#1
I've been playing since end of August 2013 and I've been told to be better than some of my friends that have been taking lessons for over a year. Now, I may just KNOW how to play more songs but I don't know anything really. So I want some advice on what I do need to know. I don't take lessons and I don't plan to take lessons anytime soon. My friend can't really help either. The only thing I know about guitar stuff in general is the notes 1 - 5 frets on all 6 strings, A minor pentatonic scale, a jazz scale? (E-1,4 A-1,2,3 D-1,3 G-1,3,4 B-1,4 e-1) and thats basically it.

I wanna improve my playing skills but I know I need to know things that would be taught in guitar lessons... If that made any sense. So if some of you very experienced guitar players could tell me what I need to learn, that would be very appreciated.
~Maddi Sweetz~
#2
1) learn the major scale and learn how chord names are derived in relation to it.
2) learn the harmonized major scale ( triads) and the modes of the major scale
3) learn how to name chord progressions numerically in relation to the major scale. II, V, I etc.
4) learn some songs by ear ( no tab, no video, just listening and trial and error) - start that now ( this never gets taught by teachers, but all the great players have done it). make sure it's something simple and slow to start.
5) learn basic beat subdivision ( whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, triplets etc.) - and practice these to a metronome.
6) learn songs and solos that you admire and make sure you play them accurately. never move on to a new part until you have mastered the first part. If you can't play something on beat with the actual song, you can't play it.
7) learn how to dampen and mute unused strings when playing ( with the left and right hand) - this ensures that each note you play rings clearly and that you don't have any unwanted noise.
8) improvise with scales and write riffs using whatever you know - experiment with the guitar.
9) play along to recorded tracks - i.e. jam with the songs you learn.
10) to be really good, you need to practice at least 2 hours per day. Practicing 4 hours a day will make you great.
11) find people to jam with - it will make you a better player and keep you motivated.


There are countless articles and video tutorials online about all of these subjects
#3
What you NEED to know could be a relatively short list or a long list depending on what you play. What you SHOULD know is a bit more comprehensive.

First of all, you should definitely reconsider taking lessons. If you have the money and time, a competent teacher who can convey information easily and efficiently can be a huge asset to any musician.

Second, memorize the notes of the fretboard. All of them. Every fret of every string.

Next, I suggest that you start learning some theory. It's not a necessity, but it helps a lot with learning songs, writing, and just understanding why certain things work together. Learn the major, minor, pentatonic, and blues scales (FYI your "jazz scale" is actually one way to play a blues scale in F) but instead of learning just the boxed shapes, learn them as a series of notes and intervals. The shapes are convenient, but sometimes they can cause more trouble than they're worth.

That should be enough to get you started.

Quote by reverb66
1) learn the major scale and learn how chord names are derived in relation to it.
2) learn the harmonized major scale ( triads) and the modes of the major scale
3) learn how to name chord progressions numerically in relation to the major scale. II, V, I etc.
4) learn some songs by ear ( no tab, no video, just listening and trial and error) - start that now ( this never gets taught by teachers, but all the great players have done it). make sure it's something simple and slow to start.
5) learn basic beat subdivision ( whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, triplets etc.) - and practice these to a metronome.
6) learn songs and solos that you admire and make sure you play them accurately. never move on to a new part until you have mastered the first part. If you can't play something on beat with the actual song, you can't play it.
7) learn how to dampen and mute unused strings when playing ( with the left and right hand) - this ensures that each note you play rings clearly and that you don't have any unwanted noise.
8) improvise with scales and write riffs using whatever you know - experiment with the guitar.
9) play along to recorded tracks - i.e. jam with the songs you learn.
10) to be really good, you need to practice at least 2 hours per day. Practicing 4 hours a day will make you great.
11) find people to jam with - it will make you a better player and keep you motivated.


There are countless articles and video tutorials online about all of these subjects


1) Good idea
2) Modes? Hell no. I didn't even think about modes until I had been playing for 10 years, and even then they confused the hell out of me.
3) That should be tied in with harmonizing the major scale, since it's basically the same thing.
4-9) Good ideas, but I would tie 8 and 9 together.
10) Completely untrue. There was a time that I played for at least 8 hours a day. By your logic, I should be a guitar god by now. I can assure you I'm not. I still have a long way to go. In truth, it doesn't really matter how much you practice. What matter is how you practice. How efficiently you use your time.
11) Good idea.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
Last edited by Junior#1 at Mar 7, 2014,
#4
Quote by Junior#1
What you NEED to know could be a relatively short list or a long list depending on what you play. What you SHOULD know is a bit more comprehensive.

First of all, you should definitely reconsider taking lessons. If you have the money and time, a competent teacher who can convey information easily and efficiently can be a huge asset to any musician.

Second, memorize the notes of the fretboard. All of them. Every fret of every string.

Next, I suggest that you start learning some theory. It's not a necessity, but it helps a lot with learning songs, writing, and just understanding why certain things work together. Learn the major, minor, pentatonic, and blues scales (FYI your "jazz scale" is actually one way to play a blues scale in F) but instead of learning just the boxed shapes, learn them as a series of notes and intervals. The shapes are convenient, but sometimes they can cause more trouble than they're worth.

That should be enough to get you started.


1) Good idea
2) Modes? Hell no. I didn't even think about modes until I had been playing for 10 years, and even then they confused the hell out of me.
3) That should be tied in with harmonizing the major scale, since it's basically the same thing.
4-9) Good ideas, but I would tie 8 and 9 together.
10) Completely untrue. There was a time that I played for at least 8 hours a day. By your logic, I should be a guitar god by now. I can assure you I'm not. I still have a long way to go. In truth, it doesn't really matter how much you practice. What matter is how you practice. How efficiently you use your time.
11) Good idea.


I can agree with this, especially the modes part. I've been playing coming on 5 years now and i still haven't touched modes
#5
Thanks guys for all the advice, I'll definitely learn these and practice. And I do practice around 4-6 hours a day and I do make sure I'm learning in a good way and not so slopily
~Maddi Sweetz~
#6
Quote by valorsweetz
Thanks guys for all the advice, I'll definitely learn these and practice. And I do practice around 4-6 hours a day and I do make sure I'm learning in a good way and not so slopily


The reason you should be learning theory ( modes, chords etc.) is so that you can better write songs and improvise melodies. It helps you understand why songs or solos sound the way they do and will facilitate the process of writing them yourself. Any teacher worth his/her salt would teach you theory. It's definitely not the funnest thing to learn at first, but it will eventually open up so many musical options and help you understand what is going on in any given song.

It all depends on what your goal as a musician is. If your goal is to be great and be a musician who writes songs and can play lead, then learn theory, it'll just open your mind to what is going on. If your goal is just to play simple covers for the rest of your life, then you really don't need it.

If you're already practicing 4-6 hours a day, then your going to be a great guitar player. Don't hold yourself back by being ignorant of theory.
#7
Quote by reverb66
The reason you should be learning theory ( modes, chords etc.) is so that you can better write songs and improvise melodies. It helps you understand why songs or solos sound the way they do and will facilitate the process of writing them yourself. Any teacher worth his/her salt would teach you theory. It's definitely not the funnest thing to learn at first, but it will eventually open up so many musical options and help you understand what is going on in any given song.

It all depends on what your goal as a musician is. If your goal is to be great and be a musician who writes songs and can play lead, then learn theory, it'll just open your mind to what is going on. If your goal is just to play simple covers for the rest of your life, then you really don't need it.

If you're already practicing 4-6 hours a day, then your going to be a great guitar player. Don't hold yourself back by being ignorant of theory.

I agree with most of this, except that you mentioned modes. Again.

Theory is indeed very helpful, but modes are just a pain in the ass. At least until you have an extremely thorough understanding of at least the major scale, which I'm guessing TS does not. Not yet anyways.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#8
Quote by Junior#1
I agree with most of this, except that you mentioned modes. Again.

Theory is indeed very helpful, but modes are just a pain in the ass. At least until you have an extremely thorough understanding of at least the major scale, which I'm guessing TS does not. Not yet anyways.


Look at my original post - major scale and naming chords is to be learnt first. I agree with you that the modes will only make sense if the OP has a clear grasp of the major scale and its intervals. I was learning this stuff in my second year of playing, so I don't think it's beyond anyone's grasp.
#9
Quote by reverb66
Look at my original post - major scale and naming chords is to be learnt first. I agree with you that the modes will only make sense if the OP has a clear grasp of the major scale and its intervals. I was learning this stuff in my second year of playing, so I don't think it's beyond anyone's grasp.


Throwing my hat in to this ring:

Almost no one ever needs modes.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
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#10
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Throwing my hat in to this ring:

Almost no one ever needs modes.


This coming for a prog metal player : for shame lol!

Hit up John Petrucci on the subject and get back to me....

If someone just wants to play covers they don't need modes, but if they want to compose music, improvise solos, and be able to jam along with people very easily, it's vital and will simply make them a better player.
Last edited by reverb66 at Mar 14, 2014,
#11
Quote by reverb66
This coming for a prog metal player : for shame lol!

Hit up John Petrucci on the subject and get back to me....

If someone just wants to play covers they don't need modes, but if they want to compose music, improvise solos, and be able to jam along with people very easily, it's vital and will simply make them a better player.


You can get all the information that most people get from "modes" from just having a good understanding of standard diatonic theory and adding modal names just confuses the issue, a situation that will only get worse if you ever get to actually playing modally.

You don't need modes for writing or jamming at all. I don't use modes at all and I seem to get on perfectly well with both of those things.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#12
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
You can get all the information that most people get from "modes" from just having a good understanding of standard diatonic theory and adding modal names just confuses the issue, a situation that will only get worse if you ever get to actually playing modally.

You don't need modes for writing or jamming at all. I don't use modes at all and I seem to get on perfectly well with both of those things.


I'm really not following you here. If you understand the major scale, then the Modes are very simple, since they are all derived directly from it. You probably have an intuitive understanding of what they are and how they sound, which is fine, but you're simply limiting your actual musical vocabulary by not knowing what's what. there's one mode per note in the major scale and each is associated with a chord - it doesn't get much simpler than that. If your vamping over the second chord of the major scale then Dorian is the mode. Knowing that takes a lot of guesswork out of improvising. It also helps you understand the sound of intervals and chord progression better. Dorian has a natural sixth whereas the Aoelian has a flat 6 - that simple difference changes the sound completely. Being aware of those subtle differences between intervals can really help your playing. Plus, knowing the modes really opens up the fretboard.

Knowing the modes simply opens up your ears. You're a very good player ( I listened to your band), it won't hurt your playing to familiarize yourself with the modes a little. It just opens up more options. You'll be be putting names to faces.
#13
Quote by reverb66
I'm really not following you here. If you understand the major scale, then the Modes are very simple, since they are all derived directly from it. You probably have an intuitive understanding of what they are and how they sound, which is fine, but you're simply limiting your actual musical vocabulary by not knowing what's what. there's one mode per note in the major scale and each is associated with a chord - it doesn't get much simpler than that. If your vamping over the second chord of the major scale then Dorian is the mode. Knowing that takes a lot of guesswork out of improvising. It also helps you understand the sound of intervals and chord progression better. Dorian has a natural sixth whereas the Aoelian has a flat 6 - that simple difference changes the sound completely. Being aware of those subtle differences between intervals can really help your playing. Plus, knowing the modes really opens up the fretboard.

Knowing the modes simply opens up your ears. You're a very good player ( I listened to your band), it won't hurt your playing to familiarize yourself with the modes a little. It just opens up more options. You'll be be putting names to faces.




No.

Modes are much more complex than the notes they contain. I'm fully aware of all the intervallic formulae for all the diatonic modes and I know how you arrive at them... but it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what chord you're playing over, if you're playing over a progression that's major and resolves to C then you're playing in C major. If you're playing over the D chord and emphasize certain notes then good, fine, but it's not playing modally. At all.

Following the chords with arpeggios and being aware of what notes sound like relative to the root then that's all the information that "modes" give you but without screwing around with unrelated modal names.

Knowing the modes doesn't open up the fretboard any more than actually knowing the major and minor scales does.

Modes, as you talk about them, give you no more information to use while playing that really knowing diatonic theory does... but they do add extra nomenclature and confusion while obfuscating what's actually going on when you play. Guitar is the only instrument that has this obsession with modes as well, other instrumentalists realised modes are generally useless aeons ago.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#14
I disagree with you. I agree that anything diatonic can be looked at through the lense of the minor and major scales. however, to me that's a strange way of looking at it because simply naming the key doesn't tell you anything about the mood or sound of the chord progression or tune. Dorian has a sound - listen to So What from Miles. You can just say he's playing the related major scale and name the actual chords and notes, but that's a strange way of describing that sound to me.

Practicing/understanding the modes really helps you ear understand intervals better. It aslo gives you a vocabulary for understanding sounds and moods generated by chord and scale sequences. Dorian has a sound , mixolydian has a sound, Ionian has a sound. Knowing your way around these makes learning things by ear easier and it makes composing and improvising easier ( and more varied) as well. Knowing these and their subtle differences makes a better player in my view.
#15
I would highly suggest you learn how to read music and understand basic music theory. Knowing those two things will open up an enormous amount of possibilities for you. And if you struggle getting anywhere for more than a year on guitar...I would be 95% sure you can improve knowing those two things.

Also you need to develop an ear. How? By knowing those two things and listening to music you like.

Also, when you get those two magical things down, take up piano and learn some pieces you like. It will give you a very interesting view of the fretboard. And the way you will look at a fretboard and a piano will be pretty interesting, and a good thing to know.

Knowing guitar and some piano is a pretty killer combo in my opinion.
Last edited by Unreal T at Mar 15, 2014,