4/4, 2/4, 3/4 and 5/6) I know a few chords and all of my techniques. To give you some background I got a guitar when I was like 13 and taught myself bublearning tab from bands that I like. So I can play, pretty well actually but it's just that musically I have no idea what I'm doing, I don't know scales or many chord names I just experiment with what sounds good. It has worked for me so far and I have actually fronted a few very successful local bands, but I just feel like it's time to step it up and learn theory.
Doug the cactus rode the pavement for our sins.
#4
Quote by Psychadillybar
I know time signatures (I'm mostly familiar with 4/4, 2/4, 3/4 and 5/6)

Do you know how they work, and also how to create interesting rhythms without just resorting to weird time signatures? I used to think weird rhythms had to be crazy time signatures, until I started playing with syncopation. Check this out, for example - it's all 4/4, as far as I know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycAByDNZYrA

I'm assuming that when you say 5/6, you mean 5/8. Rhythms are only ever divided between 2, 4, 8 and 16, unless you're playing with dangerous magics
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#5
Actually I don't know how they work. My bassist is really good with music theory and notation and he usually will point it out to me if something I write is in a weird time signature.
Doug the cactus rode the pavement for our sins.
#6
Standard notation should always be your starting point with music theory, if you can't read it, then a lot of things will be a lot more difficult to understand.
#8
^^^ That's a joke, ignore that.

Learn the major and minor scales, and the notes on the fretboard.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#9
yea tasteless joke i suppose but yea then learn to harmonize the major with triads so the notes in c major are c,d,e,f,g,a,b,c < that 8th note is the octave so the first note u got is C take the c witch is your 1 take the 3rd note witch is your maj 3rd and that's a E then take your 5th note witch is a G so if you played just the C and G notes that your 1 and 5 that's is what they call a power chord play C E G play them together and you got a simple C maj chord and that's a triad 3 notes then on the D,E,A,B notes the 2 3 6 and sevens are going to be minor in a major key and then you have harmonized the major scale on all degrees.

Then to break away from the simple triads add in the 7th degree in your major and minor chords along with the 5th and maj and minor 3rds and you got a 7th chord so that is simple chord construction after you do what alan says id then go through all this.
#10
Quote by Fourfourforever
yea tasteless joke i suppose but yea then learn to harmonize the major with triads so the notes in c major are c,d,e,f,g,a,b,c < that 8th note is the octave so the first note u got is C take the c witch is your 1 take the 3rd note witch is your maj 3rd and that's a E then take your 5th note witch is a G so if you played just the C and G notes that your 1 and 5 that's is what they call a power chord play C E G play them together and you got a simple C maj chord and that's a triad 3 notes then on the D,E,A,B notes the 2 3 6 and sevens are going to be minor in a major key and then you have harmonized the major scale on all degrees.

Then to break away from the simple triads add in the 7th degree in your major and minor chords along with the 5th and maj and minor 3rds and you got a 7th chord so that is simple chord construction after you do what alan says id then go through all this.

Pretty unclear explanation (seriously, learn some punctuation). I'm trying to explain the same thing a bit more clearly:

You get all diatonic chords in a key by harmonizing the major scale, starting it from the first, third and fifth note of the scale.

So what we get is:
     R 3 5
I    C E G - C
ii   D F A - Dm
iii  E G B - Em
IV   F A C - F
V    G B D - G
vi   A C E - Am
vii* B D F - Bdim


You may have heard about the "major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished" thing. Those are the chords that you can build with the major scale and this is where it comes from. You can also add the seventh note and what we get is this:

     R 3 5 7
I    C E G B - Cmaj7
ii   D F A C - Dm7
iii  E G B D - Em7
IV   F A C E - Fmaj7
V    G B D F - G7
vi   A C E G - Am7
vii* B D F A - Bm7b5
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 4, 2013,
#11
how about this tutorz. com...here you can find great tutor..

If you dont need one - simply ignore this message

Lilly
#12
Fourfourforever is basically right. You need to be able to cast more spells.


Seriously though, starting out with the major scale as a parent key and learning its subsequent chords is a great place to start. Basically, keys and chords, then functional harmony followed by part writing and then to basic counterpoint is a pretty popular curriculum in most universities as far as I know.

Most of theory will help you with analysis but most of it will, in fact, not help you with songwriting. You don't want to sound like a theory nerd. Basically, the best way to improve your composition skills is to compose what you hear in your head. A good book on the subject (and it seems I recommend it in about every other post but whatever) is The Fundamentals of Musical Composition by Arnold Schoenberg. He was known for his atonality but he basically teaches composition in the classical and post romantic idiom and it is a VERY good text on the subject.
#13
Quote by Erc
Fourfourforever is basically right. You need to be able to cast more spells.


Seriously though, starting out with the major scale as a parent key and learning its subsequent chords is a great place to start. Basically, keys and chords, then functional harmony followed by part writing and then to basic counterpoint is a pretty popular curriculum in most universities as far as I know.

Most of theory will help you with analysis but most of it will, in fact, not help you with songwriting. You don't want to sound like a theory nerd. Basically, the best way to improve your composition skills is to compose what you hear in your head. A good book on the subject (and it seems I recommend it in about every other post but whatever) is The Fundamentals of Musical Composition by Arnold Schoenberg. He was known for his atonality but he basically teaches composition in the classical and post romantic idiom and it is a VERY good text on the subject.

I would say knowing theory helps you a bit in composing. If you know theory, you know exactly what you are doing and can explain it. The notes and chords you hear get a meaning, they aren't just random notes. It won't necessarily make you compose better songs but it still kind of helps. It makes it easier to understand the sounds you are hearing. Theory doesn't hurt unless you learn it the wrong way. The basic misconception is that theory is a set of rules and it's against theory to break the rules. There are no rules and you can't break them. Playing non-diatonic chords or accidentals isn't breaking the rules. Another misconception is that theory limits you. No it doesn't, unless you make it limit yourself (this also has to do with the first misconception - if you think theory is a set of rules, of course it limits you).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#14
Mr Urban has helped me over the past 2 months, I'm already on intermediate theory but I consider myself a fast learner in terms of art. Linguistics, drawing, music...but I'm just bragging haha. anyway, here's Josh Urban's guitar music theory stuff right here ---> click this for knowledge <---there
Theory is just...wow. I'm getting a bit over my head by trying to learn so much w/o formal educators

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My motto: Play what the song needs you to play!
#15
Im using the progressive line of books on rythym guiatar and chords , and they are good , just have to take them slow and look up what i dont understand about on the net .
I also just buy a scrapbook and write the basics down as im going , whole notes , are root notes , major thirds and perfect fifths , minors root minor third perfect fifth etc=) I tried jumping ahead to circle of fifths and it confused the hell out of me so went back a little . Understand a little more of the circle everytime i go back a bit
#16
Erc and Maggara have this one under control...I will add that an understanding of other instruments, particularly bass and drums, has helped me tremendously.
MARTY FRIEDMAN--"It’s a lot easier to be technical than it is stylized; it really is... But I think it’s a lot more rare to have someone who’s really got their own sound because that’s something you can’t practice."