I've trying to play out Delicate Dance (Electric guitar version) by Matthias Jabs (Scorpions). It's not a well known song, so there is no freaking tab in all of the vast internet. So I decided to try and figure the song by myself. It's a pretty hard instrumental, but I can't figure out THE FIRST FREAKING NOTE of it. I've trying playing ALL the notes in guitar and I almost think he's doing playback or something because that note doesn't exist in standard tuning, though another part of the song ACTUALLY IS in standard tuning. Am I tone deaf, is it too hard, or am I just stupid?

Note: I've been playing for 6 years by now, and have played even SRV and Van Halen, so I'm not a plain newbie on this.

1) you might not be able to figure it out because it is beyond your CURRENT skill level. (It also may be beyond your future skill level, but that's a different issue.)

2) it may be easier to figure out using the studio recording, which will probably be cleaner.

3) it will be easier to figure out if you can slow it down. There are devices that let you do this.

4) it will be easier to figure out if you can find recordings of the song with isolated parts. With everyone participating in the instrumental, you might be confusing notes played by other instruments for those by Matthias. Or their notes may obscure what he's doing.
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Well I got that one just by pausing it after the first couple of notes and then humming them back. The rest are pretty easy from there because it's a common arpeggio that has a pretty distinctive sound.

The more of a phrase you can comprehend/remember/sing, the better, but developing your ears is challenging and takes a while. I do quite a bit of learning by ear, and still sometimes take a minute to work out the first note of fast phrases. Being able to hear that interval is the idea, so that you can work backwards from a few notes into the phrase. Ideally you move beyond just guessing and checking individual notes, and to a point where you can hear a phrase, play it back in your head, and then figure it out on the instrument.

In terms of how you approach learning, you can also work from the other instruments. If you hear the bass is playing a certain note, and you can tell that the song is a major/minor key, that right there really narrows down your choices. Consider also the range - you can tell the first note in that video is not way up the neck, but pretty low in the guitar's range.
Last edited by cdgraves at Aug 9, 2016,
Quick listen ,,, he's playing a diminished 7th arpeggio pattern off G to start. Dim7 has an instantly recognisable sound flavour. Gdim7 and Bbdim7 are the same thing, and the next part is widdle in a mix off Bb minor and Bb minor blues. So, maybe he was thinkiing Bb all along? Hope this helps.

Do you have Guitar Pro 6? If so, send me a message, and I'll transcribe first bit for you ... won't take me long.

Try Transcribe from www.seventhstring.com
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 10, 2016,
If you have never learned anything by ear, I would maybe pick an easier song.

Also, it will be much easier to figure out from a good quality (studio) recording than from a live recording that was filmed on a crappy phone.

Before trying to find any notes on your guitar, try to memorize the sounds. Try to sing them. If you can sing them, it won't be difficult to find the notes on your guitar because you know the sounds you are looking for (I would say, don't try to find it before you know what you are looking for - so first know the sound, hear it in your head, sing it, whatever, then try finding it on your guitar). Slowing the video down also helps.

But yeah, I would start with something simpler if you are new to learning by ear. Learning by ear is a skill that you need to develop. Just because you are technically a good player doesn't mean that you automatically have a good ear. If all you do is learn songs from tabs, your ear will never develop (or it will develop really slowly) because you never really need to use it.

Another thing is learning theory. Being able to name sounds helps. If you can recognize that in the beginning he's playing a diminished arpeggio, that helps a lot. Even if you recognize that it's an arpeggio, that already helps. This way the notes aren't totally random and you don't need to guess every single note. When it comes to figuring out melodies, figuring out the key helps (well, knowledge of keys doesn't really help that much with diminished arpeggios because their tonal function can be pretty ambiguous, but when figuring out other melodies later in the song, that will help). And of course if you know the chords in the background, that also helps a lot (because the melody will have chord tones in it).

Remember that you can learn this song later. Start with something more simple - something that you can remember and can sing. Also, try to avoid too much trial and error. Be analytical. Does the melody go up or down? Is it stepwise motion? Are there leaps? Are the leaps big or small? Are there arpeggios in the melody? Is there repetition? Also, figure out the key (find the note that sounds like home - that's your tonic, then figure out whether it's in minor or major). This way you can limit your note choice to seven likely notes (of course many songs also use accidentals, but the notes in the key scale are more common) and this way you also have a reference pitch.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 10, 2016,