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music theory

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by craizbass, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. craizbass


    May 31, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Hey, i'm gonna take some music theory lessons:hyper: on the guitar(opposed to piano), The only catch is that i'm slow on finding the notes on guitar.

    I get confused because the notes are the same on guitar (except up an octave) but, its written in treble clef.

    Any tips on how to teach myself how to read it better?
    I have the summer till the lessons start.

  2. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Dump the guitar and go back to the piano. For theory the piano makes the most sense, theory is very visual on piano. Piano better for ear training too. You can get little portable real cheap these days.

    I played guitar for ages and trying use a guitar to study and do theory homework is out of whack. Just too hard to try and get the voicings right or try examples from theory book.
  3. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I agree with the good Doctor on this one. Theory on a piano makes a lot more sense. A keyboard is like a musical computer. The keyboard is laid out in a linear manner which makes understanding the steps and half-steps much easier to visulize. When learning chords and their inversions I think you will be able to better see and understand how they're vertically stacked. Just my .02.

    A guitar is helpful in that it is a chordal instrument, but for learning theory I think you'll find keys an all around more useful instrument.
  4. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I get what DocBop is saying, and I agree with him that piano is much better for practicing chord voicings. But the guitar is much less "key-sensitive" than the piano; on piano, everything is well visualized in C major only, IMO, whereas everything is equally well visualized on guitar regardless of key.

    For learning chord progressions, intervals and scales in any key, I find guitar easier because the patterns are always the same. Transposing is also much easier on guitar than on piano.

    That being said, I believe the best is to practice theory using both guitar and piano. There's advantages and disadvantages with both of them and they complement each other well.
  5. +1

    You will visualize the chord structures quicker and cleaner on the piano. And, every theory class, college, will require you to show them on the piano.
  6. Zebra


    Jun 26, 2005
    Agreed. Piano is good for having things laid out in a very visual manner, but simple patterns that are made easy on guitar and bass are much more obscure with piano. Transposing something a half step on a stringed instrument is stupid easy, but it takes a little bit of thinking on piano.
  7. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I played guitar for 15-20 years and fully aware of the "sliderule" effect for transposing. But the tuning in fourh with a third thrown in is a killer for theory. Close voicing larger than a triad are a b*tch and so on. I know because I suck at piano and tried to take theory and arranging classes using guitar. Teacher would just look at my homework and know it was written on guitar.

    I wish there was cheap keyboard back in my day like their are now. I highly suggest get a little 61 keyboard they can be found for under a $100 if you look. You don't really have to learn a lot about how to play just what the call arrangers piano. But what you learn or in your books you can try at home and get it in your ear. Plus when you start to study improv real nice to have a keyboard to play a chord on and let sustain. Then try out scales and lines on your bass.

    I'm only replying because I've been there. You'll learn more when not having to spend time trying to play example on a guitar.
  8. craizbass


    May 31, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    i think i'll take deacon_blues's advice(the more the merrier:hyper: ). But my main question was how to teach myself how to read guitar music better.:D

    I kinda need to know soon because i'm leaving for camp in like 7 days. :meh:

    So if you can help I'll be super happy!:D :cool: :D
  9. BassManPatsFan

    BassManPatsFan Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    San Francisco
    Is your problem that when you see an F in treble clef it takes you a few seconds to recognize it as an F or is it that when someone says play an F, it takes you a few seconds to find one on your guitar? Or I guess you could have both problems...

    Another way in which piano is useful for learning the "basics" is that it incorporates both treble and bass clef. All musicians should be able to read both somewhat competently IMO.
  10. funkydjembe


    Apr 5, 2007
    +1 the piano is laid out nicely with all tones in a straight line. When you use the piano and start out with the C major scale, the theory becomes simplicity itself.
  11. craizbass


    May 31, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Its that when I see an F in treble clef it takes me a few seconds to recognize it as an F because i'm used to the bass clef F
  12. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    This is one of those things that Nike is the only answer. JUST DO IT! Just have read a lot of treble clef no shortcuts. I have to go through this whenever I layoff reading treble clef for awhile. So between now and band camp read as much as you can even without an instrument read and name notes. Also you ear is going to be your safety net. If a note sounds odd, check you are reading it in the appropriate clef.

    In long run knowing how to read in both clefs is very valuable. Most theory books are in treble clef. A lot of times when having to share music you're will be given treble clef. Lead sheet and fake book most are treble clef. I have some bass exercises in books that use both clefs are parts get high. Switch to treble clef is easier to read than a lot of ledger lines. So it is painful now, but in long run doing yourself a favor.
  13. craizbass


    May 31, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    thanks DocBop!!
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