Hello everyone, what would say is the starting point for learning theory? I've been playing for a few years and have learned by ear and every thing. I'm just wanting to begin my theory, only problem is I really am not sure where to begin with it. Any help would be great, thanks.
Cool - great page. Thanks Macabre_Turtle!
youtube is great. Look up beginner music theory explained, and things of that sort, TONS of people really break it down. Either that or take a music theory course at your local high school or college. I never really grasped theory until someone truly broke it down for me.
I'd say start with very basic scale theory, (what notes are in a major/minor scale, how chords are formed, the relationship between intervals etc.) That's probably something everyone should know. After that you may start thinking of questions for yourself, like "what chords are often used together?" "How do I find the key of a song?" "What's the difference between a Major add 9 chord and a Major 9th chord?" and so on.
So basic scale theory I'd say is a good stepping stone.
Quote by JosephFeagin8
youtube is great. Look up beginner music theory explained, and things of that sort, TONS of people really break it down. Either that or take a music theory course at your local high school or college. I never really grasped theory until someone truly broke it down for me.

The problem with YouTube is there's no regulation on what's good or bad.
In addition to musictheory.net, which is great, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, 2nd Edition" is good too. It's nice to have a physical copy that you can go to for reference.

A good starting point? Note intervals and the major scale. It's the bread and butter of all music. All other scales are minor variations (no pun intended) of or different "modes" of the major scale.

Once you understand the major scale and intervals, you can then learn "chord formulas." By this I mean the sequences of notes that form all of the basic chord "qualities" (major, minor, augmented, diminished).

Learn your triad chord formulas first, then venture into learning 7th chords (major 7th, minor 7th, and dominant). Learn what makes a chord called major, minor, dominant, etc.

Study "diatonic chord qualities." Each note of the major scale has an associated diatonic chord quality. Learn those for each "mode" of the scale.

Of course, learning to read music in standard notation should be an ongoing study as well. Sight-reading guitar from standard notation is an entirely different animal altogether. Many guitarists are scared by standard notation (me included), but just remember sight reading (playing what you're reading in real-time) and knowing how to read music are 2 different things.

Knowing how to read music is extremely helpful when analyzing a piece of music. Learn the intervals on the staff.

Hope that gives you a starting point. Just knowing that material will help you understand a lot of things more clearly. Learn theory in bite-sized chunks. It's a never ending journey.
Quote by Brandon1981
In addition to musictheory.net, which is great, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, 2nd Edition" is good too. It's nice to have a physical copy that you can go to for reference.

+1

Musictheory.net is great (and it's hard to argue with the price, plus the little interactive exercises are awesome), but I think it's a bit complex for beginners. TCIGtMT book doesn't throw you in at the deep end just as much.
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One more for mt.net

It's greatest use is as a reference in addition to YouTube videos or a class at your community college
Community college classes on music theory are definitely a good thing. I mean, they're not typically expensive. And because it's community college, they tend to go at a fairly middle pace. Of course, you have to do the homework and such. If you think you can just show up and never do the work...well, then save your money.
Quote by schism199
Hello everyone, what would say is the starting point for learning theory? I've been playing for a few years and have learned by ear and every thing. I'm just wanting to begin my theory, only problem is I really am not sure where to begin with it. Any help would be great, thanks.

Good questions.

What are the reasons, and goals you have behind this decision to learn theory? How do you plan on using it? Are you looking for theory geared specifically towards guitar players, which also allows them to apply it, or are you looking to learn in a more general sense?

Best,

Sean
^ That's a good point. That idiot's book is definitely on the general side of things, and probably musictheory.net too.

Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Community college classes on music theory are definitely a good thing. I mean, they're not typically expensive. And because it's community college, they tend to go at a fairly middle pace. Of course, you have to do the homework and such. If you think you can just show up and never do the work...well, then save your money.

I'm not sure we have community colleges here. We have HE/FE colleges which I'm guessing are broadly similar but I dunno if they run music theory courses, they tend to be more practical classes (but I could well be wrong )
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
I kind like the idea of guitarists learning their theory out of a general book. Would help avoid certain confusions you see a whole of beginners run into, like thinking of scales as box patterns on a fretboard instead of a set of intervals.
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
I kind like the idea of guitarists learning their theory out of a general book. Would help avoid certain confusions you see a whole of beginners run into, like thinking of scales as box patterns on a fretboard instead of a set of intervals.

I don't see those as confusions, though. It's reference point based. Why do we have dots on the fretboards, and back keys from white? All are references. You know, a pianist has the 10 fingers, and a guitarist basically has 4 fingers and 6 strings - so, learning a 13th chord is a different convention all together when you learn guitar-centric applications, whilst having a general grasp upon general theory.

There is not "guitar theory" it's music theory, applied to the guitar, but it's not apples to apples match with a keyboard, either.

Intervals are a great "later stage" understanding for most guitarists. But for people starting out, most used the box scales, CAGED and patterns. Most teach using that too. My students can all play the boxed scales, and caged, but I teach neither of these. The idea here, is that knowing one does not occlude your understanding of music theory or interval relationship. But most guitarists, come into music theory with a general guitar vocabulary and knowledge beforehand. This just advances that knowledge, keeps it guitar-centric in application and yet doesn't obscure the facets of general theory, as it might be known on a keyboard. I have players that have never played keyboard, and they are able to do anything they've learned once they simply know Middle C.

Best,

Sean
^ Agreed. I knew (pretty basic, and much more note-based than how to analyse songs) theory from piano before I took up guitar, and I definitely had to adjust/apply it to guitar. Same theory, of course, but a different instrument.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?