#1
I've been playing for a few years, and there's only about 20-25 songs that I could just pick up a guitar and play from beginning to end. I've learned a lot more than that obviously, but I have trouble remembering the songs I learn. If I don't play a song for a week or two I start to forget it. So as a general survey for everyone, how long have you been playing, how many songs would you say you know and how do you remember songs once you've learned them?
Play the music, not the instrument. ~Author Unknown


blackzeppelion
Who's the band that could become the next led zeppelin?
Ovenman
Iron blimp.
J.A.M
Aluminum helicopter.
Ovenman
*Breaks out periodic table* Magnesium bi-plane.
#2
I have the same problem and about the same number of songs memorized. I like to tab out the basic structure of a song for my self, rather than the whole so i can have something to jolt my memory. Or ever just write down the chord progression. From there you might suprise your self at how easy it comes back.
#3
it really depends on the context of playing. couple of years ago when i played with a band i could play 50 or more songs anytime. lyrics included. but now I dont play as much, and when I play, i just jam some blues or practise technique, so I really forgot alot of songs.
#4
there is a difference between learning and memorizing

if you memorize a song, and dont play it often you forget
if you learn a song, you should always be able to rock it

the ones you cannot remember, you havent really learned - you memorized the basics and practiced it here and there....however the ones you can play no prob are songs you have actually learned...

when you first learn to ride a bike, you dont just memorize what you have to do, you and your body learn the movements and eventually it becomes like second nature...same thing applies in music I think.

Epi Les Paul Std w/Duncans
ESP LTD EX260
Cry Baby From Hell
Marshall JH-1
EHX Metal Muff
MXR EVH Phase 90
Carl Martin Classic Chorus
EHX #1 Echo
Ibanez LU-20
Dunlop DCB-10
Crate V50112
Tascam US144


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#5
I used to learn songs straight, as in memorizing, and I would keep forgetting them. What I am doing now, that my guitar teacher explained to me, is you learn - what he calls - a bands vocabulary (what dissonance they use, whether they favor hammers/pulls or slides or whatever, how they pick, what scales they like, etc..) and then if you know the gist of a song you can play it without having to think about it note by note. It makes picking up songs much easier. You kind of intuitively know what you should be playing.
#6
Quote by Tyler Durden
there is a difference between learning and memorizing

if you memorize a song, and dont play it often you forget
if you learn a song, you should always be able to rock it

the ones you cannot remember, you havent really learned - you memorized the basics and practiced it here and there....however the ones you can play no prob are songs you have actually learned...

when you first learn to ride a bike, you dont just memorize what you have to do, you and your body learn the movements and eventually it becomes like second nature...same thing applies in music I think.


This makes quite a lot of sense
Play the music, not the instrument. ~Author Unknown


blackzeppelion
Who's the band that could become the next led zeppelin?
Ovenman
Iron blimp.
J.A.M
Aluminum helicopter.
Ovenman
*Breaks out periodic table* Magnesium bi-plane.
#7
I keep a list of my repertoire at my stand. As part of my daily routine, I play through each one (Playing the head, blowing and comping, 3 choruses nice and quick). They grow as I add new ideas and play them from different perspectives (as if I'm with just a pianist. Or in a guitar trio. Or as a bossa. As a ballad. Or ...)

I try not to go more than 2 weeks without adding a tune to the list.


I don't know how I got by before I started practicing like this (well, I do know - I didn't). If you are interested in playing any music that has a standard repertoire (jazz) you should practice it this way.
#8
Quote by Nick_
I keep a list of my repertoire at my stand. As part of my daily routine, I play through each one (Playing the head, blowing and comping, 3 choruses nice and quick). They grow as I add new ideas and play them from different perspectives (as if I'm with just a pianist. Or in a guitar trio. Or as a bossa. As a ballad. Or ...)

I try not to go more than 2 weeks without adding a tune to the list.


I don't know how I got by before I started practicing like this (well, I do know - I didn't). If you are interested in playing any music that has a standard repertoire (jazz) you should practice it this way.


I'm not a jazz player as you are, but I had a similar technique. I have an iTunes playlist with most of the songs I know on it, and as a warmup for practicing I would play through it. In one way this worked because playing fun songs right away gets me pumped for practicing the more "boring" stuff like scales and etudes, but if I put too many songs on there then playing them eats up all my practice time. Maybe a good compromise is to play only a few of those songs a day, plus learn a complete new song every few days.
Play the music, not the instrument. ~Author Unknown


blackzeppelion
Who's the band that could become the next led zeppelin?
Ovenman
Iron blimp.
J.A.M
Aluminum helicopter.
Ovenman
*Breaks out periodic table* Magnesium bi-plane.
#9
For me, I find that there's a substantial of songs (although it's mainly riffs) that I know, but it's just difficult to recall them all immediately. If something triggers a memory, though, it's fine, but it's not that easy to just play everything you know instantaneously. A lot of people don't seem to bother with learning songs for some reason, I've found, but it's personally fun and rewarding to learn a wide variety of riffs here and there and be able to randomly pull them off when the occasion arises - plus it's way more interesting. There are quite a few songs where you don't actually have to "learn" the tab or whatever, though; often it's just a matter of figuring out the basic chords and making up the rest, so while you may forget the exact chords, it's simply a matter of re-improvising it the next time, but with the aid of the ghost memory of having done it before.

EDIT: I have a Microsoft Word document with a list of all the songs I've learnt, can mainly play, have figured out the chords to or can mostly perform and will one day go back and improve on. I find it pretty useful and one small step towards being organized.
Last edited by zephyrclaw at Nov 23, 2009,
#10
hundreds, literally hundreds. if we start talking about half songs and bits of songs probably in the thousands lol

for me the easiest way to remember them is the vocal line, usually if i can sing along to it the chords come back instantly.
#11
I have no idea, it's a lot.


but lately I've kinda stopped working on learning a bunch of songs like I used to, I've been working on writing more than anything, in fact, I kinda need to start learning more songs again.
#12
You should keep a list of all the songs you've learned, then go down the list playing a couple of songs every time you practice.
Gear

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
Voodoo Labs Microvibe
Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
#13
I know alot of songs (more than 20), I only rememeber a few of them entirely, those are mostly the prominent ones in my memory.
#14
Play them often enough... i don't know another solution to your problem.
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#15
Quote by Tyler Durden
there is a difference between learning and memorizing

if you memorize a song, and dont play it often you forget
if you learn a song, you should always be able to rock it

the ones you cannot remember, you havent really learned - you memorized the basics and practiced it here and there....however the ones you can play no prob are songs you have actually learned...

when you first learn to ride a bike, you dont just memorize what you have to do, you and your body learn the movements and eventually it becomes like second nature...same thing applies in music I think.


You've outlined memorizing and learning, but you haven't actually said HOW to LEARN something.

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#16
Quote by Tyler Durden
there is a difference between learning and memorizing

if you memorize a song, and dont play it often you forget
if you learn a song, you should always be able to rock it

the ones you cannot remember, you havent really learned - you memorized the basics and practiced it here and there....however the ones you can play no prob are songs you have actually learned...

when you first learn to ride a bike, you dont just memorize what you have to do, you and your body learn the movements and eventually it becomes like second nature...same thing applies in music I think.


Actually, that's just a bunch of horse feces.

Muscle memory is still just that - memory.

Once you've "learned" something, you still have to "remember" it. You can "learn" a song as well as you want, but if you have alzheimers - you still won't "remember" how to play it a week later.

Hell - if you look up "learn" in a dictionary, one of the definitions is "to memorize"

I know I've learned a lot of crap in my life that I no longer remember. That doesn't mean I never learned it.

Gear

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
Voodoo Labs Microvibe
Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
#17
Only like 15 come to mind, but I know there's more.
[img]http://pix.motivatedphotos.com/2008/10/24/633604588429325324-annoyance.jpg[/img]

Billy Mays is definitely gonna give me nightmares now.

Quote by xxGUITARZER0xx
honestly no

but i just did the pallet town theme song cause someone wanted that

Quote by speakers
all of the above
#18
I don't know. I play most music by ear, so I'd have to go through a list of all of my music and count the ones I've learned.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#19
I can play maybe 5 or 6 perfectly through. I know a bunch of others that I could probably struggle through without having to look up the tab or stop for more then a pause to get.
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#20
im not sure how many songs i know. but seeing as i play a lot of blues based stuff, you dont really need to remember much. i mean, how many songs can you name that use some sort of blues progression? plus, i usually learn songs pretty fast. so if i do forget a song, i can usually re learn it pretty quick from memory. there usually arent too many hard progressions in blues and rock. so if i can remember the melody i can get the progression out.

also i jam with CDs or my ipod a lot. that helps. i have like about 100 hendrix songs on my ipod and i know how to play them all. plus like 60 cream songs and 100 more clapton songs. and when i say i know how to play them, i mean i can get by. i hardly ever memorize a song note for note. i usually learn the progression and then ill make up lead parts of my own.
#21
I can play hundreds of songs, but there's probably only around 20 that I know note-for-note. Its funner doing covers when you change some stuff up.
#22
maybe 200-300? i haven't even memorized all the ones i've written. i wrote like 15 two months ago and i only have one memorized.
Last edited by brothertupelo at Nov 26, 2009,
#23
The ones I remember to practise are generally the same ones I can remember how to play without having to look it up.

I have a handful of chord charts on my laptop for songs I like playing, which I occasionally refer to if it's been a while since I've played that song, but there's also a bunch of songs that I haven't actually collected a chord chart for which I always play from memory when I remember to -- but if I forgot that I know the song, then next time I think of it I usually have to work it out again.

+1 to the suggestion of keeping a list and playing at least some of them every time you play. I should start doing this. :P