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How do you practice songs?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by paintballjunkie, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. paintballjunkie


    Jul 27, 2005
    I've been spending most of my practice time learning theory, practicing sight reading exercises and things like that, but i noticed that i don't really practice learning new songs. The songs I do know, I usually don't play them from beginning to end. I usually leave out the repetative parts or just jump right to my favorite part of the song. So that leads me to these questions

    1. Approximately how many songs do you know the whole way through?

    2. When you practice them, do you play them beginning to end?

    3. How many songs do you just learn your favorite part and skip the rest?
  2. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I've never counted quite a few mostly classic rock, throw in some Audioslave POD Rage Against the Machine etc. The ones I knew on Guitar I was able to transfer to Bass pretty easy.

    All the way through, I play along w/ the CD and I'm good at playing by ear.

    Seldom if ever. That was a bad habit I had w/ Guitar that I have avoided like the plague w/ Bass.
  3. I'm quite lucky that I have lessons, so there are things I have to learn such as sight reading and playing with a metronome, but when it comes to songs I'm on my own.
    I usually play the parts that I like on my own and then I play the whole song while listening to the cd or I use programs like guitar pro to play the rest of the instruments while I paly bass.
  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I am a late starter, so maybe 50 or so. This is my biggest liability, I don't know enough rock songs. I am terrible at self-motavation. If I have to learn a song for a band I will, no problem. But I have trouble just learning them.

    Usually. If it has a monster intro (Money for Nothing) I will skip the into. If the outro is just a guitar solo I will cut it short. Also, if I am just brushing up for a gig I might only go through the verse and chorus once. But other than that I tend to play the entire song.

    One. I can do the opening to "The Number of the Beast" but not up to speed. Since I can't play at speed I have never learned the rest of the song :meh:
  5. When I was actively playing out, our song list would be forty to fifty songs (covers), plus others that we didn't play that much. Plus there was other songs that I knew but as a band we did not know collectively. I really don't know how many, I'm sure I forgot how to play quite a few from my early years. You'll be surprised how many songs you can commit to memory, beginning to end.

    This was at a time that I was not taking lessons and didn't have much time for it. As a cover band it's a good idea to constantly learn new songs so you don't stagnate.

    Yes, at first. I will pick out the individual parts first, don't try to learn it from beginning to end. After I have my parts I will learn the form or arrangement. We did a lot of R&B and Blues so we would re-arrange as we see fit, plus when playing them live we would improvise quite a bit for solos and what not, so the arrangement would change. But yea, you should know them from beginning to end and everything in-between.
    I would usually only do this for myself. I wouldn't bring down the newest [insert you favorite bass hero] song down to a blues band so I would just learn a certain lick, intro or melody. Some I would still learn all of it so I could show off :p (not on stage) like Jaco's America. One I still remember, I had a teacher that made me learn Jonas Hellborg's chord arrangement of Miles Davis's Blue in Green. Stretching for that F13 on a four banger looks cool. ;)
  6. I have played and subbed in so many bands it surprises me sometimes, the band will do a song I learned in another band 15 years ago and I realize I still know it by heart. I guess it's like riding a bike. I'd say I know a few hundred, classic rock, jazz, r&b etc. I figure that must be average for a musician who's played in bands maybe 20 years.

    I practice in the car. I make myself a CD and play it when I'm driving, that gets the structure of the song down. Then all I need is a quick review of each on the bass and I'm ready.
  7. Same here. Been playing for about 15 years and it's shocking to see the number of songs that have been involved in various set lists but I would say it's cumulatively around 300 or more, and they come back pretty quick when needed.

    I always make a mix cd of songs I want to learn and listen to them when I'm driving. I'll sing the bassline and picture the approximate fretting that I think it will require and then I listen to the tunes at home on the computer at low volume and play along unplugged. Front to back. Not parts. To me, a song is like a map and if I just do a part here or there it takes me a lot longer to get a feel for it.

    If it's one I'm singing lead on, I learn it almost as two different songs. One, the bassline and one is the vocals. Eventually I get comfortable with the seperately and then put them together. If it's one I'm just singing chorus on, I'll work on it at the same time usually.
  8. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I learn every song by ear. It's great for solo practice. I just can't seem to absorb music through tab. In the past 3 years (since I stopped using tab) I've tried to use tab to learn a song maybe 3 or 4 times and each time I gave up. I just couldn't absorb the music. I have to play a song over and over and over till I've sapped all the enjoyment out of it but atleast I feel good about myself when I pick a song out by ear. I then write down the chord progressions so I can come back later to the song.

    1) I know maybe 10-12 songs ALL the way through. But I know the majority of plenty of other songs and I could pick out the rest if I wanted.

    2) I usually try to play the song all the way through unless I get bored with it (repetitive songs).

    3) I really only do this (learn the main riff) when it's a recognizable song and I can whip it out and say, "look at this."
  9. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    If you aren't relying on TAB and can't read sheet music, then being able to recognize keys and chord structure definitely helps in learning songs (i.e. figuring the chord structure within a song and determining the key).

    Recognizing rhythm, chords (and arpeggios if it isn't a root-only bassline) and passing notes over chord changes makes learning songs by ear a whole lot easier.
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    1. A couple hundred.

    2. Yes.

    3. Approximately two.
  11. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    1 - several hundred, I suppose - but if it's a song I've listened to quite a bit, I can usually either play right to it, or pick it up pretty fast...

    2 - Yes, although occasionally when practicing songs on my set list, I'll "take a break" during some songs that are long, and that I can play in my sleep...

    3 - None that I recall at the moment...

    Once I've figured out a song, I'll play along to a tape or CD - either to the stereo at "TV volume", or downstairs through my rig and to a tape or CD on the PA... I try to play my entire setlist(and anything else I'm working on) atleast 2 or 3 times per week, just to stay on top of it - but if that's not possible, I listen to 'em several times per week, just to keep them on my mind... Although I can sight read and tab, I still can usually learn a song quicker by ear - I guess if I practiced sight reading more frequently that *might* change, but I'm not so sure... As for learning songs, I'll typically play along to it once or twice, then backtrack to any parts that are giving me difficulty, and nail them down - then play the whole song several times until I'm proficient at it...

    - georgestrings
  12. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    1. hundreds. Mostly rock(almost all categories), but also celtic, country, folk, blues & funk.

    2. Usually. I found it helps knowing exactly when a song changes, ends if you me regimented about this.

    3. Never thought about it.

    I played in a cover band that did requests. As long as one of us knew the words(the guitar player was a walking encyclopaedia for lyrics..which helped) and the rest of us had an idea how it went then it was a go. Another thing is it got sorta suicidal. If more than one of us joined in then we went through whether the others were ready or not.
  13. Herman


    Dec 25, 2005
    Lynchburg, VA
    1. About 100 mostly classic/progressive rock
    2. Not always; sometimes I just try to improve on the part that I have the most difficulty with
    3. A few but I'd rather learn songs that are interesting the whole way through