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View Poll Results: How do you learn new songs?
chords 6 33.33%
tabs 7 38.89%
guitar pro or similar 6 33.33%
sheet music 7 38.89%
by listening the song itself or a video 15 83.33%
video tutorials 1 5.56%
sometimes several at once 6 33.33%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

Old 11-20-2012, 05:58 PM   #1
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How do you learn new Songs?

For the possibility of learning a new song in many different ways, I want to initiate the poll above. Which are the ones you use freqently.
I personally mostly use chords and tabs, but sometimes it helps me to hear the song at the same time.
How about you?


Last edited by da_guitar : 11-20-2012 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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you should be learning everything by ear if you can help it.

tablature's alright in short notice for an audition or something but it's usually inaccurate, unrevealing about the piece, and limited to rock/metal music.

standard notation is preferred if i can't listen to the piece or if it's for an audition/performance, though.

we typically preach anti-tab here, but i'm not above using it as a means to an end, but only if you're skilled enough to do it by ear (and preferably read notation) as well. it's important to the learning process as a player and/or composer to be able to break down the music in real-time and point out nuances beyond the names of the notes you're playing or their position on the neck. this allows you to understand, even if it's subconsciously, the function of not only notes, but rhythms, accents, dynamics, tempo, phrasing, timbre, instrumentation, and the juxtaposition of these aspects against one another and that effect on a piece, a section of the piece, or even a series of pieces if written or performed canonically.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:21 PM   #3
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Ear first and tab if I'm having trouble. Like hail said though, I trust my ear more than the tab.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:25 PM   #4
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Depends on my situation like Hail said and what genre the song is in. If I can, I pick the chords out first by ear then attack the melody. If it's something like some solo guitar pieces or other things where there is only a melody with a bass line, I pick out the melody and get the key changes and then go back and focus on it bit by bit till I get it down perfectly or how I want to play it.

If I'm in a tight situation, I shot for sheet music first and if that fails I go by tab and listen carefully to what's tabbed compared to what is playing.

Some situations are rough like the one i'm in now. I have to play A Mad Russian's Christmas by TSO before December 4th with an orchestra and only got the sheet music recently. Naturally I wanted to learn the song ahead of time, so I learned it all by ear. Unforunately when I got the sheet music it was arranged different and some of the guitar parts were swapped out. So now I have to essentially forget what I had learned before and relearn it. The piece is not hard but my diffculty is in that I learned the song one way, and it turned to be arranged different. If I don't pay attention I may play a part out of place and look goofy.

Sometimes, muscule memory sucks.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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also, don't forget you can always throw the song in a DAW or media player and slow it down and take out certain frequencies. it's not going to sound good, but it'll help you find out a part - cutting out the highs will make the bass a little easier to pick out, etc.

but most of your problems with learning music by ear should be due to production value. if it's just 'this is too fast', it's better to slowly work through it if you possibly can (and, unless you have a deadline, you can)
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:17 AM   #6
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None of the above. Ear only. Always.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:28 AM   #7
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I like learning by ear. I learnt The Antichrist a week ago by ear and when trying to figure out the chorus riff I ended up getting distracted and made a real cool sounding riff.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:31 AM   #8
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depends on the song.

ear, sheet music, tab (usually in conjunction with sheet music unless unavailable), and chords, in that order.
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:27 AM   #9
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I have very limited sheet music reading abilities. Same for tabs, but I can do slightly better with tabs than sheet music. I learn 99% of the time by ear, but I watch videos of people playing songs and try to copy what they do. If it's something I really just can't figure out, I might use a tab especially if something has an odd rhythm. I haven't learned a song in a long time now that I think about it.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:46 AM   #10
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There really should only be two options in the poll.

(a) Someone else figured it out for me
(b) I figured it out myself

Perhaps a little unfair, particlearly when it comes to playing in classical orchestras but you catch my drift. Only one of the options allowed for the person to figure out the song themselves, drawing a difference between tabs, chords, guitar pro and video tutorials is pedantic. All of those assume a monkey-see, monkey-do approach.

As you can probably guess, I'm a learn by ear, no charts playing live guy.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:08 AM   #11
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You should always be listening to the song, ALWAYS.

Everything else is just there to help you figure it out.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:58 AM   #12
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First I listen, then I get a tab, then I check the tab against what I hear and correct the tab (or what I think I'm hearing) if necessary.

Sometimes there's no tab, e.g. I covered 'The Meaning Of (The) Life' by Lucifer Was, so it's obviously all ear. I make my own tab on Guitar Pro. The flute solo was interesting to do, but solos are often easy, chords are often hard.
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