Although I'm new to playing guitar, I've been a musician for years. Since I started in 6th grade (I'm now a college senior) I've played marimba, vibraphone, timpani, snare drum, bass drum, a touch of piano, and even the triangle in both a marching band setting and a concert band setting. As a result of all this, I have a basic understanding of music theory, how chords work, and above all (being a percussionist) how rhythms work.

I aspire to learn the guitar from the ground up with a "theory based" approach, rather than simply learning tabs (anyone can learn tabs, and it does not lend itself toward writing music). Over the past couple of weeks, I've been learning a few songs based on chord charts and tabs, but I'd like to have a more structured approach that includes music theory literature.

The problem is that whenever I look for this sort of learning approach online, the majority of the resources I find begin by teaching quarter notes, eight notes, time signatures, treble clef, bass clef, thirds, fifths, octaves, major, minor, suspended, diminished, etc.. all concepts I already have at least a rudimentary grasp over.

Could anyone point me toward a resource that, instead of teaching guitar to a complete music theory novice, teaches toward a guitar novice who is somewhat well versed in music theory?

There really is no reason you can't speed past the stuff you already know, is there? And even so there's never anything wrong with getting a refresher and another perspective on these things.
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By far the best book I have seen on this subject is the practical guide to modern music theory for guitarists. It's like a fraction of the cost of a lesson and you won't need to waste time wading through well-intentioned, but sometimes misleading free lessons on the 'net
Hey man,

Haven't read the book sweetdude3000 is recommending, but for me the definitely go-to book would be Fretboard Logic. It takes all the foundations you've already got under your belt and really concisely explain how it applies to the guitar. If you google CAGED it'll give you kind of a taste, although a UG dude kind of slammed it, I highly disagree, I think explains pretty much every guitar cliche you'll hear in a logical way.

After that, if you're looking for kind of godly tome, The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick will feed your mind to infinity, theory-wise. Let us know what you end up going with
Quote by sweetdude3000
By far the best book I have seen on this subject is the practical guide to modern music theory for guitarists. It's like a fraction of the cost of a lesson and you won't need to waste time wading through well-intentioned, but sometimes misleading free lessons on the 'net

This book sounds interesting to me. When you read it, did you find that it went in depth enough for the information to be useful, or did it "gloss" over the concepts? Did it really explain the theory, or did it just show you the theory? It seems like a somewhat short book on music theory (which isn't a bad thing, assuming it teaches correctly)

The Fretboard Logic book seems useful as well, but correct me if I'm wrong, it might be a book better read down the road once I've got a few months experience under my belt? It also seems like a book that focuses more on chord patterns and navigating the fretboard as opposed to music theory?
Truefire.com is a good resource. In depth lessons are not free but you can find some examples on youtube to check out. The stuff from Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, and Guthrie Govan will fill you to the rim with practical applications of music theory. You can choose beginner, intermediate, or advanced lessons depending on which best fits your knowledge and abilities. The thing I like best is that they always encourage you to just try stuff and see if it fits to develop your style rather than teaching you to parrot another guitarist's work note for note.

Here is one youtube example discussing CAGED:
"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
Last edited by Cajundaddy at May 23, 2014,
Start by learning the mode shapes on guitar (you already know how the chords work, so this is only transferring this knowledge so you can apply it while playing). Then learn a song or two with guitar by ear (should be easy because you had so much experience in music theory). Learn to improvise through backing tracks and experimenting with the guitar modes and find your own style of playing.

Technique, on the other hand, will only come from TABS, not ear learning. This is because you haven't done any of these new techniques before, and it would be really hard for you to hear a piece and then replicate it without being told what it was. The pros were up for days and weeks devising techniques like tapping and sweep picking, and it would be too difficult for one person to independently learn stuff that took professionals years (in total) to master. Stuff like Ebon Coast by McKee or sweeps from Yngwie.

Once you master the basics, it will simply be easier for you to drop anything you don't like and further the techniques you like