how long does it take you to learn a song?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by spambot772, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. spambot772


    Aug 31, 2007
    hey guys, just wondering how much time you spend learning a song on average. like a couple weeks or can you pick it up in a day?

    im workin on power right now, ive bin playing it for about 3 days now prolly 4-5 hours each day, and it feels like ill never get that little double thumping run down. :(

    bass can be so frustrating yet rewarding...
  2. Fleaman08


    Dec 12, 2008
    well it depends on the genre of the stuff that ur learning... i mainly play funk rock, rock blues so mostly a day or two to perfect it... I dont use tabs anymore find it way more fun doing it by ear... even tho its alot harder with bassists like Les Claypool.
  3. Depends on the song. Some songs I can get down after playing along with it once, others take forever and never turn out right . . .

    Thats a very open ended question.
  4. TL5


    Jun 27, 2005
    Depends on the song.
    I've learned some songs just listening to it one time in the car on the way home. Others require much more work.

    I also learn songs to differing degrees. For example, I'm playing a gig this Saturday where I'm memorizing all the material. 3 hours.
    Then Sunday morning, I'm playing a set of five songs where I'll play these once, with a chart. So I'm familiarizing myself with the song and chart but not really worried about putting them into long term memory.
  5. rcarraher


    Dec 21, 2008
    Depends on the song. If its difficult (for me) I'll tab it out, that can take a couple hours or so. Then, I'll break it up in to parts and practise those, eventually putting it altogether.
  6. RyRob813


    Jun 7, 2007
    St. Paul, MN
    For starters: Stop using internet tabs if you are, they're nearly never right, and give you nothing rhythmically

    Use your ears! Also, most pop tunes are going to have sections- verse, chorus, ect. Figure out each of those sections, then glue it together!

    I'm not sure how much music theory you have under your belt, but when faced with a tricky bassline, figure out the key and chord progression first, it'll give you much more to go on.

    I'll also share with you the best advice I've been given as a musician by my first teacher: hum every song you hear ever! Radio's on in the car, you're listening to music in your house, you hear something outside somewhere...HUM IT! Match your voice to the melody, then match it to the bassline, the rhythm guitar, EVERYTHING! This will train your ear, and figuring out lines will become much easier.

    Good luck!
  7. spambot772


    Aug 31, 2007

    yah, i kinda apply the same thing to songs i learn, i whistle them before i play them, i can't even whistle power right now (the one part is too fast for me), i figure when im able to whistle power i can make a better stab at playing it...
  8. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I usually need to play it once, then listen to it while I transcribe the chord pattern myself, then play it once more. I find it's the act of transcribing the chord pattern that makes me "learn" the song quickly. +1 to not using internet tabs to learn songs.
  9. southernrocker

    southernrocker Inactive

    Apr 4, 2009
    Not to toot my own horn, but I have a heck of an ear. Usually learning a song takes me a minute or two.

    Oh yeah, tabs are bad. The reason I developed my ear is because I got fed up with bad tabs.
  10. rcarraher


    Dec 21, 2008
    Yes, internet tabs are for the most part not only bad, but totally useless. I series of notes on a series of strings doesn't give you anything. But not all tabs are that useless. As I have stated here before, when a tab is writen showing bars, time sigs, keys, note duration etc...then it can be a pretty handy tool for learning a tune.
  11. Sonicfrog

    Sonicfrog Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2008
    Fresno, CA
    Back in the 80's, when I was learning to play, we didn't have computers and the internet (TSR 80's and Commodor 64's don't count), so there was no other way to learn than either by ear, or if you're lucky, having a friend or a brother who can play the song show you the difficult parts. Now you can go to YouTube, and more likely than not, you can find someone showing you how to play a song. But like TABS, accuracy may vary.

    Here is a great example of a YouTuber providing a HUGE amount of help with a song - "Things She Said" by Toy Matinee / Kevin Gilbert. That guy was a stinklin' musical genius he was!

    More KG Love, Here and especially Here. The Guy Rocked!!!

    Then there's this guy doing Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over". Not accurate per se, but it's a very nice cover. And this guy's voice is so smooth and sweet. What a gift.
  12. El Bajo

    El Bajo

    Apr 12, 2006
    For me it depends on pressure. If its for the band i tend to pick it up quickly becasue i don't want to be the one that lets the sound down because I'm fubling around tryna find the notes. If I'm learning a song just because then i fond it much harder to digest!
  13. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    +1 Some tunes I can learn at a gig when the song is already going. Others like 'What Is Hip' I started when I was 12 & I'm still working on it.
  14. Usually by the end of the first time we play it through....Took me a couple of days to learn Bach's - Cello Suite No.1 i-Prelude...
  15. Rudreax


    Jun 14, 2008
    New York, NY
    Depends of the song and the genre. I just learned Avishai Cohen's "Dror" in about an hour, and it has a number of odd shifts on time, but it's really just a bunch of repeated licks.

    Try learning the walking bass line of a good jazz song. That could take some time.