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I now know i know nothing!!!!!!...

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Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 14
Topic starter  

Soooooooooo, reading this forum. I found out that i remember NOTHING about music theory.
I have been just so happy and cruising along with tab that i realsed that it is weakening my growth and understanding of writing music.
Since i am primarily a bassist, notes and scales are my limits. But even they have there boundaries, as i dont understand how it all fits together.

I think all those years of forced piano when younger created like a defense mechanism in me.
But anyway, what im actually asking is. . .

I wanna learn to write and read theory, guitar styles.
So im sure you have all been in this postion and know a great text book or preferably web site to help me in this very impatient and ignorant state!

Cheers loads,

There has been years of investigation to find that 100% of statistics are made up

Honorable Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 646

Well actually, you're there.

This site has the best theory lessons available.

I recommend going through David Hodge's articles in the Theory Section.

You might start with these:

Theory Without Tears.

Five to One

The Power of Three

Basic Music Theory by Bruce Fleming might also be useful and I have learned a lot from Ricci Adams' MusicTheory.Net

I hope this helps. Here's a couple of tables that a lot of people have found useful to start them off.

Here are the 12 notes and the major scales based on them:

Key Minor Signature 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
C major A minor C D E F G A B
G major E minor # G A B C D E F#
D major B minor ## D E F# G A B C#
A major F# minor ### A B C# D E F# G#
E major C# minor #### E F# G# A B C# D#
B major G# minor ##### B C# D# E F# G# A#
F# major D# minor ###### F# G# A# B C# D# E#
F major D minor b F G A Bb C D E
Bb major G minor bb Bb C D Eb F G A
Eb major C minor bbb Eb F G Ab Bb C D
Ab major F minor bbbb Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
Db major Bb minor bbbbb Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
Gb major Eb minor bbbbbb Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F

And here is how you build chords from the notes of the scale (harmonising the major scale):
Degrees of notes C major scale notes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 C D E F G A B C Chord no. Chord name.
1 3 5 C E G I C major
2 4 6 D F A ii D minor
3 5 7 E G B iii E minor
4 6 8 F A C IV F major
5 7 9 G B D V G major
6 8 10 A C E vi A minor
7 9 11 B D F vii° B diminished

And here is the formula for some common (and less common) chord types (note that 9=2, 11=4, 13=6):
Chord Notes
major 1 3 5
6 1 3 5 6
7 1 3 5 b7
maj7 1 3 5 7
9 1 3 5 b7 9
maj9 1 3 5 7 9
11 1 3 5 b7 11
add11 1 3 5 11
13 1 3 5 b7 13
add9 1 3 5 9
sus2 1 2 5
sus4 1 4 5
5 1 5
minor 1 b3 5
min7 1 b3 5 b7
min9 1 b3 5 b7 9
dim 1 b3 b5
dim7 1 b3 b5 bb7 (6)
min7b5 1 b3 b5 b7
aug 1 3 #5
6/9 1 3 5 6 9

Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com

Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 353

yeah, hbriem's pretty much got it! BTW I feelt hat tabs are a form of "Cheating" so its really degrades your ability to play, although there is a need for thm, say you do have enough time to write the music down on sheetmusic or something. but tabs should not be a primary form of music for anyone. I used to use them a lot, now I love sheetmusic! i guess it gives you a form of feeling like you accomplished something accomplished

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Morse Code... Music on it's own

Honorable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 608

bstguitarist... if tabs can make you play easier then it is better than sheetmusic..

if i wrote on a huge piece of paper the actual notes like "B F# D E F# C# E B", whats wrong with that..

as long as you can play what you read better, its easier..

people (im not saying you) like to thing theyre better musicians because they can read sheet music, it isnt true, looking back on how music has been read in the past, and looking at tabs now, its easier, its not cheating

say some old style housewife did the cleaning by hand, scrubbing it and hanging it out, it cleans clothes, does that mean someone who uses a washing machine is cheating?? NO

it requires more talent to play the guitar sight reading from sheet music, but the guitar is about what you play, not how you read music its about the sound and the notes, if someone shouts out the notes to a solo and you play it, that person is no less than someone who played it from reading from precise instructions in arabic.

Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1066

I wouldn't call tabs cheating, although I do consider them a serious pain (what, I have to know the song already to make sense of the written version? there's something wrong with that).
say you do have enough time to write the music down on sheetmusic or something
I don't think it takes longer to score something that to tab it. Of course, that depends on how sloppily you write.

Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5342

IMHO - Tab is an excellent way of increasing your repertoire very long as you know the piece you're working on.

Tab doesn't have any timing marks, so if you're working on something you don't know and have never tried to play before, then sheet music is the best bet.

Sheet music with the Tab printed under the score is the best of both worlds - but there's not enough of it around


A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1735

I've found tab to be very useful for my humble purpose.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."