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Evolution of learning a song


uncle fester
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Just rambling, but was playing Scuttlebuttin' by SRV, and feel I got it to the next level which got me into the stages of learning a song

  1. learn the basic song start to finish, guitar and singing
  2. practice practice practice till it sounds good at low / acoustic volume
  3. amplify, identify the bugs and smooth out again
  4. record it, listen back, identify the rest of the messy stuff and smooth out
  5. record it again and sit back satisfied that I am performance ready.

 

I find some songs I can go through the process in a couple weeks, but then something like scuttle buttin' i've been working on for 4 years - but feel I reached the point to where it's good amplified, with the next step to record it an listen back.  This step scares me because the recording never sounds as good as I do in my head...  and so it goes.  Might be another year or two before I'm ready to perform, but I see progress...

Anybody else follow any processes to learn a song?

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If you are doing SRV most of the load is on you, not your average Blues player. Getting it down will take a lot of familiarity with SRV technique. I have been learning Eddies "Ain't Talkin Bout Love" since it came out and still finding things I missed.. Good luck... You might enjoy this Yana clip as her hands are visible through the whole song...

I'm not sure how accurate she is, but it sounds like she on the right track.. 

Edited by mihcmac
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2 hours ago, mihcmac said:

If you are doing SRV most of the load is on you, not your average Blues player. Getting it down will take a lot of familiarity with SRV technique. I have been learning Eddies "Ain't Talkin Bout Love" since it came out and still finding things I missed.. Good luck... You might enjoy this Yana clip as her hands are visible through the whole song...

I'm not sure how accurate she is, but it sounds like she on the right track.. 

I've watched that one from Yana several times...  I like Yana 🙂 .  Below is the one I watch most.  Just listened again and for the record, I go at about a 3rd of the speed...

 

 

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47 minutes ago, billroy fineman said:

I've watched that one from Yana several times...  I like Yana 🙂 .  Below is the one I watch most.  Just listened again and for the record, I go at about a 3rd of the speed...

I think they are both maybe a little hyper, I enjoyed hearing them both.. 

Speed isn't everything, an old blues player, on a hotel circuit, told me the most important part of the song is the space between the notes.

I think your outline is on the right track for really nailing it. If you are able to put Stevies dynamics in you got it workin..

 

Edited by mihcmac
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I humbly suggest watching and learning from the composer himself where and when possible...

I think you'll find that, while both of these ladies do a fine job, they both miss the point. The point being that Stevie himself doesn't play it exactly like the record. He plays the "head" and then improvises most of the rest. That's because he is playing and not rendering the piece. It's important to learn the licks but, it's just as important to remember to play. Rendering is not art, it is reproduction. Also, to paraphrase Coleman Hawkins, " If you hear someone playing and they're not making some mistakes, they aren't trying hard enough." Don't be afraid to make mistakes...even the greatest players do. We might not hear them but, I assure you, they do! As always, my friends,...Stand and Deliver!

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When I learn a song, the first thing I do is figure out what the underlying chord progression is. If it's just a riff song I still try to relate the riff to chords. That way I know basically what key it's in and that makes it much easier for me to work out leads or fills. I rarely attempt to get things note-for-note or get every technique of the recording .  I mainly go for the feel or spirit of the song. Or in some cases try to come up  with my own arrangement.   

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8 hours ago, G Mac said:

I humbly suggest watching and learning from the composer himself where and when possible...

I go back to Stevie always...  hard to see what he's doing alot of times, the two vids of the women above gave me a foundation to start with.  When I can get the basic framework under control...  which took me forever on this song, I then look back to the originals and start to pick of other items.  Again in this case, every time I look there's another little thing to add.

Having said that, I don't try to duplicate the originals exactly (I know I don't have the chops to be Steview).  But get close enough to evolve it to something I feel is a good smooth playing song to listen to with maybe a little bit of billroy flair

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5 hours ago, saturn said:

When I learn a song, the first thing I do is figure out what the underlying chord progression is. If it's just a riff song I still try to relate the riff to chords. That way I know basically what key it's in and that makes it much easier for me to work out leads or fills. 

 

Been pondering this thought for the last 20 minutes, and I'm struggling with a finger picking version of Eleanor Rigby...  I got the first two parts down, but the 3rd part 'ohhhh, where have all the lonely people gone' is stumping me  - think I'll do the chord thing this weekend and at least see if I can make it end to end on the song.    seems like such an obvious thing, but I seem to miss the obvious a lot,  but appreciate the tip!

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7 hours ago, billroy fineman said:

 

Been pondering this thought for the last 20 minutes, and I'm struggling with a finger picking version of Eleanor Rigby...  I got the first two parts down, but the 3rd part 'ohhhh, where have all the lonely people gone' is stumping me  - think I'll do the chord thing this weekend and at least see if I can make it end to end on the song.    seems like such an obvious thing, but I seem to miss the obvious a lot,  but appreciate the tip!

If it was me, I'd first try just strumming along to the part. figure out if he's adding Sus notes or something like that. Or maybe he's playing an inversion or playing it somewhere different on the neck which might lend itself to certain hammer ons or pull offs. Once I know the basic chords and positions it makes it easier to then figure out techniques. 

Just my way. Others might prefer another method.

Oh. and BTW. I was just watching a Rick Beato video where he was talking about the Dorian mode.  Apparently it's used in Eleanor Rigby. 😎

Edited by saturn
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20 hours ago, mihcmac said:

I think they are both maybe a little hyper, I enjoyed hearing them both.. 

Speed isn't everything, an old blues player, on a hotel circuit, told me the most important part of the song is the space between the notes.

I think your outline is on the right track for really nailing it. If you are able to put Stevies dynamics in you got it workin..

 

 

13 hours ago, saturn said:

When I learn a song, the first thing I do is figure out what the underlying chord progression is. If it's just a riff song I still try to relate the riff to chords. That way I know basically what key it's in and that makes it much easier for me to work out leads or fills. I rarely attempt to get things note-for-note or get every technique of the recording .  I mainly go for the feel or spirit of the song. Or in some cases try to come up  with my own arrangement.   

 

over the years I've told my guitar students that the only thing harder than learning how to play fast is learning how to play slow. and that you don't need to fill every space with a note. let the song breathe ...

like Saturn, I don't worry about learning something note for note like a carbon copy. some tunes need to have specific licks & telltale riffs, but after that I just play. 

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1 hour ago, Karloff said:

over the years I've told my guitar students that the only thing harder than learning how to play fast is learning how to play slow. and that you don't need to fill every space with a note. let the song breathe ...

like Saturn, I don't worry about learning something note for note like a carbon copy. some tunes need to have specific licks & telltale riffs, but after that I just play. 

 

I think capturing the spirit of the song is more important than nailing it exactly. Some of the things I play I have been playing for so long that additional pieces fall into place, like jamming a song, by accident something happens and oh thats what they did. Most of my energy has been directed at developing improv, probably from my early Blues background, influenced by Jimmy Reed or Delta Blues style..

Edited by mihcmac
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