How do you listen to songs when you want to pick them apart to learn?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Youngspanion, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. How do you listen to songs when you want to pick them apart to learn?

    I'm trying to listen to Midnight Rider by the Allman Brothers Band, and I'm struggling to hear Berry Oakley. I know hes playing softly or it seems so, but what would make it easier? I'm not in a very big area when I'm doing this so I'm looking for something small but good.
  2. Listen to it with headphones. I guarantee that you'll start noticing little nuances you would've otherwise missed.
  3. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat

    ...and with EQ if you still have trouble.

  4. Just through a walkman CD player?
  5. rebelbass


    Feb 16, 2006
    New Jersey
    I have a pair of home stereo speakers in my van,2-5" and a tweeter.If I boost the lows & loudness control (boosts low end to sound full at low volume) the bass jumps out. I play in a southern rock cover band (go on,insert redneck joke here),it's tough finding some bass parts. Berry Oakly played a bass like a guitar sometimes gets lost in the rest of the band .Maybe the bass trainer (never owned bass version,guitar one was cool) believe they may have an eq cuircit to bring bass out front,as well as slow down music (while not dropping pitch) so you can work out parts. Good luck trying to work out some tough music,get the gist of what he's doing and work it into your own stlye.BTW:Everyone who rides in my van asks me if my speakers are all f*cked up,no mids,highs all bass! LOL all I want to hear is the bass,cause we drive the music!
  6. matrok


    Jan 10, 2005
    Ferndale, Michigan
    I just worked on that song last week. These days I do all my learning with a pair of headphones and my computer, I find I can hear the bass pretty well. Been thinking about a bass trainer, but I've just spent all my money on a new bass and amp repairs.
  7. I've had the bass trainer and I did not like it.
  8. First, I make a MP3 copy of the song and leave it on the computer hard drive. Then I play the MP3 file using Windows Media Player (Version 10). It has a multi-band equalizer and it allows you to slow down the song without changing the pitch.

    Paul Mac
  9. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
  10. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    Headphones yes - and different kinds. The frequency response of different kinds have allowed me to hear things I had never heard before. I start with my AKG K240's, then move to progressively "lower end" Walkman/MP3 player lightweight headphones.

    Another mistake I make when learning new material, is sometimes I don't take the time to just listen critically several times before starting to play along.

    Several focused listenings with no distractions can be a great help in hearing what's going on.
  11. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Yes, definitely listen a few times first, even without a bass in your hands. Maybe try to sing the bass part.
    But as far as just being able to literally hear it, try different EQs and headphones, as others have said, as well as playing with the balance of a stereo mix (although the bass is usually mixed right down the middle, so that may not often help to isolate it).
    Also---> Understanding the harmony of a song can really help you narrow down the available, or most likely, notes being played by the bassist. From what I can remember, in "Midnight Rider" Oakley sticks with the D major pentatonic scale (D E F# A B), except for the bridge which is G minor to C major ("But I'm not gonna let 'em catch me, no..."). On the instrumental section he starts to walk (D B A F#) and where Duane and Dickey trade off and the chord progression changes to D major to C major, he's got the C major pentatonic scale (C D E G A) to work with over the C chord, although I don't remember him doing much more than playing the root.
    It's great to study Oakley's parts because he came up with really intelligent contrapuntal melodies and such.
    Good luck, and I hope I remembered correctly about the particulars... my apologies if not.
  12. I agree with the headphones suggestions as a PART of the solution. But a funny thing happens when you listen to music that is playing on a stereo in another room... There have been times when I have been making dinner or working on something else, other then learning the song and had the music on in another room. Suddenly I detect a piece of the bassline that I never heard before - even using the headphones.

    I have also found that I have 'learned' songs using headphones - spent hours upon hours that way. Then the next day I come back and listen again - there is a different part... huh? How could that be? I spent hours yesterday heavily focused on this...
    Or I hop in the car and boom... there's another part I did not hear! Damn...

    So I guess my point is that even with headphones - overtones, and undertones (if such tones exist) can mask themselves as part of the bass line when they were actually the organ or piano or low rhythm guitar parts all blending together to sound very much like the bass line...

    But I still use the headphones for the primary picking apart phase. I load the song I want to learn into Sonar on an audio track and plug in as if I am going to record myself playing bass. That is a great was to get microscopic.

  13. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005

    Oops, not enough coffee yet. That would be the chorus. :D
  14. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    Yea...why? great tool i think. I use it all the time to learn covers for my band. You can pick out the bass or play along with it. I usally get the chord structure down and then drop out the bass then play over the chords using the roots....i then add fills or what ever is needed if anything to sweetin the song...saves me tons of time and i can sit in my living room watch a game or my kid and never bother anyone....the cool thing is the whole player fits in a small gym bag with my cord and CDs. I was using my guitar players 30 watt practice amp and picking parts out with headphones and a walkman:spit: no more i do it all with one handy lil box...very cool IMO....Tber Sundog turned me on to it.
  15. I am in a cover band with over 100 songs in our repetoire. If I don't know the song very well I listen to it until I know every part for every instrument. Then I map the structure out in my head (and sometimes on paper). If it isn't a straight foward scale or riff that is instantly recognizable I sit and "noodle" around until I find "it". After that, I play along with the song all the way through a few times and pick up any inflections and lines that I missed. Then you have it... practice it with the band and tighten up the screws.
  16. bobdob20


    Mar 5, 2006
    I find listening through headphone is a good way, but if I still cant hear the bass line that well then I push the headphone a lightly into my ears. I find that you can hear the bass really well this way.