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What to do, re: guitarist

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Figjam, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Heres my situation:

    16 years old, high school, in a band with my friends for fun, get some gigs, something to do. We have been playing together for about a year and a half and at the moment we have some pretty decent original material, funk alternative, experimental type stuff. Bass to me is a great hobby and im always on Talkbass trying to learn more. My knowledge of theory is growing although its not where id like it to be (if anyone knows some REALLY good online sources for information thatd be awesome). Technically, im a pretty accomplished player, im proud of where i am at the moment. My drummer really likes drums and is also always at a drummers forum learning more and he loves to accessorize on his kit and stuff and learn new things. He has taken a few lessons and hes quite good. My guitarist/friend, not so much. No lessons, no music theory whatsoever. (barely knows the names of the strings) Doesnt even know that the strings are tuned in fifths except for the G/B is a 4th, etc. Basic stuff. He doesnt practice much and is okay at playing he just doesnt know what hes playing. As much as i try he wont learn any theory at all. It makes playing together very hard because i either have to write the guitar part or i have to look at his hands to see literally what frets hes playing because he doesnt know what notes they are. I feel this is making me not get any better because i cant work with jamming in key with him and stuff like that, his lack of knowledge is slowing me and (i feel) the drummer down. Today he was over and basically told me he doesnt give a crap about theory and its not important, as long as he can play. I told him hes wrong and i dont enjoy playing with him at the current situation.

    What should i do?
    EDIT: brain fart, tuned in fourths?
  2. Eggman


    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    Time for a guitarist that will help you expand musically to where you want to be.

  3. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    ...I thought the strings were tuned in fourths. For example, open E to open A is a perfect fourth, no? And open G to open B is a third isn't it? Have I gone mad?!

    Oh yeah, and I would get a new guitarist. Theory isn't important? With an attitude like that, this guy has a long way to go as a musician, and in more than just technical ability. Admittedley, my theory could be better (see above ;)) but I am trying to gain more knowledge. Tell him that it just isn't working out.

    Graeme :bassist:
  4. xonebass


    Feb 17, 2005
    Orange, CA
    I had a similar problem with my current guitarist, but he was willing to talk about the problem and work to resolve it. His issue was that he had tried to learn theory and he knows how important it is, but he just couldn't figure it out.

    What I proposed was that I would bring him a few things to work on each week and that I would keep it simple. Over the past year he's really gotten better at theory and because I've been teaching him so have I.

    That being said, if your guitarist isn't willing to learn then I think that you have to find someone who is theory competant or is willing to learn.

    Try these sites:

  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Its not that easy to get a new guitarist. Hes probably my best friend (altohugh lately hes been annoying, non band related, just real full of himself). I cant just say 'bye', its not my choice, drummer would not want that, we are all friends and agreed to do this together. Its just not fun for me anymore.
  6. Nadav


    Nov 13, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I think that about sums it up. If it's not working anymore, change it.

    I'm really lucky that my guitarist friend doesn't have the regular lead guitarist attitude. Not only does he respect bass, he is also a hell of a player.
  7. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    I am in a similar situation Figjam , I have 2 guitarists in my band one of the absolutely is useless (dont even know why we have him) he only knows power chords. Of course theres nothing wrong with powerr chords but it really limits him to only so many things he can do. My other guitarist knows no theory but he can find his way around the guitar because he knows the pattern of the notes going down the neck, and hes reaally good he can whip out some awesome songs. Now with that said I have been taking lessons since I was in 7th grade learning tuns of theory and I am also a Sophomore , and so far wee have been making some great songs my 2 gutitarists make their songs and I simply put a bassline behind it. you should try working around his lack of theory , but it may be harder for you to do that depending on what type of music you play because some genres of music ,theory is esential for all band members , but in my case its not , just as long as I know what I am doing it goes pretty smoothe most of the time.

  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    It would be less hard of a decision if he was an amazing player, but besides having no theory, hes the weakest player as well because he doesnt put in as much time to play.

    The problem is, if i stopped playing with him, he'd have no reason to keep playing. I dont see him joining another band at all, i think thatd end his guitar playing, and i dont want to do that, and i dont want to explain to his parents (he's Indian, they'll be confused.. ).

    Sigh, thanks for your input guys, ill let time handle this. I want to talk to my drummer as well.


    Dec 1, 2004
    Asheville NC
    bye bye guitar guy. :meh:
  10. I've been playing for about a year and a half. I have 2 guitar players that don't know much about theory. The lead is a great guitarist, but could not tell you anything about scales. Our rhythm guitarist is learning, but just not up on theory at all. He's good at finding chords that sound OK, but he may not be able to tell you what they are. I have to figure out what his chords are, so I can them make some sort of decision on what type of scale or mode to use under it. This makes me mad at times, but it also has pushed me to learn more theory and to be more creative. When he finds one of these chords that I'm not familiar with, I start listening and try to find what sounds good. It forces me to use my ear to find what works. In the end, either by using my ear or studying chord theory I find something that I like and that works. At times, I would rather the guitarists know the language of music a little better so we could communicate more effectively, but that just not going to happen for a while if at all, unless I decide to go elsewhere. Since we are primarily a rock/jam band, I'm still feel OK about this sort of thing for the most part. Once I stop having fun or feel like they are holding me back, I will look for something else to do.

    When it boils down to it, its all about your goals as a musician.
  11. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    If he can't feign enough interest to learn the fretboard, it's not going to get any better. We had someone like that in our band and we'd never know when he was going to mistake the fifth fret with the fourth fret (that's how he knew where he was). We ended up firing him.

    If this is mostly for fun and you're all headed to college or jobs soon anyway, I wouldn't sweat it too much. Maybe get a second guitar player and he can babysit your friend, inspire him to learn, or discourage him enough to quit.
  12. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    Try to workwith him for a litle bit longer thats what I do. as long as my guitarist whips out his cool riffs , I can create the basslines for it despite him having no Idea of where it came from. In the situation I am in it works out really well and in my case as long as I know what I am doing it all goes reallly well but like I said before that only works in certain situations , for example if we wanted to get into some complex Jazz..NO WAY would it ever work but as a rock band we do really well. Try and work with him a bit longer , try and work around it since he is such a good friend.
  13. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    If you are serious about your music and learning, get used to this issue as you will be out growing quite a few bands and players as you get better and better over time and want to explore different and more challenging avenues of expression.

    There's nothing to feel guilty about. It's just the way of the world and it works like that with a lot of life. You get a job, bust your butt, bank some money....then maybe you want to take a vacation...or go to Vegas and blow it all.

    Thats fine it's the fruit of your efforts but all your buddies that sit on their butts and starve while you bust yours and earn....

    They don't get to go to Vegas.

    You're letting that guy hold you back from where you want to go and thats sad for you, not him.
  14. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    I'm somewhat in a similar situation in my band back home, though it has been improving lately. I have more issues with people who are un-willing to learn than those who simply don't know.

    Actually, my latest guitarist issue has been convincing my guitarist that he DOESN'T suck. He relied too much on our former lead guitarist for too long so now he needs semi-constant confidece boosts when we get together during breaks.
  15. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    Who cares if he quits guitar because he's kicked out of your band? It's his own damn fault... he can't blame it on anything except his laziness and unwillingless to learn. Dump him and get someone better.
  16. Very much been there, my friend. First guitarist in my first band didn't want to learn anything about theory because he felt it would "compromise his imagination".... :eyebrow:

    I thought he was just lazy.

    IMHO, you should quietly rib him about it. "Oh, I learned this great song the other day, I'd teach you it but you probably don't know the chords" etc....

    If you do it in a nice, kind way, he will soon rise to your challenge and actually want to learn so he can prove himself to you.

    Of course, that's if he's worth the effort. ;)
  17. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    The point is for you to expand your horizons. Nothing says you have to be in only one band. If the friendships in this band are important to you, there is nothing wrong with keeping it together for that reason, you just need to go elsewhere for musical growth. Learning another instrument can be a good idea at your age as well. A lot of keyboard teachers will give you help on theory.

    I'll make another observation though. Playing originals before you have learned your instrument can be very limiting. When I hear of a bunch of young guys playing original songs, my first thought is - uh oh, here comes the guitarist's two favorite licks packaged in five different ten minute songs. People put down playing covers, but at least it forces you something new rather than write around something you already know. For example, as overdone as "Brown Eyed Girl" is, I don't know of a better way to force a guitarist to learn to play a scale in parallel sixths.
  18. if its not fun, it's not fun, the end. i've tried dealing with people like this that want to "learn from the streets" and time and time again, my attitude is like, if you can play something else and you sound damn good at it, you can stay, if you still want to play guitar like crap, go home and do it in your room.
    sure it's a harsh thing to do, but this is a cruel world
  19. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    It's not fun because it's a chore to play with people like that.

    As the good people on TB always say your band is only as good as your weakest link. I have the same problem with a drummer and singer. So I am starting a side project with my guitarist and a new drummer and singer. Your only 16, I would try to find another guitarist and always keep a good drummer if you have one because he is your best friend. It will work out.
  20. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I feel sorry for you.

    It mut be hard to kick out one of your best friends out of your band.

    If i was in that position then i wouldn't dare kick him out lol..
    maybe he doesn't wanna be your friend anymore but that's his problem..

    tell him he cant stay in the band if he doesn't wanna be serious about it, your band is serious isn't it?