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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mazer, May 11, 2011.

  1. Mazer


    Apr 4, 2011
    Hey everyone,
    my goal is to learn to play by ear. But recently, the problem I've been having is, that I can't stick to a song. Whenever I start practicing, I pick a song, I try a little bit, can't get it, try and find something better, and then I have the feeling, like there's nothing good to transcribe. Maybe I'm starting with too complicated songs, or I just don't have patience. You can post some songs to transcribe alongside with the reply then. :)
  2. I'm not kidding.....
    Mary had a little lamb. Start with E, D, C, D, E, E, E....... take it from there. It's the G you are looking for.
    Some where over the rainbow. One note per lyric word. Ov-er and rain-bow will take two notes.
    Twinkle twinkle little star. It's your song keep it all in the key of C - no sharps or flats...

    One new song a day.

    While you are learning would this help? To play by ear IMHO you need to have played thousands of melodies - from something besides tabs - so your ear can tell you where to go next. Yep those fly specks help with the up scale, down scale thing.


    Your music store has books like this. Gotta start somewhere. What ever helps......

    Keyboard is a lot easier than your bass. You don't need an expensive one. Again not kidding....

  3. In my sightreading class we've done full song transcriptions of "warning" by Green Day and "my generation" by the who. They're straightforward to figure out.

    I've done a few bars of "king for a day" by Faith no more, "undisco kid" and "mr wriggles" by Parliament.

    There's a program you can download called "Transcribe!" That can slow the speed down and loop sections. That has a 30 day free trial. Might help :)

    Edit: The first things i started figuring out by ear were Rage Against the machine songs. Those work well because the bass riff gets repeated many times. There's usually no more than 2 or 3 riffs per song, with the occasional fill. Extra time to hunt around for the notes. :)
  4. Mazer


    Apr 4, 2011
    I think I'm past the lullabies. I've transcribed parts of Jamiroquai songs, RHCP, some funk, to give an example. But some songs, I just can't stick with them if I can't get the transcribing going on.
  5. Mulebagger


    Dec 12, 2007
    poppin in the corn belt
    Endorsing Artist: Zon Guitars, Tsunami Cables, DR Strings, GK
    ritalin :)

    It works for me when I really need to focus.
  6. Mulebagger


    Dec 12, 2007
    poppin in the corn belt
    Endorsing Artist: Zon Guitars, Tsunami Cables, DR Strings, GK
    I'm mostly an ear player and when I was learning to develop my ear, I sat with my bass and watched tv trying to pick up all the melodies I heard coming from movies and commercials. I didn't even look to see what I was playing. Just focused on trying to find where the sounds were on my bass. Having a strong ear is always a good thing to fall back on. Helps you to play the things that you hear in your head better too :)
  7. If there is any order in the piece you are trying to transcribe there is going to be repeated segments. All verses may have the same melody notes. The chorus may change the tune or it may not.

    Once you have one verse transcribed, the other verses are going to be pretty much the same. That brings me to the next thought.......

    How close to the original do you want to be, how important is it that every note be exact?

    If your answer to that is - it is important - then I'd suggest you try and nail the note used for every lyric word. Yep, one note per lyric word backs it down to something you can work with. Say the word (or phrase) and hunt for the note that sounds best. And then there is always those slow down software programs that help even more.

    Of course if it is an instrumental number, just hope all the verses are pretty much the same so once you have one you have them all. Normaly you have a repeated "head" (phrase) that weaves it's way through out the song, find the head, and bet it repeats.

    Good luck.

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