#1
Hey team,

I'm now in a position where I want to (and can) knuckle down, really work on cover songs (as well as my own stuff) and gig locally.

I was wondering what's the 'best' format as a solo artist to learn and practice cover songs ? I was thinking perhaps have manual printouts of the chords / tabs of the songs and work off of them instead of having them displayed on my tablet.

This is of course a strategy that would be good in the 'early days', since after a few weeks of playing them I should know them by heart.

But anyway yeah...

Thanks for your help
#2
I don't think it really matters how you learn a song as long as you learn it. As long as you can comfortably play it all the way through I'd say you're good to go.
#3
what I do is using the amazing slow downer app, is to cut the song into the smallest coherent sections possible for tough areas of the song, and the rest of it into sections (verses, bridges etc) then practice singing along with the guitar part, and then eventually learn the parts by ear and practice them until I have them totally together separately, then start putting them together. Try to go by ear (and be patient) as much as possible, and using tabs/notation only for stuff you can't hear (and try to memorize it). You'll get a lot more out of that then using tabs/chord charts.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
#4
I prefer to work on one song at a time and start off by listening to the song, really getting to know the melodies, structure, dynamics and lyrics.

Once I get a good understanding of the song (4-5 listens are usually good enough for me to get a decent idea) I usually just turn to chord sheets and work from that and watch various live videos to get an idea of where on the neck the original artist performs it. After that it's really just a matter of repetition.
#5
Thanks everyone.

Keep the good tips rolling.

I've got several covers already I can do blind folded from playing (what feels like) 6000 times!
#6
Quote by flaaash
Hey team,

I'm now in a position where I want to (and can) knuckle down, really work on cover songs (as well as my own stuff) and gig locally.

I was wondering what's the 'best' format as a solo artist to learn and practice cover songs ? I was thinking perhaps have manual printouts of the chords / tabs of the songs and work off of them instead of having them displayed on my tablet.

This is of course a strategy that would be good in the 'early days', since after a few weeks of playing them I should know them by heart.

But anyway yeah...

Thanks for your help


When I perform, I used an Appstore program called OnSong to structure my set list, as far as lyrics and chords, because when I'm playing I have a terrible memory for lyrics. It took a while to set up and learn the codes and tags, but having done that I am very happy with the results!

I'm not sure how effective having tabs in front of you playing live would be.

Best,

Sean
#7
I learn songs by ear, memorise everything, and bring no reference material to the stage.

However this is just for guitar stuff, and a lot of singers I know take the lyric sheets with them on stage.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
OP - your idea of sheet music is great with only one drawback.
50 years later and you have 6 three ring binders full of material, each sheet in a plastic cover.

I have apps that do basically the same thing. I have one I use a bunch; it runs the lyrics and chords like a teleprompter...you set the beat/tempo and you're off. I have about 1,100 songs in it so far.
I have others that will import GT4/GT5 files, so the built in library is huge.

The one app that allows for all of it, like a swiss army knife, would be able to charge $20.
#9
Thanks once again everyone for your feedback.

It would be pretty unprofessional and uncool to be plying in front of a crowed while reading and playing from sheet music.

I've downloaded the awesome slow downer app. It's a lot of fun. Time to set some goals I guess. Eg how many songs I want to nail by June 1st...
#10
Quote by flaaash

It would be pretty unprofessional and uncool to be plying in front of a crowed while reading and playing from sheet music.


Yeah all those classical musicians are a bunch of slackers...
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#11
Quote by Dave_Mc
Yeah all those classical musicians are a bunch of slackers...


Haha - I see what you did there...
#12
Quote by AlanHB
I learn songs by ear, memorise everything, and bring no reference material to the stage.

However this is just for guitar stuff, and a lot of singers I know take the lyric sheets with them on stage.

This. If you use notation or chord sheets, you start relying on them and you won't really memorize the song. I have tried this and I can memorize songs a lot faster if I learn them by ear. You kind of need to learn the song twice if you use notation or chord sheets. First you learn to play the song with the chord sheet, then you need to learn to play the song without the chord sheet.

Of course if you don't have a good ear yet, you kind of need to use chord sheets. But really, I would suggest learning by ear. You will memorize it a lot faster.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#13
Quote by flaaash
Haha - I see what you did there...


Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#14
Quote by Dave_Mc
Yeah all those classical musicians are a bunch of slackers...


Ya freaking Mozart even used scores for his own compositions. What a hack!

Seriously, if you are playing 3 chord stuff like Margaritaville you should be able to cover it from memory. Heavier jazz stuff played in multiple keys will probably warrant charts. I play a lot of classic rock covers and if doing a 2 hr gig I can easily remember everything. A 5 hr show with 60 songs is a lot tougher so I bring lead sheets. I have that binder with 300 songs in there for reference and the ipad setup looks very interesting.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis
#15
Guitar pro is awesome,also YouTube is another good choice and probably quicker way to learn
#16
weird how memory sometimes goes out the window when performing in front of people. I try to remember to think about the lyrics of the song as I'm playing, and not space out into the sound or emotion of it.
#17
Quote by Cajundaddy

...if doing a 2 hr gig I can easily remember everything.

A 5 hr show with 60 songs is a lot tougher so I bring lead sheets....


5 hours? Holy smokes...
#19
chord sheets and whatnot are great for weddings and jazz gigs where you're playing large doses of things with an ensemble and you should definitely get a solid skill in that style if you intend on playing in those settings or start juggling several gigs like many symphonic performers do

but you're in a situation where you have all the time in the world to get prepped and ready. don't take shortcuts you don't need to - just keep your eye on the ball and get your performance as pristine as possible. most of your prep will go out the window until you have stage experience, but the more you can get comfortable with the music, the less likely you are to fumble when you're first starting out
#20
Quote by flaaash
5 hours? Holy smokes...


+1
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#21
Quote by flaaash
5 hours? Holy smokes...


If you ever join a cover band most of your gigs will be 4 hours. It may be hard to remember all your songs at first, but as you'll generally be playing the same songs every gig, they get easier to remember.

With these gigs I still don't bring any reference material to the stage. I'm under the impression that you either know a song ir you don't, and if you need a piece of paper to play it, then you don't know the song.

An exception goes out to classical musicians of course, as their songs tend to go on forever and their "setlist" changes regularly.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#23
Quote by AlanHB
If you ever join a cover band most of your gigs will be 4 hours. It may be hard to remember all your songs at first, but as you'll generally be playing the same songs every gig, they get easier to remember.

With these gigs I still don't bring any reference material to the stage. I'm under the impression that you either know a song ir you don't, and if you need a piece of paper to play it, then you don't know the song.

An exception goes out to classical musicians of course, as their songs tend to go on forever and their "setlist" changes regularly.

Also, classical pieces are usually a lot more complex - I mean, they progress a lot more and are a lot more technical than basic pop songs that are usually just four or five chords and three or four different parts. You just need to remember the chords and structure (and most songs have really similar structures). I would say there's way less to remember in ten basic pop songs than in one classical piece (of course this is just generalizing - there are more simple classical pieces and more complex pop songs).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#24
^^^ I agree that classical songs are also complex. However I think if they were (a) shorter and (b) the orchestra had to play the same song over and over without change, that the musicians would not require sheet music by the end.

However this isn't the case, with many professional orchestras not getting a chance to even listen to some songs before playing them.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#25
depending on the context, yeah, for like christmas events it's usually sightread, but most orchestras get the sheet music maybe a week in advance. the issue is that they often haven't worked with the people in the orchestra before and are robbed of the opportunity of rehearsal, so they have to have their parts down, which is hard to do considering most gigging musicians with degrees also teach to supplement themselves with benefits they don't get "on the road"
#26
Quote by Hail
depending on the context, yeah, for like christmas events it's usually sightread, but most orchestras get the sheet music maybe a week in advance. the issue is that they often haven't worked with the people in the orchestra before and are robbed of the opportunity of rehearsal


And compare this to a band, where they've probably played the same song a million times, and were first introduced to it at least a month and 4 practices earlier....

We're just agreeing with each other.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#27
i thought we established by now 99% of my posts aren't disagreeing with anything just kinda extending my experience onto whatever somebody else already said