#1
I usually categorize songs into 2 types:

1. Simple songs with just rhythm using power chords, eg. most punk songs
2. 'Full-blown' lengthy songs, eg. any rock bands' songs that last more than 5 minutes, metallica, megadeth, bla bla bla......

I can learn a GREENDAY song in oneday but for lengthy songs with solid riff and impressive lead guitar section, I can struggle for a not more than 2 hours before I put the guitar down with frustrations and only to pick it up again after a few months if I were still into that song. How can I overcome this VICIOUS CYCLE ?


What about you, how long does it take for you to learn a song ?
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#2
I'm a fingerpicker, most comfortable as an accompanist in a duo. I never really finish learning a song (more strictly speaking, an arrangement), it is continually being modified or played in a different way. I've been working on one DADGAD piece for months now and it still hasn't come together. Basic stuff in my genres I could learn in an an hour or so, remembering it is the problem.
#3
Depends on the song and how into it do I want to get.

Simple chords I can do in an afternoon
Pop song with a simple solo might take 1-2 days

Some of the "greats" such as Kenny Wayne shepherd, Gilmour, SRV, John Mayer (comtinuum) songs I can practice daily for weeks and still never quite get it.
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#5
Depends on the complexity of the song, and also how well I know the song.
#6
1. Should be no problem for an average guitarist.
2. Depends on the individual, complexity of the song and as well as practice u put into it. first try may be sloppy.
#7
I'm learning Tommy Emmanuel's Angelina. I don't sit everyday with it, because it takes a lot of effort and focus. I'ts many new techniques that i've not encounter before. So this particular song has taken me about 1 month as we speak. I've learned almost half of it. It will probably take me anouther month or more to fully learn it and another 2 month to play it good with metronome.
#8
This question has no answer. There's so many variables to take in to consideration. Typically I listen to prog metal and I'm a bit of a perfectionist to a degree so it takes me ages to learn a song. You and I will have very different ideas of what it means to "learn" a song
Last edited by vayne92 at Sep 25, 2015,
#9
Don't know for it depends on the song, how often I play it, how hard or easy it is, and how similar it is to another song I played. You learn enough songs you will start seeing common patterns.
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#11
It depends. I can learn a general popular tune before it i finished playing, or sometimes even the general basics might take me a bit longer, but usually the song structure will be fairly easy. But if I am going to learn something more complicated, something like voicing the melody of a song while I also play the chords, or something like a Tommy Emmanuel note for note piece, that can take me a really long time.

It depends on what the grips are, and techniques involved, and how well I've mastered those. Some techniques took me a really long time to get really easily. Some stuff took me years to get to where I was really fully comfortable and effortless.

I am on acoustic, and I also never play a song the same way twice, so I am literally always learning more for every song I play also.
#12
It wildly depends on what kind of song.

The last song I learned was the mid-tempo Thanatos, from Versailles. An afternoon was enough to get used to the tuning and get most of the song in place, but then a few days to nail the solo and configure my pedals to get appropriate tones (and the associated tap-dancing... sigh...) It was easy work because I quickly got to the point where I could play it just for pleasure, even though some details still needed to be ironed out.

The song before that? Breaking All Illusions by Dream Theater. I can't tell you exactly how long it took, but it was several months. Much more frustrating at times, some gruesome technical work, but obviously much more instructive. Nevertheless, without my guitar teacher to push, I don't know that I'd have finished it!
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Last edited by Yuka66 at Sep 25, 2015,
#13
Quote by Stuck_nomore
I usually categorize songs into 2 types:

1. Simple songs with just rhythm using power chords, eg. most punk songs
2. 'Full-blown' lengthy songs, eg. any rock bands' songs that last more than 5 minutes, metallica, megadeth, bla bla bla......

I can learn a GREENDAY song in oneday but for lengthy songs with solid riff and impressive lead guitar section, I can struggle for a not more than 2 hours before I put the guitar down with frustrations and only to pick it up again after a few months if I were still into that song. How can I overcome this VICIOUS CYCLE ?


What about you, how long does it take for you to learn a song ?


Not as quickly as you, but I'm not an advanced player. I was able to play simple stuff like "Blitzkrieg Bop" at 103% (on Rocksmith) in 3 or 4 days, but I was new to power chords at the time. Moved on to Green Day and I can pretty much nail the rhythm section in a few hours on most of their Rocksmith 2014 stuff, but that's because it's usually the same 4 or 5 powerchords and, hence, quite simple.

Any improvement I make on the electric in the future is likely to be incidental though. I'm far more inspired by John Fahey than I am Eric Clapton, so any complex music I learn in the future is likely to be played fingerstyle....hence....who knows who long it'll take
Last edited by TobusRex at Sep 25, 2015,
#14
It depends. I always tell learners to choose a song that they love by a band/musician they're into. You end up learning it because you really want to. Then build around that. I learned chords that way. F C Am D were the first chords i learned by playing Coldplay and Beatles songs. After that you just build up and up the chords you know. Pretty soon you can "figure out" a song with ease.
With complex songs i recommend going for video tutorials on Lick Library or YouTube. For some reason it's a lot easier.
Mj :-)
#15
Quote by vayne92
This question has no answer. There's so many variables to take in to consideration. Typically I listen to prog metal and I'm a bit of a perfectionist to a degree so it takes me ages to learn a song. You and I will have very different ideas of what it means to "learn" a song

^This.

This isn't a meaningful question to answer; there's questions of length, complexity, repetitions, the extent to which a song conforms to known muscle memory patterns, practicing phrases that start on awkward beats, adjusting technique to get it sounding good... There's so much stuff that affects the time taken to learn a song you just cannot quantify complexity in any meaningful way.

The last couple songs I seriously applied myself to learning were Crossfire by SRV and Minor Swing by Django Reinhardt (though both were a while ago now), both took a couple consecutive days of a few hours each.
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#16
I have been learning Metallica songs with the solos and I can spend a good 8 hours just getting a solo memorized. To play it fast it takes me at least a week.
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#17
Quote by Stuck_nomore
What about you, how long does it take for you to learn a song ?


20hrs

You don't have to buy this, just read the page. Sometimes it is very helpful to realise you are not alone.

"I soon realized that If I wanted to become any good on guitar, I have to become a much better teacher to myself. I recognized, that thus far I had no idea how to teach myself guitar and therefore my results were poor.

It was not my lack of talent or my misfortune. It was my incompetence to teach myself. "

http://theaspiringguitarist.net/kickstart-your-guitar-playing-in-20-days/
Last edited by wiggedy at Sep 29, 2015,
#18
It varies. Some songs I can master in a very short time because everything is well within my comfort zone. Others may require months to really play fully relaxed, fluid, and in the zone. I never want my music to sound like an academic exercise so working on playing very relaxed without thinking is an important element for me.
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#19
This question doesn't have an answer. Every song is a different challenge to every guitarist, also different people set different standards for themselves when it comes to classing a song as "learned". More to the point how long something takes other people has absolutely no influence or relevance to how long it may or may not take you.

It's a completely pointless question and an irrelevant thing to concern yourself with.
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#20
Quote by steven seagull
This question doesn't have an answer. Every song is a different challenge to every guitarist, also different people set different standards for themselves when it comes to classing a song as "learned". More to the point how long something takes other people has absolutely no influence or relevance to how long it may or may not take you.

It's a completely pointless question and an irrelevant thing to concern yourself with.


My apology for posting a 'pointless' and 'irrelevant' question.

However, I won't consider my question as 'pointless' and 'irrelevant'. I am well aware that there are definitely lots of 'depends-on-this-and-that' factors involved. Maybe you are a guitar genius but mind you, there are novice guitarist here as well, please give them the freedom to post their noob questions. Do they have to post 'meaningful ' questions in order learn something? Use your common sense. Some commenters have shared their inner world of learning here and have definitely inspired me further in some ways or another about guitar playing.
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#21
if those are the only two kinds of songs you know of, you don't listen to much music at all

that being said, i can usually get simpler songs (salsa/latin stuff, shuffle, simpler walking jazz tunes, most rock and metal) down in about 2-5 listens and playthroughs. i don't play guitar tho so idk
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#22
Quote by Stuck_nomore
My apology for posting a 'pointless' and 'irrelevant' question.

However, I won't consider my question as 'pointless' and 'irrelevant'. I am well aware that there are definitely lots of 'depends-on-this-and-that' factors involved. Maybe you are a guitar genius but mind you, there are novice guitarist here as well, please give them the freedom to post their noob questions. Do they have to post 'meaningful ' questions in order learn something? Use your common sense. Some commenters have shared their inner world of learning here and have definitely inspired me further in some ways or another about guitar playing.

Asking the question in of itself isn't pointless or irrelvant, it's thinking about it in the first place that's irrelevant. All I was doing was suggesting that YOU use your common sense and stop worrying and wasting your energy on something that isn't going to help.

It's common for inexperienced guitarists to look for either excuses or validation in the achievements/non-achievements of others and it simply achieves nothing.

You've asked your question, and I've shared my experience and wisdom with you by giving you an honest answer that will help you the most - you're worrying about something that's inconsequential, focus on what YOU can/can't do. Just because the you don't like the answer doesn't mean it's not right.
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#23
It's not necessarily that it matters to him. He may have been just wondering because he is a noob, and he wonders how fast it should take him when he is faster or something like that.

There are no stupid questions. Questions always lead to greater knowledge, even if that greater knowledge is the realization that you asked the wrong question.
#24
Depending on the song, I can learn it in anywhere from a few minutes, to an hour or so. But, I've been playing for many years, have played with many bands, and have to learn and create new acoustic guitar arrangements every week, for non-acoustic style songs like Tool, Mars Volta, Toto, SRV, etc.

My toughest gig was learning 40 songs in two days. Some of which I knew but the band played them different, and the others were originals. This was also a gig as a touring bass player, and I'm typically a guitar player.

You have to organize the song. Example

1) You have to KNOW the song, in your head. If you're not familiar enough where you know the song, don't bother trying to learn how to play it just yet. There is no short cut, you just need to listen to it many times, 5, 10, 20+ times, until you can hear all the parts, and know when sections will change. Even if you don't sing, you should learn some lyrics, since they're a cue to when the arrangement changes
2) You have to break the song down. Into, verse, chorus, break, etc. Once you learn the separate parts, you can just repeat the patterns. How long do you repeat them? As noted in #1, you need to know the song in your head.
3) Play the hell out of the song. To the recording, over and over and over again.
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#25
I'm with Mr. Seagull and, if you read his post the right way, he is giving good advice.

BTW, it takes me 45 minutes to drive to work, how long does it take you guys?
#26
Is it normal to take months to learn a song? I've been working on "Big Me" by Foo Fighters for about 4 months. For 1 to 2 months I was working on being able to play the F bar chord and bar chords in general and recently I have been working on the G to F chord change and I am still having problems with the chord change speed and F bar chord sometimes.
#27
Once again, it depends on a lot of things, starting with the difficulty of the song, your own level and the time you can spend working on it.

It doesn't really matter how long it takes you. As long as you like what you're doing, it's a way to progress while having fun and it's all that matters.

My only advice would be: at some point, you may hit a wall that can't be jumped over immediatly. Then, move on to other songs, and later when you come back to this one, the problem will have vanished on its own, or you'll have better tools to tackle it. It may be frustrating to move to another song and leave the previous one unfinished, but you're in the process of learning, not performing.

Just go with the flow and enjoy yourself.
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#28
Quote by Yuka66
Once again, it depends on a lot of things, starting with the difficulty of the song, your own level and the time you can spend working on it.

It doesn't really matter how long it takes you. As long as you like what you're doing, it's a way to progress while having fun and it's all that matters.

My only advice would be: at some point, you may hit a wall that can't be jumped over immediatly. Then, move on to other songs, and later when you come back to this one, the problem will have vanished on its own, or you'll have better tools to tackle it. It may be frustrating to move to another song and leave the previous one unfinished, but you're in the process of learning, not performing.

Just go with the flow and enjoy yourself.

Alright, thanks a lot for the advice Yuka, I was actually planning on moving on to learning another song while still practicing the G to F chord change.