Guitar theory/thought process


Wondering if you could share and or direct aspiring guitarists to resources to learn usable guitar theory.

When you sit down to just play without thinking — the stuff for the gods, where do you find yourself going in your head?

Anthony, NY

One Thought on Guitar theory/thought process
    24 Oct 2022

    “Guitar theory” ouch. .
    There might not be any systematic info specific to guitar taking microtonality into account, so all the blues and/or whammy bar coolness is up to the individual.

    Set aside the expressive guitaristic aspect and my answer would be Ted Greene’s Chord Chemistry.

    That’s an excellent resource, if you don’t already have a copy, get one soon!

    There’s lots of great music theory books available, the extent to which they’re applicable to guitar depends on the individual.
    Gary Campbell (saxophone) has a couple great books, I’m currently working with Connecting Jazz Theory.
    Nice triad pair info.

    I’ll get a list together later, I’m super busy now.

    It’s also possible there’s no “theory” at all.
    It’s just listening and execution, and however you justify it to yourself.
    I was just having that conversation with Oteil two days ago.
    The subject was Harmony, my definition of which was “things as they are together”.
    Things as they are together necessarily includes YOU, so there can’t really be “a theory” that excludes your feelings about it.

    So, anybody who’s any good with their instrument will necessarily have their own unique take on “theory”, right?
    Aside from the naming conventions to the extent they’d be generally agreed upon, but even simple stuff like “what’s a 3rd?” depends on who you’re talking to.
    Albert King called the 3rd “the first” because it was the “first harmony” to whatever the melody was.
    Right? The “third harmony” means play the 7th.

    Albert King was obviously a hugely influential guitarist, but his “theory” doesn’t do anything to explain his music, style, sound, or approach.
    It was just his way of calling it when he wanted to communicate with his horn section.

    Anyway, just learn all you can, and you’ll find a lot of instruction ends with “whatever your ear allows”.
    You are your own theory, your preferences win!

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