Thursday, July 02, 2015

Learning Guitar: Progress and Theory

I haven't made an update in a while, but it's been a bit of a ride
 I'm at a point now where I feel like I can play the guitar. I'm still learning, and I probably always will be, but now I can pick up the instrument and play stuff that I know and play it just fine.

I feel like every other day, something just clicks into place. I know where the strings are without looking. I can pick okay, and I can strum okay. I have an easier time with syncopated notes. Many concepts I understood but couldn't well use are now that much easier. I'm learning to read Rocksmith better, which is a skill to itself sometimes.

I'm still really bad at most chords, and I think it will be a while still before I can get the hang of strumming (or more complicated picking techniques like alt picking), but I feel like it's all within reach. I also hear the music better and understand sort of why the notes are being played the way they are. That's sort of indescribable right now.

I'm also putting some effort into learning music theory, specifically for guitar. It's a little boring, but interesting. A bunch of questions I sort of had before are starting to be answered. What a scale is and how that's determined is something big I learned. I used to think that a scale was a series of notes that needed to be  memorized. While that's sort of true, there is a pattern to it. If you know the pattern, you can figure out the major and minor scale for any note. I also used to think that there were only so many scales, but any note can have its own scale.

Sometimes these things seem to be common sense, but music is weird and complicated. There are 8 notes, but an octave on a guitar is 12 frets. There are 12 half-steps in an octave, but half of 12 isn't 8, it's 6. Most notes have a sharp and a flat (technically every note does, but that's beside the point), half-way points between that note and the next one, but some notes don't have a half-way point between them and the next note. C and B, and E and F are such notes. It's esoteric and hard to understand, and it doesn't really make sense. Why are the notes like this? I'm sure there is a reason, but I doubt it's any good. There should be an easier to understand way to write music, but this one exists throughout most of the western world.

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