Easy to transcribe songs/artists

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by romac, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. I'm just starting to learn to songs by ear with my new Tascam CD-BT1 but with my current crop of CD's I'm having a lot of trouble learning the songs since they are quite complex bass lines. I was just wondering if there is an album you suggest I buy that has realtively easy basslines to learn by ear?? I don't mean playing just 3 notes a song ala Blink 182, but just something other than things like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Miles Davis, Jamiroquai, Motown etc.....

    Thanks for any help.
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    How about AC/DC? I'm mainly familiar with their 1970's output - cracking rock songs which generally have very simple but effective basslines.

    However, whatever you listen to, don't forget to work out the general shape of the song before getting too hung up on details!

  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Early Beatles...maybe even Revolver & Rubber Soul.
  4. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    Curtis Mayfield, maybe?
  5. It often helps to choose a band where the bassist follows the guitarist more than just doing their own thing. I did all my early learning with Black Sabbath and AC/DC (AC/DC were so consistent in their style that, from very early on, I could even tune the bass using one of their songs).

    My current favs are Queensryche (their later stuff), Eddie Jackson has a stunning mid-focussed bass sound, plays interesting but not too complex lines and is very clear in the mix (important). Take a look at Empire (Remaster) or Promised Land from a high mix standpoint. They do tend to play in a darker key which means that you need to listen to their songs quite a few times before you really get in the groove, but then "Wow". Steer clear of Tribe, which is a great CD but the bass has been lost in the mix much of the time - Pity.

    Ultimately, just two rules:

    1. (to pick up what Wulf said) Start off with just the general shape of the song and add the detail later - there are plently of gigging bassists that get away with just the shape of the song and never bother with the detail at all. And lets face it, 99% of the audience would probably never know the difference.

    2. Play something you enjoy listening to.
  6. .357


    Jan 16, 2005
    Buy the Police boxed set--classic tunes with bass lines that are very easy to hear in the mix and often fairly simple and fun. Try some reggae like Bob Marley, too. The Cure have a lot of cool bass lines that are easy to hear and probably not to hard to learn. "The Lovecats," for example.

    Btw, for transcribing by ear, figure out the key(s) first, which helps a lot, and concentrate on one riff/snippet at a time: after listening to the whole song a number of times, play that particular part a number of times until you've memorized it and can hum or sing it perfectly (at least in your head). After that, transcribing it will be a lot easier.
  7. .357


    Jan 16, 2005
    Here's a good one: "Like a Stone" by Audioslave. You'll need a five-string or a four in drop-D tuning. "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones--a classic punk song that's a bit more involved than their others, but still mostly straight eighths.
  8. Try something by PiL (Public Image Limited) Most of them are fairly straight forward as most songs have a very distinct bass line. And like .357, anything by the Ramones would be an easy start.
  9. Le Basseur

    Le Basseur

    Mar 26, 2002
    +1 on Police and AC/DC! :)
    If you need slowing down (without loosing the pitch!) a certain song because you don't hear all the details,you might want to try Transcribe! software or any other similar (Transcribe! seems to be the most accurate,though).
  10. .357


    Jan 16, 2005
    My SoundBlaster sound card on my computer came with audio playback software that can slow a track by 50% and keep the correct pitch. Your comp may already have something like that installed if you dig around.
  11. Le Basseur

    Le Basseur

    Mar 26, 2002
    Sadly,but my RME soundcard :p doesn't have such a handy feature so I must stick with that proggie! :bawl: :rolleyes:
  12. Don't be discouraged by hard songs. The key is to know the bass by heart. You should listen to it at least 50 times (for really hard stuff like Squire.)
  13. .357


    Jan 16, 2005
    But I'd still recommend starting with easier stuff. Less frustration that way, but you can still gain valuable lessons in recognizing pitches and intervals by ear.