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The Theory About Guitar

I'll never forget it. Several years ago I was on my way to see KISS in concert (first time seeing them with makeup, I might add) with a good friend of mine. She was interested in music as I was; she had taken piano lessons for ten years or so. Inevitably the conversation during the drive turned to music...all different aspects of it. We got to the subject of what exactly music instrument lessons really teach you, and I asked her a very simple theory question: "What is the chord spelling for a minor chord?" (in case you are wondering, the answer is 1, flat 3, 5...more on this in later articles). I was shocked to find out that she had absolutlely NO idea what I was talking about. I tried to explain to her the basic theory behind this question, but see seemed to get more confused as we went. I just could not understand how someone that had taken lessons for ten years could not have the slightest inclination as to what she was playing. She stated "all I ever was taught was how to read music - what notes on the page corresponds to what key on the piano". This simple conversation had shown me how important it was to at least have some sort of understanding of basic music theory. I know...there are many, many guitar players and musicians out there that are perfectly happy with their level of knowledge ( my brother-in-law has been trying to learn guitar for the past year simply to be a chick-magnet). I guess my point is this: going beyond the chord books and scale charts and guitar tab and standard music notation is this living, breathing "thing" that you can't really appreciate until you "get into it". I have found that once you get the urge to develop more knowledge about theory, it can be hard to stop. Granted, everyone has a level where they are comfortable...but you would be doing yourself and your music a dis-service by not trying to get to that point. It kind of struck me as sad that I would never be able to jam with my friend and be able to yell out "follow me - play a 1-4-5 12 bar blues in 'E'". Do I know or claim to know everything about theory? Absolulely not...but I am comfortable with the level I am at. I can sit in with any rock back and hold my own. Now jazz on the other hand...I know I would have to do some work. But you know what? That's OK! By the way (just in case you were wondering)...the concert was AWESOME!!!

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