#1
I have been playing guitar for about 18months right now and I have learned a pretty good bit of music theory(Structure), chord progressions, 5 modes of the pentatonic, and 7 modes of the major scales, the way the chords overlay the different scales. I learned the progressions with chords bass notes on the E and A strings and working on root note B chords ( i think these im learning are some of the more complicated single and double triad chord inversions). All this has given me a really great ability to play improvs, make my own music, improv lead parts, etc. I have also been working on building those improvs and what not into measures and learning to PLAY IN TIME, now is something im working on

My i guess questions here if anything, for those musicians here that play semi pro, or professionally, is how long does it take for you guys to learn cover songs, like from beginning to end?

I am reaching the point where im soon planning to try and play at gigs, I know really very few songs but I can basically jam and improv with any song pretty well (i consider my soloing ability probably my strongest suite),

I learned probably a lot of different little licks, but mainly the three songs I have focused on learning so far have been Snow (hey oh) - by RHCP, Under The Bridge - by RHCP, and Nothing Else Matters - by metallica, so i learned parts of these songs months ago, and really the two RHCP songs i have been working on for months now and still cant seem to master, how long does it take you guys to learn full songs? has anyone learned these RHCP songs from beginning to end? how long did it take you to master these songs?
#2
Learning a song for me now takes less than a day, but mastering...

Most people think mastering a song is just playing it without making any mistake from the beginning to the end, these people are wrong. Mastering is about understanding everything that's happening in the song (and I'm not talking about theory) and taking the best sound out of your guitar.

A huge problem I found on guitar players is that they can play all the song notes and apply all the techniques, but they can't get that awesome sound out of their guitars.

I want to emphasize that most sound problems come out of the guitar player hands. A friend of mine sometimes comes to my house and plays some songs (on my gear) I'm used to play, but he just can't get the guitar to sound right. He plays a modern metal song, but the guitar sounds like it's an old school power metal guitar. When I play them, it's a different story, because of a few things:

1-I study guitar like a drummer studies the drums: The best drummers focus on one music style and stick to it. There's so much going on with their bodies on each different style that they can't afford to learn everything. If you use the same focus on the guitar, you'll come to know better your style, and so, play it better (most classic acoustic guitar players are also used to the same thing).

2-I play what I like! This may sounds weird, but I found out that some of my friends just listen to some kind of music because they're guitar players (yes, I'm talking about you prog). They don't like the song, they say they like, but they don't, they just think: "that guy plays awesomely, I must listen to his music" and miss the whole point in what music is and make huge mistakes because they simply can't pay attention to what's going on in the song. One of my friends play a riff in a song using hammer on and pull-offs, I didn't know it was wrong because by the riff it really seemed the right thing to be done, but when I listened to the sound I found out the guitar player used some weird picking style. My friend will never master that song because:
-He plays something he doesn't like, so he'll never have the patience to play that part over and over until he does it right, as he just can't stand it.
-He probably didn't even paid attention to the song to know all the notes were being picked and how they're being picked (yes it's possibly to know, specially in metal).

3-I play it my way. There's no point in trying to play exactly like the original artist. You have to apply the same techniques as him/her, but you will never be able to do it like him/her, and trying will only hold you back.

So, if you want to master a song, remember:
-Stick to songs of the kind you like more. You can still play songs from other styles, but you shouldn't stray from the main course.
-Listen to this song and try to comprehend them. Comprehending a song is feeling all its nuances. It has nothing to do with the instrument you play, but with how that songs talks to you. It really makes a difference when your hands play calmly in a calm part of a song, but the problem is that even though something may sound calm, if you listen to it right it's just not calm.
-And probably the most important: Don't focus on mastering the song. Now you may be like "WTF!?", but I'll explain: If you focus on mastering a song you miss the huge fun in playing an instrument, which is having fun while playing. You keep so focused on trying to do something right that your ears just don't feel your playing and your hands and brain do it instead. Trust me, playing something with true and natural passion is almost as good as having sex with a sexy girl.
#3
Mp8andrade, you are spot on except for your 1 point. Only when you are starting out should you stick with one style (the one that feels right). After you are comfortable with that, play whatever you like to listen to. Convey how you feel hearing it how you want the auidence to feel playing it. I am in a Beatle cover band (NOT A TRIBUTE) and I learn the main chords and riffs. Solos and some minor variences on chords for dynamics are always original. But yeah in general, I can learn a song in day. Not just Beatles by the by.
#4
There's no answer to your question - it takes as long as it takes.

Some songs will take next to no time, some will take days, some will take weeks - there's far too many variables for there to be a simple answer. There's no point asking how long it takes other people because they're not you, what they can or can't do has absolutely no bearing or influence on your own ability.

How "good" are you?
Are you familiar with all the techniques used in the song?
Are you familiar with other music of the same genre, or even by the same artist?
What are your standards for having "learned" a song, how self-critical are you?
Actually called Mark!

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#5
yeah it really depends on the song.

just to point out, I'm guessing you mean you've learnt the positions of the scales, not the modes. modes are different. (I couldn't care less if you called them wibbles, but other players might get antsy if you're using the word incorrectly )
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
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#6
Quote by steven seagull

What are your standards for having "learned" a song, how self-critical are you?


This is incredibly important to note. I've been working on learning a 17 minute song for a while now. Years ago i could have said i have learned the song already and be satisfied, but learning the notes of the song is one thing, but to play the song to a standard is another.

I've spent more time polishing this song to my standards than actually learning the parts of the song. People are very different with their definitions of "learning" a song. It took me maybe around 10ish hours to learn all the parts to a 17minute song, but I've spent much more than 10 hours practicing the entire song, and i still don't consider myself to be able to play the song.

MY standards of learning a song are being able to record the song, upload it and be completely satisfied with it and know to myself that i could not have done better.
Last edited by vayne92 at May 4, 2014,
#8
As long as I'm willing to spend on it, if I hammer a song to death I can learn it to a good standard in about 3 days but I'll probably be so bored of it by then that I won't want to play it!

I would say, at your stage dont get too hung up on this, go to a good jam night pick up on what the guys are playing and learn one of those songs then play it with them cause your confidence will grow massively and you'll probably pickup some band mates while your at it
#9
Quote by guitarjohn99
I have been playing guitar for about 18months right now and I have learned a pretty good bit of music theory(Structure), chord progressions, 5 modes of the pentatonic, and 7 modes of the major scales, the way the chords overlay the different scales. I learned the progressions with chords bass notes on the E and A strings and working on root note B chords ( i think these im learning are some of the more complicated single and double triad chord inversions). All this has given me a really great ability to play improvs, make my own music, improv lead parts, etc. I have also been working on building those improvs and what not into measures and learning to PLAY IN TIME, now is something im working on

My i guess questions here if anything, for those musicians here that play semi pro, or professionally, is how long does it take for you guys to learn cover songs, like from beginning to end?

I am reaching the point where im soon planning to try and play at gigs, I know really very few songs but I can basically jam and improv with any song pretty well (i consider my soloing ability probably my strongest suite),

I learned probably a lot of different little licks, but mainly the three songs I have focused on learning so far have been Snow (hey oh) - by RHCP, Under The Bridge - by RHCP, and Nothing Else Matters - by metallica, so i learned parts of these songs months ago, and really the two RHCP songs i have been working on for months now and still cant seem to master, how long does it take you guys to learn full songs? has anyone learned these RHCP songs from beginning to end? how long did it take you to master these songs?


Don't worry about how long it takes you, focus on getting it to sound right. Take your time and repeat passages that you have trouble with obsessively until they sound right. Isolate parts you have trouble with and hammer away at them. If you want to be a good player you should be putting in about 2 to 3 hours per day, minimum.
#10
I don't think I agree. I'm all for playing things as well as you can (that's my MO too), but there's good and bad perfectionism if you ask me, and that advice (IMO) is erring on the side of bad. I'm not sure you need to practise as much as that, either, that could just put people off (not to mention that quality normally trumps quantity). And if you're playing something which is beyond you, constantly trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole will likely get you nowhere and just discourage you.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
I'd say it depends on how well you know the song. If its a song that you can hum every single note to then learning the song is just developing the muscle memory and not so much "learning the song" I've learned songs i was really eager to quickly, when i was in high school i was in the jazz band and the band teacher was making us play this horrible whitney houston medley he wrote himself. I hated that song so much i never learned it.
#12
Quote by Dave_Mc
And if you're playing something which is beyond you, constantly trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole will likely get you nowhere and just discourage you.


I agree with your statement generally, but He's learning Red Hot Chili Peppers songs...not Kurt Rosenwinkel. It's probably not that much out his league.
Last edited by reverb66 at May 7, 2014,
#13
yeah i supopose. rhcp can be tricky enough though if you're not used to that style of playing much (i'm not )

also i just noticed that in the first post he asked for people who were pro or semi pro- i'm not either
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#14
Quote by svrourke1
I'd say it depends on how well you know the song. If its a song that you can hum every single note to then learning the song is just developing the muscle memory and not so much "learning the song" I've learned songs i was really eager to quickly, when i was in high school i was in the jazz band and the band teacher was making us play this horrible whitney houston medley he wrote himself. I hated that song so much i never learned it.


There is a school of thought that a beginning/intermediate player should try difficult songs especially if they aren't one to get discouraged easily and are patient. I remember going right into the deep end when I was first starting by tackling songs from Van Halen I. Was it frustrating? Yes. Did it take me forever to learn some of those tunes? Absolutely. What it taught me was the kind of dedication it would take to get proficient at this instrument.
#15
yeah i sort of jumped in at the deep end too But i also had no problem in just moving on to something else if it was genuinely just impossible.

i think it's a balancing act between trying stuff which is hard enough so you improve, but not so hard that you're getting discouraged or wasting your time (you might see more improvement more quickly if you try stuff which is more within your reach).
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#16
Quote by BlueJayWater
Mp8andrade, you are spot on except for your 1 point. Only when you are starting out should you stick with one style (the one that feels right). After you are comfortable with that, play whatever you like to listen to. Convey how you feel hearing it how you want the auidence to feel playing it. I am in a Beatle cover band (NOT A TRIBUTE) and I learn the main chords and riffs. Solos and some minor variences on chords for dynamics are always original. But yeah in general, I can learn a song in day. Not just Beatles by the by.


When I said stick to one style I didn't mean "don't play any other style" I meant "study deeply only the style you prefer", like, you can be good at any style, but you can only hit the apex on one, so focus on that one.