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How difficult are these songs?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by netgeist, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. netgeist


    Mar 17, 2010
    Western MA
    Hello all,

    I've been exploring various ways to gauge how I am doing with my bass education. One thing that I've become curious about is how difficult the songs are that I play.

    I don't pick songs based on perceived difficulty. Instead, I choosd based on which songs have a style or technique I want to learn. As a result, I have no feel for what would be considered easy, moderate, hard etc.

    I realize this is VERY subjective and hard to comment but since I am just looking for informal opinions, any reasonable comments are welcome. The question is - when playing as close to note-for-note as the recording- how difficult would you rate the following songs on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is very easy and 10 is very hard?

    Learn To Fly (Foo Fighters)
    Down on the Corner (CCR)
    London Calling (The Clash)
    Police and Thieves (The Clash)
    White Man in Hammersmith Palais (The Clash)
    Badge (Cream)
    Otherside (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
    Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
    Longview (Greenday)
    Infected (Bad Religion)
    Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent)
    TNT (ACDC)
    You Shook Me All Night Long (ACDC)
    Dirty Deeds (ACDC)
    I Still Want You (Del Fuegos)
    Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones)
    I Wanna Be Sedated (The Ramones)
    Come As You Are (Nirvana)

    I appreciate your time,

    - netgeist
  2. BobaFret


    Jan 22, 2008
    IMO they are somewhere around 2 or 3. The arrangements of these songs are likely harder to learn than the actual parts. That's not to say there is anything wrong with learning them. It's a good time to train the 'ol ear and that's always a plus.
  3. I would call those fairly easy, but a few of them have some licks that might take a little extra effort, like "London Calling" "Longview" and "Californication."

    And like Bobafret said, song structure takes some mental energy as well.

    There is no such thing as wasting time learning a complete song, whether it's easy or difficult. Congratulations on that substantial repertoire. If there was a band in my area playing that songlist, I'd pop in an check them out.
  4. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Difficulty is always relative, I think you have a pretty good mix there, a couple of 2-3s, I'd say mostly 4-6s, if you want to put real care into them. Seems like you are being very conscientious about it--I like that. Set yourself down to learn the chords, rhythms, etc. Then really concentrate on the feel of each tune, and allow yourself to let the feel be the most important thing. Good luck!
  5. netgeist


    Mar 17, 2010
    Western MA
    >>>you are being very conscientious about it

    Thanks, Skwee. I feel is though I am. I know I busted my butt learning Californication, which I repeatedly read is easy. But it wasn't for me and I now know it's because I am trying to nail *every* fill Flea does.

    I do that with every song. If I get to the point where I am gigging in a band I won't feel that I have to play note-for-note...in fact I'd want to put my own slant on the songs. But when learning, I think note-for-note is a great way to build skill, technique, speed and ear training.

    - netgeist
  6. jabsys


    Mar 30, 2011
    I only play a few of them, but this is how I'd rate them

    1 Learn To Fly (Foo Fighters)
    1 Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones)
    1 Come As You Are (Nirvana)
    3 Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
    2 Longview (Greenday)

    Californication isn't that hard to play, actually remembering the whole thing was the hardest part for me.
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Honestly, it depends on where you are in your musical career. For a beginner, some of those songs might be hard just from a stamina standpoint. For guys like me who've been around for a while, however, I'd say they're very easy. None of them are above a 1 for me. Just so you have some idea why I rate them so low, I can literally listen to any of those songs one time through, learn it on the spot, and regurgitate it later that same day for a gig and not miss a beat or a note. Hopefully that doesn't make me sound like a complete cocky buttmunch :bag:
  8. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
  9. netgeist


    Mar 17, 2010
    Western MA
    Good point jmattbassplaya. I am coming up on my second year playing. Most of that was spent in a band playing originals - I'm about 5-6 months in on doing covers.

    - netgeist
  10. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Oh, then you're definitely fine :) My suggestion is to work on your ear and to start working on theory if you haven't already (I know it can be very boring, but it's well worth it).

    I'm not sure if you have the ability to do this just yet, but also start analyzing basslines and try to figure out why the lines are what they are and how they interact with the other instruments. If you do this and can understand it then you'll eventually see patterns and you'll better learn how to make your instrument really sing and how you can bring out unique voicing in songs.

    Good luck!
  11. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    If yer a buttmunch (LOL, new one on me), so am I. The songs I know from that list I would call easy, #1. I could listen on the way to the gig and be ok. The only hard thing would be to remember when the different parts happen.

    Everyone is on a different level of proficiency. I'm 61 and been gigging since I was 12, and I have a degree in theory. That doesn't mean I'm better than anyone, it just means I have some more things in my head that help me out. Knowledge and experience go a long way after 49 years of playing and listening.

    Ok, throw the bricks now, lol.:help:
  12. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    You'll eventually be able to hear something and know what it is right off the bat. It takes time, though. Just keep at it, pal.
  13. MikeM


    Apr 21, 2004
    Badge is a 1 ? I seem to remember spending several days getting that one.
    London Calling and Police and thieves are probably harder then 90% of the songs i have played in bands.
  14. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Yes, Badge is a 1, for me anyway.
  15. FourIsEnough

    FourIsEnough Banned

    Jan 19, 2012
    No song that doesn't require virtuostic technique is difficult to play if you're good.

    At the same time, no song is "easy." I don't care it's two chords -- getting those two chords to sound as best as they can is the most difficult thing in the world.

    I know that sounds like a contradiction, but the longer you play, the more you'll realize it's true.
  16. If you can play Rush, then these songs should be easy!
  17. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I understand what you are talking about. When the notes are all known and you can play them all in time, the real challenge is to get the articulation right. Even the simplest thing can sound bad if there's no good articulation.

    Articulation is EVERYTHING!
  18. That 16th-note scalar walk down would be a challenge for most newer bass players.
  19. If you can master the song it really doesn't matter how hard it is it will be a 1 for you and thats really all that matters in my mind.
  20. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I know. I'm just speaking for myself. All this is relative. Nothing demeaning intended.

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