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View Poll Results: Do you support this idea and would you be willing to support it?
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  #46  
Old 04-20-2017, 08:22 PM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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Here's 2 examples

#1 The chords in the key of D flat major are Db major, Eb minor, F minor, Gb major, Ab major, Bb minor, and C diminished.

#2 The chords in the key of B flat major are Bb major, C minor, D minor, Eb major, F major, G minor, and A diminished.

All of the above chords are easily fingered on piano or played on a horn instrument. They can be a bear to finger on guitar.

If you aren't playing with a horn player, wouldn't you rather play those chords in a guitar friendly key of D or B? By doing so, you also don't have to remember the individual notes in those "unfriendly" keys.







Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
Hi, Dave - I hope you don't mind my asking since we're all discussing learning and teaching in here, but I never understand why people say there are keys they can't play in. (Likewise I see people say they avoid songs with sharps or flats). I feel like I'm missing something important and I hope you don't mind elaborating.

It seems to me once you know the key signature, you know how many sharps and flats. You might need that for finding the roots of chords. The chords, if you play them barres, are all the same shapes no matter where you put them. Even if you play partial barres you could work from there. If, instead you are playing melody, if you're playing a major scale, it's the same intervals in any key, minor the same as any other minor in any key. I do understand completely that some chords are difficult to transition. I often need to work on a new progression. Maybe you're just referring to that? But if it's something else, what am I missing?
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  #47  
Old 04-20-2017, 08:28 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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Originally Posted by dkstott View Post
Here's 2 examples

#1 The chords in the key of D flat major are Db major, Eb minor, F minor, Gb major, Ab major, Bb minor, and C diminished.

#2 The chords in the key of B flat major are Bb major, C minor, D minor, Eb major, F major, G minor, and A diminished.

All of the above chords are easily fingered on piano or played on a horn instrument. They can be a bear to finger on guitar.

If you aren't playing with a horn player, wouldn't you rather play those chords in a guitar friendly key of D or B? By doing so, you also don't have to remember the individual notes in those "unfriendly" keys.

Thanks for the answer! Certainly, some keys are easier on some instruments, but if I had to play those, I'd just play them as barres. If I needed to play the major chords off the 5th strings I'd see if I could play 7ths because they are much easier, but still they are the same shapes as any other barres, aren't they? If I had a choice, I'd tune the guitar down a half step for Eb. I'm a beginner, though, so not saying I could play it well, just that I know where I'd play it.

Some keys are definitely nicer though. I'm a big fan of Fm because I like the way minors are all barres and the majors can all be open.

If I'm playing melody, I wouldn't be thinking about the notes, I'd think about the intervals starting from Db and Bb, exactly the same shapes as C major or any other major, isn't it?
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Last edited by SunnyDee; 04-20-2017 at 09:49 PM.
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  #48  
Old 04-20-2017, 08:38 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
I'm that kind of student. I always say I can't afford a teacher better than I am. Which is true. But I'm also an international teacher trainer at university level. It's my job to be a good teacher. Not everyone has those skills.

I've been following this and especially your comments, but you are exactly right if you are politely saying that much of the teaching out there is quite weak. A good teacher has to have a good big picture view so that s/he can simplify things without making them too simplistic by presenting the most salient points clearly. I haven't found too much of that online, but I will say, I'm incredibly grateful for the technology of the internet as well as the generosity of so many people sharing information and music. I can't imagine having learned all I have this year without these things even if it does require near endless googling.
Well, I wasn't really commenting on the quality (or lack thereof) of teaching since that is a whole other subject, but instead on the sometimes over-reliance of the student on the teacher. The student should be thinking for him or herself, coming up with ways to internalize the information being given.

I suppose the appropriate cliche is that you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

As an example, since Toby Walker has been in this thread...

If you buy one of Toby's lessons and maybe even watch the video, unless you work hard to find ways to put that lesson to work for you, you won't have really gained anything from that lesson. Toby did his job, but it is really up to the student to do the rest.

From what I have seen of his video samples, Toby is a good teacher, so that is not at issue in my example. What the student does with that material is.

As a completely separate issue, what I see missing in the guitar learning market is a comprehensive course for guitar that would bring the student up to a level, building a solid foundation, to be able to make maximum use of all the various DVDs and books available. All these books and DVDs seem to focus on one thing or another, with varying suitability for a given student's learning style and/or level of capability for that particular DVD or book.

A student who has a solid foundation in music theory and how all that applies to the guitar, along with the ability to already play at least some tunes, maybe play some lead, can hear, can read and write music and TAB, should be able to drop into most any DVD or book and benefit from it. The course that gives this to the student is what seems to me to be missing from the whole guitar learning market landscape.

When self-teaching, it is a case of the "blind leading the blind". If a person decides to go into a wilderness or jungle he or she has never been to before, wouldn't it make sense for that person to have a guide? If that person is instead familiar with the territory, then going in alone, the person will likely fare much better.

I worked as a software engineer for about 10 years before going back to college and getting my degree. If we were to list all the skills one really needs to do the job well, prior to going to college, there were several of these skills that I would show having a very high degree of skill in, while others would show none.

The thing to understand is that I was completely unaware of these other skills, so how would I even know I needed them, especially if I was getting by with what I did know? We don't know what we don't know, no matter how much we might insist otherwise.

I know that I could do a lot better in my arranging. When I have looked into those arrangers for solo guitar who seem to put out really excellent work, they all seem to have a solid handle on fretboard harmony. This goes WAY beyond knowing the notes on the fretboard, the CAGED system, and how to apply it. So now I am studying that, as well as the work of these arrangers. In order to study their work, I need to understand what it is they are doing, and I can promise that it is a lot more than just slapping chords under the melody!

When I finished college, that same list of skills would show a much more even level of knowledge, and across all the skills. This gave me a much broader array of skills to make use of, resulting in much more efficient and solid algorithms and code, so that the quality of my work increased significantly. I expect that kind of return from my studies of fretboard harmony too (not the financial, but the intrinsic satisfaction).

I should clarify the type of arranging and playing I am talking about. One could easily make the correct argument that the old blues guys and many of the folk artists don't know much about music, but do know how to make use of what they do know to good effect (i.e. all that musical knowledge is not necessarily a prerequisite for these performers). I am thinking more along the lines of folks lke Earl Klugh playing standards and pop tunes on solo guitar, or Laurindo Almeida, and players along those lines, arrangers such as Stan Ayeroff and Howard Heitmeyer, and others of that caliber, arranging standards and pop tunes for classical guitarists. In that realm, you can really hear the quality (or lack of it) in arrangements. A person can get by nicely slapping chords under the melody in this realm, but to really take control of what is happening in these arrangements musically and shape them at will, takes some real knowledge of harmony.

Contrary to a belief that I used see among some guitar players (not so much lately) knowledge IS power and it makes you a better all around musician, just as it did for my career. Whether a person really needs this knowledge depends on the person's musical goals.

Tony
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  #49  
Old 04-20-2017, 08:45 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
Contrary to a belief that I used see among some guitar players (not so much lately) knowledge IS power and it makes you a better all around musician, just as it did for my career.

Tony
I totally agree!

Yes, it's a relatively rare self-taught person who can figure out what they need to know.
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  #50  
Old 04-20-2017, 08:50 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
Thanks for the answer! Certainly, some keys are easier on some instruments, but if I had to play those, I'd just play them as barres. If I needed to play the major chords off the 5th strings I'd see if I could play 7ths because they are much easier, but still they are the same shapes as any other barres, aren't they? I'm a beginner, though, so not saying I could play it well, just that I know where I'd play it.

Some keys are definitely nicer though. I'm a big fan of Fm because I like the way minors are all barres and the majors can all be open.

If I'm playing melody, I wouldn't be thinking about the notes, I'd think about the intervals starting from Db and Bb, exactly the same shapes as C major or any other major, isn't it?
One ting that was really good about the David Sudnow piano course was that there was absolutely no concept of "easy" and "hard" keys. I think that, on piano, that is for those whose whole thing is reading every played note off the sheet music. For what we were doing, every key was the same, since we were working from lead sheets.

On the guitar, if you really get a handle on the CAGED system, all keys are equal. I have no trouble playing in a jazz group, which I have done. Horn players want to be in Bb or Eb. Singers have to be in the keys that match their vocal range. A guitar player who intends to work in these environments needs to have that fluency.

Tony
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  #51  
Old 04-20-2017, 09:02 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
On the guitar, if you really get a handle on the CAGED system, all keys are equal. I have no trouble playing in a jazz group, which I have done. Horn players want to be in Bb or Eb. Singers have to be in the keys that match their vocal range. A guitar player who intends to work in these environments needs to have that fluency.

Tony
They are all equal, even without CAGED. I do know how CAGED works, but I don't really look at the fretboard that way. I look at it as smaller intervals, all the finger-shapes related to scales and scale degrees, 4ths, minor 3rd, major 3rd... I'm still working on putting that knowledge into fast muscle memory, but I understand it. Beyond, possible physical limitations, like... by the time I get to the 14th fret my guitar sounds like a cheap uke, why do people think these keys are different? We're probably getting off topic, but Tony, can you explain it? I'm not saying that dkstott thought this. He's clearly working above my pay grade. But why if someone knows how to play an F are they afraid of a F#? I don't get it.
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  #52  
Old 04-20-2017, 09:08 PM
guitar george guitar george is offline
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I think if you created a website offering "free interactive guitar lessons", you would be overwhelmed with the response.

Why not try an ad for "free guitar lessons", detailing your over-the-phone, email, Skype, Face time or whatever methods you offer system, on Craigslist? You would likely have more customers than you could handle.
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  #53  
Old 04-21-2017, 01:25 AM
joe paul joe paul is offline
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Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
Back in 1995, I wrote a paper that is about 70 pages long, detailing the CAGED system AND how to use it.
Tony
I've been following the discussion without weighing in so far. My sympathies lie more with Toby's point of view, having given guitar lessons in the past and knowing many working musicians and music teachers.
That said, I didn't know Tony's work - and work it is, having looked at the pdf he linked to - and I'm impressed by how good it is, and how kind it is of him to have made this available for free. I salute you, sir.

I'm glad the debate has turned a little toward the question of motivation and what you do with the material you have at your disposal, whether it be tab, video or whatever, that seems crucial to me. Chord-melody and arranging isn't my thing, I'm into old acoustic blues, learning from the recordings, but we each find a path that fits. That's a good thing.
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  #54  
Old 04-21-2017, 06:04 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
They are all equal, even without CAGED. I do know how CAGED works, but I don't really look at the fretboard that way. I look at it as smaller intervals, all the finger-shapes related to scales and scale degrees, 4ths, minor 3rd, major 3rd... I'm still working on putting that knowledge into fast muscle memory, but I understand it. Beyond, possible physical limitations, like... by the time I get to the 14th fret my guitar sounds like a cheap uke, why do people think these keys are different? We're probably getting off topic, but Tony, can you explain it? I'm not saying that dkstott thought this. He's clearly working above my pay grade. But why if someone knows how to play an F are they afraid of a F#? I don't get it.
I don't have an answer except to guess that this was how they were taught. I hear this idea of one key being more difficult than another from piano players who were taught to play only by reading sheet music. As I mentioned, I don't think that way for either piano or guitar. To me, all keys are equal. From my interactions with dkstott, I would say with confidence that he is well beyond "easy" or "hard" keys and instead has command of the fretboard. Remember, though, that there are folks here at all levels of ability with the guitar, and have come from differing ways of having learned.

However, that said, there are keys on the guitar that favor open strings: C, A, G, E, and D for major and E, A, and D for minor. That has nothing to do with "easy" or "hard" keys, but everything to do with how the guitar is tuned.

The part of your post that I highlighted in bold was an interesting point about the guitar sounding like a ukulele way up high. I took a lesson once with David Qualey, and he commented on that same thing, saying that when arranging for guitar, it sounds best overall to try to stick to the middle areas of the fretboard. He also tries to incorporate open strings where possible because they help the overall sound to be more resonant and sustaining.

Tony
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  #55  
Old 04-21-2017, 06:49 AM
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I think the best teacher is, as usual, the student. The teachers are usually nothing more than pass-throughs of information that the observers (students) metabolize to the extent that they can teach themselves. If one cares to analyze it, that's the truth regarding teacher/student relationships.

I've never taught anyone anything. I've only shown them what I do and they pick it up from there. The idea of placing a value on that is to say that my time is valuable and I should be compensated for it. That would be the perspective of the for-gain teacher who has such an income to protect. Naturally, he or she will defend it that way. But, not being a for-gain person of music, mine is simply a watch and learn proposition if the observer has the desire to pick up what I'm putting down. If the desire is not there, paid or free lessons will have the same effect - little to none.
I believe there are serious flaws with that argument. Saying that the best teacher is the student and that teachers are nothing more than ‘pass-throughs of information’ is completely devaluing the role of a qualified, experienced and competent instructor. If your theory was correct, then there would be absolutely no need for teachers of any kind, whether the subject is biology, medicine, history, or even auto-mechanics. Why, all a teacher of your description would need to do would be to point to which book a student would need, tell them which chapters would apply to them and that would be essentially it. Or to take it a step further, if the teacher were the coach on a baseball team, they would simply say ‘watch how I do it, because I really can’t explain the process of what I’m doing,’ or perhaps in your case, if the player still couldn’t learn from example your attitude might be ‘well, I can explain it in a step by step process, but I’d rather not.’ It seems that your definition of a student should be self-guided and self-taught, being automatically in possession of the gift of ‘watch and learn.’

This is assuming that all students are completely independent, which is absolutely false. It is only the exceptional, tremendously gifted student that is like that. I’m not sure how many students you’ve ‘taught’ with this method, but I can tell you that over 40 years of teaching, I have had literally thousands of students in that time period. Of that amount, only a small percentage were self-guided. The rest truly needed to shown not only which door to open, but how to choose which door would be right for them and how to proceed down that path. At this point some would need a structured map, while others needed a little less structure. In either case, on the smallest exception needed a lesson or two without proceeding on their own completely.

Please don’t assume that I do not value the need for a student to eventually learn HOW to fish, rather than just being given a fish. My role as a teacher is to first show them what they want to learn, and then teach them how they can go about learning on their own, using the foundation that is laid out for them.

I can’t begin to tell you how many students have come to me saying that they wound up wasting more time wading through those ‘free’ lessons on the internet in order to finally find one that addresses their personal, specific issue. And even if and when they find that, many of those lessons are not structured, nor do they provide any end game or guided path toward that students particular goal. Additionally, they provide zero feedback, as they are all canned.

A qualified, experienced instructor, regardless of the subject matter, provides a student with a time saving, structured path that is personalized to their specific needs. Not only that, the instructor provides invaluable feedback if that student may be making crucial mistakes during the learning process, which everyone, regardless of their natural ability, will be bound to make. To say that ‘teachers are usually nothing more that pass-throughs of information that the observers metabolize to the extent that they can teach themselves’ completely devalues the art, craft, dedication, genius and importance of the teacher.

Finally, in the case of those rare, exceptional students that only need to be show which door to go through, the value of the teacher to actually understand that student’s need and point them to the correct door cannot be by any means underestimated.
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  #56  
Old 04-21-2017, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
Well, I wasn't really commenting on the quality (or lack thereof) of teaching since that is a whole other subject, but instead on the sometimes over-reliance of the student on the teacher. The student should be thinking for him or herself, coming up with ways to internalize the information being given.

I suppose the appropriate cliche is that you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

As an example, since Toby Walker has been in this thread...

If you buy one of Toby's lessons and maybe even watch the video, unless you work hard to find ways to put that lesson to work for you, you won't have really gained anything from that lesson. Toby did his job, but it is really up to the student to do the rest.

From what I have seen of his video samples, Toby is a good teacher, so that is not at issue in my example. What the student does with that material is.

Tony
Thank you Tony, and I'd like very much to elaborate on what you've written.

I absolutely agree with you that it is up to the student to take what a teacher has shown them and apply it to their future studies. In all of my lessons I strongly emphasize that point. I pride myself on teaching students how to fish, rather than just giving them a fish. It is my sincere hope that the student will be able to take what I teach in the lessons and continue down their path with more confidence, knowledge, and skills. I believe that if a 'horse' is truly thirsty, being shown a solid, time-saving path to the water hole will help them not only quench their thirst, but hopefully teach them how to find other paths with less stress and strain.

One of the things that I offer each and every one of the students that purchases my lessons is free, additional support, whether it's in the form of email correspondence or by them sending me a YouTube video of their progress. I believe that without feedback, a student can develop some pretty poor habits that without being corrected, can wind up impeding their progress on to the goals. Of course in the event of live, Skype lessons, that part of it is automatic. I'm sorry if it appears as if I'm trying to sell something here, which I sincerely am not.

I have to admit, as most people can see from my posts in this thread, that offering services like this for free on a consistent, personalized, and structured basis seems to be highly unlikely. Additionally, I believe that in most cases, but not all, it can seriously devalue the reputation of the instructor and the quality of the content.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:12 AM
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I feel the need to apologize for my sometime brief responses. It comes from a frustration with trying to type lengthy responses using my phone.



Thank you Tony for the kind words on my playing.. I am not a beginner, although when learning a new song or technique, it does feel like I'm a beginner.

here's my background; I started playing in 1965 & took about a year of guitar lessons. I played in high school & college rock bands, played in acoustic duos during my 6 years in the Navy.

During that time, I knew chords & songs because my band mates taught me or sheet music gave me the information needed.

Then came a 20 year break..

About 15 years ago, I got back into guitar playing and learned the theory behind scales, chords, fretboard, etc... Over the years, I've dug into a variety of genre's; pop, acoustic blues, jazz, semi-classical & whatever peaked my interest at the time.

I can't hold a key while singing, so these days I play strictly solo guitar arrangements. I play for my own enjoyment and the occasional open mic night. The singers at the weekly guitar gathering that I attend typically call for "capo 2" or capo 3".... We play just about all genre's.

Attempting to videotape myself became an effort in futility. I spent more time screwing up the recording process than actually playing my guitar. So, there aren't any video or audios.

Could I play songs on the guitar with those nasty flat signatures? If given enough time to analyze the arrangement, SURE!! But if I don't have to play in those keys, I won't. So, it becomes "out of sight, out of mind" for me.

Rather than call the keys hard or easy. Let's call the keys... preferred & not preferred when it comes to the guitar. LOL

Looking at my current repertoire of songs, I play them in the keys of C,A,G,E,D & Eb.

There are 2 songs that I play in the key of Eb. #1 is the Stevie Wonder song; My Cherie Amore and was arranged by Pete Huttlinger (RIP) #2 is Moonlight in Vermont arranged by Rich Severson.

One of the songs that I play in the key of D is played using C shape chords with the capo on the 2nd fret. Why? Simply because I like the sound of the open strings.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:27 AM
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Keys are not a problem...if you classify your changes using the good old I/IV/V way of relating.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:27 AM
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I agree with Tony & Toby on quite a bit of this.

I have a dislike to DVD, VHS lessons simply because I developed a lot of habits that went uncorrected. Skype has never been a choice for me to utilize. Simply because I hate having to have my computer or tablet on-line in order to play guitar. My preference is to sit in front of an instructor and get immediate guidance & feedback. But that's just me & my personal preference coming into play.

There have been great and not-so great instructors in my journey.

I've encountered a few that seem to have no clue what to do with intermediate or advanced students & reply on the student to dictate the lesson plan. Or those that have a strict rigid structure to their plans and refuse to deviate from it or adapt to a students needs.

One instance for me was after taking lessons with an instructor for 2 years, I asked "what do I need to work on next?"... the response was "well, what do you want to work on?" After 2 years of weekly hourly lessons, the instructor should have a feel for my weaknesses and what should be the next steps.

Another instance was with a classical guitar teacher. I was very upfront that I wanted to use his instructions simply to improve my left and right hand technique. I had no intention of playing classical music. Unfortunately, his method relied solely of the strict hand position for classical. Which really doesn't apply to playing fingerstyle jazz or pop.

I've also encountered great instructors who adapt their approach to the needs of the students.. Such as teaching theory as needed instead of it being the focus. Teach me the ins and outs of key of XYZ when we reach the point of learning a song in that key.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toby Walker View Post
Thank you Tony, and I'd like very much to elaborate on what you've written.

I absolutely agree with you that it is up to the student to take what a teacher has shown them and apply it to their future studies. In all of my lessons I strongly emphasize that point. I pride myself on teaching students how to fish, rather than just giving them a fish. It is my sincere hope that the student will be able to take what I teach in the lessons and continue down their path with more confidence, knowledge, and skills. I believe that if a 'horse' is truly thirsty, being shown a solid, time-saving path to the water hole will help them not only quench their thirst, but hopefully teach them how to find other paths with less stress and strain.

One of the things that I offer each and every one of the students that purchases my lessons is free, additional support, whether it's in the form of email correspondence or by them sending me a YouTube video of their progress. I believe that without feedback, a student can develop some pretty poor habits that without being corrected, can wind up impeding their progress on to the goals. Of course in the event of live, Skype lessons, that part of it is automatic. I'm sorry if it appears as if I'm trying to sell something here, which I sincerely am not.

I have to admit, as most people can see from my posts in this thread, that offering services like this for free on a consistent, personalized, and structured basis seems to be highly unlikely. Additionally, I believe that in most cases, but not all, it can seriously devalue the reputation of the instructor and the quality of the content.
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  #60  
Old 04-21-2017, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
They are all equal, even without CAGED. I do know how CAGED works, but I don't really look at the fretboard that way. I look at it as smaller intervals, all the finger-shapes related to scales and scale degrees, 4ths, minor 3rd, major 3rd... I'm still working on putting that knowledge into fast muscle memory, but I understand it. Beyond, possible physical limitations, like... by the time I get to the 14th fret my guitar sounds like a cheap uke, why do people think these keys are different? We're probably getting off topic, but Tony, can you explain it? I'm not saying that dkstott thought this. He's clearly working above my pay grade. But why if someone knows how to play an F are they afraid of a F#? I don't get it.
I was able to learn to play guitar without having formal theory instruction.
My motivation for learning was to have the ability to accompany myself while singing a song. cue: chord charts and lyric sheets.

I was able to expand the arrangements of my playing guitar after receiving theory instruction and taking time to practice the application of the lesson.
My motivation for learning was wanting to be able to produce a wider variety of musicality in my arrangements, triggered by playing with/observing others.

Like SunnyDee, I've got lots of the information in my head, and it is now a matter of connecting the brain with the muscle memory, and to do it effectively. For me, one thing at a time is the way I succeed best.

one example of making that connection is practicing common turnarounds in every key, so that I can recognize them when played by others, and can seamlessly integrate them into arrangements. I, VI, II, V, I is an example of a popular turnaround.
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