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  1. #21
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    Interesting discussion. I think a live theory course would be great, though as I am in the UK it may be difficult to attend more than the odd one so I will probably end up watching after th event which of course is not quite the same.

    I sometimes wonder if it is the same people that have been to music college that also suggest that you dont need theory? One problem as I see it, is that if you are 15 years old and take up guitar, you can perhaps join up with others of the same age and interests and form a band. It doesn't matter at this stage if the band is rubbish but it allows you to progress and learn in a band environment where you can get by playing some passable riffs and keeping it simple.
    At my age I cannot join a band of 15 year olds, and they would not want me cramping thier style either (no offence to 15 year olds), but as you get older it gets virtually impossible to find a 'band' to play with at a low skill level and get that great experience of developing as a musician in a band environment.
    Therefore you either have to play for yourself with backing tracks or else you are playing solo guitar which takes quite a high skill level to be able to reach a performance level of any kind. I don't sing so playing songs for accompanyment has its limits.

    @palico - Thank you for taking the time for such a comprensive reply and I shall look at some of those suggestions

  2. #22
    Administrator Jason.Mounce's Avatar
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    This is my opinion and mine alone, it may not be popular but here it is.

    Coming from a piano and theory background, it's my opinion that learning theory on guitar is a near fruitless endeavor. With a piano or keyboard, you can see the theory, you can see it working and how it interpolates across octaves and works with the instrument. By comparison, the guitar is not an entirely logically arranged instrument. You can't easily see the intervals you are playing. For this reason I don't honestly know if I could ever really teach theory to a guitarist that doesn't already know the fretboard like the back of their hand.

    When it comes to learning theory, if you take a look at traditional academic approaches, it's entirely rigorous. Music Theory taught in secondary education is almost never a 100 level course. It's generally preceded by a fundamentals course which prepares you for the theoretical concepts you learn later. Fundamentals would be basic note values, intervals, how chords are built and understanding rhythmic dictation. If you were to try and enroll directly into Music Theory course, you'd likely need to be passed out of prerequisites by a professor.

    Between piano instruction at a young age, music classes in grade school, community college and my stint with Berklee, I have more than a decade wrapped up in music and theory based studies and I'm far from being an expert on the topic. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but instead just trying to instill how vast the subject matter is. You shouldn't feel discouraged if even after several months you aren't able to clearly understand or articulate some of concepts involved with music theory.

    So as to my suggestions, if you want to learn theory, go pick yourself up a cheap keyboard and pick out a fundamentals of music book to your liking and start at the beginning. Let the keyboard's logical setup help you with understanding the concepts, then transfer that knowledge over to the guitar.

    All of that leads me to one more statement. The above information is one of the reasons that in very few places do you see traditional theory studies being taught along side beginner guitarists; and likewise why places like MI, Berklee et al. don't take in beginner instrumentalists. The first part of learning theory for guitar is being proficient with the instrument. Otherwise you try and apply a concept your brain may understand to something that your fingers can't play, which locks you into the box that a lot of people tend to find themselves in.
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  3. #23
    Premium Member palico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason.Mounce View Post
    Coming from a piano and theory background, it's my opinion that learning theory on guitar is a near fruitless endeavor.
    Sorry Jason, I know your post mentioned it was only your opinion, however; to call learning theory "fruitless" I disagree with. To call it less important for a beginner, I could agree with.

    Attempting to learn it all without the technique, I would agree would make most quit guitar rather quickly (and most other instruments). Which is why you rarely see any instruction on music theory presented by instructors in that way. They present scale patterns "fretboard mapping/knowledge/theory" along with the scale that it goes along with. Then some standard riffs in those scales. Just knowing that simple bit along you can be quit a good lead guitarist. Music theory does not apply to an instrument. It applies to all of them. The linear layout of the keyboard is easier to follow, hence why so many of the classic composers and modern ones compose on a piano.
    And you don't need to know it all, you learning a bit of the basics as you progress with the mechanical (technique) ability. Just learning the basics of chord construction helps tremendously. So I would agree, I don't think learning it in a bubble would work for most people.

    Ultimately this is why I asked about the goal. That is really what is important. How to accomplish the goal is much less important than that you accomplished it. For OP he want to play chords and some Rhythm eventually maybe learning to play some lead. I don't image he wanted to learn Jazz level theory (which I'm nowhere near proficient in myself) or even to blaze across the fretboard like Satch or Via in improvised situation. But just to be able to know how to improvise a lead.

    Goal 1: Play rhythm. Theory that is useful. Note duration. What is a 4/4 time signature, what is a 6/8 etc.... What does a 8th, 16th, triplet, etc... note feel like and how to count it. Yes these are basic and for most guitarist instinctual. But to move out of Instinctive playing and not be in your personal box, you have to know where to go. And yes there are other methods outside of theory to accomplish that too. For many it's learning covers. I find the Jamplay's genre series a great way to accomplish this one as well. When I do a new genre lesson, I like to look at the common rhythms and what they theoretical are.

    Goal 2: Play lead. To take a chord progression and improvise over it. You need to know basic chord constructions, so you have a idea of what key to even start with. Then when you deal with progression that seemly use a chord out of key, you need to know the note and bit to figure out how to adjust to a seemly temporary key change (something I still working on).

    I got stuck into the penatonic box of lead playing myself. I could kill a penatonic run and got good enough to take it across all five boxes. But modes, exotic scales etc... all eluded me. Jamplay's lessons with interspersed theory has helped me expand into modes and some exotic scales. The thing for me was I had played guitar for long time from an early age. I played in the bands etc... and have for many years. I had a good technique, learned the hard slow way. But without the theory, the technique was useless because I had no idea where to use it. Once I understood basic theory, it all opened up. I could use it now and then learned more techniques that I had bother to spend much time on before, because I had no way to use them.

  4. #24
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    For OP he want to play chords and some Rhythm eventually maybe learning to play some lead. I don't image he wanted to learn Jazz level theory (which I'm nowhere near proficient in myself) or even to blaze across the fretboard like Satch or Via in improvised situation. But just to be able to know how to improvise a lead.
    You hit the nail on the head there palico old buddy!
    Your goal 1 and goal 2 (for me) is about right and where I will focus my attention. Cheers

  5. #25
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    @ rarebird0 - Just in case you drop back in on this thread I thought I would let you know I have watched the first 4 lessons in the Finger Breakthrough course and I have to say thanks for pointing this out it has been a bit of a revelation. Howard certainly has a great way to get this in to the memory. If I don't contimue past my free trial I shall certainly buy this one course.

  6. #26
    Premium Member rarebird0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnTheRopes View Post
    @ rarebird0 - Just in case you drop back in on this thread I thought I would let you know I have watched the first 4 lessons in the Finger Breakthrough course and I have to say thanks for pointing this out it has been a bit of a revelation. Howard certainly has a great way to get this in to the memory. If I don't continue past my free trial I shall certainly buy this one course.
    I'm delighted with the frankness of this thread. Jason's perspective was surprising and very insightful. I didn't get to real Palico's response yet but I will directly. As to the Howard Morgen course, I found myself wondering if I maybe I over-sold it and that perhaps it might be more of the problematic collision of theory native to the layout of the piano with the uniquely odd design of the guitar fretboard (which Jason questioned as to whether it may even be "fruitless").

    I really thought that when he [Morgen] started with "inversions" and the rules thereof and the range of everything from flatting 3rds, 5ths, 7ths (twice) and adding 9, 11, &13, that his pace might be too fast and his manner of speech hard for me not to drift from. But I found an answer that allows me to address all of that so that I can't really fail if I really stick with it. I discovered a web site, which I will link at the end, which has all the provisions to calculate the chords that Morgen covers. I know JamPlay is developing their own versions of some of these tools but, for right freaking now, this free site (called "JGuitar") is ready to roll with ya. So when I feel a little lost when he [Morgen] tells you to play some second inversion of an arcane chord after you may have not paid full attention, I can just keep this other (free) site open on another tab and use the chord generator which allows me to enter the criteria and get generated results that will include what he's looking for. This is NOT to CHEAT because I would just be cheating myself as if to just begrudgingly "get through" some annoying requirement in school. I intend to find the chord and, in my own time, account for all the elements within it by their alpha/sharp & flat names and the interval distinctions which make them take on the color or flavor Howard talks about.

    The generator actually warns that it will calculate every possible way the elements of desired chord can be brought into a group that doesn't have anything more than a theoretically reachable stretch, but that it is however possible that some of the results may not be practical to be played. Among the results however, will be the chord Howard is calling for you to deduce. This way I can keep him on pause and examine the chord results myself and "study" it's makeup (a PDF manual comes with the course that shows you the answers but I've found some of the illustrations too confusing where arrows and text balloons point to things where the illustration screen gets "busy" with esoteric expressions that start get in each others way).

    This "chord generator" actually has a guitar simulator that lets you hear how the chord is supposed to sound either strummed or arpeggiated (one note to the other more slowly than a strum), I can learn to account for placement of every note and learn to call them their musical names (as opposed to their tab-equivalent locations). Thus I expect to achieve my elusive "breakthrough" of mastering the fretboard this way. And, while I'm there, I will be exposing myself to chord voicings and "the lines" Howard evangelizes which create tension and release and/or the ability to put together some original ideas that might become elements of a song. Writing a real song is on my bucket list. Also on the bucket list is being able to go into a guitar store with some original chops to knock around on a high end acoustic.

    I've always just played other people's music--sometimes spicing it up to give it my own flavor (like I learned Clapton's "Change the World" and I found myself doing a sort of Flamenco-influenced version which I can play sprightly ala Tommy Emmauel which gets attention) but other than that I haven't been "led" into the land of understanding by anyone yet to learn any real roots of sophistication (being taught ANYTHING that starts with someone yammering anecdotes and then blitzing through the meat and potatoes doesn't work on me--that truly IS "fruitless". I'm getting excited thinking about it and bought Howard Morgen's course today. This will be my leading agenda for the coming year. I made great progress this year and have confidence that I can try all the hard things I used to just play the rhythm on. But time to fill in the still-gaping blanks in my reach and grasp. I wish you all well in getting where you want to go. Jim

    That site I mentioned is JGuitar dot com (written that way to try to avoid the filter that sends posts to a dungeon for approval by the JP police. *wink* (I hope this post goes through this time without need for review. I tried 3 times already since last night. Fingers crossed.

  7. #27
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    Cheers, faved that. For me the way Morgen described the layout of the fretboard and the second string 'Move up on the B string when going up and go down on the G string when going down' and the way to use this to move chord over the 5 pairs of strings etc just made instant sense.
    I was already aware of the Octave shapes and practiced scales over them but still had to think about them. The way Morgen put it over just made it easily memorable and then the triasds made more sense too.
    I do hope that JP dont pull the thread as this is not intended as an ad but a reference to a great and to me at least a unique and effective way of teaching.

    I struggled already with some of the fingering for aug and dim triads, but the chord voicings and critically understanding how thre chords are constructed seemed so much easier with his way of putting it over.
    Cheers

  8. #28
    Premium Member rarebird0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnTheRopes View Post
    Cheers, faved that. For me the way Morgen described the layout of the fretboard and the second string 'Move up on the B string when going up and go down on the G string when going down' and the way to use this to move chord over the 5 pairs of strings etc just made instant sense.
    I was already aware of the Octave shapes and practiced scales over them but still had to think about them. The way Morgen put it over just made it easily memorable and then the triasds made more sense too.
    I do hope that JP dont pull the thread as this is not intended as an ad but a reference to a great and to me at least a unique and effective way of teaching.

    I struggled already with some of the fingering for aug and dim triads, but the chord voicings and critically understanding how thre chords are constructed seemed so much easier with his way of putting it over.
    Cheers
    There's a short game and a long game. It's probably more profitable to cater to the short game and just hurl up tabs and lectures. The long game is about each next thing answering the "why" of the previous and leads more to music creation than just some semmblance thereof. I still play them both but now I know how and what to follow to get to a place where I've touched all the bases with good reason.

 

 

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