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Thread: Electric guitar: only about pop. songs? Help!

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Electric guitar: only about pop. songs? Help!

    Hi guys!

    It's my first post here I'll introduce myself properly later; but right now, I am too worried

    I have been playing guitar for 1 year now and I finally figure out that I am not a huge fan of learning guitar from popular songs.

    My problem is that it's all what teachers seem to do! (teach guitar using popular songs) I had one guitar teacher so far and I talked to another potential one and apparently, electrical guitar is mostly about popular songs!

    The thing is, it can't be true because I find really great etudes in the article section of this site, and also, guitarists are not just playing with singers. I heard few "instrumental" songs in which the guitar is leading and I would love to play like those guitarists.

    Now I am getting desperate here, because I finally find something that I am passionate about (playing guitar ) and I know that I can be good at it but I feel like if I don't get somebody that understands what I like, I won't be able to get motivated. I don't want to learn solely from popular songs!

    Now, you guys should know that I did 5 years of piano before and maybe I expect guitar to be like piano in terms of musical piece, and maybe it's a mistake, But in all honesty, I don't see why musical pieces of guitar would only be popular songs. It doesn't make any sense!

    So can anybody please help me find some good books or tell me if I should go and learn classical guitar instead? (Not I really want to learn classical guitar but would that be the only option, I'd happily do it!)

    Basically, anybody with any comments or advices, please help!

    Mary

  2. #2
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    welcome to IBM

    Now, don't get too stressed out. Music is always suppose to be enjoyable and it can take on whatever shape or form you want it to be. Therefore you can do whatever you want on the guitar. Is most of the electric guitar stuff out there in pop songs? Well I suppose seeing as most of the music out there is pop music and electric guitar is the most popular instrument, it would follow that most of the electric guitar you hear would in some way be in pop songs. What does that mean for you? Well, absolutely nothing, because you can do whatever you want.

    If your current teacher isn't giving you what you want, find another. Don't be held down to one person, or one environment. You know generally what you want and it probably wont be hard to find. Anyways, you will probably change teachers a few more times throughout your development. Just look in your local listings and get on the phone and talk to all the teachers you can. There will undoubtly be someone in town that can teach you about music where guitar is more in the forefront and not just in a 'popular' song role. Infact I think you would be hard pressed to find a town anywhere that doesn't have a resident Stevie Ray Vaughan and/or a Joe Satriani clone willing to teach you a thing or two.

    good luck

  3. #3
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    Welcome to IBM. As an electric guitarist, I am biased mainly towards songs that involve, well, guitars. My extensive music collection is mostly guitar-based, and of those, about half of them are mainly along the lines of guitar instrumentals.

    A lot of teachers will teach differently. A lot of guitarists take up guitar to be able to play popular music; there are teachers that cater to that. Likewise there are those who want to play other things, other styles of music, and there are teachers who cater to that. The guitar is similar to all (most) other instruments, in that it is used in both 'popular/mainstream' music and non-mainstream music. Just like piano; piano is a common musical instrument in a lot of popular music, but also, in music that's not mainstream. Same goes for guitar.

    It would appear that the problem is, you have a teacher who is catered towards teaching popular music, or has misinterpreted in somewhat what you want to learn. I would recommand finding a teacher who can cater to the style of music you want to learn (always speak to a teacher before committing to lessons, find out if they can teach you what you want to know) and also, listen to a lot of music that is based around the style you like. Find guitarists you like, from whatever style takes your fancy; blues, rock, jazz, metal, classical, country, there are even some quite unorthadox guitarists in popular music today. If you have trouble finding a teacher that can cater to your style, you could learn on your own or take lessons with a teacher for a while to begin to learn correct technique, for them to help with problems and such until you feel ready to strike out on your own. That's what I did.

    There is a lot of guitar music out there that's not 'popular' or 'mainstream' at all, I'd wager more non-mainstream than mainstream actually; just like most instruments.

    Good luck!

    Nick

    EDIT: And if you still think electric guitar is just about pop songs, allow myself and the rest of us here at IBM to convince you otherwise with recommending some absolutely awesome guitarists for you to listen to.
    Last edited by Lowthorpe; 05-02-2006 at 08:46 AM.
    I'll disagree with you for the sake of being contraversial.

  4. #4
    Registered User tucker97325's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irinamarella
    So can anybody please help me find some good books or tell me if I should go and learn classical guitar instead? (Not I really want to learn classical guitar but would that be the only option, I'd happily do it!)

    Basically, anybody with any comments or advices, please help!

    Mary
    I may be wrong, but it seems I've heard that before you can be accepted into any of the higher guitar programs, at say Berkley, you are required to have some classical guitar background. So finding a good classical teacher wouldn't be a bad idea at all. It would (hopefully) give you a very solid base to build upon. (Not to mention they will teach you to use proper fingering techniques and posture, which is so often overlooked by contemporary, "POP" teachers.) Once you have that, you could continue much more easily in whatever direction you want.

    Just my thoughts on the subject.
    "It ain't what you play man! Its how you play it."
    www.soundclick.com/kenvarieur

  5. #5
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    Smile

    Hi Guys!

    First off, thank you all for your answers. I am glad to see that what I want is actually realistic. And sorry if I sounded a little hysterical, I was tired and hadn't eaten for a while when I wrote that. Sorry.

    Now, don't get too stressed out. Music is always suppose to be enjoyable and it can take on whatever shape or form you want it to be.
    You are right, I really need to keep that in mind. I tend to forget it sometimes and when playing is not fun anymore, I think it's sad.

    Don't be held down to one person, or one environment.
    I'll keep that in mind too. The reason I have trouble is that guitar teacher are hard to find around here. Which is something that I find totally weird if you ask me because it's not like I live in a jungle... But I'll keep looking.

    he guitar is similar to all (most) other instruments, in that it is used in both 'popular/mainstream' music and non-mainstream music.
    See, I knew it!

    If you have trouble finding a teacher that can cater to your style, you could learn on your own or take lessons with a teacher for a while to begin to learn correct technique, for them to help with problems and such until you feel ready to strike out on your own. That's what I did.
    That's actually my plan. I am just happy to know that it is not a crazy one.

    I may be wrong, but it seems I've heard that before you can be accepted into any of the higher guitar programs, at say Berkley, you are required to have some classical guitar background.
    I think you are right. But me being 22, I doubt I'll ever have "formal" guitar courses. But at this point, I would love to do classical guitar. Maybe not now, because it means buying another guitar, but I'll keep looking into it. There's a whole world outhere!

    EDIT: And if you still think electric guitar is just about pop songs, allow myself and the rest of us here at IBM to convince you otherwise with recommending some absolutely awesome guitarists for you to listen to.
    Please do!!! But I'll definitely look around this place, because there seem to be so much info, I am sure it'll help me tremendously!

  6. #6
    Registered User tucker97325's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irinamarella
    I think you are right. But me being 22, I doubt I'll ever have "formal" guitar courses. But at this point, I would love to do classical guitar. Maybe not now, because it means buying another guitar, but I'll keep looking into it. There's a whole world outhere!
    Apparently I didn't make my point clear. It isn't that I thought you would want to attend a school such as Berkley, but that since they "require" a classical background they must then feel that foundation is important. It's sort of like building a house on a foundation of sand or stone, you know? But, I suppose it depends on where you want to take it.
    Last edited by tucker97325; 05-02-2006 at 08:07 PM.
    "It ain't what you play man! Its how you play it."
    www.soundclick.com/kenvarieur

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker97325
    I may be wrong, but it seems I've heard that before you can be accepted into any of the higher guitar programs, at say Berkley, you are required to have some classical guitar background. . . .
    That might be true of Juliard, but not of Berklee, as Berklee specializes in "contemporary" music. You'd be surprised at the number of famous and near-famous guitarists who attended Berklee, and are big in rock. And check out the publications at berkleepress.com.

    Berklee is a hard taskmaster when it comes to music theory, however: a drummer-friend who is finishing up at Berklee, and who as a drummer doesn't need a whole lot of music theory, nonetheless was required to learn it. And beyond that, his assignments include composing for classical groupings.

  8. #8
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    There are actually very few places that require classical training of their jazz majors, especially for guitar, seeing as classical and electric guitar are so different in terms of technique.

    I'm in the middle of applying to music schools and the only place I've seen that requires a classical audition for their jazz program (on top of a jazz audition) is the Eastman School of Music. Everywhere else you either play jazz or classical and there is no need for both.
    "I second-hand smoke two packs of cigarettes a day." -- Jerry Seinfeld

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by graypianoflying
    There are actually very few places that require classical training of their jazz majors, especially for guitar, seeing as classical and electric guitar are so different in terms of technique.

    I'm in the middle of applying to music schools and the only place I've seen that requires a classical audition for their jazz program (on top of a jazz audition) is the Eastman School of Music. Everywhere else you either play jazz or classical and there is no need for both.
    That's worthwhile information.

    As for schools: you might want to check out the Berklee website (I think it's berklee.com; Google would find it for certain). It does appear that most--not all--professors in their guitar dept. play jazz; but most of the guitar students play rock (at least initially).

    And explore the site, as it has some free online lessons* (including the "testimonial" about a blues class by a member of "Antigone Rising"). And also, of course, berkleepress.com to see the books by, and used as texts by, Berklee professors. (As is typical of colleges/universities today, there are some courses of questionable merit--offered to those who don't yet have a fuller picture of the area of study.)

    *Those online lessons are little more than a "tease" as compared with most other free online lessons.

    In any case, as Bruce Arnold (graduated Berklee, taught there for a time; now teaches at Princeton and NYU--see his muse-eek.com) indicates, the first year of college-level music education is music theory, and the years following application of music theory to assignments. As noted (here or elsewhere), the drummer-friend who is finishing up at Berklee had not only to take music theory, his assignments include writing, in standard notation, scores for various kinds of musical configurations, including that I would consider "classical"--even though a drummer doesn't need to know, as example, scales, in order to play his instrument.

    But that's the academics. Most/all colleges/universities will take pretty much anyone who can breathe and pay the tuition. Bruce Arnold speaks to the number of people who actually make it through to degree--and the numbers aren't pretty.

    Good luck at school; from his (and Arnold's) description, music appears to be an intense, even unrelenting, curriculum--especialy for those who have no prior background in any of the the required basics.

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