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 How many here know guitar theori? 
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Dr. X

Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 4:11 pm
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Post How many here know guitar theori?
I saw that many of you guys play guitar. I also listend to some of your tracks but how many know any guitar theory, like scales. I mean anybody can learn technical difficulties fast as hell. Is just a question how much you practise. I mean a monky could play it with very much practise. But to understand what you play and know the scales, arpeggios around chords is a totaly diffrent thing.

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:10 am
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Godzilla

Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2003 9:42 pm
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I know some basic scales (major, minor, pentatonic, blues), but I never know what note I'm playing (apart from the open strings and a few other obvious ones) and I can't read sheet music anymore...could when I used to play piano ages ago.


Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:35 am
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Motorman

Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2002 10:54 pm
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It's funny. You get chaps who know all the theory there is to know but cannot write, then you get chaps who know little theory but throw out tunes like it was going out of fashion.


Wed Apr 28, 2004 12:05 pm
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BOFH

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I know a little theory on chord constructuion and some scales and things... not much else... but i'm still learning :)

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:42 pm
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is evil...Evil Joe

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I know my fair bit of theory (chord construction, ,modes, scales etc). It takes quite a while to learn all the nessecities which is required to be able to write songs, solos and improvise like Paul Gilbert. U don't really need to know too much theory if u only want to play other people music. But if u want to write ur own songs (complex songs), then i reccommmend u learn some good theory!

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:00 pm
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Personally, I think learning music theory is overrated. I learned all that shit about ten years ago and I've since forgotten most of it 'cause I never found it that useful. If you're talking about rock n roll, most of the classic tunes were written by people with limited or no knowledge of music theory.

For example, Eddie Van Halen vs. Yngwie Malmsteen. Malmsteen knows shitloads of theory. Van Halen takes the "if it sounds good, it is good" approach. Who's the better songwriter? IMO, Eddie has written some of the best rock songs ever. Yngwie has written some great instrumentals, but in terms of actual songs his songwriting skills are weak compared to Eddie.


Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:22 pm
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is evil...Evil Joe

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TheSurgeon wrote:
Personally, I think learning music theory is overrated. I learned all that shit about ten years ago and I've since forgotten most of it 'cause I never found it that useful. If you're talking about rock n roll, most of the classic tunes were written by people with limited or no knowledge of music theory.

For example, Eddie Van Halen vs. Yngwie Malmsteen. Malmsteen knows shitloads of theory. Van Halen takes the "if it sounds good, it is good" approach. Who's the better songwriter? IMO, Eddie has written some of the best rock songs ever. Yngwie has written some great instrumentals, but in terms of actual songs his songwriting skills are weak compared to Eddie.


I wouldn't say that Eddie is a great songwriter in terms of lyrics, but in guitar licks, then yeah. My favourite Van Halen son to this day is Stompin' on SNL. What a fucking mental tune! Eruption is a close runner up but is over rated as its a very easy simple tune. EVH definetely goes for the "if it sounds good, then fuck it, ill just put it in" approach. Thats why u never really hear Eddie improvise as he can't as he doesn't have as great a theory knowledge as some guitarists. Im sure he knows a bit more than the basic theory of guitar though.

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:35 pm
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Motorman

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It depends what you are into. You can't really get away with not knowing your theory when it comes to jazz though.


Wed Apr 28, 2004 5:09 pm
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God Of The Sun
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Racer Who? wrote:
It depends what you are into. You can't really get away with not knowing your theory when it comes to jazz though.

Definitely.


And as far as the use of music theory, I think it's essential you at least know basic scales/chords, etc. Of course there are shitloads of things to learn, but personally I'm learning as much as I can. I just like knowing exactly what i'm doing when I'm playing. I think the more you know, the more potential and vareity of things you have to choose from when you're writing songs.

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:02 pm
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i know aboslutely no theory,scales whatsoever....whatever sounds right is ok by me.....i only know some basic chord names...thats about it.

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:11 pm
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Dr. X

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Quote:
I wouldn't say that Eddie is a great songwriter in terms of lyrics, but in guitar licks, then yeah.


Well, since he has had little if anything to do with their lyrics over the years, it's safe to assume that he meant RIFFS.

Quote:
My favourite Van Halen song to this day is Stompin' on SNL. What a fucking mental tune! Eruption is a close runner up but is over rated as its a very easy simple tune.


Eruption is overrated and easy? Then you weren't around when it came out -- it was positively mind-blowing at the time. You have to take it within the context of when it was done, since there was literally nothing like it at the time.

Quote:
EVH definetely goes for the "if it sounds good, then fuck it, ill just put it in" approach. Thats why u never really hear Eddie improvise as he can't as he doesn't have as great a theory knowledge as some guitarists.


Wow, you've never seen him play live, have you? "Can't improvise"? :roll:

Quote:
Im sure he knows a bit more than the basic theory of guitar though.


First of all, "theory of guitar"? Music theory applies to ALL Western instruments, not just guitar. Do your research -- Eddie is a classically trained pianist, so I think it's safe to say he knows enough theory (which, by the way, has absolutely NO bearing on one's ability to improvise).

It's great that you have an opinion, but if you don't know what you're talking about, you may want to check your facts before posting something as absurd as this.


Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:38 pm
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God Of The Sun
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To survive in this world of music I think you should know as much theory as possible, but not take it as gospel. You need to know when to say, yeah that's not "by the book" but it sounds good. I played in a dance band for about 5-6 years. If I hadn't learned the bit of theory I did, I would have been dead in the water.
So, theory is not useless, it just takes a while to know when to use that knowledge & when to put it to rest.

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:13 pm
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Dr. X
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If I remember right, Van Halen learned piano by ear and tricked his teacher into thinking he was reading. There are lots of untrained masters in guitar who understand music theory on the instrument intuitavely, not on paper. That is what playing by ear means. Ultimately, the application of your knowledge is what is important, not the amount of knowledge you have.

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:19 pm
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is evil...Evil Joe

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Psychotronic wrote:
Quote:
I wouldn't say that Eddie is a great songwriter in terms of lyrics, but in guitar licks, then yeah.


Well, since he has had little if anything to do with their lyrics over the years, it's safe to assume that he meant RIFFS.

Quote:
My favourite Van Halen song to this day is Stompin' on SNL. What a fucking mental tune! Eruption is a close runner up but is over rated as its a very easy simple tune.


Eruption is overrated and easy? Then you weren't around when it came out -- it was positively mind-blowing at the time. You have to take it within the context of when it was done, since there was literally nothing like it at the time.

Quote:
EVH definetely goes for the "if it sounds good, then fuck it, ill just put it in" approach. Thats why u never really hear Eddie improvise as he can't as he doesn't have as great a theory knowledge as some guitarists.


Wow, you've never seen him play live, have you? "Can't improvise"? :roll:

Quote:
Im sure he knows a bit more than the basic theory of guitar though.


First of all, "theory of guitar"? Music theory applies to ALL Western instruments, not just guitar. Do your research -- Eddie is a classically trained pianist, so I think it's safe to say he knows enough theory (which, by the way, has absolutely NO bearing on one's ability to improvise).

It's great that you have an opinion, but if you don't know what you're talking about, you may want to check your facts before posting something as absurd as this.


First of all, YES Eruption is an unbelievable song and was fantastic when it came out and still is a classsic. Second, YES, eruption is easy to play on guitar. It wasn't to long ago when I was in a guitar shop testing out some Jazzmaster reissues when I heard a wee punk-rock mosher kid playing Eruption on guitar. It's a phenomonal song but many amateur guitar player can still play it. I remember it only took me a day to learn it and perfect it. (though Van Halen does make a small mistake when he playing and recording eruption, which still pisses him off to this very day.) I have seen EVH live, and he is very good, though he plays his stuff pretty much identical to the studio versions of the song. When he does add stuff in, it is usually very basic, or involes fretboard tapping inwhich he overuses so much. He is a great artist and I have studied his work over the years, and his "guitar" theory is not above average as I have heard and seen. And I do know what i'm talking about after having played VH for years.

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Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:49 pm
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Superhero

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Theory can be VERY handy.. Depends what your doing, as others have said..

Its important for comunicating music, understanding how it works.. it explains why it works.. I thinks its very intresting and fun..


Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:36 am
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Carnflab wrote:
Theory can be VERY handy.. Depends what your doing, as others have said..

Its important for comunicating music, understanding how it works.. it explains why it works.. I thinks its very intresting and fun..


I agree, yes you can come up with cool riffs and work out a song by what sounds good. To know even a bit of theory though helps you know what potentially should come next, or what chord should be used, etc.
Easiest thing to start with is to learn the basic pattern to the major scales over the whole neck, you would be suprised to know there is only one pattern (for the major keys and the common modes - Lydian, Dorian, etc.) But depending on where it's placed on the neck and of course the chords played effect it (find some pics online of various common modes covering the whole neck and compare two, you'll see). It sounds more complicated than it really is.
Learn your neck too, what each fret is, you probibly already noticed this by the way you tune your guitar.

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Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:49 am
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God Of The Sun
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i read some where that rhoads studied theory alot. and look at what a great player he was. But this could also be due to the fact that he was also a natural guitar player. EVH on the other hand was just as good but never studied any theory.

i am only takin theory for jazz and for learning scales. But all the other stuff i learn didn't do shit.

The only palce you MUST have theory in is jazz.

-vik


Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:55 am
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I don't know EVH all too well but someone earlier mentioned he was a trained pianist, so if thats true he would have known theory.

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Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:16 am
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Eddie took some piano lessons as a kid before switching to drums and then guitar. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say he's a "classically trained pianist." That's not to say he doesn't know any theory. My original point was only that I don't think he's as well versed in theory as Malmsteen, yet is a much better songwriter.

Additionally, I don't think learning theory is a waste of time. It can be somewhat helpful in certain situations. But I do think the benefit of learning theory is often exaggerated ... at least in the context of rock music.


BTW - the comment that Eddie can't improvise is ludicrous.


Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:24 am
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in some cases just letting the music flow is the best way to go (i.e. Stevie Ray Vaughan), but music is also a language, in a sense, allow me to quote victor wooten, i know this is very long, but you will find it very insightful
READ!!

I think that we can all agree on the fact that music is a language. A language being a form of communication. A way to express ourselves. A way to get our message out there. Music does exactly that. It is definitely used to express ourselves, our feelings, and our messages. It is when we approach music as a language that most of the difficulty, the confusion, the "how do I do it?" disappears.

When I get confused while trying to answer a musical question, I immediately think back to the fact that music is a language. Then I ask myself, "what language am I the best at?" For me, the answer is, without question, the English language. The next step is to then turn the music question into an English language question. If I can do that, the answer is usually obvious to see.

Oh, who is that with their hand up in the back? You want examples? Sure. OK. Here's one.

Let's say that the question is, "do I need to be able to read and write music in order to be able to play it?"

We'll let's see here. Let's turn this into a language question. "Do I need to be able to read and write English in order to speak it?" The answer is obviously, NO! Some of the greatest minds in our history came from people who were illiterate.

Just think about it. We speak English comfortably for 5 or 6 years before we learn how to read and write it. We can actually live a very productive life being illiterate. BUT, think of the advantages that you have just because of the simple fact that you can read and write. You are probably holding this in your hands because of this fact.

The same goes with music. It is possible to have a highly successful musical career without ever learning to read or write it. Believe it or not, many of our favorite musicians do not read or write one bit of music. One of my favorite drummers, Dennis Chambers, does not read a note of music. But he makes up for it in other ways. Dennis can hear a song once and play it back better than many of us could if we were reading the chart.

As with any language, think of the advantages you have if you can read and write music. Your opportunities in both aspects will probably more than double. I don't think that I need to outline all of the advantages here so let's move on to the next question.


"Do I have to know music theory to be a good musician?"
"Victor-san, Victor-san, I know the answer to this one. The answer is NO!"
"Very good grasshopper. You are catching on."

One can speak fluently without ever having heard of a noun, pronoun, verb, adjective etc. Actually, even if you have heard of these things, you rarely ever think of them while you are speaking.

Many of the top musicians in the industry do not know any music theory and still play it very well. But once again, you can see the advantages of knowing your theory. It can aid you in your growth and get you out of jams that your ears can't get you out of.
But remember, theory is a tool. As with any set of tools, you don't carry them with you all of the time. You take them out when you need them. The better the tools and your knowledge of how to use them, the easier the situation will be to fix or amend.

Thinking of the tool/rules/theory all of the time may make it harder for you when trying to honestly and purely express yourself. Just think of trying to talk to someone while thinking (verb) of (preposition) the (article) big (adjective) rulebook (compound word, noun). Get the point?

"Are you tired of this yet? NO? OK! One more."
"You in the back there, You have a question?"
"Victor, oh talkative one. What about me? I'm a beginner. What is the best way for me to learn to play?"
What would be the best way for a person to learn to speak French? Buy a book? Get a teacher? Eat some fries? (Steve Bailey says to get a French girlfriend).

Although all of these may be good ways to learn, I think that Steve would agree that they may not be the best (or safest) way to learn French. The best way would probably be to go to France and surround yourself with French speaking people everyday. Eat, sleep and drink French (no comment Steve).

French children don't have a problem learning French because they are in it all of the time.

Music can be learned the same way but cheaper. Going to a Jazz club and surrounding yourself with that music may be a little less expensive than going to France to learn French. To learn Jazz or any other style of music quickly and thoroughly, you must surround yourself with it. Find a good teacher if you can but also go to the music clubs, sit in with the other musicians if you can even if you think that you are not good enough. Listen to the music even while you sleep. If you learn a style of music only from a teacher or a book, like with French, you will probably end up playing it with an accent. Comprenday ameego?

Listening and practicing is the key to getting better as a musician but how you think about what you listen to and practice is just important.

Think about this. The English language has 26 letters in its alphabet. Our Music language only has 12. I'll let you do the math.

peace, vic

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