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Why Guitarists Need Music Theory

(Image credit: Cindy Moorhead)

You don’t need music theory to be a successful musician. In fact, a lot of successful people didn’t follow traditional paths to build their legacy.

Jimi Hendrix had no idea what a diminished chord was, Microsoft founder Bill Gates didn’t graduate from college and NFL Hall of Famer Antonio Gates didn’t even play football until his early 20s.

Most of us aren’t those rare kinds of people, though, and we need as many advantages as we can get. Music theory is just that: an advantage.

I find most people who are against learning music theory think it’s a blanket approach that changes you from a soulful guitarist with feel into a robotic nerd with no creativity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s think about it in the context of eating, because everybody likes to eat. What if your goal was to assemble the tastiest plate of food at a buffet? To do that, you’d want that buffet table to be huge and full of options, right?

That’s what music theory does–it expands the buffet of musical choices. You don’t have to eat everything all at once, or ever.

The point is, you can have it if you want it, which can’t be said for those who don’t know music theory sitting in the corner with a piece of bread and a glass of water.

If you’re interested in getting a jump on music theory, consider checking out my Guitar Super System course. You’ll be surprised how quickly your musical hunger is satisfied.

Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric website Music is Win. His entertaining guitar-related content receives hundreds of thousands of video views on Facebook per month, and his online guitar courses tout more than 1,500 students with a cumulative 4.7 rating on Udemy. Get in touch with Tyler on Facebook, watch more of his guitar lessons and vlogs on YouTube, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.