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Old 10-29-2009, 05:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Skill Progression - Self Taught

I decided to finally sit down and learn guitar. I have owned it for years and every time I pick it up I get intimidated within a few days and end up dropping. However, I recently decided to set some goals and have an idea of where I want to go. I learned some major and minor chords and a couple scales, and have practiced the crap out of Foo Fighters Everlong...but heres the thing:

Where do I go next? I dont know what sort of things I should be looking at as far as theory and song difficulty. I know a lot of you kick ass at guitar so share some of your ideas!
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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playing music is not like playing a sport.

song difficulty only matters if you're playing guitar hero or rockband. theory only becomes really relevant if you're composing or a recital style performer.

where you should go next is wherever you feel happiest with your instrument. just remember that there's no substitute for practice.

something you could try is making a list of all the songs you'd like to eventually be able to play, regardless of perceived difficulty or skill required, then try them all out. laugh when it comes to ridiculous bits that make you look at your hands like they're alien, take pride in the passages that you never thought you'd be able to play yet somehow sailed through smoothly. recognize that it's meant to be fun. even if you make a list of 15 songs and only manage to play about 3 of them 'most' of the way through it's a worthwhile start. NO ONE starts off by being able to play songs from start to finish.

also, mix it up. don't always play the same songs in the same order. if you're playing along to a disc use the shuffle option. it'll keep your mind fresh while playing the same tunes. and if you do try that list thing put it off to the side after you've tried it a few times and only revisit it every couple of months or so. if you're playing everyday you'll be amazed at the progress you never noticed you were accomplishing.
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Aw dude, thanks for the insight. I guess my main thing is that I just dont want to lose my momentum by not understanding what to do next. Plus putting my thoughts out these in MB land helps me through cause I feel like I have a group to go to.
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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hahah it's all good. MB can be pretty sarcastic

well if you've got major and minor chord shapes down and a few scales the next step would be barre chord theory. if you've already got that down then you're pretty much good to go with whatever.

btw, what's on the list? hehe
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Even if you don't want to get into theory and all, I don't know what scales you learned, but I'd try to learn major, minor, and pentatonic/blues scales. You'll be able to a lot with just that.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr dave View Post
playing music is not like playing a sport.
True - mainly.

If you're in a band, then there's the element of team playing - and there's always the competitive element that keeps you trying to get better technically, improvisionally or as a songwriter.

Music is a means of communication - what you communicate is up to you.

If you want to communicate that the music you've written is devilishly hard to play, then why not.

There may be people that don't like it, but amazingly there are also people (often the same people) that don't like music that is too simple, too cheesey, or excessive in some other department.

There are even people who don't like AC/DC - can you believe that?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mr dave View Post
song difficulty only matters if you're playing guitar hero or rockband.
Depends entirely on what you're trying to do. If you want to write something difficult, then song difficulty matters


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Originally Posted by mr dave View Post
theory only becomes really relevant if you're composing or a recital style performer.
Theory is essential - as you point out below;
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr dave View Post
NO ONE starts off by being able to play songs from start to finish.
Exactly.

You cannot actually play without theory. Theory is always not only relevant to music, but inseparable from it. Even if you deduced the theory yourself through many sessions of playing by ear.

What you're actually saying is that in-depth theory study is only of use to an academic, which is self-evident.

Some people want to write academically slanted music, particularly metal guitarists - and some of those presumably even enoy it.

Music doesn't actually have to be fun - it's just a means of communication by organising sounds inside a time frame, exactly like speech.

Copying other people is the best way to learn, but the best way to communicate is to think for yourself, once you've spent some time inside the learning by imitation process.

Can you imagine what life would be like if everybody went around simply regurgitating what each other said? Hmm, maybe not too hard...


Play with the ideas, not the set order - rewrite the songs so they sound better, don't just keep trying to play the same old stuff - why re-invent the wheel?

Improvisation is the key to great musicianship, and theory is the key to great improvisation.
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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yeah, if you are doing it for an image then don't do it. it's all about you wanting to do it. i wanna start self taught guitar and drums. im not even gonna use anything but my ipod to learn. and for those of you who oppose that, consider this: how did the inventors of the guitar and drums learn to play? answer: with their own ideas. and theory definitely helps, ESPECIALLY if you want others to have a clue of what you're trying to convey to them and they can play it to someone. just dont plagiarize.
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Improvisation is the key to great musicianship, and theory is the key to great improvisation.

Theory is essential - as you point out below;
I agree with the first part. But I think that music theory is like a set of rules for playing, which I feel kind of tries to pigeonhole the whole shebang, which I don't like. It's true though, if youre really after some improv skill, scales and theory help out a lot. I get a little envious watching jazz guys play, because it seems like they're guys that just met yesterday, and yet here they are, playing 3 hours worth of music.
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Old 11-01-2009, 04:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i think it really depends on the level of theory being discussed.

from my perspective there's basic theory and advanced theory. everyone should understand the basics and it really shouldn't take more than about an hour to grasp. the advanced stuff is for more technically oriented musicians.

as for the basics, major and minor chord shapes, pentatonic scale, barre chord theory and basic note/chord transposition.

then if you want to get into the advanced stuff like modes, triads, and unconventional scales then by all means do it up. i have yet to 'get' why it would be necessary. the only time i felt really inclined to learn advanced theory was when i was still getting off on learning the technicality of the instrument as opposed to just playing it.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I realize that theory is something that you should learn throughout your guitar playing career...and you should want to if youre serious about it. It is just something else to learn about something you love. I am actually just trying to learn how to progressively get better efficiently...I learn pretty quick and am always looking for the next step in this climb to the top =)
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