#1
I struggle with learning long instrumental pieces of music, this goes for solos too. I really want to learn Eric Johnson's Cliffs of Dover but aside from the main melody I have trouble remembering how to play parts that do not repeat. Any tips for this? I usually sightread stuff from a guitar pro file but at higher tempos that doesn't work as it moves too fast.
Quote by Charles Ives
Stand up and take your dissonance like a man. I don't write music for sissy ears.

Quote by Béla Bartók
Competitions are for horses, not artists.
#2
For learning anything, at least in my opinion, you need to make sure that you know it in your head before you try and play it.  That doesn't necessarily mean being able to sing every single note of it along to the original, but you need to have it in your head before you can properly learn it.  Or maybe it isn't necessary, but in my opinion, and experience, it makes everything much easier.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#3
Zaphod_Beeblebr Can't agree with this more. Especially something like Cliffs of Dover. If you don't know every lick in its appropriate order in your head it's going to be tough.
From my experience learning technical instrumental pieces in the past i find if the piece of music is beyond your ability and the licks are too fast for you to comprehend then it also makes it a lot harder to remember. Perhaps the reasoning is you're so focused on getting the speed right that subconsciously you can't think ahead for the next notes etc. Who knows. This is just something I find has happened to me in the past.
#4
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
For learning anything, at least in my opinion, you need to make sure that you know it in your head before you try and play it.  That doesn't necessarily mean being able to sing every single note of it along to the original, but you need to have it in your head before you can properly learn it.  Or maybe it isn't necessary, but in my opinion, and experience, it makes everything much easier.

Agreed. The problem is that instrumentals are generally harder to internalise  - don't underestimate the role that vocals play in helping us remember which bit of the song we're up to. Good instrumentals do generally have a melody line that takes on the role of the vocals, but for repeated parts like verses or choruses the "words" are going to be the same for each bit so it's not so easy to distinguish.

vayne92 is right too, in that as a general rule of thumb you can't play faster than you can think. If your ear and brain can't easily distinguish and identify the sounds you're hearing you've got  zero chance of being able to reproduce them - this is where the age-old method of slowing a song down when you listen to it can't be bettered.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#5
Listen closely, practice slowly.

Also break down the music into sections and learn them one at a time. "Cliffs" has a pretty straightforward structure and a very lyrical melody, so I think some focused listening with a notepad will help you sort this out.

For your own sanity, I'd recommend learning the song before tackling the intro. That intro is challenging for almost anybody, but the rest of the song is very doable.
#6
Quote by DissonantTimbre
I struggle with learning long instrumental pieces of music, this goes for solos too. I really want to learn Eric Johnson's Cliffs of Dover but aside from the main melody I have trouble remembering how to play parts that do not repeat. Any tips for this? I usually sightread stuff from a guitar pro file but at higher tempos that doesn't work as it moves too fast.

Stop using sheet music for a while. Rock guitar has no place for it!

Start working your memory and your ear.   It will get better over time, but you need to work those muscles. 

If you can't sing something in your head from memory, then you don't know it and you certainly won't be able to play it effectively.

Use software to slow down the faster sections so you can hear the notes and phrasing.
Last edited by reverb66 at Jun 15, 2017,
#7
Quote by cdgraves

For your own sanity, I'd recommend learning the song before tackling the intro. That intro is challenging for almost anybody, but the rest of the song is very doable.


i'd say more like "relatively doable" compared to the intro, lol. that chorus bit is pretty challenging. and there are probably a few bits of fast lead in parts as well later in the song.
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?
#8
Everyone else here offered some really solid advice!

When learning a new song, regardless of what instrument you play or skill level, the absolute best thing to do is to get the song into your head. You will need to listen to it numerous times so you'll be able to "sing" it back to yourself (whether mentally or actually). Sightreading is a good ability to have, but that's usually a supplement to retaining songs or "faking" your way through a jazz tune or something that you may not be familiar with. However, when it comes to really learning and studying a tune, you will need to get it in your head.

As you mentioned, and what someone else suggested, learn the main "repeating" sections of the song since it has a solid structure for you start playing AND retaining it. With that famous intro solo, listen to and internalize it before learning to play it. Best of luck!
Skip the username, call me Billy
#9
Quote by steven seagull
Agreed. The problem is that instrumentals are generally harder to internalise.


I've never had much of a problem doing that; probably because I started out playing classical music on a pipe organ.
But I had a cheat -- sheet music. I eventually memorized the music and could do it without the sheet music, but I played so many things from sheets and scores and the like, that it got to be second nature. There are MIDI gizmos that will *create* scores for you -- might be worth it to find someone who has that stuff and can print out some of those songs.
#10
A little less obvious but - assuming you haven't already done so - I'd recommend learning music theory. Understanding *what* it is that we are playing and seeing the context brings meaning to the whole piece of music, rather than it just being a series of anonymous notes.
#11
You need to know what we used to call "how does it go?"

You: There is this song I like.

Me: How does it go?

You: Well, it has an intro, then two verses, the second taking a different ending, then a bridge, then two more verses and an ending.

Me: OK, but how does it go?

You: Well, it's in C minor and each verse uses two bVI9 to V#9 slides with a IV7b13.a used before the second slide.

Me: So how does it go?
You: Oh, and the bridge modulates to Ab, then G, then back to Ab before returning to C minor!


etc... until you start singing the tune! Because that is how it goes, and how you know when you know how it goes.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
Last edited by PlusPaul at Jun 17, 2017,