#1
Hoi,

Maybe not the best category to ask this but could you recommend me songs that I could try playing by ear? Something like blues rock or in larger terms something similar to Hendrix, Slash, Joe Satriani..

It would also be good that the songs have solos that require full attention when played by ear. But still preferably something that is not too hard to recognize by ear.

Also a little side question. This is a rather annoying thing I've been encountering when it comes to getting solos by ear. Of late I've been trying to get the solo of the beginning of Cliffs of Dover. I've managed to get something out of it. However, I keep hearing the same part different. So I keep "fixing" the parts I've managed to make out of the solo again and again and again. If you understood what I mean.. It's extremely annoying. And I also never use any programs to slow things down, I use headphones and my phone, lol. Just wondering, why do I hear the same part as if it was different if compared to the last time I listened to it?
Last edited by Billie_J at Dec 25, 2015,
#2
The majority of Hendrix and Slash repertoire should be open to you, except for maybe when Slash uses the wah to a greater extent. Wahs have a tendency to make transcribing a bit harder.

The "fixing parts" thing happen a lot, especially when you are not used to playing by ear/haven't learned a lot of music by ear already. The best solution, and best way in general to learn a song by ear is to listen to it, a lot. You should learn to sing along with the part you want to learn, and there are many ways to do that. Repeated listening is one, if you are having real problem hearing what is being played i'd suggest playing the section, pausing immediately when you hear the first note, try to sing it, try again with the first two notes, then with 3 etc.

Getting some sort of software is not a bad idea though. I use the Amazing slow downer app on my phone, mainly because it can connect to my spotify account. Then i put a loop on the section i want to learn of a song and i go around all day listening to it, learning to hear the shape of the section/line/etc (does it go up or down? Are the intervals big or small?), learning how the harmony moves, the bass moves, learn to sing along with the recording and find motifs etc. Then when i get to my instrument i know the section in my head, through my voice, and i can learn it from there.
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#3
Yeah, I do the pause-continue tactic a lot but sometimes the notes are rather unclear/hard to recognize. For example the little shredding part in satch Boogie which comes after the intro. The part when the guitar moves somewhere around the high e string on the 5th-8th frets, not sure without holding a guitar in my hands.
#4
Joe Satriani has some pretty "clear' songs. Premonition, Dream Song and Revelation are pretty straight forward in that there aren't many crazy effects going on. I have to note Dream Song's intro employs heavy use of the wah (although it's on the beat and I believe the actual note being played remains constant throughout the intro).
#5
Try the Black Keys

Their first four albums sound right up your alley. They were for me.

They're widely regarded as a shit tier band but if you ask me there is no such thing as bad music. You can take away good things from bad music. If you're looking for halfway decent tabs just check out my profile. I've written tabs of going on 40 of their songs.

Example: Work Me from Chulahoma
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRsfv2hQ09g

Studio Albums List:
The Big Come Up
Thickfreakness
Rubber Factory
Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough
Magic Potion
Attack and Release
Brothers
El Camino
Turn Blue
#6
Quote by coman91
Try the Black Keys

Their first four albums sound right up your alley. They were for me.

They're widely regarded as a shit tier band but if you ask me there is no such thing as bad music. You can take away good things from bad music.


Whilst I agree they're a good place to start with transcription, I've never heard of them being regarded as 'shit tier', only sell-outs.
#7
Quote by Billie_J
Also a little side question. This is a rather annoying thing I've been encountering when it comes to getting solos by ear. Of late I've been trying to get the solo of the beginning of Cliffs of Dover. I've managed to get something out of it. However, I keep hearing the same part different. So I keep "fixing" the parts I've managed to make out of the solo again and again and again. If you understood what I mean.. It's extremely annoying. And I also never use any programs to slow things down, I use headphones and my phone, lol. Just wondering, why do I hear the same part as if it was different if compared to the last time I listened to it?
I'd always use a slowdowner in such cases.
My recommendation is Transcribe. It's free for the first month, and cheap to register after that. http://www.seventhstring.com/
There's also Audacity, which is totally free (and also a handy audio editor and multitrack recorder), but a bit more fiddly to use for this sort of thing. http://audacityteam.org/

It's true that learning by ear at full speed is better for ear training, but for those frustrating moments like you're describing, there's no need to beat yourself up! Get it right (using technical assistance), and move on. (You can of course, use the software to play it at full speed if you like, with easily set up looping to help with tricky parts.)
Last edited by jongtr at Dec 26, 2015,
#8
Listen-pause-listen-pause is one way to transcribe, but it's like wading through a bog. I do it often, but it's not my first choice. The better strategy is to get as much of a whole phrase in your head as possible and then work from memory before you start listening again. Having good ears is as much about memory as interval recognition - anything you can remember, you can figure out.

If you can, just sit down with a sheet of staff paper divided into measures and figure out the "landmark" parts before getting all the stuff in between: chord changes, high/low melody notes. That will give you a bigger idea of the song, and it's a lot easier to remember individual phrases in context. Basically, get the easy parts first and then start filling in the harder stuff. It's completely unnecessary to transcribe a song in a linear fashion.

Quote by Billie_J
Of late I've been trying to get the solo of the beginning of Cliffs of Dover.


You might put that one aside for a bit if you're just getting into transcription. Not that it's impossible, but there is some pretty challenging stuff technically in the intro noodling, and it's hard to verify your transcription if you can't actually play the music along with the recording. I'd say skip to the rest of the song. The melody and chords are simple, and you can work up EJ's super-clean picking with those before tackling the actually hard part.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 26, 2015,
#9
Couple of things that I was first able to repeat what I was hearing to play by ear on guitar was songs from KISS early makeup period - 73-78 era stuff and playing along with a blues show on the radio.

The KISS stuff uses mostly single note and power chord riffs which made it easy to get the chords right. Ace's solos stay mostly pentatonic and he does all the textbook rock lead guitar playing. Helped me understand more advanced players by learning his stuff.

It works when you can "see" what they are playing - hearing something, being able to sing it back to yourself, understanding what guitar skill they are doing, seeing yourself playing that skill. The more you try to do it the faster this process becomes.

Choose songs you are very familiar with and try visualise what they are doing to play the song.
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#10
Quote by Billie_J
Hoi,

Maybe not the best category to ask this but could you recommend me songs that I could try playing by ear? ?


Drop Cliffs of Dover - that's a terrible thing to learn by ear and is a damn good example of when you should use tab. It's simply too fast - unless you slow it down by a massive margin.

Learning by ear - Hendrix and Guns and Roses aren't ideal because there is a ton of overdubbing going on.

Try to focus on music that is slow and clear. Black Sabbath Paranoid album is great for rhythm parts. Old blues such as 60's Albert King is a great place to practice learning solos - he plays slowly and very clearly.

Stevie Ray Vaughan ( Texas Flood album) is a great study as well - start easy with something like Mary had a little lamb ( the solo is gold). That album is just a three piece so the guitar is a clear as crystal.

Zeppellin solos are very accessible to learn by ear as well, if you avoid the solos were Page plays fast jibberish.

Pink Floyd - Shine on you Crazy Diamond, the Wall, and all the early Gilmour tunes are great for practicing learning leads - very slow and great phrasing.

Mark Knoplfer is also a great study in phrasing - Sultans of swing and Brother in Arms are a must for any serious lead player.

I spent time transcribing Charlie Christian solos and that really helped me in a way that is difficult to describe - his approach was very intuitive. He's basically one of the first "lead" guitar players and he influence, in one way or another, most of what came after. Studying the older players helps a lot, especially by ear, because they avoid 32nd notes and other difficult things to make out - they needed to be heard and they played clearly in the pocket.
Last edited by reverb66 at Jan 4, 2016,
#11
Quote by reverb66
I spent time transcribing Charlie Christian solos and that really helped me in a way that is difficult to describe - his approach was very intuitive. He's basically one of the first "lead" guitar players and he influence, in one way or another, most of what came after. Studying the older players helps a lot, especially by ear, because they avoid 32nd notes and other difficult things to make out - they needed to be heard and they played clearly in the pocket.
+100!

Wes Montgomery learned his craft by copying Charlie Christian solos by ear.

As the first electric lead player, CC is really the daddy of us all. Go back to the source!

This one kills me every time:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce9Jtl9D6FQ
- basically just a jam, but that's phrasing (and tone) to die for.
The only problem with it is it's hard to hear what the chord sequence is - and that matters when learning solos. (It's based on a tune called "Topsy", but that may not help much.)

Or even earlier, for acoustic blues lead:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2bwIscUA_o
- some interesting chords to try and disentangle there; but no shredding!