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Songs that suprised you with difficulty

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by wishbasssix, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. wishbasssix


    Apr 11, 2012
    Have you ever went to learn a cover song for a band that you thought sounded really simple, but ended up being really tough?

    I'm playing guitar in a new band where the vocalist wanted to cover "A Kiss to Build a Dream on" by Louis Armstrong. First off, I'm not a jazz guy, so a lot of the chords used in that tune are unfamiliar to me, and secondly, the chords change constantly with none of them ever being held out for long. I counted twenty unique chord voicings that the song uses!

    I would have never guessed the song had all that going on underneath it just by listening to it. It's a great tune, though, and I feel good about it now that I've (mostly) got it down. All it took was a couple of days of woodshedding. On top of that, the chords inspired me to write my on song using some of the new voicings I learned. "A Kiss to Build a Dream on" is going to be killer to play live.

    So, have you ever set out to learn a song thinking, "pah, this will be nothing," and then have it knock you on your butt?
  2. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Peg by Steely Dan. It's easy to write off as just a pop song but there's almost no margin for error when playing it.
  3. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    The answer is yes. And as I get older some things that used to be easy are not so easy anymore.
  4. +1 On Peg more than meets the eye! Tons of thought went into the making of that song!
  5. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    For example I find that country 1 5 thing to be difficult. I guess it's just not a rhythm that's genetically in my system. And no I'm not kidding.
  6. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Beat me to it. Some of the bass lines in Waylon Jennings' tunes, for example, are incredibly hard to really nail.
  7. wishbasssix


    Apr 11, 2012
    Hey, I'm right there with you on the country bass lines. They sound simple, but I just cannot play those in a convincing way. Like you, I feel I'm not genetically oriented to the groove and way of thinking that generates those lines. In a Neil Young biography I read, Crazy Horse's bass player called those kind of lines "eat s***" bass playing because they go "EAT-s***, EAT-s***, Eat-s***." I always found that humourous.
  8. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Well they use a similar thing in gospel but honestly I find that one two one two thing really tough.

    I also find a single note 16th note groove difficult too. I never did before but age is setting in.
  9. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    'Ill In The Head' by the Dead Kennedys. Now THAT was a workout I wasn't expecting.
  10. ItchyPBass


    May 10, 2012
    'New Born' by Muse. Sounded fairly easy, and was, but I didn't anticipate 6 solid minutes of what is basically an arpeggio exercise in E. I got really bad cramp the first time I tried it. On the bright side, it made me realise I actually had to warm up :D
  11. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Kissin & a Huggin by Joan Armatrading. Live version off the Greatest Hits album. Didn't realize some of the subtly complex passages in there. Kicked my butt to learn it! I posted a vid of it on my YT channel (linked in my profile) if anyone wants to check it out. Not the greatest, but I got the general vibe of it more or less. Oh, and Peg is on my list. I worked on Rikki Don't Lose That Number once for a little while. Lotta bass in that song!
  12. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    Peg for sure. And I don't slap, so I tried to cover it straight. Why a country band chose that song, I'm not sure. Only stayed in the rotation for a few months, then haven't tried it since.
  13. the wako kid

    the wako kid

    May 11, 2011
    heart of the sunrise by yes.what sounds like 2 or three notes in the main riff is actually about six,and it's still very difficult for me to get that kind of speed with a pick,chris squire really shreds.I can play it fine with my fingers though.
  14. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Oh yeah, I dabbled in South Side Of The Sky once. I should go back to that.
  15. the wako kid

    the wako kid

    May 11, 2011
    seriously though,that **** is hardcore,I can shred as fast as I want with my fingers,but put a pick in my hand and that song makes my hands cramp up very quickly.it's taken me six months of practice to even come close to that speed.
  16. It blows my mind how easy the song sounds but how hard it really is.
  17. Several of the old (and overkilled) Skynyrd tunes in which Ed King did the studio bass tracks. Simple Man comes to mind immediately, but there are others as well. The notes aren't that odd, but the timing and syncopation is tough to nail exactly. Almost a rhythm guitar feel, I guess because Ed was mainly a gui****. No to mention, most local bands don't have three guitars, keys, and a gaggle of female backing singers to fill out the arrangement.
  18. Freight Train

    Freight Train Earth-based Alternative Scientist, Sex Researcher Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    Dallas, Texas
    The most ridiculous one for me is Tom Petty's "Breakdown". To go from low G and then hit that stupid high A, not too loud, and right on, and then slide just enough, is an asswhip. I can nail it now if I keep my eye on the ball - during the verses I keep eyes fixed on the high A, but still the volume of it is so critical - too loud and you're suddenly poppin'.
    In general, after going through the jazz/fusion wall of fire during the 70's, and being pretty fluent in that style, I finally came out the other side and now realize, in my opinion, it is more difficult and takes more discipline to play a simple, solid bass line and stay locked in the pocket, than to noodle all over the board with amazing licks, no matter how fluent you are.
  19. JonahTheAmazing


    Dec 19, 2010
    A lot of prog songs make different time signatures more groovy than they usually seem to be. The Trees has a 5/4 section that, to the untrained ear, doesn't sound odd at all. Once played, it's a different situation.

    I see a lot of "country". What songs in particular?

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