A resource for beginner theory?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by jazznfusion, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. jazznfusion


    Jan 12, 2011
    Im looking for a guide that teaches theory at a beginner level. something that will give me more insight and help my understanding and playing. right now i know quite a few songs, The major scale, pentatonics etc, but dont understand some of the most elementary stuff pertaining to theory. I feel a better understanding of music will help. I want to get beyond just learning cover stuff. A book would be most practical. Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
  3. ProgRocker


    Mar 25, 2011
  4. jazznfusion


    Jan 12, 2011
    It looks good, but looks like it teaches notation. Im not looking for this, but thanks anyhow.
  5. jazznfusion


    Jan 12, 2011
    I am looking at Edlys music theory foe practical people, and EADG. If anyone has gone through either or something similar.
  6. Burwabit

    Burwabit Likes guitars that tune good and firm feelin women Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2011
    Lubbock, TX
    A few years ago when I started learning bass, I used www.studybass.com. It worked pretty well for me. I went through everything he has in maybe 2-3 months.
  7. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    Learn to love the notation. Notation is your friend.
  8. jazznfusion


    Jan 12, 2011
    This is a good site, and the type of stuff im looking for. Thanks!
  9. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    It all depends on who YOU are...
    are you a math guy? are you the one in your band who is good at figuring songs out by ear?

    that being said, I sincerely do not have a good book to recommend (though I do indeed love all of the '____ for Dummies' books, they're very clear and succinct.

    I would first and foremost recommend a good mentor / teacher, one in the know but not such a theoretical goober that he/she cannot relate to anything practical.

    Remember that theory is best used as a LANGUAGE, and not as an approach, per se. It can establish a great understanding, a vehicle of context for notes, language, tonal idioms and rhythmic mastery (a lot of this is purely from reading and playing a lot of music), but I know a lot of good players who became worse writers or improvisers by overdoing theory.
    Be the guy who says something like 'Hey on the bridge where it goes E-minor, try playing E7 instead, I think the motion would be more dramatic' and do all of this while playing actual notes to demonstrate the sound of your idea.
    Don't be the guy who says "no way man the FIVE?! we cant end the song on the FIVE, five always resolves to one!" when there's a clear and listenable musical validity to the choice he is fighting.


    p.s. I will try to dig up some of the better sites and resources I have come across
    What kind of music are you interested in? I find that 'jazz theory' is a good, complete language for most rock, jazz, jam, improv, indie, disco, you name it. It explains what things 'are' and leaves the music and function to you, so if you want to learn what people think Beethoven was doing or thinking, do the 'long way' of school-type theory

    But if youre trying to learn the notes and chord names, and at the same time perhaps learn some reading, check into the jazz language especially
  10. Everything so far has value. Here is an hour video on music theory. I found it easy to follow.

    The first 30 pages are for beginners. Good arm chair reading. Have your bass handy and spend 30 minutes a day on this paper.

    Understand neither of these are specific to the bass. Music theory is music theory. You use what you need for the instrument you play.

    Good luck. Eat this monster in little bites, enough to satisfy your hunger, but, not enough to make you sick, i.e. book mark these sites and come back many times.

    Have fun.
  11. jazznfusion


    Jan 12, 2011
    Im only beginning to work stuff out by ear, but will continue forever. I find it helpful in every situation.hank you, Im interested in playing primarily classic rock and 90's rock for the most part. I like how you explained the importance of deciphering ones role, what exactly i want to learn etc. Thank you!

    This is an excellent resource and very straightforward, practical and makes sense. Thanks for your help.Big thanks to everyone for helping.
  12. 'The Jazz Theory Book' by Mark Levine

    It will keep you in good stead for a life time

    Its the type of book that you can delve in at any point and read ahead or just start from page 1 and take it little steps at a time

    Outside of that there are countless others including method books but if you are prepared to put in some patient study and combine it with finding a teacher who can be available to help explain stuff along the way the Levine book will stand you in good stead...

    I don't think its the type of book that you will ever start and finish...it just forms part of your life and is something to chip away at....
  13. If you really want to learn even the rudiments of music theory, you need to accept that the standard method of learning music theory combines both aural and notated examples. You're on the right track with wanting to develop your ear as much as possible, but you'll limit your progress by avoiding texts and resources that do not use notation.
  14. Vertigo Jones

    Vertigo Jones

    Jun 13, 2013
    I second this. If you want to expand your theoretical understanding, then learning standard notation will be a key component of that -as concepts are often explained in standard notation. Otherwise, you will quickly hit obstacles and roadblocks. I'm sure it's possible to become a great orator without learning to read English, but your opportunities will be limited.
  15. jazznfusion


    Jan 12, 2011

    Im going to begin doing so since, its recommended by so many here. I ordered a book and will keep studying. what i find most difficult is not making mistakes in more difficult keys. kind of frustrates me, but i will get it down in time. Thanks to all.
  16. cleary


    Apr 19, 2013
    NSW, Australia
    I found the Ed Friedlander "building walking bass lines" an excellent introduction
  17. Yes Ed has a talent for putting words together. His use of scale degrees aka R-3-5-7, in his explanations opened a whole new World for me.
  18. jazznfusion


    Jan 12, 2011
    Ive ordered Berklee's practice method, has anyone gone through this by chance? Im considering friedlands bass method 1-3 or walking bass lines sometime soon as well.
  19. Vertigo Jones

    Vertigo Jones

    Jun 13, 2013
    First, I commend you. You have a very good attitude about wanting to improve your ear and musicianship skills and that alone will carry you through. I'm self-taught and used to be a strictly by-ear player too. Before too long I got tired of hitting the walls of my own limitations and decided to hunker down and expand. It's the best thing I ever did for my musicianship -and I'm still learning! Definitely an on going process.

    You have to be humble enough to learn to crawl again before you can walk. Don't beat yourself up because you can't sight read a piece in B-natural perfectly. You're not there...yet.

    Kudos to you!
  20. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Yep. I would wholeheartedly agree with the views epxressed about the usefulness of learning notation when on this sort of journey and it's pleasing to see the OP has listened to this excellent advice and recognised its value.