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What should I focus on now?

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Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 55
Topic starter  

Ok I've taught myself enough to understand TAB, scales (though I cant remember what a C scale is & such) as well as the different open chords (I dont now what chords sound well with eachother though) and I currently just play parts of some songs. I've been playing for 6 months now and plan to take lessons soon so what do you guys suggests I focus on learning as far as music theroy goes at this point, got any specific lessons on this website for a guy like me?

Id really like to try to compose some of my own songs but without the correct knowledge I dont know how to go about it.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5840

The first thing to learn is keys and how they are constructed. I suggest that you buy a good theory starter book (Tom Serb's book is excellent and designed specifically for guitarists). Better still, Tom is a regular here under the name Noteboat - so you can always ask the author himself.

That'll keep you busy for a while.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 608

internet internet internet :D

Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 268

Compose your own music, eh?

This is how i do it.

learn chord theory. take it slow. build your chords from scratch, to suit the sound your looking for.

now learn harmony. What notes sound good against the chords you are playing? remember to include all chord notes as possible harmonizers.

use this to create chord progressions, or just refer to the circle of fifths (not what i do, but what id reccomend if, you want to take the easy way until you've got the harmony thing down pat)

your melody can now be created by using harmony, and anticipating what will lead well into the next chord. using notes from the actual chord you are playing the melody against is a nice way to do it (as planetalk often suggests) but I have a knack for melody, so I just do this by ear.

there is alot of theory about it, too bad i have no way of explaining it in terms that everyone can understand. That is basically what I do. I dont know the actual theory to the point of explanation, but experimentation serves me well. Im a kinesthetic learner anyways.

hope that helps a bit.

paul donnelly
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1066

Do everything he says, because he's right, but don't hold off until you learn all that stuff. Start composing right now. You'll write some awful stuff at first, but experience is just as important as theoretical knowledge. Just start with a simple melody. Don't worry about making it breathtaking, or "long enough", and don't worry that it's too simple, or that it only uses three different notes. Just write a pleasant little tune. It's a good way too start, because you don't need to know scales (although they will be helpful later) or harmony. Learning to read and write standard notation will be helpful, because then you can write stuff down and not worry about forgetting it.

Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 268

definately start writing right away. The way I taught myself (and still am teaching myself) harmony and the theory behind it is by wrinting music (in tab, i sadly have an incredibly difficult time reading SN) and experimenting with different sounds. It all comes with time and thought. Hope you have fun. It's a long and winding road, but once you reach your destination, you realize that it was the journey that meant everything.