#1
Hi Guys!

Over the years that I have been playing I have developed a strong ear and am able to work well with melodies and use my ear for songwriting as well as playing the guitar. However as I am self taught I of course just wanted to do the fun stuff as kid and never really paid much attention to theory at all.

I would like to progress further in my playing, whilst my technical ability is of a high standard I hate the fact that I have no idea of what i am playing and when put in a situation to jam or improvise with a backing track i have to work by ear. I am ok with this but i do find that it limits my playing and just as a whole I would like to develop a better understanding of music.

I wanted to ask for advice, it would be great if people could share their thoughts on what things I should be learning and in what order. Obviously Youtube and the internet is a great tool but I do find myself learning random things but then not being able to connect it or apply it as a whole because of the gaps in my knowledge.

Would appreciate some help! Thanks
#2
First start with the 12 pitches in the chromatic scale, then learn the intervals of each pitch from the first pitch to the last.
#3
After that - learn the C major scale and learn how the intervals are named in relation to it ( major third, 5th, minor third etc.). Practice playing those intervals and singing them. Then learn the harmonized major scale ( i.e. play one chord for each note in the major scale) - and learn how chords are constructed and named in relation to the major scale. Learn what II, V, I means and learn how to name basic chord progressions using the the roman numeral system ( it's all related to the scale).

Those are the first things you need to sort out - and that will take a lot of time. Stick with just the C major scale at first - don't learn a bunch of scales to start since it will confuse you.

Once you have those concepts somewhat mastered - learn the A minor scale ( the relative mionor scale of C major). Now focus on those intervals in relation to A - that scale has a minor third instead of a major third etc. Focus on the differences between Minor and major to really understand how those intervals affect the sound.
#4
Once you have that somewhat down, then learn the G major scale - you will note that the visual pattern in relation to the root note on guitar is identical - because all the major scales are basically the same from a fretboard pattern and fretboard interval standpoint. Then learn the E minor scale ( the relative minor of G major).
#5
This is a pretty tall order!

I think you might best start with a book for beginner's music theory and just start reading. Just the the first few chapters will get you a long way.

Applying general music theory for the guitar isn't a whole lot more than just knowing how the guitar strings are arranged and basically understanding why playing the same barre chord pattern at the 3rd fret is G, while at the 5th is A, for example.

Basic theory through the diatonic scale and chord construction and modes might be a good 1st chunk. Maybe about all you'd need for quite a long time, along with a smattering of the other minor scales and synthetic scales.
Last edited by edg at Oct 1, 2015,
#6
There are internet resources that are well organised in a progressive learning fashion.
Here's a few:
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons
http://www.teoria.com/en/tutorials/
http://www.dolmetsch.com/theoryintro.htm
- just make sure you work through them in order from the beginning, and go back if you don't understand something (or cross-check the same topic on one of the other sites).

Here's a somewhat more light-hearted one:
http://tobyrush.com/theorypages/index.html

No guitar-friendliness evident in any of the above, so if you need your hand held to get started, try this one:
http://www.essentialguitar.com/
(I haven't checked this one out, so can't vouch for it, but it looks good on a brief glance.) Again, don't dip in, but work through from the start.

...and this very site has theory lessons too:
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/learning_music_theory_the_beginning.html

As you go, make sure you have your guitar in your hands as you read, so you can play what they're showing you and make sure you understand the sound, not just the concept.
Last edited by jongtr at Oct 1, 2015,
#7
Quote by KingKayde
Hi Guys!

Over the years that I have been playing I have developed a strong ear and am able to work well with melodies and use my ear for songwriting as well as playing the guitar. However as I am self taught I of course just wanted to do the fun stuff as kid and never really paid much attention to theory at all.

I would like to progress further in my playing, whilst my technical ability is of a high standard I hate the fact that I have no idea of what i am playing and when put in a situation to jam or improvise with a backing track i have to work by ear. I am ok with this but i do find that it limits my playing and just as a whole I would like to develop a better understanding of music.

I wanted to ask for advice, it would be great if people could share their thoughts on what things I should be learning and in what order. Obviously Youtube and the internet is a great tool but I do find myself learning random things but then not being able to connect it or apply it as a whole because of the gaps in my knowledge.

Would appreciate some help! Thanks


First off, this might help you .

Second, I'd advise focusing on theory topics that are more closely applicable to the guitar and that help you understand what's happening on the fretboard.

I'd prioritize them this way:

1. Fretboard Notes (memorization)
2. Intervals (Major/Minor 2nd, Major/Minor 3rd, etc.)
3. Natural vs. Accidental Notes, Diatonic Scale
4. Chord Construction
5. The Major and Minor Scale
6. Chord Progressions/Building Chord Progressions from Scales
7. Adding Intervals to Chords
8. Pentatonic Scales

These are the topics I usually teach whenever I have students who want to focus on theory. It makes the fretboard so much easier, and while there isn't a "default" order to go in, I find this one to be the most intuitive.

Anyways, hope this was helpful.
Paul Reed Smith CE-24 2005 and Santana SE with Seymour Duncan pickups.
Line 6 Amplifiers
Boss Effects and Steve Vai's Wah Pedal
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#8
Quote by KingKayde
Hi Guys!

Over the years that I have been playing I have developed a strong ear and am able to work well with melodies and use my ear for songwriting as well as playing the guitar. However as I am self taught I of course just wanted to do the fun stuff as kid and never really paid much attention to theory at all.

I would like to progress further in my playing, whilst my technical ability is of a high standard I hate the fact that I have no idea of what i am playing and when put in a situation to jam or improvise with a backing track i have to work by ear. I am ok with this but i do find that it limits my playing and just as a whole I would like to develop a better understanding of music.

I wanted to ask for advice, it would be great if people could share their thoughts on what things I should be learning and in what order. Obviously Youtube and the internet is a great tool but I do find myself learning random things but then not being able to connect it or apply it as a whole because of the gaps in my knowledge.

Would appreciate some help! Thanks


Here is an excellent video on focusing your practice when dealing with 'practice blur'. In fact, the principles he teaches in all his videos are what keep me filling in the gaps and becoming a more solid improvising than I could have ever imagined.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2d43iOedDs


Michael
www.realbasslesssons.com
#9
Thank you ever so much for the great response!
I will certainly look into all those links, I really do appreciate the help and can't wait to get started right away (: