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Learning a 3 and a half minute song, N4N, in 1 minute

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    For people who don't want to read the whole post - what are the simplest, easiest songs you've ever learned to play?

    For people who have a minute or two....

    As much as I'm not a fan of newer music, they're certainly making life a lot easier on the working bassist :).

    My band shot out a text on Thanksgiving that they wanted me to learn one more song that was requested for a wedding yesterday. This was on top of 6 songs I was already working on for this weekend. My adrenaline pumped and I was about to simply text back, "NO!" I'm so happy I learned to control my texting trigger finger. I took a breath and said I'll listen to it first.

    Because I use Transcribe to learn songs I can see the wave form of the tunes so I can often tell when the bass is popping in and out. I listened to the first chorus, got the notes, jumped quickly through the other areas of the song and accomplished a first for me.

    I learned a 3 and half minute song in less than a minute :).

    You can do this too thanks to the marvels of modern music!!!!

    I of course threw the tune on a USB and listened a handful of times after that in my car, but yeah... that's all I really wanted to say.

    What have been the easiest songs YOU'VE ever learned to play?

    kesslari and bfields like this.
  2. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Sometime in the early (or mid?) 1990s I did a one-off gig of current alt-rock covers as a favor to a friend. I don't remember all of the tunes we played, but some of them were
    - "What's Goin' On?" - 4 Non Blondes
    - "Lightning Crashes" - Live
    - "Come As You Are" - Nirvana
    - "When I Come Around" - Green Day
    - something by Pearl Jam...not "Jeremy" but probably from the same album
    - something by The Outfield
    - whatever that tune was that was the one hit by The Presidents Of The United States

    The one rehearsal for the gig consisted almost entirely of me and the drummer trying to see who could be more of a dick by hitting fast-forward on the CD player that the singer was using to teach [sic] these tunes to us. "Yeah, got it, what comes next?" zzzziiipppp We probably learned a 45 minute set in 15 minutes, then played it down top-to-bottom twice, then went out and got drunk. Played the gig the next weekend and promptly forgot every single one of those songs.

    I must confess, the phrase "Really, that's it?" was uttered more than a few times while learning those tunes.
  3. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    probably Chain Of Fools. It's a one cord, one line song. I love those things.
  4. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    I dunno, I feel like I've participated in a number of train wrecks where someone says "hey, let's play Shake it Off, it's just the same 3 chords over and over!". Then after 10 times through the same chords everyone says "uh, wait, nothing's happening here, where's the song?".

    You don't have a longer structure of chord changes to tell the story for you any more, so now it's all up to you to make the song feel like it's still going somewhere, so you really need a good vocal performance and all those dramatic changes in texture.

    OK, still, not a lot to keep the bass player interested there.

    Now I'm going to have that 1-4, 1-6, 1-5, 1-5, 1-4.... stuck in my head all day.
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    A lot depends on the other players, and how much you can DEPEND on the other players. I am definitely in a fortunate situation right now, and maybe forget that at times. When the guys in my band say they'll learn something, they do. And they do it perfectly. We have a lot on the line, so nobody is slacking in any way.

    That being said, last night I got notified again, at the last minute, that I have to learn Old Time Rock and Roll. I got pissed, but said let me listen before I say anything and laughed again. I think this is becoming a thing for me :). I'm familiar with the structure of that tune, so it was even easier. I can say now that I've learned a 3 minute song in about 20 seconds! All I really needed to do was get the 3 chords in song, jump from verse to verse to breakdown, and voila!!!! I did notice that there was something a little different going on during the solo, so that added maybe another 20 seconds.

    Not saying this is possible with most music. I'm just entertained that it is very possible with a lot of music.
    bfields likes this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Everyday People - Sly
    Pretty much pedal on G until you hear horns. Slide up to Bb for a sec and go right back to G.

    Battleship Chains -
    D and A
    One and two and three, rest.... one and two and three, rest

  7. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Muddy Waters Mannish Boy....and errrrm......dare I say?.....The much hated M.S......:D
  8. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Papa Was A Rolling Stone.
    Finding a band that can groove to it? I'm still looking...
    Bob_Ross and Fat Freddy like this.
  9. TheLowDown33

    TheLowDown33 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    Check out The Main Squeeze's cover, much groove.

    I love these threads. My band plays all sorts of pop songs that are super simple structurally speaking (+1 for alliteration). I love those songs because once you learn them, they become a vehicle for all sorts of fun stuff, such as reharmonization. For example, we play the same Sean Mendes song and for half of it I harmonize with the guitar. The other half I play an embellished groove over the main riff. Sounds fantastic. My unwarranted advice? Learn the songs as their written, then play them the way you would have wrote it.
    Oddly likes this.
  10. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    That Shawn Mendes song is pretty good. Our 14-year-old son enjoys listening to Hits 1 on Sirius, so I've heard it many times.

    For me, it was "Pretty Vacant" by the Sex Pistols. A friend needed a bass player for a last-minute gig, and I'd at least heard all of the other songs. Not being a Pistols fan, listening on the tape he gave me was the first time I'd heard this one. I ran through it a couple of times (thankfully Sid was not a complicated bassist) and had it down after the 2nd listen. In case you're wondering, here are some of the other songs we played on that gig:
    "Hammer In My Heart" - Utopia
    "Stray Cat Strut" - The Stray Cats
    "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" - The Clash
    "Talk To Ya Later" - The Tubes

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