where to start with theory

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Thread: where to start with theory

  1. #1

    Join Date: Apr 2012
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    where to start with theory

    yo fullaz. I'm looking to improve my guitar playing a great deal. I've been playing for 8 years now (im 17), and I've reached as far as I can go without learning this stuff. I've realised that after 8 years I should definitely be waaaaaaay better than I am now... I've plateaued and it feels horrible. I know about rhythmic notation and basic stave notes and i can sweep pick 5 string maj patterns pretty good, but I need to know where to start with learning intervals and scales and modes and stuff. I've done internet searches but its all a bit daunting. Any help?

    if it helps, I play in a brutal/technical death metal band?
    Last edited by sixeightgroove; 04-11-2013 at 02:05 PM.

  2. #2

    Join Date: Aug 2011
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    Online Bass Lessons at StudyBass

    Directed at bassists, but it's a great resource for music theory.

  3. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2012
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    I'd start with the modes (thats where I'm at at the moment). they will give you an idea of scales, shifting positions on the fretboard and the relationships certain scales/modes have with one another (for example C Major to E Phrygian) .

    there are loads of videos on youtube that will help you get an idea of how they work - but the best thing that worked for me was to draw a huge fretboard, mark out the notes of C Maj scale at the 8th fret - and then mark out every other location on the entire fret board that the notes of C Maj scale occur - and you will see exactly what the modes are useful for.

    then i did the same for other common 'guitar' scales - E Minor, A Maj etc. this will give you a good foundation for improvising solos etc. along the whole fretboard while staying 'in key'.

    that might give you a good starting point - then when you start getting into the mad scientist theory, you should have a better foundation to build on.

  4. #4

    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    What Plezz said.

    You've got to learn your scales and modes, as well as chord theory. You won't really advance as a player until you do.

  5. #5

    Join Date: Sep 2012
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    yup, chord theory is next on my theory list (not that i can say i've 'mastered modes' by any stretch). a few years ago a mate of mine who was a bass player studying at the musicians institute London explained modes to me, and the very basics of chord theory and its AMAZING how much difference a little theory made to my playing - proof if ever needed that you can in fact polish a turd

  6. #6

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    There are two theory categories? I am so fucked.
    Let not the dixie cup mislead you!

  7. #7

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    Musictheory.net is the best place on the internet to start.

  8. #8

    Join Date: Jul 2009
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    ^ I second that.

    Don't get too caught up on modes yet, ESPECIALLY if you still don't understand major scale harmony. Start very simple and work your way up from there - it'll all fall into place a lot easier if you do.

    Pro tip: learn the note names of each fret on your guitar before/while you start working on theory. If you don't, it's going to become textbook knowledge to you and be absolutely useless on the instrument itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by fathead View Post
    There are two theory categories? I am so fucked.
    No. Chord theory is just how chords work in regard to music theory. It's not it's own category
    "Sometimes you have to confront your own patterns and expectations of yourself and do away with things that you enjoy doing in order to move forward and keep evolving as a musician. That's exactly the definition of the word progressive of course." —Steven Wilson

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