#1
hey guys i've been playing bass for a couple months now and i cant seem to find tabs for any of the songs i want to learn so i was wondering if you could give me any tips or cds/programs that could help me better learn songs by ear
#2
Start with something really simple such as a pop song - anything really with a nice well defined repeating bass line. Apart from that, the rest will come over time as you play more often...


You lay me down as I go to the store
Sorrow ate me, I'm not me anymore
Play these heavens one more time
I'm not yours and I'm not mine


When you hear music after it's over, it's gone in the air.
You can never capture it again.


#3
pfftt... sry buddy but i can guarantee that at a couple months of playing you wont even be able to attempt at playing by ear. like i can almost guarantee your bass is out of tune right now. haha
Gear:

2007 Fender Highway 1 Stratocaster (MIA)

Mesa Boogie Express 5:25

Yamaha Acoustic

Member of the Eric Johnson Worshippers Club.
#4
this is the bass forum...not guitar forum...please go be a dick over there, ya?
spaghetti-etti-etti
you fill me up with you carbohydrates
and energize me with simple sugars <3
#5
i feel bad now. haha. im not trying to put you down or anything but at three months of playing everyone is like that.
Gear:

2007 Fender Highway 1 Stratocaster (MIA)

Mesa Boogie Express 5:25

Yamaha Acoustic

Member of the Eric Johnson Worshippers Club.
#6
Ignore the guy above; there is absolutely no harm in trying to get a song down by ear.

As a matter of interest, what are the songs you're interested in?


You lay me down as I go to the store
Sorrow ate me, I'm not me anymore
Play these heavens one more time
I'm not yours and I'm not mine


When you hear music after it's over, it's gone in the air.
You can never capture it again.


#7
Try singing the notes out loud even if your voice sucks it might help you remember the sound of the notes better.
Referring to Victor Wooten
Quote by Nutter_101
"Wa wa wa English is my first language, music is my second blah blah blah wank wank wank I rule, love me suck my dick."

That's all I heard in that entire interview.

My Band:
http://www.myspace.com/closedfortonight
#9
go try Stan by Eminem
Good song, pretty basic bassline, well defined

Not that hard to figure out
Quote by cakeandpiemofo
Quote by tuwyci
why are metal musicians prone to fatness?
Cause there music is heavy.


Writing music is hard D:
#10
Quote by AmpleSteak
Try singing the notes out loud even if your voice sucks it might help you remember the sound of the notes better.


This is excellent advice, btw. The most accurate instrument you won is your own voice.

This is where scale work and arpeggio work also help quite a bit. By practicing the patterns and intervals in both of these, you start to hear natural progression of notes and can easily pick out chord progressions and transitions between notes.

Quote by strat_7
pfftt... sry buddy but i can guarantee that at a couple months of playing you wont even be able to attempt at playing by ear. like i can almost guarantee your bass is out of tune right now. haha


And you are warned.
#11
I don't know what to tell you here bro. I've always been able to learn stuff by ear. It's kind of a natural talent for me, it's pretty sweet, I must say.
//Overture

"You don't learn funk, the funk learns you.."
#12
Since you're not a great player yet, there is a few things you can do.

Most of the bass lines you hear come from major, minor or pentatonic scales. Or they just use arpeggios following the guitar line (usually the other way around ). So learn these scales.

Also, look at the guitar tabs/chord of the song you are learning because i would say most songs, the guitar and bass are in "harmony," im using that term really losely. They are a few bands that wont do this but most of your rock songs will.
'85 Fender Reissue '75 Jazz Bass ---> Ashdown MAG300h
Schecter C/SH-1 ---> Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
#13
Quote by strat_7
pfftt... sry buddy but i can guarantee that at a couple months of playing you wont even be able to attempt at playing by ear. like i can almost guarantee your bass is out of tune right now. haha


Are you kidding?

I was learning songs by ear and improvising over the progressions after 3 months (granted, mostly Blink 182).

It's all about dedication. Learn simple stuff. Even if at first you're just picking out all the root notes of the chords and playing them. Eventually if you do learn your major/minor/pentatonic, you will pick up on things you hadn't noticed before.

It's always good to go back and listen to a song a few weeks after you learn it, and I guarantee at your level you'll find more stuff that you couldn't hear before.

I always took a sense of satisfaction in that because it showed me that my ear was developing.
#14
Start playing a single note when the bass starts, then by trial and error from that note, tab the bassline. Easy enough.
#15
Quote by AmpleSteak
Try singing the notes out loud even if your voice sucks it might help you remember the sound of the notes better.

This.

Sing the note and keep moving around until you find the note on your bass. This is obviously going to take a little while. However, you'll eventually start to figure out what different degrees of a scale sound like. (If I say, for example, the third degree of a scale, it just means the third note of that scale).

Here's a little lesson for you.

Perfect Fourth
G-----
D-----
A----0
E-0---

Are you familiar with the major and minor scales? If not, go read about them in the music theory FAQ thread in the Musician Talk forum.

A perfect fourth is formed by playing the first note of a major or minor scale followed by the fourth note of the scale. It's called a "perfect" fourth because by itself, it is neither major nor minor. This is because the fourth note of, say, A major is the same as the fourth note of A minor.

The perfect fourth is a very consonant interval. If you haven't heard the term "consonant" before, it is the opposite of "dissonant". If we play the fourth degree, we don't really feel so compelled to go back to the first degree of the scale. If that doesn't make much sense right now, it probably will after you hear some of the other intervals.

Let's look at the example. I play an E followed by an A. Since the first note I play is an E, that means (most of the time) that we are playing in the key of E.

If we form our E major scale, which is formed by going up Whole step (2 notes/frets), Whole step, Half step (1 note/fret), Whole step, Whole step, Whole step, Half step from E, we get this:

E F# G# A B C# D# E

In tab, if we played it on one string, this would be:

G------------------------
D------------------------
A------------------------
E-0-2-4-5-7-9-11-12

The fourth note of the E major scale, as you can see, is an A.

Let's look at the E minor scale quick. Remember that the minor scale is just the major scale with the 3rd, 6th, and 7th degrees "flatted"- that means brought down one note.

E F# G A B C D E

Sure enough, the fourth note of that is also an A.

Perfect Fifth
G-----
D-----
A----2
E-0---

All the same logic applies here. In this example, I play an E followed by a B.

Let's look at our scales again.

E major:
E F# G# A B C# D# E

E minor:
E F# G A B C D E

The fifth note of both the major and minor scales is B... so we have a perfect fifth.

Let's see another example of a perfect fifth.

G-----
D-----
A-0---
E----0

I'm playing an A followed by an E. I start on A, so we can assume that we are in the key of A. If you look at the A minor and A major scales, you'll see that the fifth note is an E.

You'll notice the same patters always apply all around the fretboard. If we find the "tonic" (the note of the key we're playing in- like, if we're in E major, the tonic is E) anywhere on the fretboard, then play two frets higher on the adjacent higher string, we have our perfect fifth. We also have a perfect fifth if we play the same fret on the adjacent lower string.

For example........

G---------5
D-3--------
A-----3----
E-----------

I play an F, then two C's. C is the perfect fifth of F.

You can find these patterns for any interval. Try finding the patterns for perfect fourths yourself.

The perfect fifth is a dissonant interval. Get your bass and play any note, then play its perfect fifth. You'll be waiting to hear the tonic (the first note you played) again. That's what dissonant notes do.

Major Third
G-----
D-----
A-----
E-0-4

As always, the same logic applies. This example is in E, since I start on an E note.

E major:
E F# G# A B C# D# E

E minor:
E F# G A B C D E

The third note of E major is a G#. The third note of E minor is NOT G#. Therefore, we have a major third.

Try finding the patterns for this yourself.

This is a more consonant interval than the fifth, but more dissonant than the fourth. Play it yourself to get an idea of what it sounds like.


There are lots of other intervals too... What about all the other notes of the major and minor scales? What about notes that are outside of the major and minor scales?

Minor Second- This might seem a bit confusing. A minor second is the same as a half step- it's one note higher than the tonic. If we look at the minor scale, we'll notice that the second note is a whole step, not a half step, higher than the tonic. So why is this called a minor second? Well, there's really nothing else that it could be called. It works when you're playing in a minor key, even though it's not actually part of the scale.

Major Second- A major second is a whole step. After reading about the minor second, this will probably make sense. It's the second note of a major scale, and coincidentally also the second note of a minor scale. However, we don't call it a "perfect second", since there's also a minor second. It's confusing, I know.

What about a major sixth? A minor seventh? Figure them out for yourself- you now know enough to do so.


Diminished Fifth- This just means the fifth note of the diminished scale. It is not found in the major or minor scales. We see it in the blues scale, though. It creates a very dissonant sound, and you usually want to play a more consonant note after it, like a perfect fifth or perfect fourth.


What's that you said? You wanted to learn to play by ear, not learn about intervals? Well, I think that intervals are the key to playing by ear.

Every song you hear is in a certain key (although there are some crazy classical guys who figured out how to play a song that is not in any key). Of course, in a few songs, the artist does change keys, so keep that in mind. To figure out what key a particular song is in, listen to the first note that's played. You can just move around on your bass until you find it. Eventually, you will be able to hear what key a song is in just by listening to it, but I don't know any way to make that easier.

Now, each of the intervals I explained today has a unique sound. If you are familiar with what each of these intervals sounds like, you will be able to hear it in a song. If a song is in, say, E major, you will be able to hear when a perfect fifth is played. Then, you can figure out that the perfect fifth is B, and play that note on your bass.

Start by listening to simple songs. Try listening to songs where the guitar plays primarily chords. You can read about forming chords yourself elsewhere. Regardless of whether or not you know how to form them, the chord of a particular degree will make the interval it is from the tonic a lot easier to hear.

Practice playing these intervals on your bass. Listen to the sound that it makes, and think of how some intervals lead back to the tonic more than others do (in this case, particularly the perfect 5th and major 7th). Getting familiar with the sound that these intervals makes is the key to playing by ear. If you know what interval you're hearing, you can play it yourself.

If you have any questions, just ask... I'm sure plenty of people here will be able to help you.
Last edited by iimjpii at Jun 28, 2008,
#16
That was quite the lesson. If it helps, the first song that I tabbed out was Big Country by the flecktones, nice, simple, well-defined bass line. The real reason that I tabbed it out was because I could find tabs for it anywhere.
Last.fm

Fender Deluxe Players Strat > Big Muff > LPB-1 > Moog Ring Mod > MXR Dynacomp > MXR Phase 90 '74 > Fender Hot Rod 410 (soon)