Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #3393  by ch0ke
 Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:17 pm
I've been playing the guitar for 2-3 years and I strive to understand the guitar more. I asked a friend how I could feel it more and learn how to play lead he said to learn music theory. Where can I learn music theory from square one and will It help me feel and understand lead more and be able to tear it up like warren haynes? Haha.. Well any help would be much appreciated. Thank you. :)

 #3399  by ded1hed
 Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:43 pm
i think if you expect to play like warren haynes or play great lead period your gonna have to have or at least develop a great ear and a feel. most great lead players prob. werent over concerned with theory

that said im sure the more theory you could take in the more you would improve. but some people ive played with played so robotically it didnt matter how much knowledge he had

my advice is to trust your ear above all else and play with feeling.

 #3400  by ch0ke
 Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:59 pm
Well said I guess I'll look into ear training and just keep on playing. Do you have any techniques to develop a great ear or any pointers?

 #3401  by fum84
 Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:09 pm
no real technique. it develops overtime. my advice is for your guitar to be your best friend.

 #3406  by ch0ke
 Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:54 am
haha ok cool, right on. :cool:

 #3407  by ded1hed
 Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:53 am
heres the thing i used , this prob will sound crazy but it how i thought about it. i could already hear sounds in my head(like your mans guitar on soulshine)
so i just needed to learn how to get them out.

theory ultimately boreds me and no matter how many times i tell myself im gonna learn more i wuss oout after 10 minutes/.

main point being i just pretended my fretboard was like a giant matching game. you know one of those where you look at one card put it down then have to remember it and match it later?

well i just started trying to play like i was hendrix or something, messed up all the time, but more and more i learned what notes not to hit, and eventually youll learn what notes do sound right.

its all about what it sounds like to you
when i fist started playin i mustve played for 8-10 hours a day, i know thats not possible for most people, but get to know your guitar, dont be scared to hit wrong notes, just play and learn all the sounds you make, youll organize them later.

good luck

 #3408  by strumminsix
 Thu Feb 09, 2006 8:30 am
Bro, don't get weighted down with theory. It can work against you. Trust me, I know. I've spent a decent amount of time on it and it hasn't gotten me anywhere with solos.

It has, however, gotten me very far with jamming and rhythm patterns, and filler notes, and how to go from "just rhythm" to "super-fly rhythm". Okay, that was a joke, but I think you know what I mean.

What has helped me the most is making "jam tapes". Simple things like 12-bar blues for about 5 minutes, then tunes that have a nice repeating patterns for 5 minutes.

I personally like these:
Johnny B Goode
Around & Around

 #3410  by myoung6923
 Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:59 am
While I generally agree about strict music theory I have to say that in order to develop good leads you have to learn your scales and modes - and learn them well. In doing so you will also learn which ones to use during which types of progressions, harmonies...

Think of scales and modes as spices that you might cook with. While you might make a fine meal with one spice, the more you know how to use, the more delicious and varied meals you can make. mmmmm - tasty melodies...

The time that you put into learning this will save you tons of time of trying to learn on your own.

I would go to a good guitar teacher and take lessons in it. It doesn't really matter what type of music the teacher is into - just that they know their stuff - remember you are learning scales and modes - not their style of playing.

I was kinda fortunate to have a deadhead for a guitar teacher who was also a music theory major. He could teach me stuff through different dead songs.

 #3412  by ch0ke
 Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:49 pm
I wish i had a deadhead for a guitar teacher :p

 #3497  by jahozer
 Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:47 am
Take the advice of learning your scales and modes. Also understand What minor/major relationships chords in a given key are.
Learn how to identify a key. Learn your chords in many positions. Do a search on CAGED theory of chord voicings.

While some guys can rip a solo and not really know any theory, you really limit yourself by avoiding it. No offense to anyone that does not know theory, and yes theory can get in the way if you over think it, but I couldn't imagine soloing without it.
erry Phil and Bobby knew theirs backwards and forwards. You should know yours.

Now you don't have to read music (can't hurt) or study 18th century classical theory, but to know the language of harmony will help you become the musician you want to be.

Also it is very frustrating to play with a musician who can not comunicate the basic ideas of theory. When you say, "hey play a major pentatonic here" and they look at you like a deer in headlights, ultimately the music suffers especially in improv because you and the other muscians do not have that common ground in which to weave your textures. The other musician usually just politely dumbs down the discussion.

Look at it this way. If you wanted to play a board game, say chess, you have to learn what the rules are, right? You need to have a basic understanding to play and your partner does too. Its not much fun if you know how to play and the other guy is just moving the pieces around saying how fun that is for him and thats how he plays.

Lastly. Take lessons. I have been playing for over 25 years and about 3-4 years ago took lessons again. It was the best thing I ever did. Now I had to choose the right guy, but I did, and it helped me immensely. You never stop learning, and its like doing pushups. I can do a hell of alot more if I have a coach pushing me than I can just slacking around in my living room.

 #5421  by squire758
 Tue May 09, 2006 11:55 am
i really agree with the guy whos posting all that experienced knowledge, but as far as taking lessons i have a different approach. when i started learning to play guitar ( by the way i have been playing for only 2 years but have recieved numerous awards of excellence in music theory, was just accepted to berklee college of music, and my band covers YEM...nuff said) but when i started learning, i really wanted to teach myself becuase having gone to regular school, i knew those methods of teaching were quite futile. so i went to different stores and loaded myself up with books on music theory from all ends of the spectrum. i read and read constantly, alot of the things i kinda understood, but just figured i would eventually fill in the blanks, so while i was still struggling with scales and intervals, i was rapidly learning concepts of harmony and improvisation. after i knew alot about things i truly didnt know about, i finally took 10 weeks of lessons. i thought the way i learned was great because when i sat down with the teacher he wasnt just showing me things his own way, when we sat down, i fired questions at the teacher filling in blanks and gray areas like it was my job. so i really felt my time was well spent(and money) so in short, i learned alot and got confused by alot so i loaded up as much as i could, asked questions for ten weeks, and designed a learning plan for the next ten weeks. setting goals is key for me in learning music theory, but i wanted to do it by myself. but at the point im at now, you cant buy books or look online. once you get into the hardcore jazz theory you gotta go back to school, but dont underestimate what you can learn for free from books and the internet. so before you go get a teacher, try doing it yourself, then asking questions to someone who knows, but thats only how i learned

 #10424  by racerits
 Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:00 pm
myoung6923 wrote: I would go to a good guitar teacher and take lessons in it. It doesn't really matter what type of music the teacher is into - just that they know their stuff - remember you are learning scales and modes - not their style of playing.
I think you should go and take lessons as well. It really isn't that much money and it will save you years of frustration. Find someone that you are comfortable with but don't be too worried if their style isn't exactly what you want to play. The best musicians draw from diverse experiences and genres.

Look at the Dead. Jerry drew from rock, bluegrass, and traditional, just to name a few. Phil wanted to be a classical composer. Pigpen loved R&B. Mickey loved to find interesting drums from around the world. It took all of these influences to create the best band in the world. Long story short don't be afraid to explore all music. It will only make you more interesting musically.

 #10427  by China Cat
 Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:42 pm
learn the modes and scales that are best suited for your music tastes, play with other people. the more you jam the better your improv and solos will become. this develops your ear and your ability to play lead.