A silly question, but....

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Cut the middle, May 31, 2020.

  1. Cut the middle

    Cut the middle

    Apr 17, 2020
    A confession:
    When I learn a new song, I first learn the notes the old fashion way (by ear) or on YouTube. But then I actually "get it under my fingers" while playing my steering wheel and center console while driving.
    I probably learn most songs that way now that I think about it.

    So the silly question is: do you?

  2. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35 Supporting Member

    I ask Google for some fake chord sheet music on the song I'm looking for. Then armed with the fake chord sheet music which gives me the active chord over the lyrics and verse.

    That gets me some sheet music and then I ask Google for a video of the artist playing the song.

    With sheet music in hand I listen to the song and make notes in the margins that will help me play along with the video.

    No it is not exact as fake chord is a bare bone rendition of the song. I use the sheet music given and then I am expected to fake the rest.

    Not note for note, but, a good starting place.
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  3. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    I do this a lot. Especially to practice playing and singing.

    I'm not doing so much driving at this point in time, but in the past, leading up to an audition or just trying to learn lots of material, I probably spend much more time playing my steering wheel than my bass.
    TN WOODMAN and Max Bogosity like this.
  4. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35 Supporting Member

    I taught myself how to play the harmonica on a business road trip from Dallas to Oklahoma City.

  5. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    If I have a lot of material to learn and need to familiarize myself with it while driving I’ll “visualize” myself playing it. More often than not it’s knowing/memorizing the song and arrangement that’s more of a challenge, getting it “under my fingers” so to speak isn’t a problem.
    LowActionHero likes this.
  6. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    I like to hear, the piece, read the sheet music, do both together and then pick up on an instrument.
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  7. ILIA


    Jan 27, 2006
    I internalized "Giant Steps" while swimming laps; I also went through the changes of every harmonic permutation that I could think of for Rhythm Changes and Blues. It kept my crawl steady, too.
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  8. Yonni


    Oct 31, 2016
    If we’re ever allowed back in to public swimming pools here in Scotland I’m going to do that too. One question though - how do you keep count of your laps at the same time?
    mikewalker likes this.
  9. ILIA


    Jan 27, 2006
    I use a timer at the edge of the pool, and I check it once in a while. I don't count laps. I swim until the time is up. When I'm going through songs in my head at certain tempos, I can roughly estimate how many choruses through a chart equates to x amount of laps. It's very un-exact, and my math is probably all wrong, but I feel exhilarated physically and mentally, afterwards.
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  10. whero


    Aug 28, 2016
    My reading skills aren't great so I learn stuff by ear. First I listen to the track a few times (three, four, whatever it takes) until I know what the bass line is doing in different parts of the song and know what and where the changes are. Then I pick up the bass and put what's in my head onto the neck. After that, when I hear the song, I usually find myself visualising it on the neck, but not always.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I learn everything by ear. Been doing it since I started playing in the early 70's!
  12. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Huh, I ride my bicycle and the music in my stupid head is the only thing that makes the saddle time go faster. So not swimming or steering wheel but similar I suppose.
    If it's not an original or if I am trying to learn something I can sight read. But as soon as my bee-hind hits the rivet I'm usually hearing a melody or a bass line in my head.
    GalleyCat likes this.
  13. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Not sure I understand completely, but...

    I learn lots of songs these days (well, not these Covid days) while driving. I don't physically play them out of my steering wheel, but I practice the fingering in my head. Its helped my ear immensely doing that. I do my best to learn songs without picking up the bass, and then when I get my bass in hand - and see how much I was off - I get better and better. After 3 years of doing that weekly I can learn lots now without even picking up a bass.
    JRA likes this.
  14. Joma3


    Jul 2, 2015
    Twin Cities, MN
    How effective are you at this when the artist doesn't tune to standard tuning? Would you instead play the song in F# if it were originally in G tuned down half a step?
  15. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I have tried learning things while driving, but I found that I would pay less attention to the road and have some close calls. Maybe on a deserted road it is easier.

    I saw an interview with a bass player that has a bit of a following. In it he said that because he played so many gigs a night he would just practice in his head since he didn’t need to work on chops. I thought that was kind of cool.

    Songs I am passionate about or really like, I learn by ear unless there is a tricky part that is buried in the mix. If that is the case, I look for tutorials.

    For songs I have to play for a wedding or corporate gig, I first look for an Irealbook chart. Then I play along and see if it is accurate. I might seek tutorials on the tricky bits. Sometimes the group won’t even play the song, so if you invest too much time, it might be all for naught. Of course if it is a groove, then you got to nail it down.

    For the wedding/corp tunes that don’t have charts, I slog through it by ear and make a chart.

    Sometimes I think the note for note learning is a detriment unless every other player is doing it sound for sound, note for note. If not, I think you end up with a line that might not fit the mix.
  16. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    maybe: i'm usually tapping on something to figure out the timing (usually a drum part that affects the bass part). if i'm in my car it's either the steering wheel or the dashboard depending on whether i'm actually moving or not. that said: i don't play in any note-for-note bands/ensembles.
  17. Same for me. It's great ear-training and pays off when someone starts playing something I either don't know or haven't rehearsed.

    OogieWaWa likes this.
  18. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Well, back before I got sacked from my job as a heavy equipment operator...
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  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    No. I don't have perfect pitch, and I'm also not by any means perfect at doing this. I can usually however tell the key of a song by hearing it in relation to others I know. Practicing that (out of necessity) has made it a lot easier for me to recognize intervals, by ear. I was always able to learn songs by ear, but I'd have to sit with the recordings. Its not that difficult for me now for me to recognize by ear alone when an A is going to a B, D, F or whatever note. After a while, I believe we just unconsciously start to learn the intervals.
    Joma3 likes this.
  20. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    Depends on the song. A lot of classic rock songs I can play from memory because I've heard them so many times and there's no need to dig much deeper than that. If it's a song we're going to perform like that, I'll listen to it to clean up any misremembered parts but it's never a big ordeal.

    If it's something I'm completely unfamiliar with, I will listen to it several times to get it recorded in the memory banks and then just play along with it on YouTube or Spotify. After I think I know it I'll do the same thing, listen without playing to clean up any problems. I could probably play around in my head at other times but I seldom have need for that because I set aside time to work on the music.