I received my first guitar at age 14.
It was an inexpensive, department store, classical guitar. I don’t remember
the brand. I do remember that my vigorous strumming had broken all the strings
within a week or so. But my determination to learn the guitar remained
undaunted. I continued to practice the major and minor chord positions, and to
strum against the string-less guitar thereby creating various percussion sounds.
I even practiced finger picking techniques by systematically and rhythmically
thumping my fingers against the guitar. By the time I got new strings several
weeks later, I had these chords memorized, and my picking and strumming had
improved immensely. Like most guitar players, I then learned a few simple songs
and riffs. Slowly, over the next few years, my collection of chords, songs, and
riffs grew larger.
Unlike most guitar players, I also
began to study music theory and chord construction. This knowledge has proved
invaluable. I cannot overstate the importance for guitar players (as well as
players of any musical instrument) to understand basic music theory. It is
virtually impossible to make certain advancements without this knowledge. Of
course, some musicians demonstrate a decided degree of creativity and musical
sophistication without possessing a clear understanding of music theory;
however, these relatively few musicians are the exception rather than the rule.
After more than five decades of playing, studying, songwriting and teaching
music on a casual basis to anyone willing to learn, I am more convinced than
ever that every guitarist should learn scales, basic music theory, the theory of
chord construction and basic keyboard. Even those relatively few naturally
gifted musicians—those exceptions to this rule possessing an intuitive
talent—can enhance their abilities with this knowledge.
My song encompasses a wide range of
genres: Blues, Country, Ballads, Rock, Acoustic Rock, Folk, Christian, and even
some Bluegrass and Classical.