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learning a set list

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mntngrown, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. mntngrown

    mntngrown Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Santa Cruz Ca
    When you are given a 30+ song list, (classic rock cover band),
    how long should it take to get them tight, with no mistakes?
    Just looking for a general guideline to judge my progress on.
    Rehearsals are once a week.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Before the next gig.
  3. dbassman59


    Dec 19, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    That's a tuff one and depends on a couple of things:

    1) How long is your weekly practice?
    2) How much practice do you put in at home with your ipod?

    To give you an idea ... I play in a classic rock cover band. We practice once a week for about 2-1/2 - 3 hours max.

    We could knock of 3 new songs a week if we tried ... Some come right away .... some take longer .... Remember you're going to have to go over these new ones for the next few weeks so you don't forget.

    Keep in my mind we already have huge set list with over 100 songs under our belt ...

    One thing that helps is to have a reference song on CD or iPod so everyone can listen ... second a chord / lyric chart helps immensely ...

    I often go and practice by myself during the week playing along with iPod ... This also helps

    I also have a Zoom H4 recorder ... so we'll record ourselves and work on the weak points ...

    I hope this helps ...
  4. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    We generally ran through 5 a week when we started out.
  5. kennydakid


    Jan 8, 2009
    Amesbury, MA
    when we are in adding mode we add about 3-5 per week (one 3 hour practice a week)
  6. mntngrown

    mntngrown Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Santa Cruz Ca
    Good replies but this is about me tryin to get up to speed on the songs they already know. I am beatin myself up for forgettin changes on the third rehearsal. Am I slow or too hard on myself. I am putting more time in this week. Thanks
  7. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Don't waste energy beatin' on yerself. Just focus on doing what you can to the best of your ability.

    I'm sure if they didn't think you were up to the task they wouldn't have given you the nod!

    Learning new lists is always a challenge! Hang tuff bro!!
  8. David1234


    Jun 1, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: SWR Amplifiers
    I give about an hour per song, I usually make a lead sheet for each song to refer to (a chord chart showing the form very clearly, and any particularly important riff moments or cues) which is 20-30mins usually, then when I've done all of those I leave it a week then play along a few times on different occasions referring to the chart. I take the charts to the first rehearsal but try not to use them.

    The form usually where people go wrong. Most pop or rock tunes have very clear sections, and learning the sections is easy, but learning the transitions from one section to the next and how to cue them so that you navigate your team through the song well, that's where the bassplayer usually has to focus.
  9. When I find myself in this situations it helps to make cheat sheets.

    I will write out something very similar to what a Jazz chart looks like. Just something that will help me remember what and where the chord changes are.

    EDIT: What David1234 said!
  10. "When I find myself in this situations it helps to make cheat sheets."---chunk-o-funk
    I'm with him...I just joined a 50s/60s/beach band :oops:: I know, I know, but this is my third full time band and will be the one that pays for my equipment. Believe it or not, that is the toughest stuff for me to learn because most of it is so 'passive' and lull. So I focused on the high points, made brief notes just on problem areas, and have been practicing twice a week like that. It works wonders! In only about 3-4 solid weeks, I have 50 songs under my belt and am feeling really good about my first rehearsal with the band tomorrow night.
  11. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    Stumbo has the right answer. Not anymore complicated than that.
  12. jtrow


    Mar 1, 2009
    Mid America
    I find that it really helps if I know the songs we're learning, not the basslines, but the song itself. As long as I can sing some of the lyrics and feel the groove, my head gets wrapped around the song, the bassline pretty much falls into place. Of course you then need to rehearse with your band, but if you can feel the song you should be able to get tight pretty quick.

    +1 to what Stumbo said.

    But I also believe that you only truly know the songs once you've played live. You can practice 1000 times in your basement or garage, but it's never the same as playing to a room full of people.
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Get a music stand to use during rehearsal if you need to use the charts.

    +10 on learning the songs, not just the bass lines and recording the rehearsals.
  14. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Much of the true answer depends on the band and the person playing.

    For most "bands" I'll make a chart with time signatures, BPM, keys and notes about funky changes.. I'll run through the material once on guitar.. then on keys.. finally on bass.

    Then again.. I play in a VERY pro church band (we're paid session guys). We get new setlists (6 songs) every week.. I'll listen to the material repeatedly for 8-10 hours on an ipod.. I'll then run through them on guitar or piano.. then 1/2 speed.. 3/4 speed.. then full a few times.

    For a classic rock band, the key may be listening to the setlist CD over and over until the transitions are predictable... this may be more important than the Bass time.

  15. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Another note may be the following from hindsight.

    When first starting with new guys.. I'll play back.. VERY bassic.. just hitting the beats.. I'll show up on time and in tune.

    Most guys I'm playing with have heard my demo stuff - there's no need to try to impress them.

    I really don't open up and push/groove until everyone is comfortable, and I'm aware of the chart structure.

    Playing back isn't a bad thing... most guys would rather have you solid vs dorking on their time.
  16. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    My way is to learn 3 or 4 at once. Once I have them down, I play them once a practice so I don't forget them and go on from there. I'd rather know 20 songs well than 40 half assed if it came down to it.
  17. OtterOnBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    30 songs? How about 3 weeks. That's just a guess. I'm in the same boat, but with a larger selection of songs to learn. Fortunately I know most of the songs well enough to know where they make their changes. My technique is to find them on youtube and play along. In another window find tabs or whatever you can to get you started. Use your ears to find what's really going on. After you've played and learned the different parts, listen to the song again and write out the map (e.g. Intro, Verse, Chorus, V, C, B, C, C, Outro) After that, bookmark the youtube page and go back to it and practice the song as frequently as you can. For some reason, once I've mapped out the song I don't need to read what I wrote and the song seems much less mysterious. Take the songs in memorable chunks, not all at once. When a song continues to give you problems, write notes about it and you'll remember that one especially well.
  18. mntngrown

    mntngrown Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Santa Cruz Ca
    Great Ideas Thanks!
  19. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I have had to learn 30-50 song quick a couple of times. I start out first by getting all the easy songs out of the way. I then focus on the harder songs and at what parts do i have problems ex.Coming in/ out of bridge, what i play during solo's, key changes etc. Most songs structures stay the same its the changes ,bridges etc that throw the bone in so to speak. Knowing the songs is a good idea. Put the cd or whatever on in your car at home etc and listen to the song while you are not playing. You will be amazed at what you hear and how quick it will stick in the grey matter.
    I also love the Tascam bass trainer to learn songs on. The best tool i have ever used to learn songs or write basslines to songs with. Thanks Sundoge for telling me years ago about it.
  20. eotpr


    Jun 25, 2007
    I am in your same situation. I have about 55 songs to know by April 9. I have charts with the chords for most of the songs. I have recordings for all of the songs. I play to the songs 8-10 hours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On the rest of the week I am playing about 3-5 hours in the evening after work. The fingers on my right hand bleed some but they will get better caluses. I can wrap them in tape if they hurt too much. At first I rely on the chart. Then after I think I have it I keep playing it until I can play it with no chart without a mistake. Then I move on going back to it a couple times per week as a review. If I screw it up I keep playing it again until it ls flawless then I move on again.

    The biggest issue I have found is that the recordings are in a different key than the chords some times. Thos songs I just listen to and hope I can feel the chord changes. the guys I am playing with do not have band rehearsals. They expect the homework to be done and you to be ready to play the gig at gig time.

    I sure wish that there was some sort of gizmo that I could put the songs in that would change the key. So I could play the charts with the recordings on all of the songs.

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