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Using Music Theory VS Instinctively Playing

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Music Theory I cannot proclaim to be good or bad. I personally am self-taught even out of the range of normal tuning. However, I have been asked my take on Theory and instruction by lessons VS. Going a road less traveled.  I do remember an interview with Larry  Coryell where he had stated he kept in his guitar case a note reminding him every time he took up his guitar that simply read “Make Musical Sense”.  
I’ve looked at documentations of tablature, sheet music, and read by sight notations. I’ve run across the concepts of the Circle of Fifths In an almost Mandela-style presentation. I am simply set in my ways after 46 years with a guitar in my hands and music in my ear. So I would lean in the direction of my views on Alcoholics anonymous. If it works for you that is fantastic. For some, it just doesn’t translate.

My Personal view on Music Theory VS Instinctively Playing

My Larger view is it might possibly deny a person the mystery and treasure hunt of the instrument. I learned by ear. Literally sitting down next to the stereo with a guitar and spending hours a day finding those notes and riffs until I learned them. Once I learned enough to experiment with The guitar on my own and discovered the ability to improvise the Magic of the guitar sank in. 
I suppose it doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there. If you are more capable than I to understand where to even begin, it may serve you well in studying the I dare say Mathematical Science of the structures. If it makes you insane and you are considering throwing the guitar out a 15 story window and jumping out behind it, then consider thinking outside the norm. 
The guitar especially is a symbol of anti-establishment, at least in the Rock music sense. So the established rules may not suit you by the general nature of it.
Learning as much as possible and then forgetting it all and just playing has been spoken of by many a Jazz musician. 


The only Circle of 5ths I could ever grasp had the Label Jack Daniels on them. Yet to each his own. No Judgement nor discouragement would I give to anyone wanting to educate themselves.
Perhaps a 50/50 split of both proper learning combined with personal exploration is a good way to go, as you don’t miss out on something that breaks through to the ultimate “AHA!” moment for you.  
No matter your approach and decision, follow the notes on the neck and the one in the case and make musical sense. Without that, it matters not how you learn if you are not playing something a listener could follow. 
I met a fellow musician many decades ago who said in relation to the complication “sometimes talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”   

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Jimmy Fleming

Jimmy Fleming first picked up a guitar at the age of 3. Raised in a musical environment which included being on the road in the 1970s and 1980s with his parents working with Bluegrass Legends there was no such thing as life without music. Bluegrass was gradually eclipsed by The Rock and Blues of The Stones, Rush, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and a wealth of others, as well as the Film Woodstock. All the possibilities were now open. At 16 he got a driver's license and began playing HonkyTonk Bars learning trial by fire the diversity of music required to make sure a crowd of all tastes was properly entertained. 15 years of the Proverbial Human JukeBox on the roads was the Education. The second 15 years were applied in learning to write his own music and become an Indie record producer and Label owner.10 albums later the story continues. listen or download my music here