#1
This has been inspired by a conversation with Hail.  He makes some very valid points, that I agree with, that, with so much stuff on tap, it can lead to new guitarists effectively playing parrot-fashion, with little to no understanding of what they're doing.  A bit further down the road, they hit a brick wall where they then realise this, and struggle to function musically when the music is not laid out on a plate for them.  Result ... demotivated, demoralised

Do you think that Web and tab is helping reduce learning music to scale patterns, and chord shapes, and advice on which fret to put the finger on, while failing in building a solid understanding of the various building blocks that underpin music?  A world where guitarists convince themselves they are great because they can play some songs verbatim, until the brick wall appears?

Hail, I hope I've done some justice to your thoughts above?  I definitely think the above applies a great deal of time.

On a similar front, I have a suspicion that a lot of problems are built in to the guitarist by starting learning with the minor pentatonic and blues scale, as used in rock and blues.  I have a feeling that becoming over-familiar with the gaps in those scales, and the chords involved in the rock/blues context, makes it a lot harder to melodically deal with tunes based around the major/minor system. That was certainly my unfortunate experience, that took awhile to address and re-balance.  What's your views here?

(Light blue touch paper and withdraw strategically :-)

Personally, and from experience with others, I believe that visual learning is fine (patterns etc) and speeds up/reinforces learning, provided this is seen as a secondary aid to learning how to create and control the sounds we want in music.  So I think visual learning must be combined with a very strong, primary attention to developing the ear, and tying all this together with mechanical skills, and developing a strong sense of internal rhythm.

As musicians, our currency is sound.  So it behoves us to understand the consequences of note combinations, and how rhythm influences all this.

As students, we have 3 choices:  
1/ Flounder around, experimenting, and gradually building an understanding of stable and unstable sounds, and their impact.
2/ Stand on the shoulders of those before us, who have built this understanding and have themselves, or via others (e.g theorists) endeavoured to pass the knowledge on.  Obviously this is a much faster approach than 1/
3/ Don't worry about this, and just play tunes

As teachers, I suggest we have but one choice, if we want the next generation of great players to emerge:
1/ Package the information up as accessibly as possibly.  Explain it well.  Don't just pass on shapes and licks.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 4, 2017,
#2
the way i've tried to counter this philosophically is to look a bit down the road, based on what i read around here, and see what learning guitarists tend towards as their playing develops beyond the bare basics.

usually, people focus on learning tabs and/or learning to improvise. both are totally valid activities, and i tend to speak with the assumption that, regardless of what i say, every guitarist will continue to exercise those muscles because it's hard not to be attracted to them.

my advice to students is pretty much always to learn music by ear as much as possible and grind it out. it is absolutely maddening to realize just how little you know when you try and transcribe something for the first time, so this isn't what i'd recommend to brand new guitarists that lack confidence, but right around the time someone gets into trying to demystify modes, it's an important exercise.

in a sense, while it seems totally simple, learning music by ear, if you really try to emulate it properly, tackles all 3 choices you highlight. it forces you to experiment with sounds on your instrument. once you finish learning and/or transcribing a piece, you can analyze it - the hard part is done, and you just have to contextualize why the composer did what they did, which allows them to basically download a small example of an artist's methodology. and the third, once you do that, you're never going to forget that tune. it probably took 2 weeks of slamming your head on your desk, but once you got it, you can play it blindfolded and upside down if you want to.

this is similar to my approach to teaching language. the mantra i was taught is "Read a lot, write a lot." reading (or listening) to all kinds of different music unlocks minor reference points in the head of what sounds can do, and writing music (and improvising, if you're not just noodling) connects those dots to the fretboard, helping you translate more and more efficiently the sounds you hear in your head to the fretboard.

notice none of this has anything to do with theory, cause the theory just comes with it. one of the best guitarists i know around here learned 100% by ear, and it blew me away what the dude could do when i met him in a garage band years ago. he just sat in his room playing with FL Studio and learning Coheed and Cambria songs all day, and i thought i was such hot shit cause i could tap and sweep (poorly). i knew my faux theory but couldn't apply it because thinking i knew something made me unwilling or unable to seek out that connection naturally, but because of his background, he could probably tear through a theory textbook in a few days because most of it was stuff he already knew how to do with his strong ear and dozens of songs in his mental catalog.

floundering is necessary and important, and i feel like it's an underrated thing. in the realm of teaching English, there are studies out that say that grammar is the same - or worse - if it's actually taught. the best way to "teach" grammar is just as i said - read a lot, write a lot. kids get more and more experimental with their sentence structures, which in turn helps them grow, but they're obviously going to make mistakes. if they try something new and you slap their hand because they used a comma in the wrong spot, they're not going to try that again. i won't go into a lecture beyond that, but there's a definite analog there, at least in my mind

students need to simultaneously feel helpless and empowered to explore, and i feel like the overemphasis on scales, modes, online lessons, tabs, etc. in most students curriculums is both a sign of overconfidence and insecurity. it's easy to think you're the master of your own destiny, but it's impossible to see the big picture from that perspective, and i think, on some level, students know that the "old fashioned" way is a necessary evil. i did, and i had been told so several times, but i always put it off. "tomorrow, next time, i just wanna have fun tonight," until i thought i could skip that step. even without emphasizing ear training, i had a pretty strong ear and could hear chord changes cause of my own experimentation, but as i said in the other thread, i could quickly gain 70% mastery of something and never took the time or energy to fully immerse myself, and my learning suffered as a result

i'm still a terrible procrastinator, though. i've meant to teach guitar and bass actively for years, but it's frustrating, and i'd want to draw out a full curriculum to modify according to the needs of each student. unfortunately, my advice doesn't mean much if i'm not there to hold new musicians' hands, especially when my philosophy is starkly different from most internet teachers whose models emphasize small victories (but don't necessarily teach students how to teach themselves)
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#3
The only problem (although it's admittedly a big one) with learning via the web is there is no quality control.  
Obviously students want short cuts - they want to learn fast, as well as play fast.  Consequently the net (eg on youtube) offers all kinds of tricks, secrets, to draw the student in.  
With free info, of course, you get what you pay for.

What this produces is a lot of confused and frustrated beginners - jumping from one snake-oil solution to another, or one half-explained concept to another.
(And often looking for solutions to made-up problems that don't exist.  Like modes, for example. )

Is this really a problem?  Not for the likes of us (who learned the old way)!  We just get a little weary, maybe, typing yet another explanation of modes, or a demolition of some other piece of BS - but then we only do that because we like doing it, right?  Showing off our knowledge?  Feeling like we're helping?

If those baffled beginners end up giving up guitar, who cares?  If they really want to learn, they'll find a way through all the BS.  Survival of the fittest.  
Maybe a hell of a lot more beginners bite the dust than in the past, but maybe a lot more start trying in the first place, because they think it will be easy.  The good musicians will always come through, will always rise to the surface.  They're the ones with the commitment, the drive and enthusiasm.

In the old days, that enthusiasm expressed itself in hunting around for like minds to play with, or sweating over a record player trying to learn stuff by ear because there was no tab (and often no notation either) for the music you wanted to learn.  The reason that the 60s and 70s heroes were so good was because they were forced to learn by ear.  They didn't want to, and probably nobody told them they should.  They just had no alternative. But it made them into great musicians.  Lots gave up because they couldn't do it, or because everything else was so hard - finding gigs, finding management, getting a contract, sacking lousy management, getting out of a rip-off contract... etc etc. 

As always, the ones that make it are the ones that deserve to - because they stick at it and do stuff for themselves.  Today, if you can't fight your way through the jungle of misinformation on the web, if you can't work out stuff for yourself, using a trusty bullshit detector, you don't deserve to succeed.

"Success", of course, looks very different now from how it used to before youtube and social media.  Superstars are rarer (although they still arise), and many more find a comfortable level of success via social media, controlling their own careers.  You don't need a record company any more, or expensive studio time, to make a professional-sounding recording.  You don't need pressing plants to make records or CDs.  You don't need TV or print media.  All you need is to get the word out.  
OK, the ease of doing all that means there's a lot more crap music out there (matching the crap info on the web).  Again, who cares?  If nobody likes it it won';t last long.  If somebody likes it, then it's OK (no matter what we think).  Nobody is being forced to listen to crap!  Maybe it's harder to wade through it all to find the good stuff, but even that is easier with algorithms predicting your tastes.
Last edited by jonriley64 at Aug 4, 2017,
#4
Quote by jonriley64


If those baffled beginners end up giving up guitar, who cares?  If they really want to learn, they'll find a way through all the BS.  Survival of the fittest.  


on one hand, i want to agree with you, but on another, the guitar industry needs people to buy instruments and force producers to constantly push the boundaries. i think it's important to keep in mind that music isn't a competition, it's a hobby, and keeping newbies interested helps everybody in the big picture.

it's a fine line to trace, though. to draw on another example, the newest street fighter game came out like a year and a half ago. instead of coming out in arcades, it went straight to console, and the bulk of playing is done online to make it more viable for people to learn the game on a ps4 controller instead of learning to use an arcade stick (which are expensive and less familiar to most younger players). additionally, the game is designed to be very simple input-wise, with several characters able to do ridiculous damage with very simple and repetitive combos compared to older games. this brought a ton of new blood into the game, but the playerbase has suffered as a result (with a terrible sales record), so it's hard to say whether or not capcom should've just went with a traditional release

i don't really have an answer for how we navigate encouraging young players without compromising the "right" way to teach, but it is important for us to keep in mind that we aren't gatekeepers. it's just a fun hobby for 99% of guitarists, and while some will be professionals in some respect, it's still just a piece of wood with some strings
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#5
Here's my experience of the "old way" of being taught music...

age 10: weekly guitar lesson.  begin to be shown notation.  Shown a few notes on the acoustic.  Twinkle twinkle little star.  That was a rocker!  5th week in ... teacher has an epileptic fit.  Scared the life out of me.  Didn't go back.

age 13: music "lessons" at school.  Lesson 1.  "sing this from this sheet music"  (they omitted to teach how to read notation).  Lesson 2.  Follow this orchestral score.  Hmmm.

Age 11 onwards.  Played with other "musician" friends.  Age 15 onwards:  worked out stuff from slowing records down.  16 rpm rings a vague bell.  Rock was doable.  Jazzier stuff ... hard.  Usual pentatonic and blues stuff was memorised.

Thereafter, a combination of learning by working out by ear, being shown stuff by other players, and wading through the occasional forest of paper in the form of chord encyclopedias.

Age 17 onwards: gigging, writing loads of music.  Taking ideas from what I'd heard.   Very confused over why both F and F# sounded okay (or not) in Am tunes.

Age 22(?): my band got signed briefly to EMI for a track on a metal compilation album.  Spent my massive royalties on a bag of chips and a pint.  And that album sold around 70,000 copies. And I wrote the song.  Great business head then.  Mind you, Bruce Dickenson  (Iron Maiden) came to one our gigs, based on that track  (we had anamazing lead singer, Marc Storace).  Makes me smile when I listen to that track, and my playing, compared to where I am now ... the latter being the result of learning properly in my 30's and gradually developing from there.  If you're interested in a bit of history from early Metal ... https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1/telephone-man

Thereafter, occasional session work on crappy singles.  Still knew very little about music, but I could make the guitar sound good.  Still very very little info available out there.  No Internet.

Age 26: worked a bit with a great keyboard/synth player ... he taught me a lot, and got me interested in harmony.  We put a band together for an Arts Festival in Malta.  2 weeks holiday.  40 minute headline gig on a beach,14,000 audience.  That was a learning experience!

Age 27: Rapidly losing interest in guitar.  Keyboards was where it was at!   WRONG (for me) !!!!

So, all in all, my musical education from that lot was very limited, apart from what I taught myself copying others and experimenting.

Skip forrward to early 30's:  Now I get motivated to really learn everything I could about music, in the rock / jazz / blues / funk / metal context.  But even then this was mostly new scales and chords and progressions, and substitutions etc.  Various pieces used as benchmarks.  Surprisingly didn't cover the big picture.  Did very little on rhythm (as in time displacement, metric modualtion, polyrhythms etc).  Nothing on melody and phrase structure.  But I understood jazz harmony in literally 4 x 90 minute lessons.  I coulldn't apply it on my feet, that took a LOT of playing ... but I grasped the concepts to work with.

It was then that I realised just how simple this stuff is ... and that it's almost protectionism in how music was getting taught, to veil it in tons of jargon, and symbols ... whereas the ears and the brain are aware of something much more to the point.  I know this is especially the case for visual-based instruments (stringed instruments, piano).

So, yes, I do care whether a beginner is being taken down the garden path, or on some huge diversion, to get the basic structures of music, and I think there is plenty of evidence (at least in the UK, from educational stats) that there is a large impedance mismatch between what/how music is taught and what the kids want to learn, and hence what they (don't) achieve.

And ... I'm still learning, and still loving that fact!

Here's the difference, from having put the effort in learning properly....
https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1/cool-jazz-by-day-ice-by-night   Jazz with sort of metal approach combined with jazz ideas.
https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1/cut-the-line-excerpt     Progressive metal

Just before I wrecked my hands.  Putting things back together slowly now.  I can play a 1 bar now ... 11 to go.  :-)
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 4, 2017,
#6
jerrykramskoy

Marc Storace of Krokus? That guy was amazing.

****
Does the Web make lazy, poorly informed, guitarists?


I grew up with a music teacher Mom in an era when more schools than not had music periods for teaching whole classes of kids recorder, rhythm sticks, etc., so I had a mix of formal and informal lessons. When I got to a point of actually choosing a single instrument for formal, structured, in-depth study (cello), "The Suzuki Method" was all the rage. I eventually found my way to guitar.

That preamble leads me to this:

1) rote learning and tab predate the Web. The Suzuki Method was all about memorization, and often used a form of tab. Result: my technique was almost as good as some professional cellists within a year, and can still play some symphonies from memory. But my ability to read music in standard notation lagged horribly. Down the road, that hindered my development as a guitarist.

2) but the tool is only as good or bad as the student. I've had opportunities to improve, and I took them. But I didn't really take full advantage of those situations. That's on ME, not the tools at my disposal.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#7
Quote by jonriley64 If those baffled beginners end up giving up guitar, who cares?  If they really want to learn, they'll find a way through all the BS. 

A thing I've thought of a lot, somewhat related to this, is that I think it can sometimes be a toxic mentality for beginners to view themselves as "guitarists" and not musicians. Maybe the guitar isn't for you but that in no way means that music itself is not your thing. Maybe you'd rather play bass, or keyboards, or drums, or a wind instrument, or maybe you'd like to focus on songwriting? A lot of beginners see music as "guitar" with no other options, and when they start feeling like it's not their thing, rather than experimenting and finding out what works for them they get into this rut of feeling ashamed about their slow progress and beating themselves over the fact that they're losing interest, instead of coming to terms with it and finding a new way ahead.

I remember when I started veering away from metal music and listening to more genres, at first I just felt like I "betrayed" my metal heritage and I didn't want to lose my identity as a metal guitarist. Now, the last thing in the world I want to identify as is a metal guitarist I think it's important to encourage beginners to try new things, and make them understand that you are not required to stay loyal to your instrument and your genre. There's no shame in wanting to become an r'n'b bassist or a hip-hop producer if you start feeling like that might be more up your alley. A lot of people doubtlessly discover, that there exists a genre they like even more than the one they started with, and abandoning their original genre might feel uncomfortable. But you shouldn't fight it imo, you should just let the flow take you wherever it may.
Personally, I just want to be seen as a fan of music and a "music person" rather than an oddly specific "genre+instrument" definition.
Quote by Hail

i'm still a terrible procrastinator, though. 

This is such a major problem in my life at the moment. A week ago, I returned an assignment 9 months late, and the only reason I did that was because 31.7. is the last day of the official semester, and if I hadn't returned the assignment (that took literally 2 hours to finish and I even got a good grade) I would've had to return my student benefits for two months (that's almost a grand, and a plenty of incentive to return your studies [nine months late lol]). Not exactly proud of this feat.

It extends to music as well though. Everyday, I tell myself "today I'm going to start composing seriously, and I'll also discover a lot of new music for inspiration, and I'll do this and that and whatnot" and honestly I never get around to it. I'm well up to date with bass playing in general, every day I have a chance I do at least 30 minutes, and usually more of focused practice to keep improving my sense of time and groove and learning new songs as well, but I would like to be able to do some much more than just perform a solid bassline.


Quote by jerrykramskoy


Do you think that Web and tab is helping reduce learning music to scale patterns, and chord shapes, and advice on which fret to put the finger on, while failing in building a solid understanding of the various building blocks that underpin music?  A world where guitarists convince themselves they are great because they can play some songs verbatim, until the brick wall appears?


Kind of, but it's not the webs fault. The internet also gives you a chance to well surpass musicians in the past who didn't have access to the resources you have, if you just have the patience to scour through it and practice on the side. If an individual does not realize how to take full advantage of the heap of information that can be found online, it's on them, not the internet. On the other hand, the internet encourages self-teaching, which usually fails at least at some level. So the answer is yes and no.

I'd still argue that things are better now than they were before. We might have more failures, but we also have more successes.
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
#8
dannyalcatraz Thanks.  I can't say 100%  whether the tools available are only as good as the student want them to be, or the student is only as good as the tools offer (and how they are taught).  By tools, I mean content and however it is imparted.  I veer towards the latter, but there are so many factors involved.


Marc was the front man with 2 of my bands, before leaving to join Krokus.  Marc later asked to join Krokus for a European tour, as 2nd guitar (one of their guitarists had left), but I turned it down (family).  Marc was a lovely, lovely guy ... great fun, kind-hearted, no ego, and an amazing singer.  Best singer I've ever worked with, by far.  My band broke up shortly after Marc left.

Later, Island Records came across one of our demos and wanted us to reform ... they thought we had a no.1 single ... but it wasn't to be.

Here's a few other tracks I wrote with Marc singing.   "125" is the track that Island records picked out.

Eazy Money
------------------
https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1/125-1
https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1/no-easy-money

and an early track from the first band (funk!)

https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1/close-affair
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 5, 2017,
#9
I was going to leave writing this post till later ...  :-)

I'm sure hoardes of us have been in the same boat.  Priorities win, and priorities change.

I love your comments about musician mind-set rather than guitarist mind-set for folk as they start out.

I think there could be a lot of fascinating insights coming out of this discussion.  I hope lots of folk express their views here.
#10
Quote by Kevätuhri
A thing I've thought of a lot, somewhat related to this, is that I think it can sometimes be a toxic mentality for beginners to view themselves as "guitarists" and not musicians. 

This is a question I have asked before in other threads and it applies here also. When I started playing guitar I just wanted to get good enough to start a band (I did) and we just learned to play as well as we had to to perform the songs we liked. It wasn't until a few years later that my high school music teacher (I also played trumpet and valve trombone in school) "Do you want to learn to play guitar for own personal enjoyment or do you want to be a musician? Do you want to be someone who understands music at a level where you can get up and perform with others playing in any style or genre? Or just a guitar player?"  Wow! Great question. There is no wrong answer and for each person it's a matter of personal choice but for the first time I appreciated that there actually is a difference. I decided I wanted to be a musician.

It seems to me that the things posted above were posted by musicians who have gone beyond basic chords and scales and are looking forward to training their inner ear and learning enough theory so they can apply their abilities in to a variety of musical situations (or at least feel competent that they could if they wanted to). There is nothing wrong with someone who wants to learn to play guitar and maybe only wants to learn how to play songs from chord charts, read tabs or work within one or two styles. If they have no expectation of playing live, interacting with other musicians experienced in different musical styles and don't care about creating their own music, I can understand taking whatever short cuts are available and just learning to play to a level that makes them happy. I suspect players who say they hit that "brick wall" do so only because they have limited themselves to one or two styles of music and their frustration comes from not finding a lot more to learn within those particular genres of music. If you are looking to get past those brick walls you probably are looking to be a musician rather than a just a guitar player. That's great. 

I am a lazy musician who always looks at tomorrow as the day I will start to practice those things I really need to work on (and there are many). Personally I want to learn to be a better musician not just a better guitar player and would like to become a competent keyboardist (which I am still pretty lame at). I have no excuses because I know what I need to do. Now if I only stopped putting it off till tomorrow.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Aug 5, 2017,
#11
Quote by Rickholly74
There is nothing wrong with someone who wants to learn to play guitar and maybe only wants to learn how to play songs from chord charts, read tabs or work within one or two styles. 

I completely agree with this, and if you meant this as an argument against my post, I think you missed the point.

I didn't mean that in order to become a good musician, you need to start playing multiple instruments and learning multiple styles while studying theory and songwriting and all of that. The point I tried to make was quite the opposite, that if you have the drive to learn other instruments or other styles, don't ignore that. If you just want to play some of your favorite songs on guitar, that's great. But if you start losing interest in guitar and guitar music, don't get spooked, instead try to find the thing that motivates you.

A lot of people lose interest in guitar because it ceases to be a priority for them for one reason or an another. Maybe it's not your thing, but that's all fine. Not everyone has to be a guitarist.
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
#12
No, I agree with you completely. Sorry if the way I wrote my reply didn't acknowledge that. I totally agree with you.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#13
No. It's way better now with the internet.
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.
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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.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#14
I think this is an interesting ad useful discussion, that got me thinking.

Dave_Mc 

I agree, on balance, but it ain't all sunshine and roses. Learning guitar is just one aspect of the much wider problem of how kids and new chums in general learn to discriminate given the colossal amount of information available on just about everything. I've been trying to brush up on my general science knowledge via Youtube, and its hopeless, way too much clickbait and mediocre stuff. I find difficult to absorb even the good stuff (eg PBS Space Time), compared to reading a decent book on the topic. I'm guessing that the aspiring guitarist has the same problem. But maybe it's just me - I prefer to spend $10 on a good novel than $10 to watch a film any day.

I've been playing for very much longer than the information superhighway has been around, and what I have got from it, guitar-wise, that I didn't have before is:

Useful technical info about guitars and their related gear, so tinkering has become a hobby in it own right. This interest is entirely due to the internet.

Lotsa great music that I would like to learn. - Way too much really. I learn it by ear by downloading  and using a sound editor to dissect it.

Interaction with folks having similar interests.

Historical info related to my musical interests.

A very small amount of useful tab.

What I haven't got from it is any kind of tutorial with which I have any kind of empathy or interest. - I would much rather buy a sound-only source and a decent tab book to go with it. I might to OK with interactive lessons, such as Skype, but I've never tried it.
#15
Tony Done Maybe partly an age thing ... I'm same as you in that regard.

So, I try and help guitarists understand the workings of music, using an approach akin to natural learing, though I have used the same approach for a couple of pianists. It's mostly well received.  I'd also very occasionally teach guitar teachers fror the advanced stuff ... but it's more challenging helping beginners.

I and a few friends have spent the last few years developing software (emuso) and content to go with it to help developing musicians (fthey can practice with it, and explore theory and rhythm, do ear training, look stuff up, and use it as a music sketch book).  We use it ourselves; for me, I practice technique, and mainly explore rhythmic concepts).  Been a work of love.  It is to be sold online, so we often trawl the Intermet to see what kind of topics of interest there are, but also what other sites and software are providing.

Seems to me that there is an awful lot of "here's this riff", "here's that shape", "put your fingers here" material with relatively few sites actually explaining any musical concepts.

To quite a proverb(?) ... "Feed a man a fish and he won't be hungry today.  Show a man how to fish, and he won't be hungry ever"  (or words to that effect).

I guess the musical equivalent is

"Show a man a scale and he'll make music for a bit.  Show a man how to use a scale, and he'll make music the rest of his life".
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 7, 2017,
#16
I agree with both Jerry and Tony and after all these years of playing (40+) I have much the same feeling. I have never even tried to learn to read "tab". I'm not saying it isn't useful (I'm sure it is) but I really find it better to work it out myself the way I have always done it. I am comfortable doing it and find it challenging and for me personally I have found that if I take time to work a song out by ear I don't have to write it down or try to memorize it, I just know it from then on beacuse of the time I took to work it out myself. Unless the song has some off the wall chords that are outside the normal key of the song, I'll generally be good with that song from then on. I may forget the exact arrangement if I haven't played the song in awhile (like are there 4 measures on the intro or 8) but I can play the song because I have it locked in mind just from having figured it out myself. I may not have any advanced technical skills and I would say I am just a little better than average as a pro player and not much more but I have a good ear and that has been a very important skill that I have developed naturally by having done it this way for so long. I learned to play in the pre-internet, pre-tab days.  
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Aug 7, 2017,
#17
I'm not sure I'd try to learn science on youtube either. but for guitar it's pretty good. I started playing in 2000... i had the internet but there was no youtube, and though they likely existed then, i wasn't aware of online tabs and guitar forums etc. at that point (I only really started using the internet for guitar much around when I signed up here in 2005). I was basically doing things the old school way- guitar magazines etc.. and trying to teach myself (I did play other instruments, I wouldn't advise learning alone, at least then, if you didn't). Things that you didn't know or understand you had to try to work out. Now you can look up a youtube video. I agree it's not necessarily all good, but the info at least usually is there now if you know where to look, compared to before the internet where it wasn't. In my opinion, that's a big improvement.
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?
#20
There's been bad guitar players since the beginning of the guitar.  Who cares?  The web allows far more access to learning at a faster pace.  It also allows all of us to see different perspectives and find what works.  Otherwise, you're stuck with a blurry VHS of only a few guitarists and your guitar teacher.  That leads to frustration and quitting.  I'd be nowhere near as good if I had to figure out notes myself or search everywhere to figure out techniques...I've never had that time.  99.99% of guitarists will not make a living doing it.  
'I love her, but I love to fish...I'm gonna miss her"
#21
I played before internet, it was a pain to find anything. I pretty much stopped lessons and only started playing more serious when I found some great vids on youtube
#22
yes and no. But compared to previous generations of musicians? abosolutely not.

On the "yes" side, I think it's easy to have a very broad but shallow Wiki-fied understanding of music because of the internet. It's very easy to look something up, learn it halfway, and say you "know" something you can barely hack out on the instrument.

On the "no" side, any musician who actually wants to develop skills has a ridiculous amount of educational, recreational, and professional resources at the ready. There is no excuse for not knowing a piece of music that you can search on youtube or spotify. No reason to be unfamiliar with standard techniques when you can look up videos easily.

But compared to musicians historically, I think musicianship overall is better simply because more people have access to music education at some level. It's just that the shallow of the talent pool has grown a lot more than the deep end. How accessible were basic instrument lessons 100 years ago? What were guitarists learning? Pretty much just folk melodies and classical music. A lot more people can nowadays pick up the guitar and achieve some basic level of proficiency, while many would-be guitarists in previous generations would have been very discouraged by the lack of educational resources. It's a lot easier now to be a guitarist at *some* level, which I certainly hope would result in more people becoming very talented players.
#23
cdgraves Knowing a piece of music (I assume you mean being able to play it) without understanding it doesn't really help with improvisation.  But it can certainly help with composition, by copying it to some degree.  But just looking at the forums here, time and again, questions come up about soloing (over a chord progression),

Personally I have seen many times the result of learning parrot fashion, and the eventual road crash that ensues, once a player wants to evolve.

If you (generically) carry out searches on youtube, say, on "learn guitar", look what comes up first ... scales, chords, solos, learn in 24hrs.
#24
But just looking at the forums here, time and again, questions come up about soloing (over a chord progression),

Personally I have seen many times the result of learning parrot fashion, and the eventual road crash that ensues, once a player wants to evolve.


I think this is very true. Every few days someone posts a question like "What scale should I use over the chord progression?". The question should be "Why does this scale work well over this chord progression and this one doesn't?". Learning why a scale will sound good (or not) over certain chords is 100% better than being told what works over a chord progression without benefit of the knowing why it works. I see a lot of Youtube videos that seem helpful but don't explain why something works so the viewer can figure it out themselves from then on. It's often a lot of "just do as I do", and "put your finger here" without explanation. 
I think there is a great deal of good information out there mixed with well meaning but not necessarily well taught information. That's true for a lot information on the internet not just guitar. This forum is the best I have encountered for trying to encourage new players to think about why something works. 

So does the web make lazy, poorly informed guitarists? No it just gives them the opportunity become that kind of player. When a beginner starts playing they don't know anything other than they have a desire to play guitar. Instead of learning properly by playing basics like  "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on day one they run to Youtube and watch someone show them how to play the opening riff to "Sweet Child of Mine". Instead of learning how to play proper chords they watch a video of someone showing how to crank up the gain and play two or three note power chords. Instead of learning to tune a guitar in a normal fashion they they are shown how to drop tune never having learned the basics. They don't know what they don't know. The internet doesn't offer the same kind of discipline a new player needs and allows newbies to cut corners and learn in a unstructured fashion that's bound to lead to frustration and often giving up.

A new guitar, a new amp or another effects pedal won't make you play better.   

[h][/h]
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Aug 8, 2017,
#26
The web certainly allows one to develop pretty good technique without developing an ear. Does that really matter though? Well, it depends on what your goals are. If you want to get good at improv, the web can only help so much. You're gonna have to train your ear on your own time, and pick songs out accurately without resorting to tab. However, I find tabs incredibly useful, and learning new songs has never been quicker or easier, and learning new things is a net positive.
#27
Quote by Rickholly74


A new guitar, a new amp or another effects pedal won't make you play better.   

[h][/h]

I agree with all your arguments except this. Better/different/new/whatever gear can make you try harder. There are several examples in my musical history:

A prewar reso got me into slide, which is now my main interest
Vintage lap steels got me into electric, both lap and Spanish position slide. Tinkering with electrics has now become a major hobby in its own right.
A good acoustic lap steel got me into that style.

However, now that I have got into these I don't need this fancy, expensive gear to maintain my interest. - The starter motor on a car is only needed to get it going, it isn't need to keep it running. - Now I could happily get by with cheap stuff that I can get up to speed myself.

EDIT Maybe there is an evolution - Cheap stuff will do>>expensive stuff maintains and expands your interest>>the music matters a lot more than the gear you play it on, you can make just about anything work.
Last edited by Tony Done at Aug 14, 2017,
#28
I don't think the internet does anything it's a tool that people can use to access information.  Access to information doesn't create bad players.  Not knowing how to  self study, lack of discipline, not knowing how to research and cross reference properly are all thing that lead to poor players.   Lazy people make lazy players.
Si
#29
Tony, I must say that I partially agree with what you say. I know after many years of playing nothing stimulates me more than a new guitar. It's also because I have a terrible case of GAS and can't stop buying them. When I am playing gigs I will use one or two guitars in paticular for a few months then change to two different ones. It does stimulate playing and keeps me on my toes a little. 
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#30
Quote by Rickholly74
I agree with both Jerry and Tony and after all these years of playing (40+) I have much the same feeling. I have never even tried to learn to read "tab". I'm not saying it isn't useful (I'm sure it is) but I really find it better to work it out myself the way I have always done it. I am comfortable doing it and find it challenging and for me personally I have found that if I take time to work a song out by ear I don't have to write it down or try to memorize it, I just know it from then on beacuse of the time I took to work it out myself. Unless the song has some off the wall chords that are outside the normal key of the song, I'll generally be good with that song from then on. I may forget the exact arrangement if I haven't played the song in awhile (like are there 4 measures on the intro or 8) but I can play the song because I have it locked in mind just from having figured it out myself. I may not have any advanced technical skills and I would say I am just a little better than average as a pro player and not much more but I have a good ear and that has been a very important skill that I have developed naturally by having done it this way for so long. I learned to play in the pre-internet, pre-tab days.  

 Excellent point.
That's why I prefer standard notation. I read the notes FIRST, then find them on the fingerboard. Because of this, I can practice the same piece in several different places...........first 4 frets, then 5th fret, then 12th fret area, which helps me learn the notes on my bass.  It doesn't matter how many strings, how they are tuned, etc.  When I took bass lessons, the instructor just wrote down the note names, no tab! I asked how do I know what octave to play? Start with the lowest note and listen to the song........figure it out. Now that's how I do it when I'm trying to figure out a song. Just write the note names down. It's a helluva lot faster, easier, and more useful than tab! Then I simply use Musescore to make it into standard notation. It has a play button that allows me to play the piece to see if it sounds right. 
#31
I'm not sure where this is applicable, but I have studied Carol Kaye, for at least 3-4 years now, digesting her approach, listening to her words and opinions, and having spoken to her many times.  I think if you know who Carol is, her pedigree is pretty unmatched.  So, as a little girl playing jazz at 14 years of age with the "greats" in some of the pioneers and real "workers" of the day, she emphasizes, that they didn't play or practice a bunch of scales, they worked on melodies.  Yes they used/understood scales, but they were incidental to melody and thus easily departed, for effect.

I see her as the last of a breed, a dying breed, but it indicates to me that people in the past used to approach music differently.  Her statement frankly knocked me off my feet, thinking wise.  Because we ALL seem to do nothing but think about scales, practice them and even exalt them as the key to many things.  But in a few words, she not only shrugged off that notion, but she illustrated a fundamentally altering paradigm shift in how THEY approached playing, versus what we see today.

It sort of plays into this topic, and at least in my mind....have we missed something?  Is there some wisdom there in her small voice and impeccable background that indicates the last of a way of thinking about playing music?  For me, if she's correct then that point of view as a hole is quickly diminishing in the onslaught of the internet and the ideas being propagated out there.

So, I'm not so quick to dismiss her ideas, but that does spawn a rhetorical question, are we losing out on wisdom of the past, by accepting the relative lack of investment into our art, craft (for example I saw a user complain at the prospect of learning a scale in other positions) and as a whole gradually dumbing down in the era of instant gratification which requires little to no personal investment?   Did we lose the melody versus scales emphasis, by looking for an "easier way"?

I don't know, but that question has not left me, since she made that statement.  My quest changed at that point, to better absorb what she was talking about, and what they did differently...because if there's a kernel of truth that is now becoming extinct,  I don't want that to happen; I'm trying to absorb these things before she is gone, and they are lost forever.

Best,

Sean
#32
Sean0913 Hi Sean ... I totally agree with this (melody rather scale). I think this comes down to an appreciation for the importance of different intervals against the tonal centre (with 1, (b3), 5 being the backbone, the framework for the melody).  My thinking has changed a lot over the last few years, including far less concern for "chord matching" and more interest in using whatever "fillers" I feel like.  But I'll also experiment with rhythm first (for the melody), and then choose the notes, and then choose the harmony.  I just find this more productive, more likely to create new ideas.

And yes, we should be very careful to try and encourage building skills around sound, not around patterns with no understanding thereof.
#33
Quote by Sean0913
I'm not sure where this is applicable, but I have studied Carol Kaye, for at least 3-4 years now, digesting her approach, listening to her words and opinions, and having spoken to her many times.  I think if you know who Carol is, her pedigree is pretty unmatched.  So, as a little girl playing jazz at 14 years of age with the "greats" in some of the pioneers and real "workers" of the day, she emphasizes, that they didn't play or practice a bunch of scales, they worked on melodies.  Yes they used/understood scales, but they were incidental to melody and thus easily departed, for effect.

I see her as the last of a breed, a dying breed, but it indicates to me that people in the past used to approach music differently.  Her statement frankly knocked me off my feet, thinking wise.  Because we ALL seem to do nothing but think about scales, practice them and even exalt them as the key to many things.  But in a few words, she not only shrugged off that notion, but she illustrated a fundamentally altering paradigm shift in how THEY approached playing, versus what we see today.

It sort of plays into this topic, and at least in my mind....have we missed something?  Is there some wisdom there in her small voice and impeccable background that indicates the last of a way of thinking about playing music?  For me, if she's correct then that point of view as a hole is quickly diminishing in the onslaught of the internet and the ideas being propagated out there.

So, I'm not so quick to dismiss her ideas, but that does spawn a rhetorical question, are we losing out on wisdom of the past, by accepting the relative lack of investment into our art, craft (for example I saw a user complain at the prospect of learning a scale in other positions) and as a whole gradually dumbing down in the era of instant gratification which requires little to no personal investment?   Did we lose the melody versus scales emphasis, by looking for an "easier way"?

I don't know, but that question has not left me, since she made that statement.  My quest changed at that point, to better absorb what she was talking about, and what they did differently...because if there's a kernel of truth that is now becoming extinct,  I don't want that to happen; I'm trying to absorb these things before she is gone, and they are lost forever.

Best,

Sean


I keep saying stuff like that and get laughed out of court in here for being lazy or whatever. (However, the bit where you say "are we losing out on wisdom of the past, by accepting the relative lack of investment into our art, craft (for example I saw a user complain at the prospect of learning a scale in other positions)" is sort of confusing because that sounds like you're saying we should be learning more scales?)

I think "dumbing down" is an oversimplification- if not flat out wrong. I'd say it's more the superificial appearance of academics, and the pointless merit in work approach which are the problems- "I know more scales in more positions than you do".

well, no shit since i basically know one position inside out, lol. but do you know that position playing it as a scale, or do you actually know how to use it musically? because if it's the former it's a bit like the way I'm quite good at keepy-uppy, but downright useless when you put me onto a soccer pitch. A nice parlour trick but useless in the real world.

kind of missing the wood for the trees. and i also note that those things are fairly easy to learn (if you have the discipline) since you can chalk up all you learnt very easily, and it's obvious what to learn, but learning more nebulous, but more useful, stuff (like e.g. timing, or feel) is a lot harder to do.

Now, I know this would get you laughed out of your conservatoire audition, but if you ask me the golden rule is, "Can you play something and, when you've finished, have the audience ask for more rather than be applauding the fact you've finished?" If you can't do that... what's the point?

EDIT: I should clarify- what I said above is advice for enthusiastic amateurs, not necessarily for someone trying to get into a music college
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?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Sep 16, 2017,
#34
When it comes to serious musicians, I don't think much has changed. Music is still taught from repertoire and focuses on literacy and self-sufficiency.

I think the vast troves of published music have made it possible for a lot of people to get by with a shallow knowledge of stuff like jazz, but anyone good enough to make a living still has very deep knowledge of whatever they studied. I'm not sure there's any way to gain skill as a musician without such intense study in a specific area.

I think we get the impression that musicianship has changed, but that's only because music is so much more accessible nowadays. Amateur musicianship may have changed in the last 50 years or so, but professional musicianship hasn't. 
#35
Quote by cdgraves
Amateur musicianship may have changed in the last 50 years or so, but professional musicianship hasn't. 

I wouldn't use terms like "serious", "amateur"or "professional" in the way that you are, I see it more as pop/folk versus classical/formal, and paid versus not paid.

I think that one thing that the information superhighway has done is created great opportunities for "small" or specialised musicians, and IMO this has been of immense value in bringing them to a wider audience, and hopefully opening the eyes and ears of the listening public a little wider.
#36
The web is an equalizer, anybody can find any information they want so it all comes down to the individual and how they use what they learn and how much work they put into learning. I love that the web has shown us who is stubborn and who is not, players who are "misinformed" aren't lacking access to information, they're just too stubborn to accept that the first thing they read that worked for them isn't the secret to all guitar playing. There have always been stubborn and obnoxious know-it-all players unwilling to continue to learn, that isn't new, it's just that now they're opinions are completely visible to the entire world. Meanwhile those who are open to everything music has to offer but can't afford lessons can get a great head-start and access to all the instruction they need for free on the internet. It's amazing! I love it
#37
Quote by justin.carter43
The web is an equalizer, anybody can find any information they want so it all comes down to the individual and how they use what they learn and how much work they put into learning. I love that the web has shown us who is stubborn and who is not, players who are "misinformed" aren't lacking access to information, they're just too stubborn to accept that the first thing they read that worked for them isn't the secret to all guitar playing. There have always been stubborn and obnoxious know-it-all players unwilling to continue to learn, that isn't new, it's just that now they're opinions are completely visible to the entire world. Meanwhile those who are open to everything music has to offer but can't afford lessons can get a great head-start and access to all the instruction they need for free on the internet. It's amazing! I love it


the problem i think is that the dominant line of thought is overwhelmingly wrong, so it's not young guitarists' fault when the quiet minority are the ones telling them that tabs and scales are very, very small aspects of music as a whole. important tools, but if you had to choose two things to be proficient in, i wouldn't choose either
Quote by Kevätuhri
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#38
Quote by Hail
the problem i think is that the dominant line of thought is overwhelmingly wrong, so it's not young guitarists' fault when the quiet minority are the ones telling them that tabs and scales are very, very small aspects of music as a whole. important tools, but if you had to choose two things to be proficient in, i wouldn't choose either


I understand your view of it but I learned almost entirely from the internet and I'm not in the tab/scale/mode rut at all haha. Every time someone posts on ultimate guitar, probably the most popular guitar forum online, and asks "what modes do I use to sound like this" they are met with enormous resistance from people like us. So if they want to ignore the advice they get, that's truly their own problem
#39
Quote by Hail
the problem i think is that the dominant line of thought is overwhelmingly wrong, so it's not young guitarists' fault when the quiet minority are the ones telling them that tabs and scales are very, very small aspects of music as a whole. important tools, but if you had to choose two things to be proficient in, i wouldn't choose either


can you even be proficient in tabs? i use tabs all the time because i'm lazy but i mean basically i learnt how to read tab by taking two minutes when i started playing guitar, and that was it. the whole point is that it's really easy to read, lol.
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?
#40
Quote by Dave_Mc
can you even be proficient in tabs? i use tabs all the time because i'm lazy but i mean basically i learnt how to read tab by taking two minutes when i started playing guitar, and that was it. the whole point is that it's really easy to read, lol.


have you ever tried writing something on guitarpro? it's an art in and of itself, really
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.