Poll: How long does it take you to transcribe/learn a song? (on average)
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View poll results: How long does it take you to transcribe/learn a song? (on average)
1 week
24 57%
2 weeks
6 14%
1 month
6 14%
3 months
1 2%
6 months
5 12%
Voters: 42.
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#1
Ok guys,

I would like some advice/feedback.

In my guitar practice, I transcribe for 30 mins - 1 hour a day, 6 days a week.

I would say I'm learning the actual material of the song in about a month per song. Building it up to speed, and having it well oiled, can take a month or two more.

After I have learned the material for one song, I move onto transcribing the material for the next song, while practicing the 1st song etc.

Does this sound like a normal progress curve, given the time I'm putting in? (I am aware everyone progresses at different rates, but I mean in general?)

Please complete the poll and offer your insights into how long it takes YOU to transcribe/learn songs.

Thanks and best wishes
#2
On average I'd say about 20 minutes to learn a song, 3 or 4 hours to write one up

I'd hate to be as slow as TS


I can't even vote on the bloody poll, I could get about 3 songs done in a week
#3
EDIT: lulz, thought I was in general chat.
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Last edited by snipelfritz at Apr 21, 2013,
#4
Quote by ChucklesMginty
You might be in the wrong thread mate, but I'd much rather talk about booze anyway.

Good catch.

Most songs I've been playing lately take <10 minutes to pickup but i rarely memorize any solo sections and just improv.
BOOM-SHAKALAKALAKA-BOOM-SHAKALAKUNGA
#5
Depends on the genre/song but usually ~20 minutes for learning it. Maybe around an hour-ish to transcribe it? If I'm actually trying to write down a solo.

But who transcribes solos.

Why play what somewhat else plays when you could play your own. Unless it's one of those songs where the original solo(s) just ha(ve)s to be played otherwise it loses the feel.
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#6
Quote by snipelfritz
Good catch.

Most songs I've been playing lately take <10 minutes to pickup but i rarely memorize any solo sections and just improv.


This usually for me as well. It definitely depends on the song though. Its taken me like 4 times longer to learn Anastasia by Slash compared to Primo Victoria by Sabaton.
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#7
As I'm listening to it, really. And a lot of times it'll take a second or third playthrough, so about 8-16 minutes on average depending on the song lengths.

And the minimum choice is one week? Who sucks at life that much?
#8
idk, I don't transcribe songs. Most everything I want has a tab or sheet music
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she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
#9
It completely depends on the song and how much time you have to practice.
Quote by Ian_the_fox

And the minimum choice is one week? Who sucks at life that much?

Maybe for you that would be the case, Ian. But not all of us can spend 12 hours a day learning how to play Nicolo Paganini's discography on guitar. Unlike you, we have jobs, family commitments and responsibilities to attend to.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Apr 21, 2013,
#10
Quote by stratman_13
But who transcribes solos.

Why play what somewhat else plays when you could play your own. Unless it's one of those songs where the original solo(s) just ha(ve)s to be played otherwise it loses the feel.


Are you serious?
You transcribe solos to learn licks/phrases you lick and want to add to your own expression. Then you mess around with them and modulate them and make them your own.
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#11
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Maybe for you that would be the case, Ian. But not all of us can spend 12 hours a day learning how to play Nicolo Paganini's discography on guitar. Unlike you, we have jobs, family commitments and responsibilities to attend to.
It shouldn't take anyone who's an experienced enough guitarist 12 hours to learn anything, at least for a single song.

I mean I guess if one is a tabfag who sucks so bad to the point of playing by ear and has to rely on something that tells him when and where to place his fingers, instead of simply knowing the instrument, it would probably take that long.
#12
Ok, some good responses so far...Interesting to see people talking about learning a song in 20 minutes.

Is that just the basic layout etc, that you get done in <20 minutes, or are we talking details, and subtleties too, such as lets say, variations on the strumming pattern etc, or nuances of the way the solo is played?

Surely, to really master a song and pickup its flavour, would take more than 20 minutes?

Also, what detail level do you guys tend to transcribe? lets say there's 2 general styles of transcribing:

1) learn chords, solo notes, and play it own way.

2) copy note for note, including subletities (strumming variations, is that a bend or a hammer on, dynamics etc)

Also, what is considered to be the better strategy...

a) rack up sheer numbers, playing the songs in a low detail level

or

b) focus on less songs, but getting details right, to absorb the full flavour of the song


Which style of transcribing ^ do you use, and which strategy do you adopt ^.

Look forward to hearing from everyone
#13
Obviously it depends on the length and complexity of the song.
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#14
I can't vote because there are too many variables involved. It all depends on the length, genre, complexity, speed, and more importantly your current skill level.
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#15
Quote by Simsimius
Are you serious?
You transcribe solos to learn licks/phrases you lick and want to add to your own expression. Then you mess around with them and modulate them and make them your own.

I don't think you need to make your own songs to have a good time playing an instrument. Symphony orchestras have been playing the classics as written for quite a while. It just depends on what you like to do. I'm not in a band and content to just play along with the music I enjoy.

There are too many variables. Some songs are just chord progressions, they're relatively easy. Other songs don't repeat themselves at all, so you have to spend time to memorize them first. Technical difficulty vs. your skill is another matter. It's also much easier to sit down and learn the song in one session, but not everyone has that kind of time.

Ultimately, unless you're in a band where you need to learn new songs quickly, nobody cares how long it takes you. There will be new songs to learn anyway.
Last edited by black_box at Apr 21, 2013,
#16
Quote by Ian_the_fox
It shouldn't take anyone who's an experienced enough guitarist 12 hours to learn anything, at least for a single song.

I mean I guess if one is a tabfag who sucks so bad to the point of playing by ear and has to rely on something that tells him when and where to place his fingers, instead of simply knowing the instrument, it would probably take that long.

Here you go

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWig9FwqWpk

I expect a video of you playing in no less than 45 minutes
___

Quote by The_Blode
she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
#17
I can learn how to play the song in a day if I wanted. Unless there are some complex chords I need time to figure out or a really fast solo. Then it could take less than two days. Depends on how much time I take out of the day to learn it.

Tabbing it, however, really depends on the song itself. It also depends on how good your ears are. As well as how much you can get done in one sitting session without break. But we'll just include how much time is actually spent tabbing.

For an average 3 minute song including rhythm guitar, if it's just the basic song structure with the chorus, pre-verse, verse and pre-chorus played the same a second time, then probably around 40 minutes, seeing as it is really just a matter of copying and pasting everything but the intro, bridge and outro. Sometimes the outro too if it's the same as the chorus. If it has complex chords and/or a hard solo, it could bump it up to a little under an hour.

Now, if it has a song structure where hardly anything, if nothing, repeats, that could take around two hours. With complex chords/solo, probably well over three. I kind of noticed these songs usually aren't 3 minutes long though. Probably more like 3 - 6 minutes long.

And as an added bonus, I've tabbed out exactly 2 albums. one with 14 tracks and another with 15 (though, I already tabbed two songs out before, so it was more like 13). Each track took around an hour or more to transcribe. I noticed on average, I was tabbing two songs per day (occasionally three, rarely one). For both albums, I've kept track and found it took exactly one week to finish transcribing the whole thing.

tl;dr - Anywhere from a day or two to learn, anywhere from 40 minutes to 3 hours to transcribe, depending on the song. Albums take a week to tab.

So there you have it. If you couldn't tell, I don't have much of a life, so you can trust me.
Quote by stratman_13
Why play what somewhat else plays when you could play your own.

That's the same thing I believe! People should just practice using their ears to learn music (not always, but enough so they can say they've tried) if that is what you are saying.
Except I don't tell anyone that because if I did, every one of my tabs would be pretty pointless.
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Last edited by Joshua Garcia at Apr 21, 2013,
#18
Quote by Ian_the_fox
It shouldn't take anyone who's an experienced enough guitarist 12 hours to learn anything, at least for a single song.

I mean I guess if one is a tabfag who sucks so bad to the point of playing by ear and has to rely on something that tells him when and where to place his fingers, instead of simply knowing the instrument, it would probably take that long.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXcskxegBMU

E tuning. Get on it.

@OP Eh, how long is string? I figured out a Monarch! track in two hours. Technicality wasn't the problem. Neither was progression. The problem was that A: the track was 15 minutes long, and B: the tone was so sludgy it was hard to tell what dissonances were going on between the guitars and bass.
Quote by EndTheRapture51
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Last edited by Banjocal at Apr 21, 2013,
#19
I think the main issue with your question is you still haven't old us if we're talking about learning songs that are basic all you need to learn is a strumming pattern and a chord progression with a little 20 second solo or if you're talking about songs that are complex. Please specify, the two are vastly different or perhaps give an example
#20
Quote by black_box
I don't think you need to make your own songs to have a good time playing an instrument. Symphony orchestras have been playing the classics as written for quite a while. It just depends on what you like to do. I'm not in a band and content to just play along with the music I enjoy.

There are too many variables. Some songs are just chord progressions, they're relatively easy. Other songs don't repeat themselves at all, so you have to spend time to memorize them first. Technical difficulty vs. your skill is another matter. It's also much easier to sit down and learn the song in one session, but not everyone has that kind of time.

Ultimately, unless you're in a band where you need to learn new songs quickly, nobody cares how long it takes you. There will be new songs to learn anyway.


No no no, you misunderstood my post.
He was saying that if you play solos over songs/backing tracks, there's no point transcribing other people's solos when you can create your own.
But the best way to do that is to transcribe/learn solos and take the bits you want to add to your own arsenal.

I am not, in any way, saying playing other people's songs is bad.
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#22
Quote by WCPhils
Here you go

I expect a video of you playing in no less than 45 minutes
I've got shit to do today man, no time for that. But listening to the first part I can already tell it's not that difficult. The tapping riff has a weird pattern that might take more than a minute to get right, but the rhythm is so easy I can play it with my asshole (not that metal rhythm is ever really that difficult).


As for Psyopus's "Imogen's Puzzle": I actually learned a bit of that one a while back, except not by ear, sadly. I instead went full bitch mode and used a live video as a reference.
#23
Quote by Ian_the_fox
but the rhythm is so easy I can play it with my asshole
I know you would love that but please do try to control yourself
___

Quote by The_Blode
she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
Last edited by WCPhils at Apr 21, 2013,
#24
Quote by WCPhils
I know you would love that but please to try to control yourself


Damn, phils, you catty today.

OT: It depends on the person and the piece. It took me longer to figure out Fantasy From Pain than I Didn't Kill Her by vehemence. Neither piece is "harder" than one another, but the former uses chords with a lot of distortion that muffles the sound, so it's a bit more difficult. It took me about 2 hours to get the majority of With The Sun by Eucharist, so yeah.
#25
Depends on the song. I can learn some songs in 30 minutes and others in 1 week.
#26
i guess it depends on the piece. i dont learn music by ear period end of story. i dont like putting in that much time into something i dont feel is worth it. i want to learn blast off by trioscapes, but it would take me months to learn that entire song from sax to guitar. thats not worth it to me, so i dont do it at all.
#29
Quote by Simsimius
Are you serious?

Half serious, yes.

If I hear a sweet lick or run in a solo sure I'm going to figure it out. Mostly though, no, I don't bother.
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#30
ITT: Narcissistic zoophile making claims beyond his real ability. What a surprise. How far is he from a perma?
#31
Quote by TooktheAtrain
ITT: Narcissistic zoophile making claims beyond his real ability. What a surprise. How far is he from a perma?

and what exactly has he done to deserve a perma?
#32
Quote by whywefight
and what exactly has he done to deserve a perma?

He's been banned quite a few times, I thought that was enough?
#34
Quote by whywefight
edit: actually i don't really know lol.

but honestly i don't know why people get so pissy about him

Well he did just claim he could play a piece of music that would make people like Vai struggle. In a short period of time. That's talking-out-of-your-arse-101
Quote by EndTheRapture51
who pays five hundred fucking dollars for a burger
#35
Quote by Ian_the_fox
It shouldn't take anyone who's an experienced enough guitarist 12 hours to learn anything, at least for a single song.

I mean I guess if one is a tabfag who sucks so bad to the point of playing by ear and has to rely on something that tells him when and where to place his fingers, instead of simply knowing the instrument, it would probably take that long.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kAdLiizR-4

Learn this in 10 mins and i'll take everything i've said back, and yes this song is 42 mins long.

But I bet you would claim to do it, you're being just as absurd and arrogant in all your other posts so it's hardly a stretch to assume.
Quote by Ian_the_fox
I've got shit to do today man, no time for that. But listening to the first part I can already tell it's not that difficult. The tapping riff has a weird pattern that might take more than a minute to get right, but the rhythm is so easy I can play it with my asshole (not that metal rhythm is ever really that difficult).


As for Psyopus's "Imogen's Puzzle": I actually learned a bit of that one a while back, except not by ear, sadly. I instead went full bitch mode and used a live video as a reference.



Have one of these, you deserve it bro.

Here's how to be contributive to society: Stop giving everyone AIDS with your posts.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Apr 21, 2013,
#36
I don't transcribe as much or as often as I like, but most of the songs I seem to do usually take 10-30 minutes to figure out. Figuring out solos (ones that make the song) is a bit out of my reach, so I think I should practice doing that more.

And as everyone has said, it depends on what you're going to transcribe. If it's some simple Blink 182 song, it won't be very long. If it was something by Joe Satriani, Buckethead, or some jazz/classical tune, it'll take longer.

Besides, I spend most of my time working on my technique, cleaning up songs I've already learned, and improvising. When I do improvise, I either to write new material or to practice creating my own "style" so to speak.
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#37
Quote by costa
I think the main issue with your question is you still haven't old us if we're talking about learning songs that are basic all you need to learn is a strumming pattern and a chord progression with a little 20 second solo or if you're talking about songs that are complex. Please specify, the two are vastly different or perhaps give an example


For example, how long would you guys think it would take an intermediate player to learn:

1) Highway To Hell - ACDC

2) Whole Lotta Love - Led Zep

Providing this intermediate level player is transcribing 30 mins - 1 hour per day, 6 days a week and working at transcribing just one song at a time (not writing down the music or anything, just learning by ear)?

I know there are many variables involved, but for example, I been working at 'highway to hell' 1 month to fully transcribe it, and 'whole lotta love' 1 month to fully transcribe it. but then i'm focusing in on every detail of the way he plays it, to soak up the style of it etc.

Also, i can play the solos about half speed, after a good month of learning each song.

I just wanna know if i'm in the right ball park time wise, or if i'm taking way way too long.

Thoughts?
Last edited by oli_099 at Apr 21, 2013,
#38
Quote by oli_099
For example, how long would you guys think it would take an intermediate player to learn:

1) Highway To Hell - ACDC

2) Whole Lotta Love - Led Zep

Providing this intermediate level player is transcribing 30 mins - 1 hour per day, 6 days a week and working at transcribing just one song at a time (not writing down the music or anything, just learning by ear)?

I know there are many variables involved, but for example, I been working at 'highway to hell' 1 month to fully transcribe it, and 'whole lotta love' 1 month to fully transcribe it. but then i'm focusing in on every detail of the way he plays it, to soak up the style of it etc.

Also, i can play the solos about half speed, after a good month of learning each song.

I just wanna know if i'm in the right ball park time wise, or if i'm taking way way too long.

Thoughts?


Wait, how are you defining "transcribe"? If you're trying to get every detail of the playing then that could take awhile since how a guitarist plays differs between each guitarist. Most people who say transcribe are just talking about getting the guitar parts down and making sure all the notes are accurate. 1 month for those songs seems like quite a while, but it depends on how long you've been playing.
#39
I've spent a month learning some things. And I'd probably be a better player if I devoted more time to learning those kind of things rather than the stuff I can sight read so well I don't need to learn it in order to play it.

But I need to have fun, too.

As for transcribing, some things I can pick up quickly; others I have to slow down and listen to over and over. And it also depends on how close to the original I want to get. Some songs I don't play in the same format as the original. I think it actually sounds better to take a few ideas and make my own guitar part. Especially when it's going to be just me and a singer rather than singer, 2 guitars, keyboard, brass/sax, bass and drums.

If I had to play the stuff I know 'tribute band style', then I'd have to relearn a lot more than half my repertoire!
Learning a new cover song? Feel like recording it? And have people listen to it? See the CATPM thread in the Pit. Here's the user group
#40
Quote by TooktheAtrain
He's been banned quite a few times, I thought that was enough?
Lol I've only actually been banned once. The only other one was requested. So yeah, suck it up faget.


Quote by Banjocal
Well he did just claim he could play a piece of music that would make people like Vai struggle. In a short period of time. That's talking-out-of-your-arse-101
Learned totally by ear? Well yes, it absolutely would make one struggle. Still can't imagine it taking up to a week. 7-8 hours max.

But again, I didn't learn it by ear. I used a video reference, like a little bitch. This one in particular:



And I never finished it all the way through. Just learned the gist of it. The sequence of the notes hard to get the hang of but it's fun to play once you get it. It's been so long since I last played it so I'm actually having difficulty with the sequence right now.
Last edited by Ian_the_fox at Apr 21, 2013,
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