Discussion in bold.

I was talking to Random3 in the latest Calling All Musicians Thread on how he learned and recorded a song in one day. He said this:
Well I know the song extremely well anyway because I have listened to it many times before. Also a large part of what I do to learn songs is simply read the tabs without even holding a guitar. Because I knew what the song sounds like and had read the tabs a few times I was basically able to play the whole thing first try, although little bits needed more work than others.

When I record Locust I'll let you know how long it took me to learn it. So far I have listened to the song about 10 times and read the tab a bit, played it through twice I think but there's a lot of stuff there I will have to do note by note, whereas in Bleak there wasn't much that needed that much attention.

Some people just listen play until they get the notes right, some employ the 21 Day Challenge, or some people downright starve themselves until they completely learn it. (Just kidding. Don't do that.) So MT, how do you learn songs, how do you learn them in such a timely manner, and what do you do with those songs? (As in, do you simply keep it for a list to jam on, do you adopt the chord progression, mimic licks and riffs into your own, etc.?)

I'll start.

I try to pick a scale during one week to learn and find a song in its key to apply, or vice versa. It's usually a song I've listened to well enough to recognize. Then I get the sheet music off of guitar programs and sight read the rhythms and then notes before touching my instrument. Then when I feel comfortable, I start playing best I can before breaking each section down. And I'm usually playing at a lower tempo and increasing it as I perfect sections each day.

I don't really have a strict schedule to learn songs because it takes me about two weeks to get a song down perfectly. But I do what I can. What I also do is analyze the chord progressions and try to implement some scale/chord practice over them, as well as analyze the song to figure out its motifs, note choices, etc. I try to take what I can from songs and figure out my own sound.

I'm sure this will manifest itself with more practice and improvisation.
We're all alright!
I cruise my library for songs in whatever tuning I happen to be in, or just good songs where I can work around the tuning. 90% of the time, I can learn most of it by ear, and if I'm unsure about some part, I'll find tabs. Once that's done, I just jam. If there's an interesting progression or something, I'll look at how they use it and maybe apply it.
EDIT: Well, look at that. "Dimension Hate" by Stormlord just came up on shuffle and it's in the same tuning as me. Brb, learning a new song.
Last edited by Cavalcade at Oct 19, 2011,
By ear. Once I've heard it enough, if I get a key, I'm pretty much good to go. This is how I learn a cd worth of tunes for gigs. The CD goes in my car, and I listen to it until I can sing every part back.

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I usually turn on the song Im trying to learn and try to play along while looking at the tab to get a feel for it. I do that once or twice and then break it down riff by riff to memorize it. Or I learn it by ear if im not feeling lazy
find a song i like listen to it sing alog to it etc.

eventually if i can sing the whole tune i can figure it out on my guitar

my problem however is remember anything i ofund that i cant rememberthe songs within a week or so if i dont play it eveyrday

ive learned hundreads of songs but can only remember like a fourth of them if that
If something interests me and is challenging (and isn't in a ridiculous tuning), I'll pick each part out and learn them, then combine the finished product. Most music has a lot of repetition so once you have 3-4 sections down the whole song is very easily tackle-able.
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