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Old 12-31-2018, 09:49 AM
joemcg joemcg is offline
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Default Do you Play Along with songs?

Trying to get back up to speed with guitar. For day to day pleasure Iím a finger picker, And there I can follow along with various lessons (ie. Muriel Anderson on Trufire.)

However, Iíd also like to get up to speed chording to be able to join a jam. Iím figuring the way to do that is to start trying to play along with songs, either from some of my favorite CD or iTunes. Does that make sense? Also how to determine the key the song is being played in, thatís still a mystery!
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:23 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joemcg View Post
Trying to get back up to speed with guitar. For day to day pleasure I’m a finger picker, And there I can follow along with various lessons (ie. Muriel Anderson on Trufire.)

However, I’d also like to get up to speed chording to be able to join a jam. I’m figuring the way to do that is to start trying to play along with songs, either from some of my favorite CD or iTunes. Does that make sense? Also how to determine the key the song is being played in, that’s still a mystery!
Going backwards:

How do you determine the key? Those with better ears than I will hear the key and even the individual chords and recognize them. Those with just a little less ability and practice in this might still recognize a chord and start to figure out the rest starting by using knowledge of common chord progressions. And you can test you estimate of a chord by playing along and seeing if it sounds right or clashes. These are all skills of transposing music, which has other applications as well (like understanding compositional choices). Oh, and advanced topics: you might want to try playing other voicings than the recording's rhythm player. In jams with more than two guitar players, it often helps if you aren't all playing exactly the same voicing. You can practice that by intentionally complementing the recorded part instead of duplicating it.

There are apps and web sites that attempt to do this chord estimating using computer power. They sorta work, and if your ear is as bad as mine they can get you started. I use an app for MacOS (and probably IOS, though I haven't checked) called Capo.

For single note/melody playing ("lead guitar" or bass) things are simpler, which may be why my ear is less developed. I just guess a key, start playing and when it doesn't sound "right" make a new guess until I hit on a key center that doesn't sound bad. If the song doesn't modulate to a new key (or do that often), you I can often adapt before the song is too far along. In actual jam situations, I'll often cheat and watch the guitar chord player's hands and figure out what chords they're playing. Of course, this doesn't work with audio recordings (though sometimes you can that in videos). If you know a capo or alternate tuning isn't used, you can take into account that some keys are just more often used by guitar players: C A G E D.

As to the value of this method to prepare for a jam. Yes it has value, but beware that if you're trying to learn chord voicings and how to change them cleanly and rapidly that most teachers say it's important to practice slow and get things right before increasing to full tempo. For myself, who didn't always follow that advice, sloppy playing can result.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:04 PM
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Blueser100 Blueser100 is offline
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Default Do you Play Along with songs?

I enjoy playing along with songs Iím trying to learn. I have a pretty good ear and can usually figure out the key and chords if itís not too obscure. I can usually play along easily at jams to unfamiliar tunes though it helps to see the hands of the other players to get the chords and voicings.

I will however use tab once or twice on a tune to get going and then I try to work from memory.

Back in the day if you wanted to learn a tune you had to have someone teach it to you or you tried to figure it out from a recording. Some people prefer to learn that way even now, eschewing such aids as tablature, standard notation, you tube, etc.
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Old 12-31-2018, 03:41 PM
Kerry Brown Kerry Brown is offline
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I like to put on the blues audio channel on my cable box and try to play along strumming chords. Most blues songs are pretty easy to figure out once you determine the key. I find that the random nature of this really helps with ear training.
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Old 12-31-2018, 03:45 PM
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Playing along with recorded tunes is fun and productive. Recommend you consider Amazing Slow Downer app for Mac/IOS or PC. You can speed up/slow down, change pitch, and isolate/loop any song you import into the app. One of my most used tools.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:47 PM
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There was a time many years ago before the internet and YouTube that us oldsters had to do this as a mean of learning songs.

I literally couldn't buy a blues CD without trying to learn every song on the albums. It actually ruined my enjoyment of listening to blues. I could not play a CD without grabbing a guitar and playing along.

I started buying Metal and Jazz music so I could resist the urge to do this.
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:12 AM
Standicz Standicz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joemcg View Post
Also how to determine the key the song is being played in, that’s still a mystery!
A rule of thumb many musicians use: the key is usualy the same as the last chord, the chord the song ends with. While many songs start with a different chord than the tonic (the "basic" chord of the key) they usualy end with the tonic.

So if a song starts with a chord G but the last chord is C, the song is most likely in C. C is our I. chord (tonic), G is the V. chord (dominant). Last one of these basic chords is the IV. (subdominant) which would be F in the key of C. I can't overstress the importance of these three chords.

Most songs dance around these three basic pillars, they are virtually in allmost every song, and the harmony usually wants to go back to the first one, the tonic, because it does not feel right if it does not, while it might start somewhere else to make things interesting.

Most songs start with the tonic anyhow.

Last edited by Standicz; 01-01-2019 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:52 AM
RodB RodB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny K View Post
There was a time many years ago before the internet and YouTube that us oldsters had to do this as a mean of learning songs...........
This is how I learned to play. I also learned to tune quickly, as many recordings were not spot on!

I learned the tunes, and also got a sense of how the original artist expressed the music, their phrasing, just by mimicking what i heard. It also helped develop an Ďearí to anticipate the intervals between notes.

I would go as far as say that had I not done this, I might not have stuck at the learning process.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:26 AM
ridethewind ridethewind is offline
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Yes, and sing along if I know the words/melody. For me, thatís part of the fun. I get to participate.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:19 PM
rwmct rwmct is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
Playing along with recorded tunes is fun and productive. Recommend you consider Amazing Slow Downer app for Mac/IOS or PC. You can speed up/slow down, change pitch, and isolate/loop any song you import into the app. One of my most used tools.
The version of windows media player I have has a slow downer built into it. I don't know if it works on cds, but if the song is on youtube, I save it to the computer, play it with windows media, and slow it down.

I can't quite keep up at tempo with a lot of songs I like.

In the windows media I have, you open a video in windows media, right click on the screen, hover the cursor over "enhancements" and look for "play speed settings."

Last edited by rwmct; 01-01-2019 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:43 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Hi Joe,

I play along with recorded songs, mostly to assure myself that I have come up with the right chords and voicings. Sometimes I find arrangements on the Internet, such as ultimateguitar.com, and most of those need adjustments. Almost invariably some of the chords are wrong based on the original recording. If I play with the original recording, then I can hear what's wrong and fix it.

I usually play with songs on YouTube just because it's faster to find the music I want. I check out just about everything I do with the original recording so that I know where I stand.

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Old 01-01-2019, 09:14 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is online now
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That's usually how I pick up a new tune, by playing along. I can still sight-read well, but most of the songs I'm learning are relatively obscure and are hard to find anywhere, let alone in published sheet music.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:10 PM
CaptRedbeard CaptRedbeard is offline
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When I first started playing guitar, one of the ways to learn a song was to wear out a record playing along with it. We could change the key to fit who was singing it or use a capo to adjust the pitch. To this day I listen and play along with songs to get the timing and word placement right. There are many sites that will provide the words and basic chords, yet the chord placement is often off or wrong so you have to listen closely to the version that made it famous.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:24 PM
saxonblue saxonblue is offline
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Up to a point it definitely makes sense if trying to learn a song. Then I'll tend to finetune it over a fair period of time on my own. This sometimes leads me to inadvertently or even deliberately altering a few things here & there. Not a bad thing anyway, puts your own flavour to a cover.

I'm also from the old school where I would be repeatedly dropping the needle on the vinyl for the harder bits lol. Youtube has made it so much easier & in many cases you can see as well as hear what the artist is doing with the guitar which is a bonus.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:52 PM
Red Dog Red Dog is offline
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I learned a little trick many years ago about finding the key of a song I'm listening to or trying to play along with that's come in handy for me on hundreds of occasions such as jam sessions, playing along with recorded music and even picking up on the key of "Happy Birthday" at cake cutting time.

It goes like this:
Listen along...with guitar in hand...until a verse, chorus or even an instrumental song "resolves" to the last note. Find the corresponding note on the high E string. That note is (almost) invariably the key signature of the song.

For instance, if the last note resolves to the note on the 1st string, 5th fret, the song is in the key of A (could be Am).

At that point, you can either go back to the A shape in the 1st position, or as I do, just start off with an E shape bar chord on the 5th fret and you're off to the races.

If you're unclear about the meaning of "resolve", or which note is found on which fret of the high E string, I'll leave it up to you to do a little research.

Hope this works for you.
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