So, my question is, where do I go from here?

mozbomozbo Posts: 2Member

I'm new to the forum and am finding some great info here.

I've owned an electric guitar (Yamaha SF700)since I was 13 and I'm now 46 and I've never really learned to play!

This may sound wierd, but I can move around the fretboard quickly and easily and play some pretty good made up guitar solos. I have good string bending technique etc. etc. and can play bar chords etc. with ease. I can play lots of little bits of lots of songs by learning from TAB, but I know absolutely nothing about music theory etc. This is due to the fact I've picked up the guitar over the years and just practiced my own thing or learned little bits of TAB here and there.

So, my question is, where do I go from here?

I really want to start playing properly and know what I'm doing. But when I pick up a guitar tuition book they all start at the very beginning which is extremely boring and I always end up giving up. Remember, I can move about the fretboard really well and if the guitar book shows me a new chord, I can just do it, so I need something that is basic from an understanding music point of view, but intermediate from a playing point of view!

Is there anyone out there like me who can play but can't play so to speak?

If anyone has any advice on a good guitar course or book to get me out of this rut, I'd be well pleased as I really want to become a 'real' guitarist before it's too late!

Grateful for any advice


  • Options
    My advice? Join a band.

    No, seriously. There are plenty of people your age playing in "just for fun" bands or doing covers in pubs (and getting paid for it!). Being in a band will teach you- or at least give you a platform to learn- good rhythm guitar skills, a reason to learn whole songs, an outlet for all that stuff you've learned over the years. You'll probably find a "musicians wanted" board in your local guitar shop (and if not, ask them why not?), or you could try or any of the many musicians' classifieds websites- Bandmix, Musicradar forums, even this forum. Will you get rich and famous? Doubtful. Will you have a laugh and earn some beer money? Very likely.

    Music theory is good to know, but a great many rock musicians haven't got a clue about it, so unless your *goal* is to learn music theory rather than the theory being a means to improve as a player, I'd take it in small doses.

    Not convinced about the band thing? I haven't read it in a while, but you might try Guitar Techniques magazine. It's got a variety of stuff in it, but every month there will be full transcriptions of several songs at varying levels of difficulty- some you'll be able to bang out with no problems and others that might take some work- and the accompanying text will explain some of the theory at work in the guitar parts, which will help you digest it in bite-sized chunks. It also comes with a CD with backing tracks for the songs, which might help ease you in to playing with other people if you find the idea a bit daunting.
  • OldjonoOldjono Posts: 608Member
    Do you know anybody else who plays the guitar or maybe a Bass? Is there a particular song you nearly know? (Most of us nearly know loads of songs too).

    Pick a song you like and endeavour to learn the whole thing through until you can play it without thinking about it to much. So that when you do play it you can concentrate more on the tone and feel for the song rather than the rudiments of the chord changes etc. That might help.

    Look for local Jam nights down the pub if that's your thing and check them out. I did that a little while ago and now play every fortnight and have a lot of fun in the process. You'll be surprised by how much you probably know if you venture to join in too.
  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,315Member
    You could try this online music theory course:

    Or this one:

    Or this:

    Or there's always Wikipedia:

    It would be best to work your way through one of the basic courses before diving into Wikipedia. Although it's all there, it's not well structured for learning.

    If you have any theory queries, ask here!

  • OldSwannerOldSwanner Posts: 56Member
    If you've played for 23 years and don't really know what you're doing you'd better look for a good teacher and listen to him.

    Note: From my experience with intermediate/advanced players like yourself, you will probably take 2 or 3 lessons in total with a couple of cancellations in between, and then quit, dismiss the teacher's advice and return to doing it *your way*.

  • Options
     Originally Posted By: OldSwanner
    Note: From my experience with intermediate/advanced players like yourself, you will probably take 2 or 3 lessons in total with a couple of cancellations in between, and then quit, dismiss the teacher's advice and return to doing it *your way*.

    Well aren't you just a ray of sunshine? ;\)
  • CydCyd Posts: 11Member
    Hi Mozbo - I wouldn't get too wound up about knowing theory!I learnt to read manuscript when I was 7 (recorder) then went on to guitar (9) - I was taught basic chords, my folk guitar teacher told my parents that because I picked up reading manuscript for guitar quite quickly I should have Classical lessons and then I would be able to play anything (he lied!!)I started Classical lessons, I enjoyed them until she thrust a little red book at me called 'Rudiments and Theory of Music' and said she was entering me for Grade 5 Exam!! I stopped lessons at this point (12/13years old!!) I thought that because I could read music I knew theory! That little red book put me off for life!!!! It still does and I am now . . . older!!
    I have many bad habits (guitar wise!), I still don't know much about theory (but I did pass Grade 5 Classical Guitar three years ago!!!) - I don't know about relative majors, minors, harmonic chromatic scales etc. . . - but I read manuscript and can hear it in my head when I look at a new piece! I can't, however, just pick up my guitar and 'jam' with any one - I bet you can though!
    I sometimes get the urge to progress with my theory - I should learn my scales, arpeggios, I should know about compound triple time etc etc - but I feel it goes over my head - I can't seem to grasp it or remember it . . . the brick wall I hit when I was 12/13 when I was given that book has remained with me! So,I get my music out - read, play and practice technique rather than theory.
    You have to ask yourself how much theory do you want to know . . . and why! I think you should also meet other players like someone else suggested! Sorry if I have 'waffled'!Theory is quite a mind boggling,scientific and mathematical problem to me - it was good to get it off my chest! Now I feel I should dig my book out again!!! Bye \:\)
  • CydCyd Posts: 11Member
    I hope what I have said hasn't confused you or anyone else!!! We are all different - and I think it does us all good once in a while to set ourselves a bit of a challenge!!
    I also meant to tell you that I took an exam this year (Grade 7 pieces LCM) but I opted out of the theory side - it was purely practical! I did pass!
    Hope you stick at it!
    ps I found my 'little red book'! Cyd
  • mozbomozbo Posts: 2Member
    Thanks guys, some great comments and advice!
    I think it's just confirming what I know really, there's no easy path I just have to 'commit' to knuckling down and learning some songs right the way through, rather than snippets until I get bored.
    I don't feel confident enough to play in a band yet, but if I get confident at playing a few songs right through, then who knows!
    On the theory side, I'm not really interested in reading music, but I'm always confused if a piece of music is required in a different key and I think I need to have a better understanding of the way music 'works' without getting too deeply involved in the theory side of things.
    So, next step is to choose a song and learn it thoroughly from start to finish!
  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,315Member
    Ah, I got Rudiments and Theory of Music at about the same age (10 or 11) and I still have it. It's a bit dry and old fashioned but I expect it's been updated since my version.

    One good reason for learning to read music is that most theory articles use musical notation for the examples. For instance, it's a lot easier to show the triads of the major scale if you can just draw a line of music than if you have to explain them in words.

    Musical notation is really not that difficult, but many people get a mental block when they first encounter it. (A bit like maths, which is also a specialised notation system.)

    The vertical position of the note on the stave (the five horizontal lines) shows its pitch, and the shape and colour of the note shows its duration. Time runs from left to right. Once you can handle that, you can add the refinements as you go along.

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