Actually many of the most respected guitarists have survived fantastically well without learning music. But I have to say now at this juncture to all aspiring guitarists that knowing how to read music is a wonderful knowledge to have.
The most important aspect of this attribute is, when you want to learn how a song or melody is musically constructed, all you have to do is go into your local music store and buy the sheet music for the piece you want to play.
To know how to read and write down music is a major asset for musicians and songwriters. It means that a record of the notation is down on paper and is there at hand for correction or altering.
To explain further this point, I must relate my own experience before I learned to read and write music notation. I was a young aspiring songwriter and guitar player who wanted to write the next big worldwide hit.
But I found I would forget what notes I had placed in certain parts of the songs, my lyrics were written down, but the musical part was not.
Needless to say a lot of time was wasted trying to remember and figure out what notes were placed where for certain parts of my songs. That was when the penny dropped and I decided I had to learn how to read and write music.
Music notation is written down on what is called a, Staff, or Stave, both are the same and serve the same purpose. I will use the term staff here for this article.
When you look at the music of the melody you wish to learn you will see at the very front what is called the Clef which is placed over the five lines which we call the grid.
In front of the G clef you will see the time and beat signatures
One gives you the timing of the beat, the other gives you how many beats there are in a bar. If there are any sharps or flats to be played this will also be shown between the clef and the timing and beat numbers.
To take the time to learn basic music notation will be well worth the effort because it will save you hours upon hours of having to listen to songs to find out how they are musically constructed.