View Full Version : Confused beginner
11-01-2007, 11:13 AM
I just bought my first guitar about 5 weeks ago and have been using the internet to learn how to play guitar. I have also finished the absolute beginner program on this site. The problem with the internet is there is way too much information and I have no idea where to really start.
My question as a beginner is should I focus my attention right now on skill or theory?
I feel I could do 2 things at this stage.
1. Just start playing the guitar using the chords I already know and tab songs and then learn theory later in a year or two.
2. Start right into music theory, reading standard notation and all that stuff which will take away from the time I have to actually play the guitar.
I guess this all comes down to time. I only have about 30 minutes a day to devote to playing the guitar and I am not sure if I should spend that time on the guitar or in a book.
11-01-2007, 11:25 AM
You're probably going to get a different answer from everybody. :)
When I first started, I concentrated mostly on learning songs. Just chords at first and then gradually moving into leads. I only learned enough basic theory to get me by. (like what an E chord was)
It depends on your own preference really and what you intend to do once you learn how to play.
If playing in garage bands is your main goal, then learning as many songs and licks and tricks as possible might be the way to go.
If you intend on doing studio work or need to communicate your ideas to other people, or just simply want to be able to sight read.. then starting with theory might be more beneficial.
You could also do a bit of compromising. Spend a month learning songs and leads. Then spend the next month just sticking to theory.
Then go back the month after that and see how the theory applies to the songs you've already learned.
11-01-2007, 11:53 AM
Well, I have not had much theory and now after many years of playing, I am not a musican. I know an extremely talented guitarist and very successful, I might add, that had an instructor that wouldn't let him bring a guitar to class for 2 years. He learned theory inside and out and can now play anything anytime. He can play all string instruments, piano, and others professionally.
I truly believe you need something in between. I think theory is a must, but you need to do a little playing at the same time. I am not too impressed with online lessons. I think anyone starting out today should have an instructor and one that teaches you theory along with the instrument. That's not to say you can't learn from online lessons. I just think you can do better with one on one instruction.
Kevin is correct to question what you intend to do. However, what we plan to do in life isn't always what we end up doing. Whether you play in the basement, on stage, in a band, or on the street corner, with theory under your belt, you won't be sorry.
11-01-2007, 12:36 PM
Thanks for the input.
My intentions is more garage band right now but who knows.
This sounds like a good idea.
"You could also do a bit of compromising. Spend a month learning songs and leads. Then spend the next month just sticking to theory.
Then go back the month after that and see how the theory applies to the songs you've already learned."
I learned and now teach both together... I find they reinforce each other.
Theory can get pretty dry, so playing your way through it makes it easier. I also like to understand what I'm doing rather than follow instructions... so relying on TAB alone wouldn't do it for me (and it wasn't very available when I started).
I think my students are the same.... they become that way anyway. As Kevin says, for some things the theory / reading notation element can be pretty much essential. I'll be honest, I didn't thank my teacher at the time for all the theory stuff, but without it I wouldn't be capable of some of the things I do.
Believe it or not, once you start 'getting' the theory element it makes the rest easier. Only thing I'd say is, if you start learning music theory go slow but persevere unless you are very loss. So much of it is reliant on other aspects that the reason you might not quite 'get it' could be on the next page of the book...
It's important to stay engaged in it though, so if it ever gets boring go learn a song... Also bear in mind that some of the greatest players don't read a note, so don't dispair if it isn't for you... :)
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