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Beginner songs to transcribe?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by anandogs, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. anandogs


    Jan 1, 2013
    Hi I've just started my hand at transcribing songs and I was wondering how to go about it. I read somewhere that you should look up the chords of the song that you want to transcribe, and then fill it in with arpeggios/scales
    Is this the correct way of doing it? Any good easy songs that I can start with? Appreciate any help!
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Transcribing - means several things or ways of getting the music on paper, not sure which one you have in mind.

    Yes it is easier if we start with the chords. Ask Google to find you some fake chord sheet music on the song you would like to play. Use these key words: Guitar chords, "name of the song" Let's try to find some fake chord sheet music on some ole dirt simple Country songs. http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/j/james_kerrigan/red_river_valley_crd.htm

    OK Red River Valley is in the key of A. Key of A has these chords:
    1...2....3.......4..5....6........7 Yes I'm using Nashville numbers.
    A, Bm, C#m, D, E, F#m, G#m7b5
    Let's just work with roots right now. One root note per lyric syllable is a good way to get started. Sing (under your breath is OK) the first two words of the song - From this - and at the lyric word "valley" sound an A note, if fact sound two A notes as val-ley is a two syllable word - sound another A for the lyric word "they" and then on the lyric word "say" change to an E note - keep going - "you" gets an E as does "are" then on the word "go-ing" move to the A root note. Twice as it's a two syllable word. Keep going.

    OK it's now a couple of weeks down the road - notice on the music you have a large void between the word going and smile. Here is a good place to add some chord tones besides the root notes. Which ones? Well, the Root, the 5, and the 8 are safe 99.9% of the time. Fill in with those and see how it goes. Remember one note per lyric word - there is not a two syllable word in that lyric phrase so its an easy spot to start building your bass lines. Help yourself to roots, fives and eights, no one saying this could not be R-R-8-8, or R-5-8-5. it's your bass line do what you thinks fits best.
    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    Songs in the Key of A.  There is an A at the 4th string 5th fret
    place the pattern there.  A chords are your R (in the box).  
    E chords root note will be your 5 and the D chord's root is your 4.  
    Do a Google on Nashville numbers, I use them on my fake chord sheet
    music all the time. 
    Couple more weeks down the road see if you could fill in with some more of the chord tones, aka arpeggio notes. Like the R-3-5-8 for a major triad arpeggio, or R-3-5-7 for a maj7 arpeggio. The 3 is generic for all major chords and notice this songs is all major chords, not a minor chord in this song.

    Couple more weeks down the road, help yourself to some of the scale notes. Which ones? The ones that sound good. LOL, I know....... Long story.

    Easy songs. Country and old time Rock normally will be three chord songs, that's about as simple as you can get. Stick with chord tones or arpeggios for now, plenty of time later to move into scales. Problem with scales, which notes will sound best. Best left for later. Get chord tones flowing. Now that is not to say that you need not practice your scales. How are you going to play your box while looking at the sheet music - fake chord sheet music has a quick 1-6-5-4 progression coming up, if your fingers do not already know where that 6 is on your fretboard, well...... Yep, still have to do your scales so your fingers know where to go and your ears recognize the good notes from the bad notes.

    Have fun.
  3. anandogs


    Jan 1, 2013
    Wow! Thanks so much for the help! :) I will start work on some country songs basis the info you have given me ASAP! Thanks a tonne