1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

transcribing/playing by ear

Discussion in 'Ask Anthony Wellington [archive]' started by thehangingmist, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. hey Ant!

    you have been a great inspiration for me! the things you say seem to make complete sense and have been really helpful.

    i have been struggling with a certain aspect of my playing for a while i thought maybe i could get a word of advice from you

    my problem is i did not learn to play by ear, i learned to play from chord charts and knowing major and minor arpeggio shapes and reading basic lines while mostly pedaling root note or learning songs from tabs! which was a bad idea i dont do that any more. but i was always given a chord chart and told what to play when that ended i started feeling lost.

    i feel very apprehensive as a musician as i dont really have a good ear, i mean i cant right away play back what i hear from someone else, like a melodic phrase for example. for the last couple of years i have been working out music by ear but it feels like a real "TASK" every time i have to do it. i always need to put a song in audacity select a part maybe slow it down etc but i want to be able to just learn parts on the fly, possibly without even trying them on a bass myself as all good musicians are able do so they just hear something and know how to play that back without having to fiddle around.

    what do you suggest, how do i get better at that?

    any thoughts will be really appreciated! thank you!
  2. or i can put it this way that a lot of musicians practice to be able to play what they hear but i dont really hear much music inside my head, there are no ideas which jump out inside when its time for me to play i just follow what i know about music which is like scales, chord tones etc. how do i start hearing music inside of me!?
    am at a real loss here :(
  3. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Hey V,

    I definitely plan on responding. But someone ask a really involved question like I actually have to find a block of time to respond appropriately. I've been teaching from 10am to 11pm most days since being home from tour. And I leave for tour again this Sunday.

    I'll try to get an answer in before then. Hopefully tonight.

    I'm in the middle of a lesson right now. He just needed a break because the lesson is kicking his ass!!!!

  4. looking forward!!:hyper:

  5. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Hey V,

    Man, you just gotta' stick with the transcribing. Us old schools are so much better at it than new school guys. I think it's because it's the only thing we had. We didn't have slowdown machines, tab and YouTube. Those tools just teach you the piece of music that you're working on. They don't 'really' teach you how to transcribe. And by the way, I'm referring to learning a song 'by ear' as transcribing. I know that traditionally it means to notate it too but I'm not really talking about the notating part. I had to write to keep the 'wise asses' from writing in just to correct me.

    Know this about developing your ear,...

    You'll benefit more from doing it by ear without any 'aids' at all and only get 50% of it right than by getting 100% right by learning it on YouTube, tab or a slowdown machine.

    Think about the 'end game' here,...

    If the 'result' is to just know the song or lick those things are fine, I guess(but not for me because that's never the 'end game' for me).

    But if the results you want is to have a better ear then put your 'big boy' pants on and tough it out. I just recommend that you start with easy pieces. Maybe even nursery rhymes and Christmas carols. And don't limit yourself to just transcribing bass part. Transcribing is transcribing! I've don't my share of piano and sax parts.

    Start easy and go slow. Work on your ear training on these websites.

    www.solfege.org(for rhythm ear training).

    anthony(written at 33,000 ft.)
  6. makes sense! thanks Ant!
  7. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    +1 on this V. I'm 56 years old and you have no clue as to how many vinyl records, cassette tapes, and 8 track tapes I have ruined trying to learn songs and the bass parts. And then there was needles too on the record player. When things got bad we put pennies, dimes, nickels etc on top of the needle to weigh it down when the needle got old or the record got warped. Boy how do I rememebr those days. As a result I can readlily play most of what I hear. LOL!!!! Stick with it, your ear will develop.
  8. sayman


    Dec 14, 2009
    Another +1, although being about 70% deaf makes it harder to pick some bass tracks out. The tools today are excellent, though.
  9. Lichtaffen


    Sep 29, 2008
    Rhode Island
    Not sure if it was discussed in Anthony's forum or somewhere else, but the whole 'trying to learn a song from the radio before the song ends' is something I've started working on. I personally dislike most music on the radio, so I've set up iTunes playlists, put them on shuffle and force myself to not stop the song while trying to learn. Just another way of doing it.

    Now, what I really want to know is how did musicians do this before radios were readily available?
  10. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    I did discuss learning songs before it ended. It was how I challenged myself. I would learn the bass, guitar and keyboard part before the song ended.

    For most songs I don't need an instrument. I can hear all intervals and most chords,...that aren't 'esoteric'.

    Don't know how they did it before radio. But pilots learned how to fly before there were flight simulators. Simulators just made the process of learning how to fly more efficient.