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Old 05-06-2014, 09:47 PM   #1
flaaash
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Learning covers

Hey team,

I'm now in a position where I want to (and can) knuckle down, really work on cover songs (as well as my own stuff) and gig locally.

I was wondering what's the 'best' format as a solo artist to learn and practice cover songs ? I was thinking perhaps have manual printouts of the chords / tabs of the songs and work off of them instead of having them displayed on my tablet.

This is of course a strategy that would be good in the 'early days', since after a few weeks of playing them I should know them by heart.

But anyway yeah...

Thanks for your help
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:16 PM   #2
Hardlycore
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I don't think it really matters how you learn a song as long as you learn it. As long as you can comfortably play it all the way through I'd say you're good to go.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:32 PM   #3
tehREALcaptain
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what I do is using the amazing slow downer app, is to cut the song into the smallest coherent sections possible for tough areas of the song, and the rest of it into sections (verses, bridges etc) then practice singing along with the guitar part, and then eventually learn the parts by ear and practice them until I have them totally together separately, then start putting them together. Try to go by ear (and be patient) as much as possible, and using tabs/notation only for stuff you can't hear (and try to memorize it). You'll get a lot more out of that then using tabs/chord charts.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:33 PM   #4
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I prefer to work on one song at a time and start off by listening to the song, really getting to know the melodies, structure, dynamics and lyrics.

Once I get a good understanding of the song (4-5 listens are usually good enough for me to get a decent idea) I usually just turn to chord sheets and work from that and watch various live videos to get an idea of where on the neck the original artist performs it. After that it's really just a matter of repetition.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:52 PM   #5
flaaash
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Thanks everyone.

Keep the good tips rolling.

I've got several covers already I can do blind folded from playing (what feels like) 6000 times!
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:39 AM   #6
Sean0913
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flaaash
Hey team,

I'm now in a position where I want to (and can) knuckle down, really work on cover songs (as well as my own stuff) and gig locally.

I was wondering what's the 'best' format as a solo artist to learn and practice cover songs ? I was thinking perhaps have manual printouts of the chords / tabs of the songs and work off of them instead of having them displayed on my tablet.

This is of course a strategy that would be good in the 'early days', since after a few weeks of playing them I should know them by heart.

But anyway yeah...

Thanks for your help


When I perform, I used an Appstore program called OnSong to structure my set list, as far as lyrics and chords, because when I'm playing I have a terrible memory for lyrics. It took a while to set up and learn the codes and tags, but having done that I am very happy with the results!

I'm not sure how effective having tabs in front of you playing live would be.

Best,

Sean
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:54 AM   #7
AlanHB
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I learn songs by ear, memorise everything, and bring no reference material to the stage.

However this is just for guitar stuff, and a lot of singers I know take the lyric sheets with them on stage.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:27 AM   #8
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OP - your idea of sheet music is great with only one drawback.
50 years later and you have 6 three ring binders full of material, each sheet in a plastic cover.

I have apps that do basically the same thing. I have one I use a bunch; it runs the lyrics and chords like a teleprompter...you set the beat/tempo and you're off. I have about 1,100 songs in it so far.
I have others that will import GT4/GT5 files, so the built in library is huge.

The one app that allows for all of it, like a swiss army knife, would be able to charge $20.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:57 AM   #9
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Thanks once again everyone for your feedback.

It would be pretty unprofessional and uncool to be plying in front of a crowed while reading and playing from sheet music.

I've downloaded the awesome slow downer app. It's a lot of fun. Time to set some goals I guess. Eg how many songs I want to nail by June 1st...
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by flaaash
It would be pretty unprofessional and uncool to be plying in front of a crowed while reading and playing from sheet music.


Yeah all those classical musicians are a bunch of slackers...
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Old 06-08-2014, 04:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
Yeah all those classical musicians are a bunch of slackers...


Haha - I see what you did there...
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
I learn songs by ear, memorise everything, and bring no reference material to the stage.

However this is just for guitar stuff, and a lot of singers I know take the lyric sheets with them on stage.

This. If you use notation or chord sheets, you start relying on them and you won't really memorize the song. I have tried this and I can memorize songs a lot faster if I learn them by ear. You kind of need to learn the song twice if you use notation or chord sheets. First you learn to play the song with the chord sheet, then you need to learn to play the song without the chord sheet.

Of course if you don't have a good ear yet, you kind of need to use chord sheets. But really, I would suggest learning by ear. You will memorize it a lot faster.
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Old 06-08-2014, 02:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by flaaash
Haha - I see what you did there...


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Old 06-08-2014, 02:42 PM   #14
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Yeah all those classical musicians are a bunch of slackers...


Ya freaking Mozart even used scores for his own compositions. What a hack!

Seriously, if you are playing 3 chord stuff like Margaritaville you should be able to cover it from memory. Heavier jazz stuff played in multiple keys will probably warrant charts. I play a lot of classic rock covers and if doing a 2 hr gig I can easily remember everything. A 5 hr show with 60 songs is a lot tougher so I bring lead sheets. I have that binder with 300 songs in there for reference and the ipad setup looks very interesting.
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:03 PM   #15
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Guitar pro is awesome,also YouTube is another good choice and probably quicker way to learn
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:17 PM   #16
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weird how memory sometimes goes out the window when performing in front of people. I try to remember to think about the lyrics of the song as I'm playing, and not space out into the sound or emotion of it.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:19 PM   #17
flaaash
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajundaddy
...if doing a 2 hr gig I can easily remember everything.

A 5 hr show with 60 songs is a lot tougher so I bring lead sheets....


5 hours? Holy smokes...
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:11 PM   #18
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Learn by ear as much as possible. Practice unaccompanied to get stuff really memorized. It's easy to "know" a song along with the recording. Making the same sounds all by yourself takes some effort.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:47 PM   #19
Hail
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chord sheets and whatnot are great for weddings and jazz gigs where you're playing large doses of things with an ensemble and you should definitely get a solid skill in that style if you intend on playing in those settings or start juggling several gigs like many symphonic performers do

but you're in a situation where you have all the time in the world to get prepped and ready. don't take shortcuts you don't need to - just keep your eye on the ball and get your performance as pristine as possible. most of your prep will go out the window until you have stage experience, but the more you can get comfortable with the music, the less likely you are to fumble when you're first starting out
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:12 PM   #20
Dave_Mc
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Originally Posted by flaaash
5 hours? Holy smokes...


+1
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