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quick question on learning a song

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by 1dreday, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    i was trying to learn a song with chord charts and it was pretty easy following root notes and
    adding in thirds and fifths ect. were i felt i could,
    then i happened upon, ultimate guitar pro and it shows the actual notes to be played, for bass
    (in tab) and i'm way off and i havent learned how to just listen to the song and learn it that way yet.
    so what to do? any help appreciated . by the way the song way california dreamin by the momas and the pappas.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Both skills are important:
    1. Actually learning the song
    2. Being able to improvise an approximate bass line with root notes, for times when you don't know the song
    So you should practice both skills (in my opinion). If you have any specific "how to?" questions just ask away! :) Everybody has a slightly different learning style: Some people learn best from teachers, other people from books, others from videos, and so forth. For example I personally am a "find a good teacher" kind of learner. Which learning styles have traditionally worked well for you, in the past, when you've learned how to do new things?
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
    SteveCS likes this.
  3. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Great bass from the late legendary Joe Osborn. I've just looked at the two bass TAB available from Ultimate Guitar and, to be honest they both look highly suspicious and well over-simplified. The bass is clear in the published recording, so in this instance I would suggest that you trust your ears, however bad you think they are, and dismiss those TABs.
    Joe was not afraid of the dusty end of the fingerboard, used a pick, and often preferred to play higher up on the (very old) lower strings to get that glorious tone. I would suggest a closer listen to a bit more of his work (several hundred top-40 hits over the best part of 30 years so plenty to choose from) to assimilate Joe's feel/style (the improvised melodic/contrapuntal fills, syncopated accents/rests, 5ths below, well placed staccato/ghost notes, pedal notes in higher registers, rock-solid 1/8-notes, etc), rather than going for precise rendition at this point. I think you will end up more convincing that way. One of my favourite bassists of all time. YMMV
    ak56 and Oddly like this.
  4. vancamp


    Jan 22, 2008
    Although I would quibble with a few of the places in the UG Pro transcription, it doesn't seem very far off or particularly simplified to me (based on the recording). But the answer to your question "what to do?" is... what do you want to do? I like to listen and learn how it was originally played, then decide if I want to simplify or change anything for my playing within that context. But there's lots of possibilities and you're the one that gets to decide how you want to play it.
  5. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    First I do not rely upon tab. I call up chord charts, like you described, and then from the charts I decide what chord tones need to be played.

    This is coming from a not note for note guy, so take it as such. In a nut-shell I play what I think is needed. Much as you have been doing. I offer the following for what it is worth.

    Basic notes of the chord follow:
    • C = R-3-5
    • Cmaj7 =R-3-5-7
    • C7 = R-3-5-b7
    • Cm7= R-b3-5-b7
    • Cm7b5 = R-3-b5-b7
    • Yes there are more, but, this will do for now.

    Now the ole Root just by it's self will cover most Praise songs.
    The R-5 will do for most Pop songs. My go to bass line is the R-5-8-5 because it will work over most major and minor chords.

    Jazz is about the only time a full four note chord, like mentioned above, is in my bass line. On slow ballads just a root and nothing else until a new chord becomes active.

    So I let my ear decide what is needed. Perhaps the 3 and 7 come in, perhaps Root on one and the 5 on the third beat, is all that is necessary.

    The people I play with (and for ) are happy with this and do not expect me to be exact as the original artist did it. In fact most do not know what the original artist did. They just like the song and are happy we decided to play that one.

    I decided long ago that I could play a lot more songs if I did it this way, instead of learning note for note what some studio artists did.

    Yes I'm a hobby bassists that had a day job, and a wife and daughter that also wanted some of my time.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    1. Developing your ear takes time. Keep working on it.
    2. Learning note for note is good. So is learning to develop your own lines.
    3. Just because a web site says it has to correct bass line, it doesn't necessarily mean it is correct.
    Gearhead17 likes this.
  7. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Typo --- Cm7b5 should be R-b3-b5-b7
  8. TerenceE

    TerenceE Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2015
    I worry about feeling the groove and the roots/progressions first. Add the fills as I solidify the groove. I’m simple and self taught though. I have learned to trust your ear more than random tabs on the internet
  9. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    I use Ultimate Guitar a lot for general references, but, the transcriptions are often wrong. I always double check with my ear. Now, I have found an invaluable app on the iPhone is AudioStretch. In addition to being able to loop a section of the song you can slow it down as well. Now, the real cool part is it interprets the notes it hears and shows them on the keyboard. In the pic below you can see that among other notes being played it is hearing a strong G. Otherwise wise, knowing your scale will also the limit of possible notes.

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