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learning basic music theory

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Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 34
Topic starter  

I came to the conclusion that what I really want is the ability to make my musical ideas real, I can feel them on the inside I just dont have the knowledge or talent to manifest them.

When I said I havnt found anything I cant play yet I should have also said that its not like I just look over the music and play it, I can spend more than a week just learning the fingering(or a lot longer according to the length of the song) then months trying to make it sound like it does in the recording. So a more accurate statement would be I havn't found anything yet that a lot of practice cant let me play.

I should also should mention that i began recording myself and playing it back, its good, but not THAT good. I can get sloppy in some parts, and my timing is good, good enough for playing sax in a crappy highschool concert band, but not good enough for being the only distinguishable instrument.. I now understand this is where having a teacher comes into play.

The reason I am so apprehensive about having a guitar teacher is there is 1 active guitar teacher in my entire town. I have heard good and bad things about him. I just notice that I can play better then almost all of his students that I have met have no handle on music at all. Anyways I plan to start lessons with him sometime soon.

I ordered "the ultimate scale book" troy stetina, and his other book 'Speed mechanics for lead guitar", I also got out my old metrenome. The scale book should give me a start on understanding the music, and the speed mechanics should give me a better way to continue increasing my technique.

Thanks for all the advice

Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 103

hi. i think your last post explained a lot and was better than your first post. i will add something here about your the teacher you're discussing.

the first thing to realize is that the teacher will not make someone a good guitar player. it requires work and discipline on the part of the student. without that, the student will not amount to anything. it might sound counterintuitive, but you can't, imo, judge the value of a teacher by the results of a student. now, if you've seen all of his students and this is the case with all of them, then that definitely is something to consider (unless you're only looking at 1 subset - for example kids in 7th grade that just want to look cool while holding the guitar rather than learning it).

you also have to consider that each person has their own set of abilities that they bring into learning an instrument. especially at the beginning, these abilities (or handicaps) will limit their growth until they can either learn a way around them or get past them. for example, i have large fingers. there are certain things that i do to get around this as i'm playing. when i first started, i wasn't able to do this. people with small hands will have similar situations. it takes time for some people while it is easier in the beginning for others. some of the people you might be looking at maybe facing these situations.

finally, as i see in your post, it doesn't hurt to try it out. you've heard good and bad things about this guy. the teacher/student relationship is like any other in that you can have chemistry with the guy or you might end up hating him (or somewhere in between). you'd ideally like to find someone who everyone likes, everyone has turned into great guitarists from, and who is always available for you. unfortunately, these people do not exist.

best of luck with your quest.


Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349

To add to that, give the guy a chance but be critical. I've had a number of teachers and result vary wildly. My guitar teacher was a great player but a pretty mediocre teacher. He taught fragments of theory that made no sense nor connect to anything practical, he didn't look at posture or helped me develop as a musician. My piano teacher is great, but not for everyone. He's very lenient so most of the time I end up learning a different piece then we agreed on the week before so my progress is very unstructured. Yet no matter what I do to his schedule he always manages to help me improve, one way or the other. Lastly my violin teacher is very different again. She's kind and fair but she doesn't take too much nonsense from me. Sees straight through me, too, when I tried to hide I can't do something. Almost the opposite of my piano teacher but I learn from both a lot. You just have to get to know each other and find out a way that works for both you and the teacher. And if after, say, five or so lessons it's clear it wont work then don't be scared to say so.

New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4

Hi everyone. Looks like someone is having a hard time understanding what guitar theory is and the point of learning it. Well, I've got a whole blog dedicated to applying music theory to the guitar fretboard:

Also, you can listen to my Podcast for free guitar theory lessons at (also available at iTunes).

Studying guitar theory should be fun and relevant to popular music. Knowing how music works, and how different musical elements fit together, can benefit all types of players. Don't give up!

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, Modes and More

Reputable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 280

I think taking the time to study theory actually saves you a lot of time. I've played with guys that can learn and play tons of songs, but were limited when trying to create orignal music. If your goal is to be able to copy what others have done, you're already there. If you want to compose, I'd suggest learning all you can about theory.

Theory is not a bunch of rules that you have to play by. The "rules" exist whether you learn them or not. The "rules" we play by distinguish Western music from that of other cultures.

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