#1
Hey all!

I need advice on some things regarding my future as a musician (which I don't consider myself yet).

I'm a self taught electric guitar player. I've been playing for over 8 years (at least an hour daily), but mostly from tabs, using Guitar Pro software. Playing alone.
It's not like I've stopped developing, from time to time I notice a large increase in my skill. I have no problem playing rhythmical guitar and intermediate solos (think Bullet for my Valentine style solos). Playing guitar brings me joy and gives me strength to deal with life.

I also enjoy singing with my very low voice and growl when playing guitar.
I'm into punk (rock), hardcore and various sub-genres of metal (death, folk, symphonic, power, metalcore). I listen to classical music and video games soundtrack, too.

I know almost nothing about music theory, but I want to learn it. Hence question number one - where to start? I though about taking up piano and learning music theory, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. Can you recommend any online websites where the theory is well explained?

Second issue - I've always wanted to create a band, where I could play lead guitar and sing. Is this even possible? I can sing most Rise Against songs when playing rhythmic guitar, but playing anything more challenging makes me mess up singing. Will it come with practice?

About creating a band - I'm afraid I won't be able to organize everything, would it be better to join an existing band for now? If so, should I learn music theory first, and then search for local band?

I have many ideas for songs and many riffs, the problem is, I can't finish any song I start. I either get stuck in the middle and then never come back to this idea or finish the song and decide it's rubbish. How do I overcome this?

I think that covers everything I wanted to ask. Thanks for all answers
#2
1. A great site to begin learing theory is musictheory.net. It teaches you the fundamentals of theory, starting with how to read notation, then moving along to other stuff such as how to determine which chords are in which keys and how to construct chord etc. Just take it one lesson at a time and make sure you understand it before moving on to the next one. You don't have to learn piano to know theory, but it might be easier to look from the piano point of view to learn it since it is layed out in a more direct fashion.

2. It's very possible. The thing is that you have to practice until one (ideally both) is automatic, you don't have to think about it, so you can pay attention to the other thing (again, the best thing is if you practice both enough so that you can do both without really thinking about it too much).

3. You don't need to know theory to join a band, being a session guy i play with a lot of different people on a regular basis. Some of them know no theory at all but still write great songs and play great live, some don't know theory at all and write average songs and don't play that well. Some know theory really really well and write great songs and play well, and some know theory well but don't write good songs and don't play that good. It's definitely a good idea to learn theory, since it can help you communicate ideas to other musicians more easily, as well as help you come up with ideas. But it is not a requirement at all.

Join a band if you enjoy playing with them, and they enjoy playing with you. Don't join a band or start a band for the sole purpose to play in a band, you have to find people who you enjoy doing it with.

4. We all deal with this in the beginning, and hell, i even deal with it now from time to time. Firstly you have to accept that all seeds can't grow into beautiful flowers, some songs don't grow more than a riff or two. And some of the songs you will write might not be good at all, that's the way of learning. This is one of the instances being in a band is very good, cause you can work together to ball ideas back and fourth and glue them together.

I hope that was helpful, feel free to ask any questions, we are here to help.

Best Regards
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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#3
Quote by Sk8erpunq
I know almost nothing about music theory, but I want to learn it. Hence question number one - where to start? I though about taking up piano and learning music theory, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. Can you recommend any online websites where the theory is well explained?
You shouldn't take up the piano if your objective isn't learning to play the piano. But that's up to you. Being a multi-instrumentalist will probably help you with each of the instruments and as a musician in general.

As for where to start, musictheory.net is thrown around a lot in here but there's other stuff you can learn from which might even focus on the guitar a bit more. It also depends on whether or not you want to be able to read sheet music. I can't really give you anything specific, but wait for what other people can recommend.

Quote by Sk8erpunq
Second issue - I've always wanted to create a band, where I could play lead guitar and sing. Is this even possible? I can sing most Rise Against songs when playing rhythmic guitar, but playing anything more challenging makes me mess up singing. Will it come with practice?
It's harder than just rhythm but if you practice the songs enough you'll eventually be able to sing while you're playing.

Quote by Sk8erpunq
About creating a band - I'm afraid I won't be able to organize everything, would it be better to join an existing band for now? If so, should I learn music theory first, and then search for local band?
You might want to start playing with other people, not necessarily in a band context. Jam a bit, play some songs, maybe write a couple of songs.

Quote by Sk8erpunq
I have many ideas for songs and many riffs, the problem is, I can't finish any song I start. I either get stuck in the middle and then never come back to this idea or finish the song and decide it's rubbish. How do I overcome this?

Don't wait too much for inspiration, just do stuff. Try stuff. Trial and error. Even if it's not very good at first it might evolve into something great.

Don't be afraid to go back and change or discard bits that you liked.

Don't always through-compose. That is, you don't have to come up with "the next part". You can make some bits here and there and join them when you have a more global view of the song.
Last edited by sickman411 at Mar 24, 2014,
#4
Talk to a few of the music stores in your area, ask for names of guitar teachers who specialize in music theory and call a few. Tell them what you said here and see if anyone talks about what they do in a way that resonates with you and seems to fit with your goals. Spending money on some good guidance in this area will save you a lot of frustration and you'll absorb more info in a way shorter time period than you would meandering around the internet or studying books on your own.

Good luck!
#5
Sign up for a music class. Get out and meet other musicians. Jam with em.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#6
If music is calling you, you already know it.
Pursue it in any way you can.
Find those methods that benefit you.

Cajundaddys advice is good stuff.
#7
I thought musictheory was slightly more complicated than it needed to be (the little I've looked at it)- it doesn't go particularly slowly. That being said, the price is right so you don't lose anything by taking a look.

Don't laugh but I thought the complete idiot's guide to music theory was pretty good. starts with the basics and explains things well without being patronising.

I agree that learning piano if you just want to learn guitar is overkill, but if you can learn where the notes are on a piano keyboard that would be very helpful- they're laid out much more linearly than guitar, the notes make a lot more sense if you can visualise them on a piano keyboard.
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