A bit of theory, in theory, won't kill you.

July 14, 2016

Like Superman and Kryptonite, Guitarists and Theory. 

In fact I think Superman mans up to kryptonite more than guitarists do to theory. 

Seriously pluckers, it won't kill you and it's really not as hard as you think. The reality is you will be so much better for even a little theory.

Let me give you analogy. You like telling stories, you would love to write them and be good at it. But you've not bothered to learn to read or write. You aren't getting too far.  OK so you learn to read and write, but you can't spell or use grammar. Now you can write a book for sure, but the majority are going to find it difficult, at best, to comprehend. You don't need to be Stephen Fry in terms of grammar and vocabulary, but some would come in handy. 

So to music. You can play tunes, you can knock some licks out of the park, but you have no idea how chord and scales are constructed.  You are making your life more difficult than it needs to be.  A little time just comprehending and working on the simple stuff and all of a sudden you will find your progression will become much greater.  

Not convinced?  I'm not surprised, I teach, I have this debate almost daily, as I try to persuade students to dabble in theory. it would be easier to get them to take up crack cocaine. 

A surprising amount gloss over the very basic stuff. Why? Well where is the glamour in showing your mates that you know the note of g is on the 8th fret of the B string, compared with strumming out a coldplay song?  I get it, I understand. However, if you want to learn more tunes and play the cooler chord voicings and perhaps play some licks, you are going to need to know where the notes are and how they all fit together. 

 

My usual question to all students is , "Do you know where all the notes are on all 12 strings?"  The usual answer is a mumbled  slightly shifty, " er kinda"  This translates to "no" but the embarrassment is too much. 

It's real simple. So simple. it takes but a few minutes of your day and you can have that nailed. From this small building block everything else is going to become so much easier. 

 

Simply just make yourself 12 flash cards with the following on them

 

A  A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

 

From there decide upon your string of the day.  There are 6 strings and 5 of them are different. You can do one a day and have the weekend off. 2-3 mins a day for 5 days. That is 15 minutes. You can surely spend 15 minutes working on this.  I spend longer on the loo!!!! ( too much info)? 

 

So pick a string to work on. Lets go with the E string. You get 2 for the price of 1 with them. 

 

Pull out a flash card at random.  Lets say it's C#

 

So where is the C# note on an E string?  

Any ideas? No, OK lets work it out. 

 

It's an E string right?  So the open String is E.  What note comes after E? F, This will be the 1 st fret on the E string.   The second fret, that's F# and so on and so forth. til we reach C#/ Which fret? any ideas? OK I'll tell you. 9th fret.  Thattook a little while. Now lets find another note on that string, as many as you can in a 3 minute window. Slowly it will stat to make sense. 

The following day, lets do a different string.  By some fluke you make get the note of C# again. You can now listen to your note on you know on the E string and see if you can match them by finding it the counting up way and by listening to the pitch to check.  Double bubble. 

Now did any of this hurt? No, do you feel like you know a bit more? Undoubtedly. So easy, and the rest of learning theory will be nice small steps just like this. 

Embrace it. You will be so much better for it. 

 

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