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Dave Navarro was 'guitarist of the year' several times.
He uses simple concepts, but his playing is amazing and creative.  He knows the minor pentatonic scale.  He plays bar chords and adds extra notes.  He slides patterns up and down the neck.  

You don't need to know theory.  Just listen.

"When he's on, he's probably the best there is."     -Jimmy Page said this about Jeff Beck

"I know nothing" about theory.      -Jeff Beck

I played a different style before learning theory.
I didn't call any note a wrong note.  Each note was given a chance to be heard.

I don't think about theory while I'm playing.
I use it to analyze when I stop playing, and to suggest possibilities before I start.   I empty my mind when I play.  I let the music "create itself".  I'll hit wrong notes on purpose.  

Expanding your possibilities makes you better.  
Theory expands your possibilities if you use it properly.

You don't need to memorize this.  
Let your subconsciouses do the work.  Just try to understand it. 

Anti theory quotes

"I’ve seen musicians who are so technical…they’re bound to a technique.  Whereas a child…can get the song any variety of ways because he’s not bound to a certain approach.”       -Carlos Santana

"There could be disadvantages to having a schooled approach.  Sometimes that blocks the intuition.  There are people with great technique who have nothing to say"      -Jerry Garcia

"I try not to analyze what I'm doing on the guitar too much... I try to leave the instincts open at all times...You restrict yourself if you play for safety margins, if you only play what you know your going to get away with."     -David Gilmore       

"I spend almost all of my energy now as a player getting to the point where I can let go of my thoughts".      -Pat Methany           

My challenge is "tearing up the rule book and saying...what can I do with it that no one else has done before?"      
        -The Edge

Pro theory quotes

Learn theory "If you want to be a professional musician, you have to prepare yourself for a lot of different things."                   -Vernon  Reid

Knowledge of the fingerboard is very important.  "You have to have enough access that you're not hung up... what key am I in?  What scale interval am I at?   You need to be able to let that go past you"       -Jerry Garcia 

"My advice is to study music properly and not to omit any knowledge of music"        -Andres Segovia

"If you removed all the limiting factors from music it would be like tennis without the net, court and ball."     -Jim hall

There’s an inherent mood in every key and scale.  “Not just one, In the hands of an artist what you can do is almost limitless…One scale can sound a lot of  different ways.”      -Joe Satriani

"You can spend just as much energy and get just as much of a good feeling out of a simple thing as you can get out of something thats hard.”     -Duane Allmann

"I never learned any music until I sat down with Ravi Shanker on the sitar.  I said 'I don't know how to read music.'  He said 'Oh, good, because it's only going to influence you."      -George Harrison

Players can improve their learning by putting what they study to immediate and practical use.  If they don’t that knowledge will…vanish.”     -Howard Roberts

I don't visualize the fret board or hear phrases in my imagination, "they just come out instantly.  It's more spontaneous."     -Billy Gibbons    

There's an inherent mood "in every mode. A mode to me is just a convenient way of describing a group of key tones."  I never think of a Dorian mode (mode 2) as part of the major scale.  "I would think of it as a minor, flat 7, regular 6 scale.  That’s it.  Of coarse that has a certain mood." Mixolydian (mode 5) is "a major, flat 7 scale.

It's best to just think about what they sound like rather then what major scale they come from.  Although" it's good to know where they came from, so you can remember the notes, "in case you forget.  But the easiest way is just to know what they contain."
I avoid repetitious solos by using "the key tone theory.  Any progression has key notes that are going to have to change.  Let’s use a primitive example.  Going from a C5 (power chord) to A major.  Your first and only key tone change is C to C# (3 in A).  Almost any note in the C scale, except for Bb (b7 in C, b2 in A) will work over the A.You don't have to use any scales or anything, just play melodic lines in C and continue where you left off using the same notes.  Just avoid the Bb and change C to C#." 

"A problem people have is when they think of a different chord, they think of a different position."  In reality, every note for every chord is available "without moving your hand.  Within five frets anywhere, in any position you can play lines that will fit all the chords."  

"Practice this when you're jamming on any progression…  you will be forced to realize what kind of hand positions are required to cover different chords."  

"Start from the general and go to the specific."     -Steve Morse   

"You can know all there is to know about music and still be impotent when it comes to actually creating something.  We were lucky enough to have developed a style that is natural."    

I was talking to a talented drummer and wistfully saying 'I'd love to be able to read music and he said 'Edge, if I ever saw you with sheet music in front of you,  I'd break your leg.  He was saying that it would not work well with my talent, and he is probably right."     -The Edge

“I still pick up the guitar late at night and it feels like the first time I’m putting my fingers on the fret.”     

“Play like you don’t know how to play, take chances and make new mistakes.  Go for what you don’t know and make it brutally honest.  If you get to the goodies really quick it means that your playing something that you’ve already conceived.  There’s joy in rediscovering.”    

“The approach is not as important as getting to a place” and taking the listener with you.  Ask yourself “What can I do to get the listener intoxicated with it?”           

“A lot of times I force myself just to go for what I feel, rather than landing at the root note.  If you approach everything from the root note, there is no mystery for what you are going to play…  Even when I play Black Magic Woman, I force myself to feel like I don’t know how to play.

Sometimes I play scales and chords and “I start playing something really significant.  Then sometimes I start sounding like everybody else.”      -Carlos Santana

"I try to make my playing fresh by not relying on set patterns.  When I practice, I often tie off some of the strings with rubber bands to force myself to look at the fingerboard differently.  I might practice on the G and D strings only.  You can't help playing some familiar patterns though."   

"If I get stuck I might run through a scale and try to find something that works.”  But usually  "I try to make myself ignorant and go only by sound and feeling. 

When things are going right, it feels like the music is happening because you finally got out of the way."      -Jim hall

I don't have any favorite chord progressions. "Any chord can follow any chord in my book…  There's no hard and fast rule.  It depends on the situation and the context." 

"I see chords as notes of the scale played simultaneously.  No matter how complex the harmonic progression; there’s a linear movement through it which can suggest all harmonic possibilities."

"In every scale there are king, queen and prince notes, the notes of vivid strength and color.  In the tasteful application of these, the possibilities are infinite. 

The most important thing is to think melodically."  The trick "is to discover the relationship of each note to the fundamental chord, and that is the color of the chord."

I discovered this "in Indian music.  Every raga has a specific quality, and those can range from tragic to erotic to profound.  The whole basis of the raga is to develop, amplify and articulate," as profoundly as possible, "the various qualities of the human heart and mind and being." 

"I try to play phrasings the way I hear them.  One adapts to ones own technique, but on the other hand, one must adapt ones technique to the idea.  Technique should be an evolving state."  You should "play continuously beyond" your ability.  "I think one can play anything if one has enough perseverance."  

I don't have any favorite chord progressions. "Any chord can follow any chord in my book…” There's no hard and fast rule.  It depends on the situation and the context."        

Miles Davis never told me "I don't want that, he'd just say, 'play long' or 'play short'.  Once he told me, 'play like you don't know how to play the guitar."      

     -John McLaughlin                                                                  

"There are players who don't really hear everything they're playing.  They're just letting their fingers do the work without letting their head or their feelings get involved."  "People ask me 'What kind of modes do you use?...  You have to know all of them, and you have to be able to get from one to the next without even thinking about it."     

      -Pat Methany  (If thats the sound you want)      

Do I play closer to the bridge for brightness?   "You know, I don't know.  I never looked." 

"Onstage the moment is the important thing, the moment that is here and gone.  Making horrible mistakes onstage doesn't matter."      -David Gilmore

"I don't read music.  I just listened to what they wanted and played.  It would be a great advantage to read when you've got something difficult to remember.   

You can look at it and jog your memory.  And sometimes I get so worried about remembering that I don't remember it.  The biggest problem is that I can't write anything down when composing a piece.  It's awful really, no excuse." 

Different chord voicings evoke certain moods.  "Sometimes you can use a simple chord and come up with a nice voicing.  It's all important because it's music."    

       -Alan Holdsworth