Poll: Your musical memory...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by secretdonkey, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. If it's been over a month since I've played it, I'm nervous.

    9 vote(s)
  2. If it's been six months since I last played it - I don't remember it at all.

    5 vote(s)
  3. Once I've learned a song, I can generally remember it practically forever.

    32 vote(s)
  4. Doesn't apply to me (I use sheet music/charts/etc.)

    0 vote(s)
  5. Other (explain)

    2 vote(s)
  6. Carrot cake

    1 vote(s)
  1. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    You're at a gig, and one of your beloved bandmates decides it would be a good idea to do a song that the group hasn't performed in a while. Could be a cover, could be an original... assume it's an average rock/pop tune - not a big technical challenge, but there are some quirks in the arrangement....

    Me - I get nervous tackling anything that's been cold for six months or more. Sometimes I pull it off perfectly, usually I get through it so that no one other than musicians would notice a little flub or two, and sometimes it's a trainwreck. I think that's about average - though I know a number of players who seem to never forget a song once they've learned it...

  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I put practically forever, because really, once you learn something you never REALLY forget.

    I know I can still play songs I haven't played in years, maybe not quite as well, but I still remember most if not all the changes, and usually I remember the groove I played.

    granted, there are songs I have forgotten, I generally don't forget what I have played.
  3. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I'm in a different room! If I haven't played it in a while, I'll remember it, but I'll "brain wrestle" with myself before we start the song.
  4. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    If you guys never forget songs then you don't know enough songs. ;)
  5. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I know a Jaco tune that I heard some dude playing at GC... or maybe my bass instructor was playing a snippet of it... don't remember.

    But I remember the part of it that I heard, but I don't know what the song is called...
  6. masaru


    Aug 8, 2001
    Okinawa, Japan
    Practically forever, even after 30 years and thousands of songs since my first gig...
  7. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Wow - quick repsonses!

    Woodchuck - l dig your new sig, because I've been playing 20+ years and am about to start taking lessons (first one this evening!).

    Mike Money - I have NEVER EVER ragged on Mike before, but damn, that was one retarded response right there!

  8. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Usually pretty good, actually. I don't tend to forget songs, but if I do, it's because I didn't learn them thoroughly in the first place.
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

  10. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Don't know the song,don't play it...club owners and audiences have long memories for train wrecks...pick a tune everybody knows or don't play.
    (Another example for being able to read/write,give me the chart I'll read it down live,first time)
  11. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I'm often surprising myself by remembering bass lines from years back, seems like they get burned into memory. I wish I had as good a memory for names, birthdays, PIN codes, phone numbers, shopping lists, bill due dates, ... :p
  12. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Deptford, NJ
    i alphabatize my tabs
  13. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Deptford, NJ
    no seriously though....depends on the songs and how much i have played them....if i played a song once then never played it again i'd be screwed...but if i play it like 50 times im good for atleast a year
  14. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Hmm depends on teh song really. On average I can remember something almost forever, but often I have to hear a snippet of the song to get my memory going. Some songs just don't stick for some reason though...
  15. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I don't consider myself a great player, but I get more fill-in gigs that guys who are much better players than I am. A Typical scenario is a gig for a band who's bass player is sick, out of town, whatever..... if there's one thing I do well, this is it. I've played a million songs and if doesn't matter if it's been 6 days or 6 years, I'll remember it.

    The secret. I don't think in terms of notes or chords. Instead I try to think in intervals. I don't think "F note to G note", rather "Tonic, then up a tone". I got the idea from a music teacher and dabbled in it as a youngster, but a Garry Willis clinic convinced me that I should use it a bit more. And it works.

    The added benefit is that it helps you transpose songs into a different key. I often get asked to play songs that I may have played a million times before that may be in the key of G for example, "oh but we do it in Bb".
  16. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Yeah, never underestimate the power of intervals.
  17. If I haven't played it in over a month, I'm nervous, but only because I'll lack some confidence.

    I'll usually remember the structure and the chords and stuff of a song, but it may take me a bit of time (maybe a verse if I had a very particular groove) to remember exactly what I played, especially if it's similar to anything else I've been playing/learning in that time.

    I will have to try just remembering the intervals.
  18. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    I usually need to hear a bit of a song if I haven't played it in a while, and if there were parts I didn't bother learning well, forget it...
    Hey, how'd your first lesson go?
  19. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah, exactly.
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I have a scary musical memory, still not sure how it actually works. I've mentally catalogued most music I've ever heard and have pretty much instant recall, not just basslines or melodies, entire arrangements. I typically learn new recorded music by listening.

    I, too, don't worry about the key and work from intervals. I play songs I've never played before but have heard, all the time. Because of this I have no idea how many thousands of songs I know. If you can "hear" the interval, you can play the interval.

    Just glad I have the gift. It does freak some people out when they first try to play "stump the bassist" with me;)