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Old 12-10-2012, 10:36 AM
Mtn Man Mtn Man is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 832

Here’s the method we use to learn a new song, by ear, with the intention of creating our own arrangement:
  1. Learn the chords.
  2. Figure out the basic melody. Often this is nestled within the chord shapes.
The next step would be to use the framework of the basic chords and melody to add your own embellishments, substitutions, etc. to come up with your own arrangement. But we won’t worry about that for now.

In your case, you’re working on developing basslines. Here’s what I’d recommend. Every day, as part of your daily practice, make it a point to listen to some recorded music (whatever style you enjoy) and use the above to figure out what they’re doing. The only difference is, you’ll add another step, so it looks like this:
  1. Figure out the bassline.
  2. Learn the chords.
  3. Figure out the basic melody.
If you do this every day, you’ll eventually start to develop an intuitive feel for how the chords, the bassline, and the melody relate to one another. Writing it down helps too, as does reading about it (like you are now), but sometimes you just have to hear it, and feel it, before it really makes sense to you. This will help you when arranging your own music. Also, there's no shortcut when it comes to understanding this stuff, so don't get frustrated if it takes a while.
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