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Clueless Guitar Player

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by MikeyFingers, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. A friend of mine plays guitar. He's got some natural talent, he comes up with some pretty tastey stuff for the most part. But he doesn't know ANYTHING about music. I mean, he doesn't know the notes on the neck, doesn't know any chords, nothing. He just plays "what sounds right".
    The result of this: Either he plays something he made up, and I watch his hands so I can play along and stay in tune. OR--I make something up, and he just wanks around his guitar and sounds like crap because he doesn't know what key I'm in or how to stay in key.

    The problem is, he's a good friend of mine and wants to start a band with me. I've already exlained that it's pretty much impossible to do this if he can't even play a real chord or stay in key with me. I told him to take some lessons, even if only to learn some chords and the basics, cause has the technique already.
    I tried teaching him the notes on the neck, just for starters. I got to the A on the E string, told him that it's the same note as the next open string, and I lost him. He starts bitching "Forget it man! Let's just jam!). He can't follow it at all and it's frustrating as hell trying to work with him. He doesn't get it: I can't "just jam" if you're playing made up chords and changing the key every 10 seconds without telling me.
    Any suggestions?
    (BTW--see my 'Trying to start a Band' thread in the Band Management section, I have very few options here).
  2. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Being in a band is all about chemistry. You could have a virtuoso guitarist who knows jack about actual music, but knows his guitar inside and out. But, if you can't communicate with eachother what you want to do, or find a common ground to plot out what you want to do for a song, then there's no music going to be made.

    I'm in the opposite situation as you. My guitarist knows more about chord structure, and standard notation than I do. I know some of the notes on my fretboard, and I know very little about standard notation, let alone scales, etc. The difference is that we split the writing duties, and we show eachother what we wrote. When we write songs, it's a process of going over parts over and over until the one learning the part gets it down right. We discuss changes and such as well. So, the main issue isn't that your guitarist doesn't know music, but more that he just wants to jam without structure and that it also seems that he doesn't take well to criticism.

    If you want him to learn what to play, you both need to communicate effectively what you want to do, and where you want this to go. If you two are on different paths, then find another guitar player.
  3. I'm leaning toward finding another guitar player. It's like pulling teeth with this guy. He can't follow out the simplest instructions, he refuses to let me teach him what I know, so why bother?
    All he wants to do is strum thoughtlessly on his guitar, which isn't a problem. The problem is that he when I say "what key are you playing in?", he looks at me like I just asked him what's the square root of cheese.
    You're situation is a good one, at least you can cooperate with your guitarist and communicate what you each want to do and show each other the stuff you write. When I come up with a bass line and show it to him, he just starts playing whatever pops into his head (which usually sounds like crap), and when I try to show him where to play he just gets pissed.

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