#1
If you played with no regard for the actual key but were very good at playing by ear and just went by what you think sounds good, instead of thinking of chords and scales played, and scales you're playing. I guess that could require not learning music theory, to detach from the go to positions on the neck. 
I don't think it would necessarily involve memorizing sounds on the fret board. Is there any guitarist that perhaps utilizes this?
#2
What are you asking?
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#3
I guess that could require not learning music theory, to detach from the go to positions on the neck.

No. Theory is something that will help you with developing your ear. If you completely ignore it, that's just going to make things more difficult. When you are playing, the goal would be only thinking about the sound and nothing else. But you can't do that unless you have a really good ear and fretboard knowledge.

You don't need to only stick to the notes in a certain scale shape. You learn the positions to navigate easier on the fretboard. The goal is to know them so well that you don't need to think about them. If you feel limited by the shapes, then you are most likely letting your fingers decide what to play (and you aren't thinking enough about the sounds that you want to achieve), or you are too strictly following the shapes as some kind of "rules".

Playing "go-to licks" has nothing to do with whether or not you know theory or scale shapes. It has to do with playing with your fingers and not thinking about sounds/using your ears. If you just play licks that your fingers are familiar with, you need to stop letting your fingers decide what you want to play and listen to the sounds in your head. But this requires a good knowledge of the fretboard and a good ear (and it's definitely easier said than done).

I don't think it would necessarily involve memorizing sounds on the fret board.

Well, if you don't memorize those sounds, how exactly are you going to play the sounds that you hear in your head? So yes, you obviously need to know where the sounds that you hear are located on the fretboard. Otherwise you won't find the notes that you are looking for.

If you played with no regard for the actual key

That's most likely not going to sound good. But I think I know what you mean by this - you mean that when you play, the only thing that you are thinking about is the sound. But you only learn to do this by developing your ears and knowing the fretboard really well. Most likely the sounds that you hear in your head are going to relate to the key and the chords that you are playing over in one way or another. Just because you aren't thinking about any specific scale, doesn't mean that the notes that you hear don't belong to any scale.

You don't need to think about the names of the chords and scales and whatever. The names are there to make learning stuff easier. When you can name something, it's a lot easier to also memorize the sound and make sense of the sounds that you are hearing. But when you are playing, you don't need to think about the names of the sounds. The only thing you need to know is what sound you are looking for and where it is located on the fretboard (so again, you need a good ear and good fretboard knowledge).
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#5
Sure you can play solos in any key with no regard for key sig.  You will just sound like nearly every bad teen garage band in the USA.  If you actually take the time to learn your way around you will suck less.
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#6
Quote by EquinoxBear
If you played with no regard for the actual key but were very good at playing by ear and just went by what you think sounds good, instead of thinking of chords and scales played, and scales you're playing. I guess that could require not learning music theory, to detach from the go to positions on the neck. 
I don't think it would necessarily involve memorizing sounds on the fret board. Is there any guitarist that perhaps utilizes this?


Couple of things to consider...

Theory really just means how you understand music, and there are different ways to grasp it. An important distinction is external theory vs internal theory. External theory is a public documentation (books, videos, teachers, lessons) that represents the concepts of music with verbal-logical named things and the named relationships between things... often represented by visual-graphical means to help the understanding and integration of the various named things (standard music notation is an example). These named things and the named relationships between them often take the appearance of what look like rules, maps, or guidelines.
Internal theory is a private, personal, and typically unique understanding and representation of music, it may tend to be abstract (not well expressed in words or pictures), and the sense or feeling of rules may be quite different... it may feel like there are no rules but you just know what sounds right. This may come from having listened to a lot of music, similarly to how someone raised in a family that speaks perfect English will come to speak perfect English without feeling the rules about when to use "I" or "me", or "who" or "whom", or how to place a preposition before the verb rather than at the end of a clause... they will naturally say and write the correct form without thinking about it. Hearing and grasping harmony, tonality, and rhythm can be learned by external or internal theory; often a musician will learn the external first and pick up the internal, and some develop the internal first and subsequently add the external. And there are some who only know the external, and some who only know the internal.
Personally, I find it easier to discover and grasp things internally, then later run across the external names of them and just back-fill my understanding by attaching the names to the things I already know.

MaggaraMarine covered most of it and I agree with most of that, but I would say some more about "I don't think it would necessarily involve memorizing sounds on the fret board."

Memorizing sounds on the fret board is too broad an idea; it describes too many different ideas, most of which are incorrect. To clarify immediately, it does not mean literally memorizing the pitches of each string and fret junction. What it does mean is learning to anticipate correctly the pitch of a nearby string and fret junction with respect to a previous one, where "nearby" means "within the grasp of your hand at the moment".
To be clear, this is not memorizing the sounds of the fret board; it is memorizing the relative pitches your fingers can reach with respect to the last pitch you played. This is the fingers learning how to sing the pitches physically around them on the finger board. This available distance around the fingers where they "know" what it will sound like starts off small, but gets bigger, and eventually grows to include adjacent hand positions. 
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#7
Quote by EquinoxBear
If you played with no regard for the actual key but were very good at playing by ear and just went by what you think sounds good,
Yes, if you were very good at playing by ear...
Quote by EquinoxBear

instead of thinking of chords and scales played, and scales you're playing.
... well, it would be a rare guitarist who was that good by ear, but who didn't realise what chords or scales he was playing as he was playing. He would have to be some kind of savant, who'd never learned the names of chords or notes.
IOW, someone with very good relative pitch could slot into a jam within a second or two, but would realise the key as soon as he began playing.
Even before he began, he would be able to identify the chord sequence as roman numerals - "oh yes, that's a I-V-vi-IV" or whatever. Then a quick experiment would find the actual key, and then everything else is easy.
Quote by EquinoxBear

I guess that could require not learning music theory, to detach from the go to positions on the neck.
Not necessarily. The "go to positions on the neck" are enough.

Quote by EquinoxBear
I don't think it would necessarily involve memorizing sounds on the fret board.
Absolutely it would, if you're talking playing by ear. There is an intimate connection between ear>fingers>fretboard>ear. Theory is what you need if you haven't memorised the sounds/positions.
Last edited by jonriley64 at Jul 17, 2017,
#8
I can only speak for myself but I can play by ear pretty well and I can't say I have ever "memorized sounds". When I started playing guitar it was by learning my basic chords and later basic major and minor scales along with my heavily overused pentatonic scale. Before starting guitar I had studied piano and played trumpet (pretty well) so I knew some theory and how to sight read. Chords and scales seemed like two unrelated things to me. As I continued to play I began to see the relationship between the two and that seemed like a revelation to me (I know, but that's what happened). To me, theory answers questions or serves as the explanation for why something sounds like it does. I don't think in theoretical terms when I play. I hear changes and by repeated experience I hear the nature of the chord (major, minor, maj7, 9th etc) and just go to it. I understand the theoretical relationships, but when I am playing I am not thinking in those terms. Sorry if sounds like I am rambling but it's difficult to put into words what just kind of happens naturally now.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 17, 2017,
#9
Quote by Cajundaddy
Sure you can play solos in any key with no regard for key sig.  You will just sound like jazz.


There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.