What's the best book resource for learning music and/or guitar theory.

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Devil#20Devil#20 Frets: 256
edited December 2020 in Theory
What's the best book resource for learning guitar theory for a beginner. Should he learn music theory first and that poses the same question. I can't really answer myself because I learned music theory at school and I've bought lots of books on guitar (most of which were pretty crap) and ended up in the charity shops. I have just 2 books on music theory by a bloke called Eric Taylor which are OK for reference but not necessarily for learning; I'm not sure. Guitar wise I have Fretboard theory by Desi Sarna (sp?) which I think is excellent and probably my 'go to' resource for all things guitar and I think might be OK for a beginner to more advanced stuff. That's my choice though but there may be much better recommendations out there. I have a few more books for specific guitar methods/styles so not really beginner books.   

Would a book on music theory be good to start with or not really necessary because there's enough music theory in most guitar books to cover most of what you need? Maybe because I learned music theory before guitar I should ask who's gone the other way and did they wish they'd done music theory first? I'm sure I pulled on music theory subconsciously but not sure if it was a necessary pre-requisite, and maybe in a way it holds you back.   



Ian

Lowering my expectations has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.

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  • vizviz Frets: 7217
    I say this every time but I’d go for the abrsm or trinity general music grades system if I really wanted an easy, gradual and correct grounding. 
    "Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewards those who accept it." - a great quote from Guitartango
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  • Have a look at Vaideology - great introduction. Rick Beato also good.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 6332
    I wouldn't think so much of guitar theory  ... basically you want to learn music theory and then you can apply that to the guitar or any other instrument. I'm not anywhere near the level of musical theory knowledge of viz and some others on here but I get my students to first learn where all the notes are ... be that guitar or piano. Then learn the formula for building scales. Then learn to build chords. Then modes, then chord substitution and other stuff but always thinking in pure music terms .... not instrument specific. 
    Learning the mechanics of technique is different and is instrument specific but music theory is just music theory, that's the way I've always seen and taught it. 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • greejngreejn Frets: 49
    Rick Beato, everything about music theory I can teach in an hour, or something like that, on Youtube. More advanced theory, Adam Maness on Open Studio, great musician and educator.
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  • emorejemorej Frets: 14
    Devil#20 said:
    What's the best book resource for learning guitar theory for a beginner. Should he learn music theory first and that poses the same question. I can't really answer myself because I learned music theory at school and I've bought lots of books on guitar (most of which were pretty crap) and ended up in the charity shops. I have just 2 books on music theory by a bloke called Eric Taylor which are OK for reference but not necessarily for learning; I'm not sure. Guitar wise I have Fretboard theory by Desi Sarna (sp?) which I think is excellent and probably my 'go to' resource for all things guitar and I think might be OK for a beginner to more advanced stuff. That's my choice though but there may be much better recommendations out there. I have a few more books for specific guitar methods/styles so not really beginner books.   

    Would a book on music theory be good to start with or not really necessary because there's enough music theory in most guitar books to cover most of what you need? Maybe because I learned music theory before guitar I should ask who's gone the other way and did they wish they'd done music theory first? I'm sure I pulled on music theory subconsciously but not sure if it was a necessary pre-requisite, and maybe in a way it holds you back.   


    I don't see how knowing music theory can hold you back, it takes away the guesswork. I would rcommend Hal Leonards books for music theory, there's one by Jeff Schroedl and one by Tom Kolb which are very good books.
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  • Devil#20 said:
    What's the best book resource for learning guitar theory for a beginner. Should he learn music theory first and that poses the same question. I can't really answer myself because I learned music theory at school and I've bought lots of books on guitar (most of which were pretty crap) and ended up in the charity shops. I have just 2 books on music theory by a bloke called Eric Taylor which are OK for reference but not necessarily for learning; I'm not sure. Guitar wise I have Fretboard theory by Desi Sarna (sp?) which I think is excellent and probably my 'go to' resource for all things guitar and I think might be OK for a beginner to more advanced stuff. That's my choice though but there may be much better recommendations out there. I have a few more books for specific guitar methods/styles so not really beginner books.   

    Would a book on music theory be good to start with or not really necessary because there's enough music theory in most guitar books to cover most of what you need? Maybe because I learned music theory before guitar I should ask who's gone the other way and did they wish they'd done music theory first? I'm sure I pulled on music theory subconsciously but not sure if it was a necessary pre-requisite, and maybe in a way it holds you back.   


    I dont see how music theory can hold you back at all. Even guitarists who say they dont read music and dont 'do' music theory actually do use it by the bucket full but either dont realise it or say it simply because they dont feel they have the authority to give advice on it. I have been helped immensely by just understanding simple theory such as how to create chords,major and minor,as well as seventh chords and suspended chords etc in my short time playing. I find it fascinating and want to learn more. I find book learning more difficult than visual learning so tend to go down the youtube route. As always with youtube though its a question of finding which presenter suits your style of learning. I like the Italian fella on 'Music Theory for Guitar' as well as Rick Beato and so forth.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 952
    I wouldn't say it's best to know theory before being able to play guitar. Playing the instrument is also hard enough to start that theory alongside would put a person off.

    Bits and pieces of theory after the rudiments of playing is probably best, as in explaining what's happening with each new song.

    I gave lessons a long time ago. I preferred to be called a strumming coach in the end. I saw so point in showing scales other than the diatonic or pentatonic major and related scales if the students only played along to guitar songs of the day.
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  • JayceeJaycee Frets: 130
    viz said:
    I say this every time but I’d go for the abrsm or trinity general music grades system if I really wanted an easy, gradual and correct grounding. 

    I am doing this with classical guitar, it's slow going but I am getting there, I am using Aaron Shearer' method book, the graded Trinity books both guitar and music reading at the same level.

    It's hard going at times and I wonder if I am improving, but then I revisit a piece and play it better than I used to .
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 952
    @jaycee it is hard to see improvement in virtually anything, especially an instrument.

    Its still hard to accept that I'm an "intermediate" player after 30 years, but there will always be something new to learn, develop or relearn!

    Almost anything will impress a non-player, and I know that I have far exceeded what I wanted to do at the start.
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  • BlaendulaisBlaendulais Frets: 2012
    I did the LCM popular music theory grades.  V relevant.  I did G5 in ABRSM theory and tbh it was tedious and just not so relevant to what i wanted whereas LCM was
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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 191
    I agree with @viz that learning through grades is a good way of building up knowledge in a structured manner, and wish this is what I had done! The best self-study books that I have found are the two Creative Guitar books by Guthrie Govan, and he covers topics from a musical perspective not just guitar focussed.

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