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#1
Look i'm tired of coming on here, and seeing people post about how they feel like they're stuck in a rut because they keep playing the same thing over, and over again. Or how they want to learn how to improvise, but every attempt they make at improvising sounds like they're running up and down scales. Or how one person will come on the forum and post a song and ask how to play like the specific, artist they posted.


Let's end this foolishness right now guys. Why is learning how to play by ear so important you may ask? First of all you if you read what I've previously written in the beginning of the post you will not have any of those problems. Instead of coming on this forum asking how to play like the artist you have in mind you could just transcribe their song.

What's transcribing you may ask? Well transcribing is basically figuring out the song by simply listening to it, and writing down what you've figured out. It's beneficial in many ways. It's so beneficial that it would be impossible for me to list all the reasons why it's great because there's literally 1000's of benefits.


Music is an art of hearing if you don't use your ears how will you understand what's going on in a song musically? How will you be able to tell what the key of the song is just by listening to it? Do you want to be the type of person that goes into a jam, and can't start off the jam because you have to ask what key the person is playing in? What happens if they key changes in the middle of the song what are you going to do?


are you going to Ask the person what key they've changed to in the middle of the jam?


Hell no that's
embarrassing, and not fun it's lame if you ask me... We all want to be able to improvise on the spot like musical gods, but the only way you'll be able to do that is if you learn how to transcribe songs it's good ear training.. You wonder why you can't improvise, and make something sound good in the spur of the moment. But yet you know all these scales you're confused as why it doesn't sound musical.


It just sounds bland and scale like well my friend I have the answer to your problems when you improvise you don't think scales, and patterns guess what? You think sound! Mhm right now you may be confused. Did he just write sound? How is this even possible...


Well you play what you hear in your head, and the only way to be able to do that is if you're using your ears... When you start using your ears transcribing countless songs you will begin to understand that possibility of how a song can be played in many various different ways instead of playing it over, and over again note for note. It doesn't sound fun playing a song way a million times the same way.. But when you're in the spur of a creative moment, and you hear something you'd like to put in the mix you could just bring it out of you just because of the fact that you know your instrument purely by sound!


With your ears you're only limited to imagination my friends, but with scales your limited and bounded by scales.


So get to transcribing unless you want to be stuck in musical ruts for the rest of your life. Doors will open musically for you just because of the fact that you'll have the ability to transcribe anything you hear. You can literally enter the mind of the, artist that your transcribing, and figure out how he came up with that musical idea.


If you want to learn a new style like jazz or blues you could just simply transcribe it. Using your ears is the best method to making music learning all the theory in the world will not teach you how to compose music, but using your ears certainly will!


-------------------------- Sorry I was in a rush when I posted this so excuse me if I've made some Grammatical mistakes.-------------------------
Last edited by Black_devils at Jan 5, 2014,
#2
What's with the hate towards scales? Using scales does not mean you are limited by them. I use scales, but I freely go outside them whenever I want (and when it makes sense). If you know how to use scales properly, they don't limit you at all.

If you use them properly, they just provide you direction and "safety" for your improvisation. But yeah of course knowing scales ALONE won't make your playing awesome.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Jan 5, 2014,
#4
Quote by Elintasokas
What's with the hate towards scales? Using scales does not mean you are limited by them. I use scales, but I freely go outside them whenever I want (and when it makes sense). If you know how to use scales properly, they don't limit you at all.

If you use them properly, they just provide you direction and "safety" for your improvisation. But yeah of course knowing scales ALONE won't make your playing awesome.


In no was I pushing hate towards scales. All I was saying is that knowing all the scales in the world will not help you to become a better musician. Only using your ears will allow you to excel in music. I love scales actually they've helped me to understand how they're used to make music from transcribing.. Not to mention that they're a great technical exercise.

But just relying on playing scale patterns while improvising just sounds bland, and boring as hell.
Last edited by Black_devils at Jan 5, 2014,
#5
Quote by Atrloc
The problem is on the person, no the method

Yeah, and the problem is they don't use their ears.. I mean if anything music theory is a tool there's nothing wrong with it.
#6
I had to learn by ear back when because all of my music teachers in school wasn't
going to teach me metal.LOL Especaily all the crazy licks and tricks van halen or RR
was doing on their guitar.

Most of the stuff I learn in HS are mostly memorizing songs for the marching
band or just memorizing how many sharps or flat are in scales.
Sight read because of an annul competition our marching band has.
I know all the names to the modes, scales, circle of fifth...ect
Musically it didn't helped me or allowed me to express myself as a musician.
I was on a march order

Yes, ear training development is very important. It takes time.
Im just saying...I played those triads over and over again just to train
my ear to distinguish between a maj3 and minor3 for months for reasons.
That's just the beginning....

And Im going back to the basic of it now because I stopped playing for a while.
Slow everything down so my ear and brain can absorb it and retain it.
And ive been playing for decades. Im not beyond it. I know that.
Im also not beyond learning or brushing up on theory.

I can stupid fast....but it's just a bunch of giberlish notes if I don't express
them properly.
Kind of like paint...paint ..paint...after a while and too much everything turns
ugly brown

If you get into a rut...play something different, listen to different music
or let your ear rest for a while. Silent sounds good too from time to time.lol
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 5, 2014,
#7
Can you recommend some fairly easy songs to get started with transcribing?
Last edited by MattyPS at Jan 5, 2014,
#8
Quote by Elintasokas
What's with the hate towards scales? Using scales does not mean you are limited by them. I use scales, but I freely go outside them whenever I want (and when it makes sense). If you know how to use scales properly, they don't limit you at all.

If you use them properly, they just provide you direction and "safety" for your improvisation. But yeah of course knowing scales ALONE won't make your playing awesome.

Yeah, I don't think TS actually hated scales. He just said that you need to use your ears to make music. Just knowing scales doesn't make you good at improvising. You also need to know the sound to play interesting music. And of course knowing scales helps because you may notice that the melody you hear belongs to the major scale.

But many people don't realize that they also need to use their ears. They just play random notes in a scale and that way their playing sounds like playing scales.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#9
Quote by Black_devils
You can literally enter the mind of the, artist that your transcribing, and figure out how he came up with that musical idea.


Literally, eh?
#10
I agree, sadly what seems like common knowledge to some isn't to others. Perhaps it would be a good idea to make a sticky regarding the topic of learning by ear/transcribing/ear training. My posts here for the last months have been almost identical due to that people are asking the questions you mentioned: How do i learn this, how does he play that, can someone help be transcribe this etc.

Might be something to think about.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#11
Quote by MattyPS
Can you recommend some fairly easy songs to get started with transcribing?


Just figure out simple lead lines or simple songs you like.
It depends what you like.

I personally like Joe Satriani because he has lots of mellow songs with medolies
in them. The fist one I figure out was ..the crush of love. The forgtton II

My father only listen to stair way to heaven for 5 mins. Then showed it to me.lmao
He told me to listen to the bass notes...it'll help give me the chords progression.
When figuring out solos....listen to the pharsing. Work on one phrase at time.

Star Spangle banner...stuff like that. whatever childhood tunes you used
to hear.

Idk, The solo to goodbye to romance. That was the first solo I figured out by ear.

Seek and Destroyed...its just a simple bluesy kind of thing.
A lot of Older metallica stuff are easy to me. he dose lots of blues stuff...just fast.
If you want to figure Bluesy riff songs...Glance at bass section. It'll make your life
easier because the bass player are doing those cool riffs in the background.
Simple lines you can figure out.

Any ACDC songs. It'll help you with Dominate Chords...or hear them

I had to figure all that stuff out by ear.
From maiden, Zeppelin , Halen, to the eagles
Randy Rhode stuff was easier for me because I like the way he sounds. It's a mixture
of classical and blues stuff. Like I said...listen to the phrasing. Most of the time Randy
will shift with the chords. I trained my ears enough the distinguish maj and minor.
I knew what Key he was in..So it's going to be in that Key somewhere.

So you wanna be a little different?
while everybody was playing Eruption. I was playing Caption Nemo.
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 5, 2014,
#12
Quote by smc818
Just figure out simple lead lines or simple songs you like.
It depends what you like.

I personally like Joe Satriani because he has lots of mellow songs with medolies
in them. The fist one I figure out was ..the crush of love. The forgtton II

My father only listen to stair way to heaven for 5 mins. Then showed it to me.lmao
He told me to listen to the bass notes...it'll help give me the chords progression.
When figuring out solos....listen to the pharsing. Work on one phrase at time.

Star Spangle banner...stuff like that. whatever childhood tunes you used
to hear.

Idk, The solo to goodbye to romance. That was the first solo I figured out by ear.

Seek and Destroyed...its just a simple bluesy kind of thing.
A lot of Older metallica stuff are easy to me. he dose lots of blues stuff...just fast.

Any ACDC songs. It'll help you with Dominate Chords...or hear them

I had to figure all that stuff out by ear.
From maiden, Zeppelin , Halen, to the eagles
Randy Rhode stuff was easier for me because I like the way he sounds. It's a mixture
of classical and blues stuff. Like I said...listen to the phrasing. Most of the time Randy
will shift with the chords. I trained my ears enough the distinguish maj and minor.
I knew what Key he was in..So it's going to be in that Key somewhere.

If you are talking about dominant 7th chords, AC/DC doesn't use them that much. Also if you are talking about the V dominant chord, I would say AC/DC is more about bVII-IV-I than V chords (though you can find V chords in their songs too, for example "You Shook Me All Night Long" or "Moneytalks" are basic I-IV-V songs). They usually move in fourths more than fifths.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#13
Im pretty sure...it helped to expand my ear into earing the 7th more.
Im positive I was the first kid on the block to get back in black the day it came out.
A lot of people actually didn't like Brian voice compare to Bon's voice at first.
I figure out that entire album by ear. Most of the people didn't even know what
I was listening to.
A couple of years later..You shook me was like everywhere.

When Kill then all came out...most of friends thought I was crazy listen to something
that thrashie or punkish. I was the only dude in school that heard of metallica.
Dino like it.lmao

It's the samething when you first hear Randy. It was an innovative sound at the time.
More crunchy than the rest of the stuff. Then you hear those beautiful leads and tricks
he was doing.

The song Too fast for love...has a quirky childish playful sound to it.
The same with Jump into the fire.
They're actually fun to play.

I also had this album when it first came out. Instead of listen to photograph.lmao
I loved the crazy lead guitar work...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIiQwUPn6uo

Another hard rocking album that most people didn't listen to but had great electric work.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewhLf9DiUdQ

A version of a will known song that's challenging to play.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqP1owqgKOc
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 5, 2014,
#15
Quote by Sickz
I agree, sadly what seems like common knowledge to some isn't to others. Perhaps it would be a good idea to make a sticky regarding the topic of learning by ear/transcribing/ear training. My posts here for the last months have been almost identical due to that people are asking the questions you mentioned: How do i learn this, how does he play that, can someone help be transcribe this etc.

Might be something to think about.



Maybe when I have time on my hands, but for now I can't. It's just irritating seeing these same threads everyday .
#16
Quote by smc818
I had to learn by ear back when because all of my music teachers in school wasn't
going to teach me metal.LOL Especaily all the crazy licks and tricks van halen or RR
was doing on their guitar.

Most of the stuff I learn in HS are mostly memorizing songs for the marching
band or just memorizing how many sharps or flat are in scales.
Sight read because of an annul competition our marching band has.
I know all the names to the modes, scales, circle of fifth...ect
Musically it didn't helped me or allowed me to express myself as a musician.
I was on a march order

Yes, ear training development is very important. It takes time.
Im just saying...I played those triads over and over again just to train
my ear to distinguish between a maj3 and minor3 for months for reasons.
That's just the beginning....

And Im going back to the basic of it now because I stopped playing for a while.
Slow everything down so my ear and brain can absorb it and retain it.
And ive been playing for decades. Im not beyond it. I know that.
Im also not beyond learning or brushing up on theory.

I can stupid fast....but it's just a bunch of giberlish notes if I don't express
them properly.
Kind of like paint...paint ..paint...after a while and too much everything turns
ugly brown

If you get into a rut...play something different, listen to different music
or let your ear rest for a while. Silent sounds good too from time to time.lol



I agree with you when in a rut sometimes silence is the best answer.. Usually when I Hit a plateau you have to take a different approach to the way you're practicing or learning things. That usually gets me out of the plateau i'm in or sometimes even just taking a break for 2 days to a week just to let your brain rest..

Then you come back to whatever instrument you play refreshed, and excited. Some people stay in plateaus for years at a time because they fail to realize that playing the same song over a million time will not lead to improvements.
Last edited by Black_devils at Jan 5, 2014,
#17
Quote by MattyPS
Can you recommend some fairly easy songs to get started with transcribing?



If you're completely new at this I suggest that you should start transcribing nursery rhymes. Don't get frustrated things like this take time it's trial, and error so don't take it too hard on your self if you transcribed the wrong notes. It doesn't happen over night, but you will notice significant improvement in your playing when you start transcribing.
#18
here's something easy and bluesy.
I wrote it. I wanted to make it Satrianish.
The background is only ambient music with one bass line looping over and over again.
It helped me in phasing.
The hardest part to song is probably the decending scale done in tapping.
Most of those licks you hear are stuff you probably heard before in other songs.
If you're stuck in box shape playing. It'll help you too because I slide for a lot
of those notes for the melody.

Cant help you with the girl...she's my daughter but I still cant help you.lol
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CKunt0qsp8
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 5, 2014,
#19
Quote by Black_devils
If you're completely new at this I suggest that you should start transcribing nursery rhymes. Don't get frustrated things like this take time it's trial, and error so don't take it too hard on your self if you transcribed the wrong notes. It doesn't happen over night, but you will notice significant improvement in your playing when you start transcribing.

Also play the stuff you transcribe. Don't just write it down. Playing it is priority if you ask me.

I would also recommend transcribing whatever you like. Stuff that you are interested in, but something that isn't overly complex. In my opinion it doesn't even make much sense to ask others "what should I transcribe?"
Last edited by Elintasokas at Jan 5, 2014,
#20
Quote by Elintasokas
Also play the stuff you transcribe. Don't just write it down. Playing it is priority if you ask me.

I would also recommend transcribing whatever you like. Stuff that you are interested in, but something that isn't overly complex. In my opinion it doesn't even make much sense to ask others "what should I transcribe?"


Of course playing along to records is how you gain different phrasing abilities, and it also helps you to understand the rhythm behind it.
Last edited by Black_devils at Jan 5, 2014,
#21
Quote by smc818
here's something easy and bluesy.
I wrote it. I wanted to make it Satrianish.
The background is only ambient music with one bass line looping over and over again.
It helped me in phasing.
The hardest part to song is probably the decending scale done in tapping.
Most of those licks you hear are stuff you probably heard before in other songs.
If you're stuck in box shape playing. It'll help you too because I slide for a lot
of those notes for the melody.

Cant help you with the girl...she's my daughter but I still cant help you.lol
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CKunt0qsp8


Great song, and I definitely can hear the influence of him in your playing!
#22
unfortunately when it comes to transcribing and playing by ear its a laundry list of things to understand and no real straight line from A to B

Sometimes when I try to transcribe, i get the bassline or the melody perfect, but cant work out the chords to save my life, or the high e string will ring all song long but i cant figure it out.

I constantly think A is the IV chord, when its really the I chord, because it sounds fine when i play the Amaj over Dmaj while the song plays. Yesterday, i couldnt figure out Dmaj, Emaj, Amaj, Emaj. Instead I got Amaj, Emaj, ? , Emaj. But the melody is a breeze, go figure

I think one of the biggest problems with transcribing is connecting voice to instrument, forget about intervals and all that ear training stuff and transcribing without an instrument for a moment, here im noodling on my guitar a minute ago, and i get this

--------------------------
--------------------------
---------------2-----------
-----2-----0----------------
--0--------------3----------
--------3------------------

it sounds cool when i play it, but i cant figure out what comes next, even though i think i know what it sounds like I think more noodling is the answer :P
Last edited by blunderwonder at Jan 5, 2014,
#23
Didn't you just post a thread about having played for only a year?

You haven't experienced the "rut" yet. It's incredibly frustrating and individualistic, posting a thread about it is almost therapeutic(possibly the same reason you posted this one). Don't forget that forums are for discussion, each thread will have different information and opinions. If it helps someone, what's the issue?
#24
Quote by johnturner9
Didn't you just post a thread about having played for only a year?

You haven't experienced the "rut" yet. It's incredibly frustrating and individualistic, posting a thread about it is almost therapeutic(possibly the same reason you posted this one). Don't forget that forums are for discussion, each thread will have different information and opinions. If it helps someone, what's the issue?



Look man I don't see what you're problem is with me, but I just posted this thread to help people out. And if anything transcribing songs will definitely get you out of a rut. I know people who have been playing for 6+ years, and they'd agree with me on why transcribing is important. They're all phenomenal musicians just because of the fact that they'd use their ears to figure things out. By posting this thread I was intending to help the people out with the issues I've stated in the beginning of the post.


Just because of the fact that I've seen countless people making threads asking the same questions billions of times. If anything i'm pretty sure I've steered people into the right direction with the advice I've handed out. In no way am I bashing on anyone from posting this thread i'm just trying to help people out. And lead them out of the rut they're in. Also what does having to play for a year have anything to do with this topic? I know people that have been playing for 4+ years, and only know a handful of chords.


And I know some people that have been playing for 2-3 years that can play circles around those same guys that have been playing for 4+ years. Time is an insignificant thing while coming to learn an instrument the amount of time you've been playing for doesn't determine the level you're at. I surpassed one of my friends who had been playing for 3 years he only knows 5 songs. While only knowing a total of 5 chords.. You'd be surprised. And I have experienced ruts how would you know that I haven't? Every time I experience a plateau I just change my approach.


It solves my problems with being in a rut just like that. Maybe others need to change their approach that's why they're experiencing this plateau that they are in, and transcribing would be a good healthy approach to add to their practice schedules if they have one it changes everything. In a very positive way it will make you a 10 times better musician there's absolutely no cons to gaining this skill.

Not to be an ass or anything, but didn't you just post a thread about learning how to improvise? Here's a quote from you


"I've played guitar for 7 years, my technique is solid but my improvisational/theory skills blow cactus. I can play the scales, but only by pattern. Ask me to play a C major scale, I'll bust it out, no matter the root position. Now, put the guitar down and ask me to name the notes in G# minor, you've already lost me. Expect me to be able to tab out a song by listening to it? No way, sally. Play along with a band by ear, using chords along the same key they're using? Sorry, I'm busy being incompetent. I don't even fully understand how you'd use a scale, other than it being something you "just learn"


This thread applies to you I'm 100% sure if you started transcribing songs that you'd begin to understand how a scale is used instead "of it other than it being something you "just learn"

Look man I don't know if you're butt hurt about the thread I've posted because you've been playing for 7+ years yet you can't even improvise? Yet I've been playing for a whole year. ( 6 years short than your playing time) Yet I can improvise something, and make it sound good just because of the fact that I transcribe... Do you see where i'm going here? Maybe if you started to transcribe then understanding music in general it would be easier.


It's funny because you're coming at me for playing for a year, but yet you don't even "fully understand how you'd use a scale" But I've been playing for a year, and I know how to utilize it to the point where I know how to make it musical. My point has been made that the time one spends learning on an instrument doesn't matter it's insignificant. I understand something that you don't and you've been playing for 6 years longer than me. I can improvise, and you can't.

Don't take it personal man i'm just stating facts here. Have a nice day and I hope this post has changed your mind about transcribing instead of randomly noodling around in scale patterns.
Last edited by Black_devils at Jan 5, 2014,
#25
Quote by blunderwonder
unfortunately when it comes to transcribing and playing by ear its a laundry list of things to understand and no real straight line from A to B

Sometimes when I try to transcribe, i get the bassline or the melody perfect, but cant work out the chords to save my life, or the high e string will ring all song long but i cant figure it out.

I constantly think A is the IV chord, when its really the I chord, because it sounds fine when i play the Amaj over Dmaj while the song plays. Yesterday, i couldnt figure out Dmaj, Emaj, Amaj, Emaj. Instead I got Amaj, Emaj, ? , Emaj. But the melody is a breeze, go figure

I think one of the biggest problems with transcribing is connecting voice to instrument, forget about intervals and all that ear training stuff and transcribing without an instrument for a moment, here im noodling on my guitar a minute ago, and i get this

--------------------------
--------------------------
---------------2-----------
-----2-----0----------------
--0--------------3----------
--------3------------------

it sounds cool when i play it, but i cant figure out what comes next, even though i think i know what it sounds like I think more noodling is the answer :P



Look don't quit learning things by ear is no easy task trust me. It doesn't get easier you only get better at it. I advise you not to transcribe with an instrument especially if your transcribing skills aren't that great to begin with.


Like I've stated in my previous post it's a trial, and error thing you just won't get it your first time you'll have to make many attempts at it over, and over again. Keep your head up high and don't quit. I wish all the best to you on your musical journey my friend. This is something that we all tend to struggle with in guitar world.
#26
No man, I wasn't attacking you for playing one year in any way. I'm just saying there's more than one perspective, you know? Perspective you haven't had the chance to experience yet, because you're still relatively new.


It's guitar, in no way is it my identity, I'm completely open about my skill. It's an area I want to improve on, so I posted about it. I didn't think this thread was talking about me specifically, I hardly realized my thread fit the category.


Moving on, I'd recommend you not wrap your playing around your ego, being humble and asking questions is essential to learning. I don't agree with criticizing people doing exactly that, especially when you're inexperienced.


I realize my original reply could have come back as me insulting you or your ability, I'm sorry if it did. That legitimately is not my intention at all - I'm a pretty nice guy, sometimes I sound more curt on the internet than I intend. I think I need to increase my use of emoticons :P.
#27
@johhnturner9 Look I agree with you about being humble, and being open to new perspectives since i'm relatively new to playing. But I don't have my ego wrapped around my playing I was just stating why transcribing is such a great skill, and on how it's benefited me in my playing..


I'm always asking questions too i'm a very curious person. And if you read the thread about playing for a year then you'd know that in my post I welcomed all criticism. It's an essential part in getting better as a guitarist there's always something that needs improvement. Also this thread would fit in with your troubles from reading what you've posted you said you didn't know how to improvise.

You just knew the scale, but you don't know how to apply it to making music. Look man the best advice I can give you is just to jump in there and transcribe songs. Trust me on this you'll start to understand how they used a scale to produce certain sounds. It's definitely a hands on learning experience i'm 100% sure that if you start figuring out songs by ear you're playing ability will improve 10 times more than the level you're at right now.


Like I said there's nothing but benefits and no downsides to doing this at all. Plus it's much more fun to figure out a song than following a guitar tab which most of the time is incorrect.. Just believe in your ears man they'll take you far with music.
Last edited by Black_devils at Jan 5, 2014,
#28
Hey man, we don't disagree at all. I'm having fun so far learning to transcribe, isn't as bad as I thought it'd be.

I am sorry if I came off too harsh before, though, dude
#29
I play by ear. I can read music. I can learn a solo and a chord progression sometimes on first listen on the way home in my car and step out of the car, grab a drink, pick up the guitar and play the song, give or take an odball chord here and there or an oddly phrased lead lick of some type. I can sit in with a band or sub for another guitarist and hold my own with little or no practice time. I'm talking mainly of pop/rock music which is highly formulaic.

I said all of that to say this:

I can't transcribe on paper to save my freaking life. Now, notation software is another story. I'm pretty good with that. But putting pencil to paper? You can forget it. My handwriting is crap. Struggled with that my entire 40.5 years of existence. I think that is part of it. I wish I could do it on paper. But, in notation software I can enter the measure and check for mistakes before one gets compounded into the next mistake.

Playing by ear is a skill I wouldn't trade for ANYTHING! Not to become the greatest sight-reader to ever walk the face of the planet or any other musical skill. In the real world the ear has given me more success and gigs than anything else I have.
#30
Quote by mbself73
I play by ear. I can read music. I can learn a solo and a chord progression sometimes on first listen on the way home in my car and step out of the car, grab a drink, pick up the guitar and play the song, give or take an odball chord here and there or an oddly phrased lead lick of some type. I can sit in with a band or sub for another guitarist and hold my own with little or no practice time. I'm talking mainly of pop/rock music which is highly formulaic.

I said all of that to say this:

I can't transcribe on paper to save my freaking life. Now, notation software is another story. I'm pretty good with that. But putting pencil to paper? You can forget it. My handwriting is crap. Struggled with that my entire 40.5 years of existence. I think that is part of it. I wish I could do it on paper. But, in notation software I can enter the measure and check for mistakes before one gets compounded into the next mistake.

Playing by ear is a skill I wouldn't trade for ANYTHING! Not to become the greatest sight-reader to ever walk the face of the planet or any other musical skill. In the real world the ear has given me more success and gigs than anything else I have.



Same here I wouldn't trade my ears for anything either. It's my strongest point when it comes to music being able to listen to something once, and play it back. I'm pretty sure you can understand all the benefits from having great ears. It's literally endless the benefits in being able to pick a song out by ear. I'm sure you must really rip it at gigs just because of the fact that your style never gets boring and there's always something new to add to the table musically.
#31
To get the most out of transcribing, you need to know music theory. Analyzing those songs isn't going to help much if you don't understand what's going on in the song even if you know all the notes.
#32
So, this thread has just about convinced me to make transcribing a part of my practice regime (which so far just involves me playing what I like when I pick up the guitar -- I know, not what anyone recommends as the ideal way to learn).

Three questions:

First, is just playing along with the radio a good approach? I mean, it is not as rigorous as figuring out how to play precisely what you are hearing, but I think it would give me a sense of what is being played, what key, what mode, what goes with it. Playing to the radio (or, in my case, Pandora streaming) is easier for me because it's more like play, than trying to figure out a precise solo or part. Well, I guess the question is simply, how would you rate the value of playing along to the radio as compared to rigorously working out a particular song or piece of music? Will you eventually learn the same stuff, but it'll take longer, or are these approaches working different music skills?

The second question is the chord versus melody question, or perhaps this is a lead versus rhythm issue. In my past (few) efforts to figure out a song by ear, I have an easier time with a melodic phrase, as opposed to figure out the chords being played. To work out the key, I hear the song, and try playing some different chords, and one will just sound right, so I get the key that way. But I think that figuring out where the chord changes, and what progression is being used, is trickier. In a lot of music, you only hear partial chords, or the chords are distorted or are coming from a synthesizer or inverted, or whatever. I can't just use "what chord sounds good" because if there is a distorted G being played, and I try out an Em, it'll probably sound good, but it'll still be wrong.

I can see working out a melodic line rather easily, even if it's complicated, because it's linear. But training my ear to hear chord progressions seems trickier because it involves this vertical perception, and a lot of chords sound very similar, and I guess if a chord being played by one instrument could be altered by a note being sung or played by another instrument, so the gestalt that reaches the listener is different.

I guess I'm wondering if I should just forget working out chords and focus on melody and later when my ear gets better, the chords will come? Or does it not work that way? Maybe recognizing the chords is a distinct skill I should be working on from day one as well? Or maybe my struggles nailing down a chord progression by ear mean I need to spend more time playing different chords and chord changes so I am better able to recognize what I'm hearing as far as chords in a song?

Oh, a third question occurred to me: I read about this notion of perfect pitch versus relative pitch. I had the idea that for most musicians, they master relative pitch, so you can hear what is going on in terms of tonic and intervals from tonic, but none of that will tell you the particular key the music is in until you are given the name of at least one note, to hang your hat on. Yet, it sounds to me like you are suggesting that, with this ear training, you will hear a piece of music and, with no reference point other than that music, you will recognize the key it is in? I guess it makes sense that professional musicians can do this, but it seems to contradict something I read about learning relative versus perfect pitch. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#33
Quote by krm27
So, this thread has just about convinced me to make transcribing a part of my practice regime (which so far just involves me playing what I like when I pick up the guitar -- I know, not what anyone recommends as the ideal way to learn).

Three questions:

First, is just playing along with the radio a good approach? I mean, it is not as rigorous as figuring out how to play precisely what you are hearing, but I think it would give me a sense of what is being played, what key, what mode, what goes with it. Playing to the radio (or, in my case, Pandora streaming) is easier for me because it's more like play, than trying to figure out a precise solo or part. Well, I guess the question is simply, how would you rate the value of playing along to the radio as compared to rigorously working out a particular song or piece of music? Will you eventually learn the same stuff, but it'll take longer, or are these approaches working different music skills?

The second question is the chord versus melody question, or perhaps this is a lead versus rhythm issue. In my past (few) efforts to figure out a song by ear, I have an easier time with a melodic phrase, as opposed to figure out the chords being played. To work out the key, I hear the song, and try playing some different chords, and one will just sound right, so I get the key that way. But I think that figuring out where the chord changes, and what progression is being used, is trickier. In a lot of music, you only hear partial chords, or the chords are distorted or are coming from a synthesizer or inverted, or whatever. I can't just use "what chord sounds good" because if there is a distorted G being played, and I try out an Em, it'll probably sound good, but it'll still be wrong.

I can see working out a melodic line rather easily, even if it's complicated, because it's linear. But training my ear to hear chord progressions seems trickier because it involves this vertical perception, and a lot of chords sound very similar, and I guess if a chord being played by one instrument could be altered by a note being sung or played by another instrument, so the gestalt that reaches the listener is different.

I guess I'm wondering if I should just forget working out chords and focus on melody and later when my ear gets better, the chords will come? Or does it not work that way? Maybe recognizing the chords is a distinct skill I should be working on from day one as well? Or maybe my struggles nailing down a chord progression by ear mean I need to spend more time playing different chords and chord changes so I am better able to recognize what I'm hearing as far as chords in a song?

Oh, a third question occurred to me: I read about this notion of perfect pitch versus relative pitch. I had the idea that for most musicians, they master relative pitch, so you can hear what is going on in terms of tonic and intervals from tonic, but none of that will tell you the particular key the music is in until you are given the name of at least one note, to hang your hat on. Yet, it sounds to me like you are suggesting that, with this ear training, you will hear a piece of music and, with no reference point other than that music, you will recognize the key it is in? I guess it makes sense that professional musicians can do this, but it seems to contradict something I read about learning relative versus perfect pitch. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Ken



Radio is great. Especially, in the early going, top 40 stations. A passing parade of very common and useful chord progressions that you can work on in real time. By the end of the song you have figured out what key it was in....a couple of hours later that same song will return and you can start a little ahead of where you were before. Plus, all the practice and experience you had in the interim.

Work out the key, melodies, chord progressions, lead/rhythm fills, riffs and solos in that order. The melody will lead you to the chords in most cases. Practicing whistling or singing melodies when the radio is off and match the notes you sing up to the guitar.

Notate what you learn. Doesn't have to be standard notation. I like to take a lyric sheet and write chord changes above the words where the change occurs.

Relative pitch is more important in general. You can learn it with practice and a plan. Perfect may be learnable. I have read conflicting opinions on that. Perfect pitch is probably cool to have. I personally wouldn't know.
#34
I don't learn by ear (not out of choice, just can't yet) but i can improvise perfectly fine and you basically just said don't learn scales, how stupid are you?
"Music Without Emotion Is Like Food Without Flavour"
Paul Gilbert
#35
Quote by CJGunner7
I don't learn by ear (not out of choice, just can't yet) but i can improvise perfectly fine and you basically just said don't learn scales, how stupid are you?


What the heck where in my post did I say not to learn scales? Seriously learn how to read you're the stupid one here. I bet your improvising sounds shitty hows that for an insult lmfao? Good luck, and continue to bend out of tune.
Last edited by Black_devils at Jan 15, 2014,
#36
Quote by johnturner9
Hey man, we don't disagree at all. I'm having fun so far learning to transcribe, isn't as bad as I thought it'd be.

I am sorry if I came off too harsh before, though, dude

It's cool man keep it up hard work pays off. You should know that since you have 10 times more experience than me.
#37
Quote by krm27
So, this thread has just about convinced me to make transcribing a part of my practice regime (which so far just involves me playing what I like when I pick up the guitar -- I know, not what anyone recommends as the ideal way to learn).

Three questions:

First, is just playing along with the radio a good approach? I mean, it is not as rigorous as figuring out how to play precisely what you are hearing, but I think it would give me a sense of what is being played, what key, what mode, what goes with it. Playing to the radio (or, in my case, Pandora streaming) is easier for me because it's more like play, than trying to figure out a precise solo or part. Well, I guess the question is simply, how would you rate the value of playing along to the radio as compared to rigorously working out a particular song or piece of music? Will you eventually learn the same stuff, but it'll take longer, or are these approaches working different music skills?

The second question is the chord versus melody question, or perhaps this is a lead versus rhythm issue. In my past (few) efforts to figure out a song by ear, I have an easier time with a melodic phrase, as opposed to figure out the chords being played. To work out the key, I hear the song, and try playing some different chords, and one will just sound right, so I get the key that way. But I think that figuring out where the chord changes, and what progression is being used, is trickier. In a lot of music, you only hear partial chords, or the chords are distorted or are coming from a synthesizer or inverted, or whatever. I can't just use "what chord sounds good" because if there is a distorted G being played, and I try out an Em, it'll probably sound good, but it'll still be wrong.

I can see working out a melodic line rather easily, even if it's complicated, because it's linear. But training my ear to hear chord progressions seems trickier because it involves this vertical perception, and a lot of chords sound very similar, and I guess if a chord being played by one instrument could be altered by a note being sung or played by another instrument, so the gestalt that reaches the listener is different.

I guess I'm wondering if I should just forget working out chords and focus on melody and later when my ear gets better, the chords will come? Or does it not work that way? Maybe recognizing the chords is a distinct skill I should be working on from day one as well? Or maybe my struggles nailing down a chord progression by ear mean I need to spend more time playing different chords and chord changes so I am better able to recognize what I'm hearing as far as chords in a song?

Oh, a third question occurred to me: I read about this notion of perfect pitch versus relative pitch. I had the idea that for most musicians, they master relative pitch, so you can hear what is going on in terms of tonic and intervals from tonic, but none of that will tell you the particular key the music is in until you are given the name of at least one note, to hang your hat on. Yet, it sounds to me like you are suggesting that, with this ear training, you will hear a piece of music and, with no reference point other than that music, you will recognize the key it is in? I guess it makes sense that professional musicians can do this, but it seems to contradict something I read about learning relative versus perfect pitch. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Ken



I'd suggest that you work out simple melodies until you get comfortable enough to move onto songs with chords in them. Working out chords, and melodies are two different things. The more you work on it the better you get as your ears start to develop.

It's your choice whether to work on chords or melodies first I started out with melodies because it's a lot easier to work out then chords which have multiple notes being played at once. If anything I can refer you to a course if you want? I think it would be very beneficial towards your transcribing skills since you're a beginner at transcribing.

Sorry about being late to replying to your post I was very busy.
Last edited by Black_devils at Jan 15, 2014,
#38
Quote by CJGunner7
I don't learn by ear (not out of choice, just can't yet) but i can improvise perfectly fine and you basically just said don't learn scales, how stupid are you?

Based on this post, I imagine you just play scales to improvise - this is fine during the early stages, but you'll want to start playing by ear asap.
#39
But if I know music theory. It's going to help. Especailly in pop radio.
Most of the pop songs has those popular movement over and over again.
But i do have a hard time in certain places simply there's just too many darn tracks going.
There's different guitar fills over dub...ect It's always nice to have someone transcribe
those parts for me.lol

Plus sometimes the song has alternative tuning in them...
It's actaully easier to play after you alter tune your guitar.lol

How do I know some songs has alternative tunning? Picking patterns.

You're going to regonize those picking or strumming patterns.
Especailly picking patterns when the notes arnt in order...but they're in picking
pattern order, thou.
If the chords are too hard to make...you know it's altervative tunning.
#40
Quote by macashmack
Based on this post, I imagine you just play scales to improvise - this is fine during the early stages, but you'll want to start playing by ear asap.

Are you seriously suggesting that one should drop scales completely? I think this post is a bit misleading. In my opinion the best way to go is using scales AND your ears.
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