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Thread: Hey! I'm Tushar.

  1. #1
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    Hey! I'm Tushar.

    I'm 17 and I've been playing the guitar for about two and a half years now. I'm mostly self taught, so I basically have no theoretical knowledge. I was in the school band, though. I have a tough time figuring out songs by ear/improvising. I can't even tune the guitar. I just download tabs and practice the songs/solos I like. I usually play for long hours when I have time.

    I feel that not having any theoretical knowledge/writing and reading skills/ear training is hindering my progress and I cannot develop my skills any further. You have to know why you're playing what you're playing, right?

    What do you suggest I should do? Do I need to go through the grades?

    Any input would be appreciated.
    Thank You!
    Last edited by tushar39; 04-23-2012 at 12:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tushar39 View Post
    I'm 17 and I've been playing the guitar for about two and a half years now. I'm mostly self taught, so I basically have no theoretical knowledge. I was in the school band, though. I have a tough time figuring out songs by ear/improvising. I can't even tune the guitar. I just download tabs and practice the songs/solos I like. I usually play for long hours when I have time.
    Tabs are good for melody, but, for harmony (chord work) I move from tabs to playing the chord shown on the sheet music. Check out the book I list below.

    I feel that not having any theoretical knowledge/writing and reading skills/ear training is hindering my progress and I cannot develop my skills any further. You have to know why you're playing what you're playing, right?

    What do you suggest I should do? Do I need to go through the grades?

    Any input would be appreciated.
    Thank You!
    The book Guitar for dummies is a good place to start. http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CG8Q8wIwAA# Yep, page one and don't skip pages. You gotta learn how to tune this beast.

    If you play by rote - what is written - you can get by with no theory at all, just play what is put in front of you. However, if you want to be able to understand music and know how it thinks, yes, then you need some theory.

    Here is one of the better papers on music theory. http://www.billygreen.pwp.blueyonder...20Advanced.pdf The first 20 pages covers the basics, the next 60 pages get into intermediate and advanced theory. Enough here to keep you busy for the next year or so.

    Have fun.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-23-2012 at 08:58 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    Tabs are good for melody, but, for harmony (chord work) I move from tabs to playing the chord shown on the sheet music. Check out the book I list below.


    The book Guitar for dummies is a good place to start. http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CG8Q8wIwAA# Yep, page one and don't skip pages. You gotta learn how to tune this beast.

    If you play by rote - what is written - you can get by with no theory at all, just play what is put in front of you. However, if you want to be able to understand music and know how it thinks, yes, then you need some theory.

    Here is one of the better papers on music theory. http://www.billygreen.pwp.blueyonder...20Advanced.pdf The first 20 pages covers the basics, the next 60 pages get into intermediate and advanced theory. Enough here to keep you busy for the next year or so.

    Have fun.
    Thanks a lot! I will definitely read those books.

    What about ear-training and timing? What if I want to figure out, let's say, something like stream of consciousness solo or maybe even no boundaries? Sure I can learn how to play it by using tabs but that won't be quite an achievement.
    Music is all about originality and expressiveness. Will ear-training help in improvisation or maybe even composition?

    Thanks a lot for your time!
    Last edited by tushar39; 04-24-2012 at 09:01 AM.

  4. #4
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    And tab will not help you with that as tab does nothing about note duration, etc. For that you need to turn from science to art. You gotta listen to a bunch of music.

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    I listen to a whole lot of music. I meant what do you suggest I do for ear training? Should I download a software or something?

  6. #6
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    I think ear training is always good to have and there are many Internet sites that can help you, however, not sure where you are on your musical journey. First things first is usually best - time you invest in ear training will take away from what you are doing now. Ear training is not an over night venture and you have so much to learn right at first you may want to leave ear training for later.

    I have started ear training twice and found that it was going to take more time than I wanted to give it. At this point in my musical journey I did not see it being all that useful with what I do, which is to play covers on rhythm guitar or bass and use fake chord sheet music to give me what I need.

    If you have the time go for it.

    You asked if ear training will help with improvisation and composition. Improvisation is composing on the fly. Helps to have a good ear, but improvisation and composing on the fly happens because you have spent hours in the shed storing your melodies, licks, riffs so you can reach in and grab what you need, when you need something. The following videos helped me understand how to improvise.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0iZ1j00wSU Copy some of the text that come on the screen. Four note phrases, three close notes then a leap, pauses let the music breath. Pentatonic scales - love pentatonic scales.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NehOx1JsuT4 Let the melody be your guide. Good things happen around chord tones, improvise from the 3rds, every major chord has a 3rd. Take notes on what Hal has to say.

    I found things like that more important - to me - than being able to recognize a 2 or a 6th. Of course that is just my opinion.

    Have fun.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-25-2012 at 10:06 AM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks a lot!

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