#1
i've been playing for like a year and keep putting off learning to transcribe. it's so ridiculously overwhelming I haven't even attempted it. how the **** do you even start? i can't imagine a single song i like using chords that you can just figure out. technique has been really easy, but this is making me consider destroying my guitar and i haven't even TRIED it yet... should i even be worrying about it at this point? i'm doing a lot of the lessons at justinguitar.com and what i gleen from them is if you can't transcribe you're going to be a shit guitarist.
#2
Being able to transcribe music is a very, very useful ability. It actually becomes (fairly) easy to figure out most songs that are well produced if you practice at it and have a strong grasp on music theory.
#3
Depends what you mean by transcribe...

Do you mean work things out by ear or literally put pen to paper and write out the notation?

But either way, good aural skills are a must.
Last edited by g1asseye at Dec 3, 2011,
#4
Just start at the beginning of the song and go from there. Listen to the whole thing through a few times. One of the first things I do is listen to the whole song to hear the lowest note that gets played, then tune down accordingly. It eventually just comes down to patterns and intervals.
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#5
Even before being experienced with transcribing you can do well.
As long as you have learned many songs and can recognize similar intervals or patterns from songs you alreafy know and compare them to what you're trying to transcribe. It's what I do, and it helps alot for me, but I wasn't so good at it before after doing it for a few months.
In fact, it's pretty much all about practice.
#6
I'll give you some clues to doing this. Transcribing is difficult at first and you're going to make a lot of mistakes, but if you have someone who can check your work and find your mistakes, you will learn a lot from it. Learning to listen to intervals and figure out the chords is very important.

Here's the clue I promised. Listen to the bass note. It's not so important to tune down, although it can be helpful. If you hear a C in the bass note, chances are it's going to be a C major or minor chord of some type. Now you have to listen to the song for clues on whether it's a 7 chord, 9 chord, or whatever. Knowing theory really helps. If the song starts on a C major and then goes to a F, that's a I - IV. It's fairly safe to assume there'll be a V chord in there somewhere, which is the G. Occasionally, you'll get tricked. You'll hear a C in the bass and play a C chord, but it doesn't sound right. Chances are, it's a slash chord. Perhaps it's an Ab/C. This is quite common in descending, chromatic progressions.

Start off with simple songs, then as it becomes easier, work up to more advanced songs.

Good luck!
#7
intervals and notes aren't the problem, i'll go through every note until i hear the right one if i have to. it's the chords that make my brain feel like it's melting... how can you possibly even TRY to play a chord you've never played just hearing it? like my entire chord vocabulary consists of opens, and E A G barre shapes.

And g1asseye, i do mean just figuring a song out by ear.
#8
Quote by RicketyCricket
intervals and notes aren't the problem, i'll go through every note until i hear the right one if i have to. it's the chords that make my brain feel like it's melting... how can you possibly even TRY to play a chord you've never played just hearing it? like my entire chord vocabulary consists of opens, and E A G barre shapes.

And g1asseye, i do mean just figuring a song out by ear.


it starts out with practice and alot of time
alot
ALOT

but if your entire vocabulary od chords is only the open kind maybe its time to learn new ones or even how to build chords that makes it soo mch easier to be able to tell which chords are being played
#10
Honestly man, just don't stress. It's not like a massive test of your potential that you're almost definitely going to fail...

... it's a learnt skill that is a lot of fun to develop.

What I like to do sometimes is just put on my media library or radio and try to figure things out as I listen. Usually by the end of a song I've got bits and pieces worked out. If I really enjoyed working on it I'll go back and work on that tune.

You don't have to start with epic solos, just do the music you like to listen to.
#11
Learn intervals and learn how to find the key of a song.
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#12
Just do it and it will come.

Nothing more to it.

Just get really focused into the sound of things.

Start with melody and bass notes first, and when you get better try chords.

Also when you play on your guitar, listen to what you play and not what you see your fingers do.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Dec 4, 2011,
#15
Well I was going to say that you'd need to develop a solid grasp of music notation first, but since you mean just figuring stuff out to be able to play it, thats not so important...
#16
Quote by RicketyCricket
i've been playing for like a year and keep putting off learning to transcribe. it's so ridiculously overwhelming I haven't even attempted it. how the **** do you even start? i can't imagine a single song i like using chords that you can just figure out. technique has been really easy, but this is making me consider destroying my guitar and i haven't even TRIED it yet... should i even be worrying about it at this point? i'm doing a lot of the lessons at justinguitar.com and what i gleen from them is if you can't transcribe you're going to be a shit guitarist.


The book "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" by Keith Wyatt et al is basically a course in transcribing. They start out with really simple single-note stuff where every note has the same duration, and slowly make it more and more complicated until by the end of the book you're transcribing inverted chords, chords borrowed from other keys, etc.

One of the keys to transcribing (and the book goes into detail with this) is to SING the line you want to play. If you can't sing a scale accurately, this is going to be hard so one of the first things you need to do is learn to sing a scale. As your ear begins to develop, you'll realize that a lot of why transribing is hard is because you're not actually hearing pitches accurately.

I highly recommend that book. I'm not done with it and it's already one of the best musical investments I ever made.