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Old 09-13-2017, 10:21 AM
KFP55 KFP55 is offline
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Default What's your process for learning new songs?

I tend to look at a few tabs first (ultimateguitar.com to start), then youtube - but I've been working on a few songs lately that either have incorrect/incomplete tabs and/or no generous people on youtube who have created a lesson. I'm pretty surprised since they're at least reasonably well known songs that are fun to play and relatively easy to cover (eg Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell etc). Many of the songs will have the chords but not the picking pattern on fingerstyle songs and I'm not good enough to make that leap yet.

So, just curious if there are other resources out there or services where you can pay for a video tutorial on songs? Or other ways you all learn new songs on your own?

Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:23 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is online now
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Probably not the answer you want, but for me, it's headphones and a pencil, and lots of listening.

When trying to figure out chords, I listen for the bass note first, then flesh out from there.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:23 AM
ChrisE ChrisE is offline
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Since I pretty much just play easy songs, I try to play along with the recording. If there's a tricky part I might try to find a tutorial on youtube.

Most of my time is spent memorizing lyrics, since, like I said, I pretty much only play easy songs.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:47 AM
troystory92 troystory92 is offline
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I mostly only learn songs that I love to listen to. So I know them pretty well before I set out to learn them. And sometimes I stumble onto them while jamming!

But, I play weddings and parties and at church, so sometimes I learn songs I don't love. Here is my process.

1. Listen to the song - don't take notes, don't over think it, just get the vibe

2. Look for a tabs/chord sheet, preferably with the lyrics (ultimate-guitar, google)

3. Listen to the song and follow along on the tab/chord sheet. Make notes about how many times things are played, how different parts are sung. Basically just get the overall structure.

4. Listen to the song and play/sing along with it at your comfort level.

5. Play the song by yourself. See what parts need work and repeat step 4.


Some songs are easy and I learn it completely by ear and have the lyrics memorized, others I spend alot of time on step 4. Gets easier the more ya do it.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:54 AM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
Probably not the answer you want, but for me, it's headphones and a pencil, and lots of listening.

When trying to figure out chords, I listen for the bass note first, then flesh out from there.
I'm with Jeff. I like to know the song and have an idea of what the guitar parts sound like.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:55 AM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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1.) I'll hear a song that I love that sounds like it's probably simple to play - not always true.
2.) I'll Google the song name and the word 'chords'.
3.) I'll keep clicking on links to chord sites until I find a relatively simple version - ie: chords I know.
4.) I take a 3x5 index card and write down the chord progression in black marker.
5.) I'll listen to the song over and over again, usually at work on headphones, to 'internalize' the song.
6.) I play it over and over on guitar until I've got it memorized.

I left out that I need to get the vocalists (wife) buy-in that she can/wants to sing it. We often pick songs out together.
Also part of that is that I'll capo it around to find a key she's comfortable in.

I don't try to play it exactly like the original artist. I play a simplified version to start and then sometimes go back and learn more intricate parts, usually intros.
Another thing I eventually do is to find a You Tube acoustic cover version I like. I then use that to come up with a temp since I practice with a metronome.

I write the tempo and the capo position on the note cards and the running set list on the computer.

I like 3, 4, or 5 chord songs because they can be learned in a day. Just learned Margaritaville in about an hour. That kind of thing.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
Probably not the answer you want, but for me, it's headphones and a pencil, and lots of listening.

When trying to figure out chords, I listen for the bass note first, then flesh out from there.
This is it for me as well. I might add that this is the way I've always done it, even when I was learning; I highly recommend it for everyone learning to play.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:38 AM
HodgdonExtreme HodgdonExtreme is offline
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I have just slightly more than zero musical talent. For me to learn a song it takes brute force.

There's no WAY I can listen to a song and figure it out. Even songs I love, and have listened to a million times require me to find some educational resources.

When I got started in the mid/late 1990s, the only resources were published books and an internet still in its infancy. Unfortunately, the band that inspired me to get started on the guitar was the Smashing Pumpkins that had an incredibly talented guitarist that loved making extremely complicated guitar parts - layered on top of each other. The published songbooks were WAY, WAY WAY over my head, and I quickly learned that internet tabs were usually junk.

20 years later, the resources are so much better. Youtube and Patreon are absolutely incredible tools for someone like to to learn how to play the guitar, plus the tabs are a lot better - I assume because they junk ones are downrated and eventually discarded?

I subscribe to the theory that (for musically talented people) you're better off learning the hard way "by ear" - that it develops your musicality (is that word?) than the easy way - having youtube show you how. However, I'm not musically talented and I'd never get off the ground without help.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:03 PM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is online now
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I just posted "If I Were A Carpenter" in "show and tell." Learned it yesterday, pretty easy.
Typically, I like to put my own signature on songs I like so...
... I got the chords and lyrics and then I went to work and transposed it from the key of G to D, better for my voice.
I used drop D and tuned my guitar down a half step to get a more "haunting" effect with this song... less folksy, I suppose. Check it out if you have a minute.
I almost never use You Tube to learn something unless I absolutely have to to save time.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:09 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HodgdonExtreme View Post
I have just slightly more than zero musical talent. For me to learn a song it takes brute force.

There's no WAY I can listen to a song and figure it out. Even songs I love, and have listened to a million times require me to find some educational resources.
.
I sure couldn't do it at first...only way to get better at it is to try it.

If you can sing it, you can find the notes on the instrument. Melody is a great clue to harmony.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:59 PM
leew3 leew3 is offline
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What is this 'learning new songs' idea you speak of ? I have this set list from 1973....
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  #12  
Old 09-13-2017, 02:49 PM
Mystery123 Mystery123 is offline
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I check online guitar tabs if available.
If not, I look for covers done by others in youtube to see what chords they are using.
Also, chordify and few others can show chords on youtube video songs.
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:00 PM
Tico Tico is offline
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I learn by ear.
First I figure out the key.
There are only 12 so if needed I just play the barre chord shape of the F and go up the neck.

After I have the key I determine the chord 'shape' the song is played in.
For instance the C shape sounds different from the D shape, which sounds different from the G shape.

After knowing the key, the shape tells me whether I need a capo to play that shape in that key.

Next, the chords.
Fortunately many songs are just I, IV and V, with one of their relative minors thrown in.
When it's more complicated I can sometimes 'feel' the chord; if not ...
Is the mystery chord major or minor?
Is it a standard triad of only 1 3 and 5, or is there 7th or 9th thrown in?

Listen, experiment, try chords.
Eventually you'll find it and the more you do this ear thing the better you get at it.
Obvious complicated music, like jazz, takes much more time and work to become proficient at figuring out by ear.

Rarely will I need to look up a chord.
Often when I do the morons on Youtube or those who write 'tabs' or chords show the wrong chord ...... even sources with high view counts.

Ear training is fast becoming a thing of the past.
I blame the Internet.
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tico View Post

Listen, experiment, try chords.

Ear training is fast becoming a thing of the past.
I blame the Internet
Tico's entire post should be required reading for all aspiring guitarists, with extra emphasis on his closing remark.

Adding to what he said and coordinating with what Mr. Beaumont said, on the subject of finding a chord: Start with the bass note and the note that the vocalist sings (or melody note) at that point. Try all the major, minor, 7th or minor 7th chords that contain those two notes. Odds are, one of them will be the chord you need.
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Old 09-14-2017, 03:21 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KFP55 View Post
Many of the songs will have the chords but not the picking pattern on fingerstyle songs and I'm not good enough to make that leap yet.

So, just curious if there are other resources out there or services where you can pay for a video tutorial on songs? Or other ways you all learn new songs on your own?
This is what you need: https://www.seventhstring.com/

Don't let anyone tell you it's cheating - you're still using your ear, and anyway who cares? You need to learn the song!

When I began in this game (51 years ago) - before the internet!! before computers!!! before tab even!!!! - I was lucky enough to have access to an open reel tape deck with two speeds. I could play a recording back at half-speed - an octave lower of course, but that was OK. That machine was clunky and expensive - and that was all it could do. Now cheap software slows down any amount you like without changing the pitch, and does way more too. (Transcribe is free for a month anyway, you can't lose.)

I probably use Transcribe at least twice a day, often just for checking short excerpts of songs. Normally - because my ear is way better now than 50 years ago - I can guess pretty well by ear without it, but I like to be sure.

I do still sometimes check net tab, e.g., if a song seems to be in an unusual tuning I can't work out, or if I want an initial sketch of the approximate chords that I can then confirm for myself. It does happen that I find net tab that's more accurate than I can get it, but it's pretty rare. (If you're a fan of Dylan, Joni Mitchell or Nick Drake, then there are dedicated sites with very good tab.)
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