#1
So, I've been playing guitar for just about a year (Well, 2 years when I was younger, but I quit for a while)

Anyway, I can play fine, I can learn by tabs easy, but I've never taken lessons...I know power chords, but not really any major chords, or scales or anything like that.

Is it vital to becoming a truly great player?
#4
Its not vital, but you have to be very well self-taught in order to become proficient in it. Jimi Hendrix took no lessons, Stevie Ray Vaughan took no lessons. Its merely determination to learn. I certainly recommend you take lessons. At least learn the scales, everything's based off the major scale. . . Unless you are extremely dedicated and have kind of inborn talent, you have a small chance of becoming great without help.
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#5
scales are a must if you want to solo and improvise. learning you major and minor scales would be good. also alternate picking is very important when playing faster and more accuratly.
#6
I'm self-taught & I never got anywhere until I began studying scales & theory.
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#7
Stuff outside your comfort zone, stuff you wouldn't normally learn. Starting out I probably had no interest in blues, but that became one of my fortes. Also I've been forced to learn jazz chords and scales as well as some classical that I'd normally not play. Stuff like that is good to know, just ask Zakk Wylde. Whether you respect him or not, he talks about how he usually practices country licks and techniques and jazz scales rather than metal.
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#8
you dont need lessons...but you cannot just leave out things you dont want to do lol.

lessons are for panseys who cant make themselves learn theory.

pick up a book on theory every once and a while, learn scales, read the articles on this site, and practice all the time and youl be fine.
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#9
So it seems clear that I should teach myself some major/minor scales.

Can anyone link me to some online teaching, by chance? :]
#11
Everyone is giving you good advice, let me give you a couple tips. Until six months ago, I went without playing for 10 years, now I'm trying my best to make up for lost time. Youtube has some good stuff on it for free, but I bought a couple things the other day @ Guitar Center, I got two posters, one has scales and one has chords, what a great way to have these at your disposal right where you practice. I also bought a DVD called something like 50 Blues licks, it is an awesome DVD, I had bought the 50 Rock licks first and it was "OK" but the Blues one is chalked FULL of fantastic licks to help fill those voids in your solos. Well worth the 15 bucks. Good luck
#13
Quote by MetalMusicianAl
of course it's vital. i don't see any great guitarists that limit themselves.

and its exactly through scales and that stuff that you're limiting yourself as a guitarist imo

as the great stevie ray vaughan once said:
"Since I can’t read music and everything, I find out that I do the best when I just listen for where…where I’m trying to go with it and where it can go, not try to rush it, not try to make up things as I’m going necessarily - just let them come out, then I’m a lot better off. If I start trying to pay attention to where I am on the neck and 'this is the proper way to do this or that', you know, then I end up thinking that thing through and instead of playing from my heart, I play from my mind, and that’s where I find that I get in trouble. If I just go with what’s in my heart, and let it come out, then I’m ok."

and thats what i go by. Sure, scales can help as a guideline to what sounds a certain way, but all in all they tend to limit you, especially when you're living and playing by them exclusively. Then I feel like you'd have "I can only go there or there from this note because i played thisnthat before" in your head while playing...

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#14
If you take lessons and really commit to them, it helps out alot. I don't know about anybody here but all the self-taught guitarists that we tried out as guitarists for my band sucked and couldn't understand simple things and asked me to tab out all the songs we had.

You can teach yourself theory but you're going to have to open your mind and be really strict on yourself which some people find hard. Sometimes its easier to take lessons so you can have a structured learning system, and a guy who knows what hes talking about to take you through the right steps to understanding it all. My teacher could explain and simplify things that probably would have taken hours of reading for me to teach myself.

Bottom line is, you can only improve by taking lessons. If you would rather teach yourself just for some bragging rights then go ahead, but you better know your **** so you don't look stupid.
#15
and its exactly through scales and that stuff that you're limiting yourself as a guitarist imo
QUOTE]


I'm going to have to disagree with you, I used to have that opinion, but now knowing more theory I realize that knowing scales and understanding them helps you to express any emotion, and to better express those because you have more of control of your musics direction.
#16
Quote by hendriko
and its exactly through scales and that stuff that you're limiting yourself as a guitarist imo

as the great stevie ray vaughan once said:
"Since I can’t read music and everything, I find out that I do the best when I just listen for where…where I’m trying to go with it and where it can go, not try to rush it, not try to make up things as I’m going necessarily - just let them come out, then I’m a lot better off. If I start trying to pay attention to where I am on the neck and 'this is the proper way to do this or that', you know, then I end up thinking that thing through and instead of playing from my heart, I play from my mind, and that’s where I find that I get in trouble. If I just go with what’s in my heart, and let it come out, then I’m ok."

and thats what i go by. Sure, scales can help as a guideline to what sounds a certain way, but all in all they tend to limit you, especially when you're living and playing by them exclusively. Then I feel like you'd have "I can only go there or there from this note because i played thisnthat before" in your head while playing...


That's true, but he knew what key to play in, and stuck to a basic pentatonic box shape when soloing.

He played mostly in E, and recycled the same riffs in his solos quite often. He is one of my favorite players, but if he had learned to expand his knowledge of the instrument he would have been able to do more with his solos.
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#17
If your anything like me they are not very much help, i found when i stopped nothing changed because i usually went and just talked to the guy for half an hour.
#18
and its exactly through scales and that stuff that you're limiting yourself as a guitarist imo



I'm going to have to disagree with you, I used to have that opinion, but now knowing more theory I realize that knowing scales and understanding them helps you to express any emotion, and to better express those because you have more of control of your musics direction.

oh, sure, i never denied that - its just that you shouldnt just play scales...all the time...thats when they limit you..imo

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#19
I learned scales and shapes to help myself play by ear...as its pretty difficult to tab out or play by ear a (fast) solo if you dont know what scales are used it in.

sure you can get by without theory, and just reading tabs, its what I did for a while.

but eventually you will want to be able to tab out and play by ear songs which dont have tabs, or only have ****ty ones.

This is assuming youre going to be a "youtube guitarist" and just play for fun in your room, or maybe with a few friends, but not in any band or show situation.

if you want to be in an active good band, you need to learn theory inside and out. you cant jam and write songs with your friends or band mates if you dont know your **** well.

I usually just play in my room or with my roomate...so neither of us really ever saw any use in learning HARDCORE theory...we just know some scales we like to use, and some fun shapes.
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Last edited by nvranka at Apr 15, 2008,
#20
I think it's fair to assume that none of us are Stevie Ray Vaughn, so let's stop talking about what worked for him. The fact is that without lessons, it takes a great deal of determination and talent to muddle through theory.

Lessons aren't just for "pansies who can't teach themselvs theory". That is the single most ignorant statement I've heard, and I listened to Bush's state of the union....

Seriously. Not only can a good instructor find and help you fix flaws in your technique, but they can also help you fill gaps in your knowledge. You can ask around on the forum all day, but if you're not sure what you should know or where you should go from there, you don't even know what questions to ask. Not to mention that an instructor will have you playing things outside of your normal scope, so you get the added benefit of being more well-rounded as a guitarist (a VERY valuable trait to have).

I don't understand people knocking lessons. There's nothing wrong with being self-taught, but there's CERTAINLY nothing wrong with seeking help from a professional when you need it, especially with somthing as deep and convoluted as the guitar.
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#21
You can get a lot of your lessons out of books and DVDs, but there is no substitute for sheer hours and hours of drill, and some drills are more efficient than others. It's one thing to be able to produce an augmented or diminished 2-octave run, and another thing to know when one of those things will work. You learn the runs by practicing them, over and over and over. You learn when it will work by listening to the kind of music that makes use of such things, and playing along with it.

A good teacher can judge what sort of material would be most useful to you at your current level, and can tell you those things you didn't know you were even missing. A good teacher can, to a limited extent, show you technically easier ways to do things or correct some bad habits. But even the best teacher can't learn anything for you.
#22
I just learn all the tabs I can get my hands on. I don't have a teacher but I still make some pretty heavy riffs that amaze my friends and remember Eddie Van Halen never had a teacher.
#23
you'll be good alright. you won't get good as fast if you don't take lessons, but you'll get good... in an abnormal way. most likely, you'll play wierdly. like picking, how to hold your pick.. little stuff. buy a scale book and stuff and practice
#24
practice and study anything and everything you can get your hands on. the more you master, the more you can DO

i know its a kinda cheesy/obvious thing to say but its pretty much says it all, imo
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#25
*Resurection!!!*

Quote by 666_Pounder
If your anything like me they are not very much help, i found when i stopped nothing changed because i usually went and just talked to the guy for half an hour.


I totally agree. Im actually going to tell my instructor today that he needs to condense my remaining 4 lessons into two 1 hour lessons so I can actually get something out of it, then Im done.

We sit there and talk. He goes over a concept like 5 shapes or chords or whatever then I have to go practice myself. I get no feedback as to how to improve when I practice, or what I might be doing wrong, cause Im at home by myself practicing.

I can do the same shyt at home for FREE with the internet and youtube.

I need meaningful instruction WHILE I am practicing. Not the next half hour slot that I show up in his studio.

Really what I need is to get together with other musicians of different skill and just jam with them and learn as I go...
#26
A good teacher will eliminate alot of the trial and error that comes with learning anything - meaning you will advance much quicker in a shorter amount of time.

Knowing scales and chords provides extra tools to help you create music. If you don't learn them, you'll eventually stumble upon a few of them through trial and error - whether you know it or not.

Both are not necessarily essential to create music. You may find that while messing around, you create a new pattern or chord set that's unique and truly resonate. Suddenly, you've ushered in a new wave of music completely unheard of years before - this is the beauty of all art forms.
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#27
as much respect that I have for Steve, it seems he got that wrong. You shouldn't THINk "oh, you're supposed to do it like this". You should know where notes are in scales, to help you, but you are always welcome to break "rules". But to break them, you need to know them.

Theory, and writing music should not be a limit to your musical expression. Just a helpful tool.
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#28
Quote by nauc
practice and study anything and everything you can get your hands on. the more you master, the more you can DO

i know its a kinda cheesy/obvious thing to say but its pretty much says it all, imo

The truth is strong with this one.
The internet has a nice supply of online metronomes, scale and mode sites, online tuners, then there's always here.....for free!

When I was 15 I couldn't afford lessons and my folks...

Have you ever seen the Twisted Sister video where Niedermayer from Animal House is yelling at that kid? I wasn't amused. Art imitates life!
So even though I wanted lessons I had to self-teach myself. I would listen to a song and try to match notes. Trial and error but it worked for me.
That got me some nice Iron Maiden songs down as well as Master of Puppets
There was no internet then, in 1990, at least not like it is today.
...

Although in retrospect, using tabs from here just over a month ago, I can now play a Marty Friedman solo accurately

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#29
It's important because it helps give you an idea about what you're comfortable with playing, and if you have a good teacher you can learn a ton of things that will greatly impact your playing. Theory, etc.
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#31
I prefer to use teachers for what you need at the time, then dump them.

Find a good shred teacher to improve your speed, a good blues player to improve your feel and bends, and so on and so on.

Very rarely do you find a teacher who isn't a product of the same method he is teaching you.

Guess what I'm saying is mix it up! Take enough lessons to get your foot in the door, and to know which way to go in the door! Stop, come back later if needed.

My first teacher was a joke. Teaching me smoke on the water and talking about classic rock isn't much of a lesson. Of course, he did teach me the pentatonic scales, so I think him for that While, my teacher while I was in college taught me to think more along the lines of what should the song sound like, accents, dynamics- much more informative, from a completely different stand point, but lacking in technique practice.

Like I said, find different people to help you as your playing progresses.
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#32
Making great music is like being a great speaker. If you don't know words and their meanings, how will you get along?
#34
Quote by Ethicdoom
I prefer to use teachers for what you need at the time, then dump them.

Find a good shred teacher to improve your speed, a good blues player to improve your feel and bends, and so on and so on.

Very rarely do you find a teacher who isn't a product of the same method he is teaching you.

Guess what I'm saying is mix it up! Take enough lessons to get your foot in the door, and to know which way to go in the door! Stop, come back later if needed.

My first teacher was a joke. Teaching me smoke on the water and talking about classic rock isn't much of a lesson. Of course, he did teach me the pentatonic scales, so I think him for that While, my teacher while I was in college taught me to think more along the lines of what should the song sound like, accents, dynamics- much more informative, from a completely different stand point, but lacking in technique practice.

Like I said, find different people to help you as your playing progresses.


There are plenty of teachers out there who can teach you anything in any genre, any way. My own teacher (he's my second teacher) is mainly a jazz guy, but he can do anything, from blues to shred and beyond. However, my teacher also teaches music at a college and in his younger days was more along the lines of a shredder -- also, his knowledge of theory is incredible, and he seems to see theory as more of a guideline, and not as a rule (as do I).

Paul Gilbert is a very famous guitar player (and teacher at one point) that can play anything he wants in any genre he wants, because the guitar is his bitch. Also, because he knows lots and lots of theory.