#1
Hi everyone

I am looking for music theory books that can really accelerate my knowledge of music theory and increase my ability to solo better, become a better rhythm guitarist and to get a greater understanding of the guitar. I have been playing the guitar for many years but I have not really excelled very much, I am playing the same old riffs and stuck learning box shapes for scales and not really going anywhere.

I am in the process of learning all the notes of the neck, and I think I should study intervals next, if anyone has suggestions for books that really helped them and enlightened them to become a better guitar player, please let me know. I like to play stuff from the 80's like shred stuff, I like metal, rock n roll, and blues..ect.. any suggestions would be highly appreciated it, I really want to start making my own music so even books on how to write your own songs would be helpful too or any advice would be great.

Any tips for help with coming up with original licks and rhythms would be appreciated also, I just can't seem to really make my own music very well. Thank you
#2
There are a lot of reasons to study theory but this:
Quote by frenetixx71
 increase my ability to solo better, become a better rhythm guitarist and to get a greater understanding of the guitar. 

Might not be one. Greater understanding of the guitar? Sure, you can achieve that with theory if you know how to implement it. But lead and rhythm guitar on the other hand are not areas you can necessarily improve with books on theory. You can find some new ideas to solo with and stuff but the strong point of theory is analysis and communication. Theory helps you to understand what happens in a composition and it helps you communicate your ideas to other people. But theory on it's own does not make you a better guitar player.

What I recommend is that you find some book that explains the basics of music theory clearly (alternatively get a teacher/study free online courses) just to get some basic ability in musical analysis. Where are you located? I don't know what kind of books you have access to. Then you should learn songs you like, and analyze them in order to understand what makes them sound good. That is what ultimately improves your ability to come up with music that you like.
You should also start learning music by ear. This is what forms the connection between those cool ideas you hear in your head, and actual music you play on your instrument. With good ears, composition becomes much more fluid and you can more effortlessly achieve the exact sounds you're looking for. Highly recommended.
Quote by frenetixx71

I am in the process of learning all the notes of the neck, and I think I should study intervals next

This is a great start! Both are very good starting points on theory, as everything in western music theory is built around notes and intervals.
Quote by frenetixx71
books on how to write your own songs would be helpful too or any advice would be great. 

I'm not aware of any worthwhile books that teach you how to write great songs just like that. I'm a strict believer in that the best ideas come from music, not text, so listening to a lot of music, writing a lot of music, analyzing it and learning it by ear is the best way to develop your songwriting skills. 

I am definitely not implying that you shouldn't learn theory by the way. Theory helps you understand music on a deeper level, and it can be a source for songwriting ideas as well. But at least personally, I find that writing music by just messing around on my instrument, trying to come up with a cool idea by letting my ears guide me usually works out a lot better than taking a theoretical approach. But you seem to be concerned with writing your own music, and for that my top tips are: 1. learn a lot of music and expand your repertoire 2. write a lot of music, it really is a skill that gets better with practice, and 3. Listen to a lot of music and pay attention to ideas you really like, and try to understand why you like them, so that you could implement them to your own songs.

That's all for now for me.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#3
Quote by Kevätuhri

I'm not aware of any worthwhile books that teach you how to write great songs just like that. I'm a strict believer in that the best ideas come from music, not text, so listening to a lot of music, writing a lot of music, analyzing it and learning it by ear is the best way to develop your songwriting skills. 

Studying the composition techniques of other composers will help, and while I haven't read any books about composition techniques, I'm pretty sure there are some that could be helpful, though I do agree that reading a book will not teach you how to write a great song. It will just help you pay attention to the right things and give you some tools that you can use in your compositions.

I have taken some composition classes as a part of my studies and they have definitely been helpful and they have given me a much better idea of how to develop my musical ideas. It has also made me understand how little material you actually need to write a full piece. Writing music is not only about individual ideas, it's about how you develop those ideas. Understanding form is also really important.

Coming up with your own ideas is something that really can't be taught, but developing those ideas can. I think when coming up with ideas, it's best to just use your ears and not worry too much about theoretical stuff. Use your theory knowledge after you have come up with an idea. I would suggest finding inspiration from other people's music. Listen to music, figure out what's happening in it and figure out what makes you like the song. Then try to come up with something similar.

Training your ears will also help. Sometimes a musical idea just pops up into my head - I just start hearing a melody or a riff or a drum beat or whatever in my head. If you have a good ear and this happens to you, you can instantly figure out what's happening in the musical idea and you can easily write it down/know how to play it on your instrument.

Originality comes from copying others enough times. This is really the only way you can find your own style. You are the sum of your influences. It's kind of the same way as how you learned to speak - you copied other people and after a while you started coming up with your own sentences and thoughts.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#4
The books I learned most from (at least about songwriting techniques) were songbooks, not theory books.

For "greater understanding of the guitar", that came from - er - playing the guitar more and more.  (That also applies to technical skill.)  There probably are books that would speed the process somewhat, but doing it yourself is the best way to embed the knowledge.

"Original licks and rhythms"? - that comes from stealing other people's.  The more you steal, the more vocabulary you have available to create your own "voice" from.  You can't help but speak with your own "accent", so you don't have to worry about creating a personal "style".  But the vocabulary you use has to come from somewhere - and it comes from other songs, their melodies and solos.  
IOW, you can't invent your own language, because no one will understand you.  You know what sounds you like.  Those are the ones to steal.  No one else will sound like you, because no one else will steal the same things.

All this stuff is a lifetime process ,btw.  You never get to a point where you know it all. You learn more and more all the time.  Then you die.
Last edited by jonriley64 at May 15, 2017,