some may agree and some wont but who cares.

it has been said that there are no rules when it comes to playing the CBG.

even knot lenny has said so.

the ph/kid said that's bullshit. well it is if your playing in a group etc or with other musicians .

my view of no rules is this if you just playing for your own amusement ,then this to me no rules apply.

whether playing with a slid or finger's.

string tuning in my book if you haven't got a tuner  is to tune the strings so that it sound sweet to you after all your the one who'll be listening to it.

a lot of the problem(and I'm no expert) is with beginners over think things and get lost in all the rigmarole of things in translation or what ever you call it.

did the poor generations who came up with this idea of CBG's knew any thing about cords?? I don't thinks so.if it sound nice and clear that was good enough for them and so it should be for us.

the whole idea of Cbg's is to have twang away folks!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Hi John . Rule 1 = Rules are made to be broken ! Anarchy in the UK :-D !!! As Malcolm McClaren once said "Anarchy is the Key - Do It Yourself is the melody"

Agree with you 100% If you are in a band ,you have to be a team player. There are exceptions of course.. like when John Lee Hooker , Lightnin' Hopkins etc were supported by young bands in the 1960's in England ..that's another story lol !  

If you play at home for yourself than you tend to tune by ear more and in my case if I can't find a way to play an instrument or a tune "properly" ,I find a way to play where it sounds ok to me . I have been playing guitar for 34 years and never had a lesson in my life, In my younger days I struggled to understand music theory and tbh I just don't get it - may as well be algebra! As it goes ,aside from the occassional jam with mates ,I don't play in public or for an audience and when I eventually get my head round posting videos, some may like , some may not.. not really the end of the world is it?! 

As I have intimated on previous discussions ; I can't stand the mainstream, it sucks & and that's how I found CBN , cus I'm always on the lookout for another alternative .

Rules belong to MTV where a song is judged by  the Video  itself and the "musicians" are just pretty boys and girls with more interest in fame than actually making interesting music .

Only my humble opinion but I say Fuck the rules ! ((Sigh)..So glad I got that shit off my chest !) 

Who introduced the 'no rules' rule? If you want a playable guitar,there are a couple of basics at least that should apply,the 'no rules' ethos is pretty close and correct as to how you go about making it,but those absolutes rarely change

Hi Darryl , I understand there are going to be certain methods to follow if constructing an instrument but I thought John Mackay was talking playing rather than building.

my mistake if so Bristol,certainly no rules for playing them,if you own it,and the cat,the missus and the kids can stand it,go for it,how else would we have got Sid Viscious?

I introduced the "no rules" rule...

I think that in general the principle works long as it doesn't become a dogma, incontrovertible and binding.

I've seen a few people on here come unstuck with this, especially when trying to figure out musical notation and theory. In that case, you do need to realise that you are working with a set of conventions and rules, set out by other people. Music theory isn't that complicated, and for a lot of roots stuff it really isn't necessary, but there are some people who feel the absolute need to be able use tab or to read the dots. I'm not one of them. I get loads of people asking me to write tab and I hate writing it out. Point in case was that there were a small group of people on here trying to figure out how to read music, and were trying to work out everything from scratch. The problem became apparent that they had sort of invented their own concept of musical intervals and notation, and then thought that this was how conventional music notation worked. The big problem was that they thought that the numbering of the frets on a guitar fretboard (ie open, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th fret etc.) was the same as the conventionally used musical intervals..a fifth, seventh etc. and they were tying themselves in knots, thinking they were making progress. If you are reading this and don't understand why this wasn't working...don't worry, you really don't need to know unless you are going to play with some other people who insist on using conventional notation or are going to learn conventional chord structure and harmony theory (I'd suggest that unless you intend sitting in at your local jazz club or a bunch of Nashville session players, this isn't really needed).

I did try to tell them that in this case, they did need to adopt the rules of the club they were trying to get into (ie conventional music notation and theory), and if they thought a 5th chord was played on the 5th fret, they were going to get really confused. This didn't go down well at all, as I was seen to be telling them that there were rules...even though they weren't my rules and I generally don't play by those rules, I play by ear. Anyhow, I think the whole thing must have petered out, as it was just crazily confused, but it was an example of dogmatic thinking (ie there are no rules, no exceptions, anywhere, for anything and anybody, not just making and playing CBG).

From St. Shanes Letter to the Luthiers, Ch. II, Verses 4 to 6 "Rules shalt thou have none, for this is a true and helpful vision unto mankind. But verily I say unto you, therefore let it guide ye gently by the hand,  nor shalt thou useth it to smite thy brother upon his head. Go forth and with thy native wit and skill, maketh music which is pleasing unto thine own ears, upon the instrument wrought by thine own hand" Amen.

"...and being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."
I didn't say its bullshit at all, I said that a particular invocaction of it :- basically 'because there's no rules, any cigar box will make a great guitar regardless of shape or size..' was bullshit

I went on to say that it is just a slogan, one which serves us well because it gives guys courage to get started building, which can be overwhelming and because it lends people courage to share their art.

The 'no-rules' thing is great, but is misused here all the time imho. If someone asks something in the forum 'well there's no rules so just work it out for yourself' is surely inane. Guys solicit advice entirely because there are rules. There's rules about playing, there's rules about building. All come about by the collective experience of doing it for hundreds of years and getting better at it.

This is akin to something you experience with musicians all the time 'oh I'm a FEEL guy. I reject the theory'. You'll hear people opine that the punks were great entirely because they were so unschooled, it enabled them to somehow play with more energy or passion or other unquantifiable than a guy who has studied hard on his instrument. There's rules all around you folks. You can break em for sure. Knowing them and breaking them anyway is more rewarding than just denying their existence imho.

Ps john, just addressing this 'did the poor generations who came up with this idea of CBG's knew any thing about cords?? I don't thinks so.if it sound nice and clear that was good enough for them and so it should be for us.'

1. The people who were stolen from Africa for slaves had music in their bones mate. Do not perpetuate the myth that they had no idea. They were intelligent people who could communicate, had family traditions. This is where our modern music came from.
2. Yep it sounded good, so it was a chord. That how it works.

If someone asks for help, you give them the lessons you learned or direct them toward something that will answer their question.  You're not creating rules by doing're simply helping somebody out with one path of information that worked for you.

No rules here means it doesn't matter what you build your instrument out of. Paper mache and cardboard to plywood and burl mahogany. Doesn't matter if you built it or bought it. All hand made parts or a store bought kit. Nor how many strings it has. Weather it's played in modern or open tuning. Doesn't matter if your a just a builder or just a player. Or neither and your only here because you dig the music. 

Now as far as music theory goes. A had a fellow guitar player friend who was hired into a bad to finish an album. DJ was hired to be a lead guitarist. The two founders of this group both had masters in music theory. DJ let me hear a few tracks he was working on. My fellow cigar boxians, it was horrid. All I could do is stare in disbelief. I could understand why this group had multiple guitar players quite before the project was finished. Apparently Rock and Roll breaks quite a few classical theory rules. I'm proud to say DJ's playing was the only thing worth listening to. Finished the project and never looked back. Rigid structure does not apply well to creativity. The founders of that group were more rigid than a metal pole in winter. Not knocking theory. Just have a good story about how it can be taken to a really bad extreme. 

Knowing what works and why enhances the ability to be creative. The more you know the more options you have to add to your creation. Doesn't matter how you come by this knowledge. Threw books or by trial and error wile playing. So knowing what works and not knowing why is just as effective. I have to agree with David Lee Roth, "If it sounds good, it is good." That's really what music is all about. 

Totally agree. In a band you have to have structure. By yourself just let it fly. 

Interesting story about the guy with the masters degree. I kind of agree and disagree with you.

Having had a parent that was a classically trained pianist and opera soprano, I learned basic music theory from an early age. It never hurt me one bit and has only helped me. Here's the thing, music theory IS NOT for music creation - it is for the analysis of music and the basic music theory that every musician should know is not that complicated (you could learn it all in a week), it is just that many musicians that I have known seem to have some aversion to it because it intimidates them for reasons I have never understood.

Music is something that some living things do to express themselves, sometimes for no particular reason at all. Birds do it and since birds evolved from dinosaurs, they most likely had songs too. It obviously doesn't take a big brain or even the requirement of being human to create or enjoy music - it's in our DNA.

What differs humans from all other animals is that we create instruments (tools) to make music with and the majority of those tools now days are based upon the concept of equal tempered tuning (the 12 tone system) dating from the 16th century. Shortly afterwards, we got the likes of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven etc. To use these tools effectively, it helps to understand just a little bit about why a musical instrument is constructed and tuned in a certain manner.

I've worked with a lot of musicians over the years and most have had the same attitude as you. I have never pressed the issue of what they have been cheating themselves of, one because I am a lousy teacher and two because it made me a more valued member of the group, plus it amuses me to watch someone wander around in the dark until they finally stumble upon a concept with the light bulb moment and they are eager to share the golden nugget that they have discovered.

People that want to take the long hard road are welcome to it, I myself am much too lazy for that.

Nice !

I'd just add that to the best of my knowledge there is no such thing as a 'masters degree in music theory'. Music students might specialise and to a certain degree design their curriculum to favour composition or performance or education but not 'music theory' which will be central to any study. Also, people who have some insight don't generally call it 'music theory' anyway! (Except when they're arguing its merit with others)It's just music, and you have a little more insight into how it works than perhaps others might. The idea that this knowledge will damage your ability to pursue things which please your ear is complete nonsense, it just helps you understand WHY a particular change or movement or hook is pleasing to the ear - which will make that particular trick more accessible and quantifiable in your bag of other such tricks.

Ps my comment which was misconstrued to seed this thread was in a discussion about a couple of cigar boxes and what to build with them, it had nothing to do with the pitfalls/merits of studying music.


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