#1
Hmm... how to put this? I would say it's been a good 8 years since I had a private music teacher and a good 3-4 since I seriously started trying to learn how to play again. Since I've been in to college I've haven't really picked up the guitar much, and it has just gathered dust at my parents house. It wasn't until recently I've started listening to music and feeling like I should try and give learning the guitar another go, not with dreams of joining a band or being a rock star like did when I first started playing at 14, but really more of some kind of therapeutic hobby for my depression/anxiety.

I was mostly wanting to ask about the whole concept of learning to play by ear rather than staring at sheets of music and trying to copy all the chords. I have a very basic understanding of music theory, and sort of understand that its a lot music can be more about the changes in tone and timing rather than playing a specific chord or note (I'm not a music expert of course feel free to explain it to me if I have it wrong).

I think this was the main issue I had with learning to play when I first picked up the guitar. My original music teacher just taught me how to play already pre-written songs, chords and all, rather than just starting at the basics and working up from there.

So, this is the main thing I'm wanting to do now. Get back to basics and work up from there. I already understand how scales, chords and power chords all work, so I don't need to go that basic. My trouble lies in actually being able to play the damn thing, and I have so much trouble when it comes to basically switching between notes and getting the timing right.

So, where should I start when picking the guitar back and trying to improve my technique and play actual songs? Should I just start by playing a song using one fret and no chords at all just to get the basics of learning how to switch between notes down, then just go from there? And what's a good way to learn to recognize specific notes in a song without actually having to pull out a music sheet?
#2
Technique exercises are good for problem isolation and fixing ... from timing issues to fingers misbehaving, to picking, to string noise ... i.e the core of mechanics for guitar. So, watch out for (look at your hands) and listen out for problems, and take note when it occurs, and design an exercise to attack each problem. Playing really slowly is vital, with a metronome, and with a mix of clean and distorted sounds (if you use distortion)

But nothing beats musicality, so learning songs, solos, chord progressions, and playing accurately, is a wonderful way of developing musicality (by mimicing those you like).

However, just being a mimic may no't really open your your inner musicality ... that's where some theory knowledge comes in. If you understand chord derivation from scales, and chord tones, and which scale tones need resolution, then you're a ggod way there ... listen to what others are doing, and listen out for these resolutions, or when they are playing chord tones. It all gives you ideas.

Just remember that theory is simple observations of what folk have done ... it is NOT a set of rules that can't be broken. Very few players stick strictly to the theory (especially not when that theory describes classical music concepts, and trying to adhere to these for modern ... tastes change!!)

Eventually, we realise that any note can be played against any chord ... it can all be made to sound good, with an appreciation of resolution, and an appreciation of phrasing, and strong and weak beats in rhythm, and how to draw attention to, or away from, a given note. E.g. Play a high note very loud, for a long time, in the middle of a flurry of low notes, that high note is going to stand out like crazy. If that note clashes with the chord, that becomes mega- obvious. Alternatively, if a clash is used in passing, especially on a weak beat, it's entirely acceptible to the ear, and won't be heard as a clash.

The full answer to this question is a lot longer, obviously!
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Dec 15, 2016,
#3
Quote by jerrykramskoy


However, just being a mimic may no't really open your your inner musicality ... that's where some theory knowledge comes in. If you understand chord derivation from scales, and chord tones, and which scale tones need resolution, then you're a ggod way there ... listen to what others are doing, and listen out for these resolutions, or when they are playing chord tones. It all gives you ideas.

Yeah that's roughly what I've been thinking. Rather than just trying to dive head first into playing how the artist plays it, I should rather simplify it in my own way that matches my own skill set.

Obviously at this point I don't need a baby's first guitar lesson, but more of a base I can work up from. Starting with simple notes and chords and working my way up.
#4
WaterGod I suggest you learn intervals, thoroughly ... in terms of shapes, there are literally a handful of the commonly used ones, and these can be learned in under a week, at around 5 minutes a day. These poor devils get skipped over in usual theory teaching ... God knows why ... they underpin everything in music, and scales and chords are collections of intervals, with scale and chord names being short hand for what each collection contains.
Each interval has its own unique sound that creates an emotional response, like it or not ... and when several get played at once (in a chord on one insytrument, or by several instruments/singers) the result depends on that interval mix. Some sound very unstable (e.g. a 7b9 chord or a dim7 chord)... induces a sense in the listener that this collective sound needs replacing a new collection. Some don't create this ... they are very stable (e.g. a power chord, or a major or minor chord).

Maybe these will help you...

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/music_theory_tips/drastically_cut_learning_time_with_intervals.html
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_3.html

and from a more mechanical point of view ...

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/a_deep_look_at_guitar_shapes.html
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Dec 16, 2016,