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Thread: Right track or not?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Right track or not?

    Hello there.

    I have been playing the guitar for nearly 1 and a half year now but I am unsure if I am progressing in the right track.

    In the picture, I want to be an amazing instrumental guitarist like Vai and Satriani and end my career in the music industry, be it teaching or performing. I'm 24 now and the hateful society is taking my time to work in their corporates for my personal survival.

    On the main issue, I have been mindlessly running up and down the fretboard exercising my fingers and picking dexterity without playing any songs all these time (without a disciplined routine either) and I finally come to realise that it shouldn't have been that way.

    Since this month, I had picked up a couple of songs from songbooks to learn and play along with metronome. (And god, I totally sucked at chord changing while keeping at the tempo!)

    I am also reading up major scales and learning how to transform them into minor, minor pentatonic etc etc as well as chord constructions.

    I have also successfully transcribed a song and I am also starting to transcribe another song as well.

    But however, I find myself stuck in improvisations and chord progressions. I have no clue what should I play to have a nice melody or which chords over a melody etc etc. I totally lost it so I decided to put it on hold until I mastered the few songs from the songbooks.

    So... The big question is, "Am I moving on the right track or do I need to start learning chord progressions and stuffs now as well?"

    On a side, I am having second thoughts about playing random songs off the songbooks. It's like I am mindlessly reading the tablatures and playing them off. Pertaining to this, am I doing it right? I'm kind of afraid that I will end up doing what I did for the past 1 and half year.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Nothing wrong with what you have been doing - however, if you keep playing just from tabs you will never understand how music thinks. You now know your patterns. You know how to make modes and pentatonic scales, and chords, and yes the next thing is how do you use them in songs.

    If you want to know how to use those things you have been running up and down your fretboard and turn them into music. Then I suggest you get some basic theory under your belt. And I suppose that is why you are here.

    This site and the Internet is full of "stuff" on music theory. Take a question to Google and you will get several papers on the subject.

    Music theory in less than 100 words. IMO.
    Your melody line and your chord line need to share like notes for those two lines to harmonize. If they harmonize they will sound good with each other. So step one is to know the scales that will be used in your music. The major scale, is the place to start. Then taking one of those specific major scales learn how to stack 3rds of the scale to find the chords that are made from those scale notes. If you play that scale's notes over the chords made from that scale it's going to sound good.
    Now it's going to take a whole lot more words to get into how do you do that. Up to this point you have probably not tried to tie the melody with the harmony. It's a process that you can work on the rest of your life.

    www.musictheory.net and the articles on this site will be a good place to start. This article http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/105 is about THE MAJOR SCALE I suggest you start there. And of course ask specific questions here.

    The following has proven to be an excellent theory paper. It starts with the Basics, then moves into Intermediate and Advanced topics. Start with the first pages (basic are on pages 1 - 20) and do not be in a hurry. http://www.billygreen.pwp.blueyonder...20Advanced.pdf

    Welcome to the site and good luck.

    [edit] But, studying theory just by itself does not get you playing songs, it just lets you understand what the songwriter did and why it works. Pull up some fake chord or lead sheet music on one of your songs then using the theory you now know analyze what is happening in the song. Play the song asking why certain things are being done. Why is this chord progression being used. Why is this melodic phrase being used with this specific chord? Why was it necessary that we changed chords at this point in the song? If you do not know the answer see if you can find the answer. Or ask that specific question here, someone will jump on it. It really helps to have your guitar with you as you read your theory lessons. Read a little; play a little.

    This video opened some doors for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrDh0OFDCAk In the video you will have the choice of using the C major chord or the Am chord, both will work, point I want you to understand is why the C major chord is the best chord for this song - at this specific part of the song.

    Have fun.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-11-2012 at 04:53 AM.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Wow Malcolm. Thank you so much for this amazing reply!

    "Music theory in less than 100 words" totally intrigued me! Theory didn't seem so useful to me initially.

    Oh yes! I had watched the video. I think I got the point about why C Major is preferred over A minor.

    I'm gonna get started on harmonizing the melody and vice versa after I get better knowledge of theory from your resources.

    Once again, thank you! (Those I kind of feel giving such a short reply is insincere.. )
    Last edited by Dell; 04-11-2012 at 05:32 AM.

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