Music Theory

Guitar players seem to be about evenly split between those who want to learn theory because they think it will turn them into Steve Vai, and those who don't, because they think it’s pointless. Or it will ruin their feel. Or turn them into Steve Vai.

Well, I know theory and I am confident I am not Steve Vai. And I’m pretty sure I still have feel. Music theory isn’t a set of rules, and it doesn’t tell you what you can’t do. It tells you what other musicians have done, what normally works, and (if you get into it a bit) suggests why. It’s a language. And if you like something, it makes sense to learn the language, or at least enough of it to order a (metaphorical) coffee in a (metaphorical) café.

I won’t make you learn theory but it’s useful for loads of things. Playing over a set of chords and wondering what scales to use? Theory will give you some options to try, rather than trial and error. It could also suggest some chords you might like to try with your new song, and then give you a way to write that song down.

If you want to be a professional, you’ll be able to take on a wider variety of gigs and thus earn more money if you know theory. And if you’re playing at home, you’ll probably play better, and be more smug when hanging around with guitarists who don’t know theory. So drop me an email or a phone call if you’d like to brush up.