Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
I don't know how the electric grades go, they brought them in a while after I finished training. I have classical grade 8 and what I presume is a "concert grade", an ALCM, Associate of the London College of Music, diploma.
This involved a high level of theoretical work (as did grade 8, in my time ('94) you would have had to pass Grade 5 Theory before you did Grade 8 Theory before you did Grade 8 ), plus a written exam on music theory.
As far as I see it (and I mean no disrespect) if you achieved the concert grade not only would you be able to play Satch' Boogie you'd have an extremely competent knowledge of both the fingerboard and aural application of modes, triads, harmonies, time-signatures - in short you'd be an awesome guitarist if you were applying it to your improvisation and day-to-day playing.
For me as a youth surrounded by other players (albeit this was classical) it was a way for me to prove *to myself* that I did indeed have the ability I thought I did.
I could not recommend anything more highly - apart from playing in a band and writing music that is, when ability goes out the window and art comes in - for a young player.
As Globbits said - get to it!