A Guitar Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Although most guitar players eventually reach a point at which they feel a need to learn music theory, they often feel a simultaneous resistance to committing to a course of study. It’s no wonder, considering how foreign the language is to the uninitiated and how many unknowns there are: How long will it take to acquire the information you need? Will you be buried in a book for months – or worse yet, years – in order to find answers to your questions? Once you get those answers, will you be a better player? In short, will you get a good return on your investment?

Guitar is such a great instrument, because it can hook you in from the first time you pick it up and experience a rapid return on your investment. From the moment you hold it and strum the open strings or play something as simple as an Em chord, it’s giving something back to you. In a matter of hours, it’s possible to learn enough chords to actually play a song, and within a few months you might have several songs under your fingers.

The other side of that almost-instant return is that the guitar is also a very complex instrument which can keep us not only mystified and intrigued, but also inspired and motivated for a lifetime. After mastering those first few songs, most people long to know even more chords, or to move up the neck, play some leads or riffs, or even create their own chords and melodies.

A common avenue to those goals is to learn by investigating specific areas of interest, either through the Internet or with the help of a teacher. Learning songs and soaking up necessary information as you go is a natural approach that can be quite rewarding, until you hit upon an area of confusion regarding the language or encounter a gap in your understanding of musical structure. As an example, most of the students who come to me for lessons are familiar with a lot of terms, but they don’t fully understand their meaning or know how to make use of the concepts those terms describe. As a result, they often play wrong chords, use inappropriate scales when creating a solo, or altogether avoid playing a lot of the music that interests them.

Most of these muddy areas result from a lack of familiarity with the most basic aspects of the musical language, many of which are not addressed in the average theory book – perhaps because they are so basic. It’s as if the teacher or author, being fluent in the language, forgets that the newcomer needs to know the alphabet before beginning to read, write, or speak the language. Unfortunately, the student doesn’t have a clue what questions to ask in order to bridge the gap.

In order to clarify these issues, a teacher or author must possess the ability to clearly and accurately communicate the relevant information in a logical, step-by-step manner. A Guitar Player’s Guide to Music Theory does just that. The only thing required of the student is to work with the information in a relaxed, unhurried manner and to actually use each bit of knowledge in their daily guitar playing. In other words, do the assignments, have fun and reap the rewards!

A Guitar Player’s Guide to Music Theory is an 88-page spiral bound book designed for guitarists who want to expand their abilities and learn to communicate better with other musicians. It is for people who want to be able to comprehend, absorb, and effectively use the wealth of information available in instructional books and on the Internet. It is also for guitarists who lead normal lives and don’t have the time, money, or possibly even the desire to invest in a four-year degree at a music school. There are no tests, no deadlines or time frames and no chance of failure, considering there is no finish line!