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Have you ever revisited a song you THOUGHT you played correctly?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bumperbass, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    Has this ever happened to you?
    You're driving down the road with the radio on. A song comes on that you've played often in one band, or maybe 1,000 times in a lot of bands. You listen to the bass part. All of a sudden you hear all these parts in there and realize you've missed a lot of the subtle parts or even some obvious notes, or even feel?
    How about when you get a new group together and pick songs to get the ball rolling; to start building a set list and realize that over the years, every player in the group has played the songs so many times with different people, that the song no longer resembles itself, and you never learned the correct bass part anyway?

    The first scenario has happened to me many times. I guess I was in a hurry to learn the song in the first place; maybe a little lazy?

    The second problem has happened to me in two different bands in the last couple of years. I have said to the other guys, "Hey, I think we need to get the original song and listen to it again, maybe even RELEARN it, because it's morphed into something that's not even close to the original".

    Mods....I don't know if this belongs in Band Management or Technique. Move if I'm on the wrong road.
  2. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    It happens to me all the time. Unless you learn a song exactly note for note, which is claimed far more than done, you'll always keep finding nuances that you missed when you first learned it.
  3. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Oh yes indeed. I'm always like, "How did I ever miss that part." Or, "Sounds like I have evolved the part over the years." Makes me wanna duck like when you accidentally go to the wrong car in the parking lot, hoping no one was looking, LOL. There are even some whole songs that most bands play unlike the original (like putting stops in Under the Boardwalk--none of that is on the original), and no one knows where it got started.
  4. mikeintheboat


    Jun 13, 2011
    I actually like how songs morph into something they are not from the original band. I mean hell we aren't Led Zeppelin thats for sure! LOL Some of our songs, I even like better than the original. We speed some up, reggae some out, metal things up, punk it! Makes it recognizable but still our style. And people know them and still like the different versions. I just try to use the originals to really get more ideas of how to play the song well, some fills or a specific well know bass line. And of course, some of the songs are very close to the originals too. That being said, I do still bring my mp3 player to the studio and listen to the bands originals from time to time.
  5. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple.
    Learned it as a beginning bassist, in the days when all we had were cassette players and you couldn't really hear the bass. Learned to play it as mostly just riding the chord roots. Started paying attention to it again this year and Whoa! Roger Glover does some cool riffing through the whole song!
  6. brianerwin


    Oct 21, 2012
    As musicians we try our best to play the song as close to the originals as possible. Sometimes we accomplish it, sometimes not. However, when time constraints and deadlines
    creep up, we do the best that we can.
    It is not such a bad thing to put our own twist on a song, and as long as the audience is dancing to it and enjoying it, there really is no harm done.
    Once you learn that you are playing it wrong, you can make it better the next time.
    In truth, unless you are being judged for awards or a heafty contest, no one really knows the
    correct way it is supposed to sound.
    That also applies to the people who have had, shall we say a bit much to drink. ;)
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Have you ever revisited a song you THOUGHT you played correctly?


    Yep ...
  8. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL

    My band has been playing Dream Theater's Metropolis Part I for years, and I thought I had the entire instrumental section after the break note for note... until I sat down with the authorized music and saw that there were sections where I was a fourth off, etc. I had to re-learn a lot of it. It's still something I go over every practice just to be sure that the old ways don't creep back in.

    The same for YYZ. I thought I had it note for note until I saw the music and realized that there were notes that I was a fifth off on, or worse. I had to re-learn parts of that, too.

    My biggest problem I have is that I can take for granted that I know a piece of music exactly and then get lazy or complacent with it, and errors start to show up but since I haven't been vigilant enough to stay on top of my memory of the songs (and I have to memorize every single note bc I can't sight read), these errors become part of the bass lines. I then find myself drifting away from the correct notation until it's not right at all. I have to go back and check my playing against what's written from time to time to clean up the slop and preserve the actual music, and it sometimes means re-learning something that is a pain in the a$$ to play in the first place.
  9. There is nothing wrong with that. Even the original is slightly different with every take.

    A song is a structure of chords and melody. Unless you're a tribute band there's no need to try and make it sound as close to the original as possible.

    We're musicians, not imitators or impersonators
  10. MattyH


    Jul 20, 2010
    Long Island
    I play in a very busy and popular wedding band here in the NY tri state area. I can have up to 30 songs to learn/relearn/review in the 3-4 day period from when I get my contract email to the day of the wedding. I've heard the songs after crunch time and realized "wow! I was way off in that chorus!" Or, "Man I wasn't even close on that bridge!". If the song is good enough to where we add it to the repertoire, I go back and really dive in. But sometimes I just don't have the time to sit and listen to every single pluck or pick haha. And if it's a parent dance, first dance, or cake cutting that is really unique or we'll never do again, I could care less if I get a note wrong here or there.
  11. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Learning the parts right is just part of being a conscientious musician. If you want to play it different from the original, fine, but do it intentionally. Pride of craft makes me want to do covers just like the record to the best of my ability given the limited time I have to spend on them.

    Songs need to be recognizable by the audience. If they hear something that doesn't sound "right", they won't come to you with constructive feedback. They'll just go listen to the band next door.
  12. MrDOS

    MrDOS Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Totally agree! Part of the problem for me, is that the song "morphs" because of the "cats" in the band (see what I did there?) make subtle changes over time.

    The song that comes to mind is "The Boys Are Back In Town." I started to get used to hearing it WRONG!

    I think it's always a good idea to revisit. Especially when new isolated bass tracks appear on youtube! ;)
  13. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    It's tricky when what you morphed the bass line into turns out to be something you like way better than the original. Do you trash it and go back to the original? Sometimes I have, but then sometimes I've kept part of the new way, too.
  14. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    This is my take exactly. People at your typical bar want to hear the song played like the original. Fine, if you intentionally do it. The problems creep in when MY bass part doesn't let the drummer play HIS part correctly (and vice versa) and then the guitar or keyboards don't feel the right emphasis or notes at certain times, so THEIR parts are off too, and everybody compromises enough so that the song at least can work.
    My pet peeve is drummers who only throw a timing beat in a song instead of the correct accents. It makes it almost impossible for me to play the correct bass parts.
  15. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    Yeah, but did you morph it because it was your intention, or were you driven to morph it so that you were able to make the whole song sound 'together'?
  16. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    Sure. It's eye opening. That said, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing if a song kind of morphs into "your own" thing. That happened in a band I was in for a while. We did the same song differently (not always on purpose) all the time.
  17. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    It wasn't intentional.
  18. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    I never play the EXACT same part note for note every time we play (I'd get bored as heck), but I certainly don't change the tiny parts that are signature to the song.
  19. I go back every 6 months or so and relisten to everything in my covers list, to tighten things up, for just this reason!
  20. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    There was a beach tune (I forget the name) that I had never heard that got called on a gig once. I just made up something that worked. The song ended up on the list for a long time. When I finally got around to actually hearing the song I was amazed at how different my creation was from the original, yet, I liked it better. But, I went to the original part on that one because the band hadn't intentionally made the song our own. I was the only one playing it differently. Funny that no one in the band ever seemed to notice.

    Yet, in another band we just agreed to make a change to a song in an effort to make it our own. That's ok. It won't affect the audience hearing the song pretty much the way they're used to hearing it, just a little surpise, nothing major.
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