Guitar Tips and Little Secrets

5 Myths about Guitar Theory

guitar myths

When the guitar bug hits you, one of the best things that you can do is buy a guitar, do some light research and slowly learn yourself. However, there's only so much that you can learn without also delving into music theory, the academic study of fundamentals like pitch, rhythm, harmony and form and how they are put into practice. Guitar theory is basically the same thing, only as it relates to guitar. Interestingly enough, you'll hear many players question the usefulness of guitar theory based on the following myths.

Guitar Tips - What to Play

Many players are surprised when, in spite of the fact they make music exactly like the last hit on the market, nobody wants to hear them. Let's say you love Children Of Bodom, you made some songs in their style and your band plays like them. Still nobody wants you. Why? Because there is already a group called Children Of Bodom. Or, let's say you spent a lot of time to learn to play like Yngwie . Still nobody wants you because there is a Yngwie and nobody needs a second one.

Virtuosi and Musicians

In the 19th century, the violin world was dominated by virtuosi. The overwhelming impact Paganini made on anyone who attended his concerts, convinced many violin students to follow his style. The trend crossed the strict domain of the instrument and more and more pianists tried to reach a certain level of virtuosity that will fascinate audiences.

Guitar Tips - The Tone

The first thing we hear when we listen to music is not the melody, not the rhythm, not the harmony – but the sound.

Great guitarists are great because they are innovators. They invent new music and new ways of guitar playing. But every one of them has his own sound.

The Third

The third spans three diatonic scale degrees, the minor third contains 3 semitones, the major third contains 4 semitones. The pitch ratio of the minor third is 6/5 or 7/6 and of the major third is 5/4.

Chords are formed as succession of thirds. When the interval between the tonic (first degree) and the mediant (third degree) of a chord is a major third the chord is a major chord.

Daily Progress

Many musicians enjoy playing and that's it. They take their instrument and play again and again what they already know well enough. This will take them nowhere. They'll get bored fast and will play less every day. Yes, it's important to enjoy playing and it's fun to play again what you already acquired but this is not enough.

The Fourth and the Fifth

The perfect fourth spans 5 semitones and has a pitch ratio of 4/3. The perfect fifth spans 7 semitones and has a pitch ratio of 3/2. They are called "perfect" because they occur in both major and minor scales and were always considered as consonances.

We hear the fourth in the opening of a lot of tunes before the root on the strong beat. The anthems are the best example. La Marseillaise starts with a fourth.

On the other hand, a lot of guitar solos start with a fifth. The solo of Stairway to Heaven is a famous example.

Speed and Technique

While trying to teach vibrato, one of my students said: "I don't care about these things, just give me some fast licks!" There are many guitar beginners that don't care about making music. They just want to impress their friends. Technique is not only about speed and tapping, it's also about vibrato, hammer-ons and pull-offs, slides, bends, harmonics, muted notes, tremolo bar and so on.

Speed Again

In order to be able to play real fast you need a lot of practicing. There's a certain barrier that you surpass without being aware of it and, from that point on, nothing can slow you down.

Almost anything can be played fast if you practice correctly: begin slowly, then increase the speed gradually.

But there is also another little secret: the efficiency of your moves. Press the strings with your left hand with the minimum power that gets the right sound. You can even practice this technique. Let's take two simple chromatic runs: