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120 new cover tunes in three weeks

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by nonsqtr, May 30, 2004.


  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    That's the schedule, boys and girls. 40 new cover tunes a week for three weeks running. They're basically simple classic rock tunes, but unfortunately I don't read music (much), and don't really mess with tab either, just listen to a lot of CD's with the "loudness" control on. I feel sorry for the poor singer, having to memorize all those lyrics. The guitar player and drummer and I are pretty much in sync, it's all stuff we grew up with and listened to on the radio a million times. Good ol' Geezer Butler, and Roger Glover, and stuff like that. This afternoon we were goofing around, and we accidentally left the sliding glass door open. We attracted an audience from the neighborhood. People still seem to love those "oldies but goodies". They were dancing on the patio, and spilled over into the backyard. We tried to explain that we were just learning the tunes, and it was a little early for a party. People just ignored our apologies. One guy even went so far as to say "shut up and play yer bass". Gotta tell you, it made me feel pretty good about this new band. As of this afternoon, we have a mailing list with 35 names on it. Wow. Ain't life grand?
     
  2. awesome!
    and 40 songs/week aint too bad. id love to have a band that was that dedicated, even if it is just covers... its still rock n roll!

    yeeehaw! :D
     
  3. thats nuts, I can't imagine being able to do that.
     
  4. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    It's funny how you can, when you have to. Last year, learned 60 covers in less than 2 weeks, and all played on a fretless which I've had less than 3 months.
     
  5. Similar story here, 90 tunes in about 3 weeks. Hardest part was getting tapes of each tune (this was pre-Kazaa/Napster...)

    I did simple charts of each tune, just because my memory ain't what it used to be.

    Also, I found out that there were one or two songs that were way too complex to learn quickly. Skip those, there's no time to spend a week on one or two songs.
     
  6. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    Having heard the songs a million times will make learning them that much easier. You already know where the changes are, how long a verse or chorus is etc........ imo that's half the battle of learning "new" songs.
     
  7. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I'm in the same boat, I am learning about 50 new songs for a sub gig I have, with less than a week to have them nailed. Only a few of them I was familiar with, and some of them are kinda complex.....styx, steeley dan..... If I can memorize the sound in my head, I will have it no problem. First gig is this friday, and things are coming along pretty good.
     
  8. twilightcall

    twilightcall

    May 27, 2004
    How do you do it so fast? Do you learn the basic line or just like the cd? Everytime I sit down and learn a song it seems I always learn it just like the cd and get all of their runs, etc. I will add my own of course but do you mostly just learn the basic line or close to it or ?. Any info would be appreciated. I think I am making too much out of it trying to learn every little run or extra notes here and there.
     
  9. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I learn the structure first (verse/chorus/etc), then once I have that down I turn on the loudness control and listen to what the bass player's doing.
     
  10. twilightcall

    twilightcall

    May 27, 2004
    Good idea. Thanks.
     
  11. Yes, learn the structure first, and the basic root note for each change. But don't worry too much about runs and fills when you have this many songs to learn so fast. The audience won't usually notice that you left out a little fill, or you didn't play a run exactly like the record, but they will notice when you are in the wrong key, or you play a note that's way wrong!! :cool:
     
  12. That sounds like a fun challenge to me! Especially that they must be songs you've heard or loved in the past. That makes the whole thing much more enjoyable and quite easier, I'd imagine. Still, 40 a week is quite a bit, I'd die memorizing anywhere past 10 or so.
     
  13. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I am 100% strictly an ear player, and not sure how you guys do it, but I don't try to learn one song at a time. I go over all of them at once, one after another trying to get a rough idea of them all at once.....this way at the least, I won't come up short if I run out of time, I should at least have a pretty good idea on them all. Don't sweat the details, get your main structures down, and memorize the arrangements. I have a 3 cd set of all the songs I have to know, and it is all I listen to, all day long, at work, home, and in the car. I have had the tunes for 4 days now, and have about every one of them nailed....I will own them by the first gig with them Friday. I then have 2 gigs the following weekend, the first of which normally draws 3,000+.......NOT some place you want to trainwreck something.


    Buy a notebook, and make charts of each and every song. It doesn't have to be anything complex, just map each song down for reference, and taking the time to do this should help in getting familiar with each song as well.

    Good luck guys
     
  14. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    That's pretty much what I do as well. Listen to them as much as possible, learn structure of each, don't dwell on the tough ones (leave them for the end if there is time), nail down the basics.

    When I have the time it all goes into an Excel spreadsheet, from which I have hyperlinks to MP3, MIDI, Lyrics, Chords, Tabs, Btabs etc. I often use MIDI to nail down an intricate part that is hard to hear.

    It all stays in one big spreadsheet, so I can go over the material easy and update as required.
     
  15. Ok, so learning the bass lines at speed I get, but have any of you ever had to arrange whole songs. For the first time ever it's my band and I have to do all the arrangements. What’s the best way of doing this with just a bass??
     
  16. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Why 120? You can't play all of those in one gig. You seem to be doing fine w/ it, but I say prioritize and learn the tunes that'll actually be in the setlist for the 1st few gigs. Yes it's nice to be able to field requests, but people are usually happy if you play anything close (same artist, style, etc.)
     
  17. Since I also can strum acoustic guitar, here's what I do: First I get a good complete copy of the song, then listen to it once or twice just to get in the mood. Then I start writing the structure down, without any keys or notes, just basic structure: intro lick 4 bars, verse 1, chorus , verse 2, chorus, bridge, verse 3, chorus, repeat chorus, ending. That's the actual arrangement, as far as structure.

    Then I pick up the acoustic and tune it to standard tuning, then try to find out what key the song is in. Hopefully the song is tuned standard, not half a fret up or down....in many cases you can find the opening chord, or the first chord on the verse. Just major chords, or maybe a minor if it's really obvious, but no 7's or 9ths or 11ths or augmented or demented.....

    Then if I'm learning the bass line I'll find it a single note at a time on the acoustic guitar, it's easier to hear it and match it on the acoustic guitar. AtTthis time I can pick out any odd beats that the bass line might use.

    Then--and only then--if there's time I'l try to pick up any fills or runs.

    Hope this helps.
     
  18. twilightcall

    twilightcall

    May 27, 2004
    Thanks guys I appreciate the info. I am glad that you don't have to nail every fill or run in the song. That was what was taking up most of my time. Makes me feel much better. So if there is a fill in certain parts just add one that would be appropriate for the song but don't do one every measure or transition? Thanks Again.
     
  19. Yep. Lay back, stay on the correct root notes, just keep time with the drummer and at the end of the night everybody will think you did great.

    Throw in a bunch of fills that aren't quite perfect though--off time or off key-- and people WILL notice...in a bad way.

    Simple is good in this case!
     
  20. fastplant

    fastplant

    Sep 26, 2002
    Connecticut
    Yeah, I've been through this a few times. It sucks mostly because you'll learn a song and a few days later you need to re-learn it because you forgot it in the process of learning so many others.