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Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:32 pm
Posts: 257
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:04 pm 

And by that I mean focussing only on the technical aspects of playing the guitar (picking, fretting, bending etc.). Imagine the only "theory" you know is the notes on your guitar. You don't know what scales are, you don't know how chords work, none of that. You just know that different notes sound different and they exist in different octaves. That's it. Is it possible to make music this way? Will it sound very different from theory-based music? Or will it sound the same because you'll automatically figure out what sounds good along the way? Hope this makes sense.

I'm asking because I've noticed that my own technical ability is way out of proportion compared to my theoretical knowledge. It's because I've only been doing technical excercises, trying to perfect my technique even though I have nothing to apply this technique to.

As a result of this I'm kinda scratching my head as to what people mean when they call themselves "self-taught". Watching a lot of informational videos and reading books about theory is not what I would call self-taught, but I guess its definition differs for each person.

As usual, I intend for this thread to be a discussion and am not necessarily looking for a definitive answer to my question. Every thought is welcome.
My YouTube channel where I upload obscure albums
Current favourite song: Etherius - The Inevitable End


Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:10 am
Posts: 2774
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:11 pm 

Self taught is listening to essential / your favorite albums and picking out by ear what they're playing, learning it, and applying the template those songs laid to your own music, and hopefully, expanding upon it.

I know people who brag about being self taught because they didn't take formal lessons or classes in person, but watching instructional videos, reading instructional books, or other musicians you know teaching you things is not self taught.

It's definitely possible to teach yourself without learning theory, because you actually learn about theory anyway subconsciously by what you learn from other people's songs that you teach yourself.

Having said that, there's no shame in taking formal lessons. I did and I'm very glad I did. You by no means have to be self taught to be a great musician or songwriter, and conversely, you by no means have to take formal lessons to achieve either. Different methods work for different people.

Re-reading the OP, if you stick with a) not learning theory, and b) not learning other people's songs, you attempting to write music you'll create a huge cacophony of noise without some sort of guidance. However, that cacophony would still technically be music and you would still be technically self taught, because no one taught you anything, rather you just took a huge guess. Could you eventually figure out how to sound good this way? I really don't know...... If you don't want to learn theory at least learn a bunch of your favorite songs. You don't even need to learn by ear, check out tabs online. When you play enough songs within the same genre(s) you'll begin to see / hear patterns that youl'll be able to discern as theory, even if you don't realize it as such.

Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:33 pm
Posts: 10
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:15 pm 

Im self taught in the sense that ive never had formal lessons. I once had a subscription to bass player magazine and i used the lessons in each one to learn scales and songs provided there was tab because i cant read music.
I wish i had more theory training than i did because i think it would have impacted my song writing abilities in a postive way maybe even more than my ability on the instrument.

King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 13318
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:11 pm 

yes. it's like learning a language you can figure it out but you might know consciously on how to convey those ideas in speech to someone else.
I've never had formal lessons I just do things that sound good.
I just do more stuff than you ever will.

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