#1
So, is it best to be proficient at playing before I concern myself with theory? Or should I learn to play along side learning theory? One my musical goals is to become very proficient in theory, so I know that I want to learn at some point, but I want to do it at the right time, in case I learn wrong. I hope that made sense.

Also, any advice on a good place to start? I know good places to learn technique, but theory seems a little more hard to come by.

Sorry if this was covered somewhere else, but none of the stickies seemed to satisfy me, and looking up older threads has never worked well for me.
#2
I don't think there's a right or wrong answer for when to learn theory, some players argue that you don't even need it. Personally, it's helped me to understand why something sounds good or works the way it does.

If theory is a main goal of yours, then I say go for it right off the bat. Learn the basics and you'll naturally progress. As far as a good place to start I'd say a teacher if you're fortunate enough, books/dvds if you're looking to be self taught.
#4
I always say that musictheory.net is a pretty good place to start. After that though, I'm not really sure.

And honestly, I kick myself to this day for not getting into music theory earlier, as it's a subject I quite enjoy, despite it giving me the occasional earth-shattering headache. If I were you, I'd start now, but that's just me.
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#5
It depends by what you mean by "learning theory". If you already know the names of some chords you play I'd argue you've already started learning.
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#6
Quote by JakeFrmStatFarm
So, is it best to be proficient at playing before I concern myself with theory? Or should I learn to play along side learning theory? One my musical goals is to become very proficient in theory, so I know that I want to learn at some point, but I want to do it at the right time, in case I learn wrong. I hope that made sense.

Also, any advice on a good place to start? I know good places to learn technique, but theory seems a little more hard to come by.

Sorry if this was covered somewhere else, but none of the stickies seemed to satisfy me, and looking up older threads has never worked well for me.


I think it should be answered by you, but I can help you with some starting questions:

1. Why do I want to learn theory? What do I believe the benefit will be as it connects to my goals?

2. How long do I want it to take? Years, Months?

3. What are my resources, in terms of time, money, and other personal investment into learning?

4. What resources are out there as far as learning, that I feel will meet my requirements? College? Private Teacher? Paid web learning? Free web learning? (You Tube, Googling free "lessons", etc.

I think if you can outline the answers that work for you, then it will help you get an idea of when you should learn theory, and also to determine if learning theory attaches to your overall goals.

Best,

Sean
#7
As a huge proponent of theory I have to say its best to start off as early as possible. True, it is not absolutely necessary to learn as a guitar player, but it can do nothing but help you in the long run and always helps me know where to go harmonically when I get stuck writing something.
#8
get familiar with major scales, intervals and counting rhythms. if you're good at all of those things you can figure out all the fancy extended chords and hungarian minor scales pretty easily.
#9
I'd say start by learning the music theory concepts behind the guitar stuff that you are currently doing. Like if you play a lot of power chord music, learn how a power chord is tonally constructed, common chord progressions, etc. If you're into playing licks, learn scale construction, circle of fifths, modes, etc. Try to keep it relevant to what you like to play, there's almost no point learning about 7th, 9th chords for example if you're never going to use them.
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#11
^^Same. I'm teaching someone bass and I started her off by finger exercises, after she got kinda used to it I threw in rhythm ans names of notes. gonna go to intervals after she can play the chromatic at 120 bpm.

Basically I prefer to ease it in just after getting the fingers used to the strings
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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#12
So, the general consensus is earlier is better, and don't waste time on things you'll never need (jazz chords if I'm planning on being a metal guitarist would be a fair example?)? 'Bout what I figured, but wanted to make sure before I screwed myself.

Thanks for all the help!
#13
Once you know your basic scales and chord you really need theory to put it all together sensibly.

Theory goes beyond finger positions and explains how melodies/chords/rhythms work together to create something.

And don't "plan" yourself into a corner. You'll never be worse for learning new things. Focus on the things you want to do, but don't be afraid to pull ideas and sounds from different places. It's only a jazz chord if you're playing a jazz song.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jan 9, 2014,
#14
I wish I was taught theory when I was really young, piano and reading sheet music, you'd pick it up so easy. Oh well, I might force it on my kids till they're 6 or so, like another language.
#15
Quote by JakeFrmStatFarm
So, is it best to be proficient at playing before I concern myself with theory? Or should I learn to play along side learning theory? One my musical goals is to become very proficient in theory, so I know that I want to learn at some point, but I want to do it at the right time, in case I learn wrong. I hope that made sense.

Also, any advice on a good place to start? I know good places to learn technique, but theory seems a little more hard to come by.

Sorry if this was covered somewhere else, but none of the stickies seemed to satisfy me, and looking up older threads has never worked well for me.


IMO the best time to start is after you can already play. You need some context to relate that theory to otherwise it's just fancy words. Starting prematurely will get through arguments at UG (or into them at least) but if you really want to understand the stuff in a way that will be useful to you in making music, you're better off studying theory post beginner phase.
#16
It should be noted that reading music, knowing key signatures, and how to play scales are not Theory. They are the building blocks that will make theory useful. They're like the alphabet and basic grammar, while actual Music Theory is more like Linguistics.

If you learn those things as a beginner, Theory will make it all "click" very well, and will be very gratifying.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jan 10, 2014,