Why should guitarists learn music theory?

If you play guitar, do you need to know music theory?

Guitarists learn in a variety of ways – from classic music lessons to training themselves to play by ear. However, if you want to get the most out of your instrument, you should consider learning music theory. 

Here are some reasons why: 

 

  • Having a grasp of music theory will help you be a better improviser 

 

If you have a good grasp of the pentatonic scale, it’s much easier to improvise solos, especially for blues and rock music. It also makes you much less likely to hit a wrong note while improvising if you’re basing the solo on theory, rather than playing by ear. 

 

  • Music theory can help you write your own music 

 

When you know scales and how to build chords, your musical world opens up. Having an understanding of the fundamentals of music will make it easier for you to write your own riffs and chord progressions, as well as make it easier for you to solo over a song. 

 

  • Reading music is more useful than just reading tabs 

 

Tablature is a useful tool for guitarists to learn riffs and solos quickly. However, the tabs only show you which notes to play – whereas sheet music shows you the timing and breaks, allowing you to play the piece as it’s meant to be played. Being able to read and write sheet music is also important if you want to write or transcribe music. 

 

  • Music theory will help you play better with other musicians 

It’s quicker and easier to learn music when you have a musical theory background rather than playing it by ear. Knowing musical theory also makes it easier to communicate musical ideas with other people. 

Check out this Music Theory 101 course to get started today!

 

 

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