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Thread: What are the most important things you need to know for guitar?

  1. #1
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    What are the most important things you need to know for guitar?

    Hey guys, What do you think are the absolute necessary things you need to know to get good at guitar? I'm just wondering because I know almost all the general stuff and some advanced and I'm wondering what I should learn?

  2. #2
    I've thought about this myself...as long as you know scales,more specifically how the scales are derived, correct progression of notes,etc you should be better off than most. Get the aspect of timing down also.

    Alot of advanced guitar players tell me it will start to come toether bit by bit. Just continue working on the physical aspect of it all. It seems like you have enough theory to maintain for now...maybe some one else with more experience can chime in.
    Scalar Runs

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Absolute drop dead number one thing to know. Be able to play songs from fake chord sheet music and back-up your vocal with rhythm guitar.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 07-23-2009 at 06:32 AM.

  4. #4
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    1: learn some songs with tablature
    2: learn to read all major and minor chords and strum out some songs
    3: learn to read notes
    4: learn some songs reading notes
    5: learn chord and scale theory
    6: figure out how other people used chord and scale theory in their songs
    7: write your own songs
    8: profit

    alternate #7: go deeper and deeper into theory and really just waste a lot of time before writing songs.

    alternate #8: just have fun and entertain your friends

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessmanca
    1: learn some songs with tablature
    2: learn to read all major and minor chords and strum out some songs
    3: learn to read notes
    4: learn some songs reading notes
    5: learn chord and scale theory
    6: figure out how other people used chord and scale theory in their songs
    7: write your own songs
    8: profit

    alternate #7: go deeper and deeper into theory and really just waste a lot of time before writing songs.

    alternate #8: just have fun and entertain your friends
    Good list! The only thing I'm wondering about is the tabs? I really don't think tabs are a valid way to learn guitar, Your view?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeman9412@gma
    Good list! The only thing I'm wondering about is the tabs? I really don't think tabs are a valid way to learn guitar, Your view?
    Agreed. They are in step 1 as a way to get the fingers moving and keep the beginner's interest. You want to give the beginner the feeling that they can be successful at this.

    As teacher of 7 years I've tried all different methods of teaching. I find that beginning with note reading is one of the worst ways to begin, unless the student is very dedicated to learning the instrument or has some prior experience.

  7. #7
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    I see your point, I don't have any musical teaching experience but I feel that guitar is a musical instrument so you should learn sheet music because that is how music's written. Personally I think sheet music is easier than tabs so I don't know

  8. #8
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeman9412@gma
    I see your point, I don't have any musical teaching experience but I feel that guitar is a musical instrument so you should learn sheet music because that is how music's written. Personally I think sheet music is easier than tabs so I don't know
    Sheet music ("staff notation") is the universal musical language, so yes it's very useful for any musician. I agree it's easy to learn, but a lot of adults find it difficult. I learned it at school (age 12), and the kids I teach now (starting age 7) also find it easy to pick up - when they first encounter tab they think it's very odd... But the adult beginners I teach find notation baffling, and tab more straightforward.

    Tab has one advantage: it shows you where to put your fingers.
    It has two disadvantages: it doesn't show rhythm; and it shows you where to put your fingers!
    IOW, it can make you think there's only one way (one fret/string) to play a particular note, and on guitar there are many ways.
    The fact it doesn't show rhythm is not a huge problem because with most tunes you want to play you know how the rhythm goes; that's usually easy to get right just by listening.

    Here's my list of basic things you need to know:

    1. The 8 basic "cowboy" chords: C, G, D, A, E, Em, Am, Dm. All other chords are based on these shapes. Know them by heart so you don't have to look them up!
    (The "CAGED" system for learning the fretboard is named after the 5 majors. The common barre chord shapes - including F, B, Bm etc - are based on the E, A, Em and Am shapes.)

    2. How to keep time, and play rhythmically. That means counting beats (and ultimately feeling them), while playing on and between them in various ways.

    3. The C major scale in open position. (All 6 strings, frets 0-3.) Learn the note names.
    Then the G, D, A and E major scales, also in open position (frets 0-4). Look at how each one differs from the last one; and how the scales fit around the chords.

    4. Learn the notes all the way up 6th and 5th strings at least, so you can find root notes for barre chords. (Learning all the other strings may take time, but don't wait before the next steps...)
    The WWHWWWH structure of the C major scale will help here.

    5. How to play a handful of simple songs. (Blues, folk, Dylan, Neil Young, all good sources.) Try to learn how to play the tune (vocal melody) as well as strum the chords. Tunes are crucial when beginning to improvise.

    6. Learn both notation and tab. If you know notation, the whole world of printed music and theory is open to you, for playing and/or study.
    (But bear in mind very few rock musicians read music. It's by no means essential, if it's rock you're into.)

    7. Study songs to see how chords and scales (melodies, riffs, etc) go together.
    Learn to identify the key of a song (from its chords and tune). (Don't expect songs always to stick to the scale of one key; there are lots of common ways of bending the rules.)

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