I have never played guitar before. I've played piano before when I was young but that's the extent of my musical training.

I'm self teaching myself for now (today is my second day so think blank sheet) as I just don't have time to meet/arrange lessons yet due to my career.

With that in mind, I really love jazz/blues guitar and want to learn in that direction especially soloing. Everything I've found so far on "beginner jazz" lessons seems to assume a certain level of basic guitar training and learning. So I just wanted to get some advice from all you fellow experienced guitar players on how best to go about this.

It seems going through some really basic lessons like: http://www.gibson.com/Lessons/Arlen-Roth-Lessons/Basics/Beginning-Electric-Guitar-Chapter-1.aspx

are going to be essential. From there building a practice routine that is targeted towards soloing (less rhythmic, starting on blues scale and pattern) seems to be appropriate. In my case I'm not certain if it is necessary to learn how to read music and instead just focus on listening to music I like and trying to reproduce it by myself.

There seems to be a lot of vocabulary and theory that I could go learn but I am wondering in my case how much of it is really necessary?

  • Welcome! There have been many questions here,from folks such as yourself. I suggest you take a little time to look through the answers, which will give you good insight into the sort of things you may need (or want) to know how to play at your stage as a budding jazz guitarist. – Tim Jul 30 '16 at 15:56
  • Will do! I've been looking but hadn't had much luck with my questions as I am such a beginner and most are very context or topic specific. – Victor Jul 31 '16 at 5:43
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    I agree with the comment of @Tim below, that it was a mistake to remove the part of the original question which talked about the goals of the OP in learning to play: personal growth and as inspiration and motivation for a child to learn to play. This was not "grovelling", as the editor called it. An understanding of the goals of a student is one of the first things, if not the first thing, that a teacher must come to. – ex nihilo Mar 1 '18 at 15:16
  • @DavidBowling - indeed. If I was Victor, I'd be re-instating some of the wrongly edited piece. Some folks are just too 'helpful'. – Tim Mar 1 '18 at 15:53

An important part of music theory that a lot of people overlook is its role in teaching the language that everyday musicians use to convey their thoughts. Music really has a specific jargon, and that to me is one of the biggest reasons for all musicians to have at least some music theory background.

You're right that there is a lot of vocabulary, and much of it probably won't be necessary. But in my opinion, the early vocabulary is essential, and it's essential for everyone.

I would recommend finding a source--either online, with an old used textbook, whatever--and at least learning beginning music theory (up to seventh chords or so) in tandem with your guitar training.

And of course feel free to ask us any questions you encounter as you do so!

Edit: Let me also say how great it is too see someone partially doing this in order to inspire a child. Good on you, man!

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    Sadly, the reason for your edit has been removed. I thought it was an interesting factor in the question, too, but others obviously disagreed. – Tim Nov 24 '16 at 9:19

There seems to be a lot of vocabulary and theory that I could go learn but I am wondering in my case how much of it is really necessary?

The answer to this is dependent on you. If you really want to understand the mechanics, the language, and why things are as they are then Music Theory is essential. If I were teaching today I wouldn't start an adult on anything but music theory. I would do this with the end goal being a self-sufficient player who can learn on their own.

However, I understand the desire to just start playing and Arlen is an excellent person for the job (BTW Arlen takes deep dives into the theroy aspect as well).

Maybe the best way could be just start playing and learning the chord shapes, and then when you want to know why things are as they are, you can dive into theory.

  • Got it! Very helpful and really appreciate it! – Victor Jul 31 '16 at 5:45
  • Start most adults on a diet of music theory and you've lost them as students! Most folk I've met simply want to play. Theory comes much later to explain what is happening. It doesn't help you play, at least not initially. – Tim Nov 24 '16 at 9:22

You have 2 real options: Learn jazz theory from the ground up (that includes basic guitar theory) or immerse yourself in the music you love and want to play every chance you get for years. Blues is a great place to start either way.

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