Something has me curious. (Guitar theory)

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by WetBandit, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,115
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Somewhere
    I'm not highly educated when it comes to music theory in fact I don't know hardly any.

    That being said, I am a decent player.

    I'm curious if someone more educated or qualified than myself, could tell me how it is that I can play almost anything, but not have a clue what I'm actually playing.

    I dont know what the names of any chords are past the first position, but I use them all and frequently, and I can pick up on most things really fast.

    It's really weird to me... and the friend of mine who brought it to my attention and made me think about it.

    I've spent the last 21yrs playing guitar on a daily basis, and I have little to any real knowledge about how I do it.

    My buddy claims that I know more than I think I do, I'm just unaware of it (how?)

    So, if anyone knows, how is it that I can play and not have a clue?

    It's not that I'm not interested in actually learning, I just don't know where to start.
     
  2. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    2,094
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Location:
    Far N.E. Philadelphia
    You have a good ear.
     
  3. Artslap

    Artslap Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,020
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2014
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Maybe two good ears.
     
  4. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,115
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Somewhere

    Maybe so? Would that really explain it though?
     
  5. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    749
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2018
    Location:
    Spokane, Washington
    Or whoever told him he was a decent player doesn’t;). I’m guessing autocorrect got him. He’s actually a docent player. The old ladies he plays for think he’s gawd.
     
    noah330, MuddyDitch and Jim622 like this.
  6. Random1643

    Random1643 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,002
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    Location:
    Upper Midwest
    My wiring is very similar, Bandit. I'm somewhere north of 90% ear and intuition. Self taught, can't read music, have scant formal grasp of theory, I never "woodshed," only practice if I'm in a band, but I'm a decent keys and stringed instrument player - even by the seat of my pants. It took me a while to just accept that this is who I am as a musician. @ the age of 65 I'm at peace. I don't share your curiosity about explaining the wiring but it's reassuring to see I'm not alone.
     
    WetBandit and Jim622 like this.
  7. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,344
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Well surely you're aware that Rolling Stone's #2 and #3 songwriters of all time (McCartney and Lennon) indicated themselves that they did not read or write music in the classical sense, and did not learn music theory. So you're in good company.
     
    Viejo, ponce and WetBandit like this.
  8. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,115
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Wow! That sounds just like me. It is nice to see that I'm not alone also.

    I am really curious about what makes us this way, and how it is that we do what we do.

    It's Kinda like knowing without knowing.
     
    Random1643 likes this.
  9. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    3,873
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Location:
    Florida USA
    Excuse me while I curse you under my breath. I struggle every day with a complete lack of natural music ability. Only by studying patterns and learning songs can I get anywhere.

    Oh, I can improvise (badly) over changes, and make up chord riffs - but it's hard-won. I do get better every day, so there's that....
     
  10. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,115
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Somewhere
    I sometimes feel like it's a curse... other times a blessing.

    Maybe I should actually try and put "pen to paper" and actually try and write a song?

    Never tried.

    I guess I'm a chronic noodler?
     
  11. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    749
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2018
    Location:
    Spokane, Washington
    Do you play your own stuff, or strictly covers? In my case, I’ve only been playing for a year and I’m self-teaching, learning songs that I know at this point. But I know them so well, from a lifetime spent collecting albums and just listening all the time. I can sing (either the vocals or the lead guitar) hundreds of songs verbatim, including all the subtle interjections and stuff (you oughta hear me sing Polk salad Annie). I can pretty much nail most drum tracks with my fingers on a tabletop. When I look at a guitar tab, which normally doesn’t give you much in the sense of timing, etc, I know how to play and attack the notes without even having to re-listen to a song. I was just telling my wife a couple nights ago that guitar playing has become demystified for me. The guitar heroes, not so heroic.
    Maybe that’s one way to have an “ear” for music. Know it all by heart. Or maybe you’re just a natural. When I advance to writing my own stuff, perhaps I’ll be clueless.
     
  12. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

    Posts:
    4,557
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    Location:
    italy
    i have two friends one can read at first sight and play, can spread across any genre, i heard him play everything except chugga chugga ...

    the other one is a great musician too, can read, knows theory, not good as the first guy under the theory side of things

    guess who's touring ? :D
     
    WetBandit likes this.
  13. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,780
    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Location:
    Eastern Massachusetts
    Having natural ability, and then proceeding to learn some of the technical aspects of harmony, melody, and rhythm is only a richening experience.
    It makes music a better experience for you.
    Pride in being uneducated and remaining so is not a positive thing.
    Get a Mickey Baker book and go through it.
    It's fun, you'll learn a lot, and it will open you thinking.
    Knowledge is good.
     
    noah330, Wally and WetBandit like this.
  14. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    64,021
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Experience is a great teacher, too.
     
  15. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    510
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lebanon, NH
    I agree with others here that you have a good ear and also great motor skills which allow you to play the notes you hear in your head very freely.

    Here's a question for you. If you were playing in a jam session and someone called out "Johnny B. Goode in Bb" would you know where to go on the neck? Or once you heard the opening chord, would you then know where to go? I suspect it's the latter - but that's great, because if you can find your way around the neck simply by hearing keys that the songs are played in, you have a gift.

    I do a little of both when I play. Once I hit a note, I can kinda (in my head) know were the notes are relative to that pitch (thirds, fifths, octaves), but I also try to know where the notes/chords are on the neck so I can anticipate where to go with my left hand.
     
  16. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,115
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Somewhere
    You sound similar to me except I don't sing.
     
    Bluego1 likes this.
  17. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,115
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Somewhere
    I'm more the latter..

    I have a good sense of pitch and a good idea where to find that pitch on the fretboard.

    It seems like I know where all my root notes are, but I don't know how i know...

    That probably makes no sense.
     
  18. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    2,094
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Location:
    Far N.E. Philadelphia

    I'm with you brother.
     
    dkmw likes this.
  19. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,115
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Somewhere
    I certainly do not take pride in it.

    In fact, I feel ashamed that I've wasted 21yrs and didnt really learn anything that I can assign a name or reason to.
     
  20. boop

    boop Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    304
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2018
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Most popular music depends on certain patterns (usually based on the blues or common jazz progressions or other folk) that most people who have listened to the stuff all their lives have an intuitive sense of. Depending on the key, our ear wants certain chords to pull to or resolve to others.

    When you are playing up the neck you are playing the same chords you play at first position, you just have figured them out by ear. Like you take an open D shape. move it up two frets for E, one for F. etc with all the chords. It ain't rocket science. But knowing it all intuitively is awesome and more important than theory when it comes to actually making music, which is what its all about. Theory is just names people gave to stuff that sounded good to them.
     
    dkmw likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.