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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

what's the hardest tune you've learned?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ndcaster, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    I'd be interested in seeing how you went about this.
     

  2. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    I love that song!

    Hey, for real, here is a toughie: I Feel Fine.
     
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  3. Snowbird

    Snowbird Tele-Meister

    260
    Jul 24, 2014
    Western United States
    That’s hilarious because it just about perfectly describes me too. I first started about 24 years ago and there was no way I could play those fast runs at the time. Then, about 6 years ago, I saw a YouTube video explaining Eric’s economy picking technique and I was suddenly able to start to get close to nailing some of those line (the Troy Grady videos hadn’t come out yet, but they offer the most comprehensive overview of the technique). So, off and on I’ve practiced the song for a couple of years and it’s been a challenge, to say the least.

    Like you, this has been a goal of mine for a long time.
     

  4. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    I've been working on 'Home' by Allan Holdsworth for about a six weeks now. It's slow going. I get a little chunk and memorize it almost immediately, but it takes a week or more for my hands and muscle memory to adapt to some of those stretches or unusual shapes.

    I should probably have the tune down by February or March I suppose.
     

  5. Snowbird

    Snowbird Tele-Meister

    260
    Jul 24, 2014
    Western United States
    That’s awesome - I love that tune. I’m not sure I can physically make some of those chords. Ive always been a little hesitant to try a Holdsworth piece, but I don’t know why as Alan‘s music has brought me a lot of joy (or the fact that I know I’m probably not up to the task!). I should try one, if only to gain that much more respect for his genius.
     

  6. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    Yeah, I love his chord melodies. I love his playing in general, but his chord melodies are really special. Wish he'd done more of those types of tunes.

    I wasn't sure I could physically handle those chords, and still am not. I can only play what I've learned with the guitar in sitting position. I tried playing it the other night, just to warm up before first set, with the the guitar strapped on in upright playing position. Geez, forget about it.

    I'm still undaunted though. It's the love I have for that tune, and how warm I feel inside when hearing it that keeps me motivated.
     
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  7. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    69
    Aug 8, 2007
    Norfolk UK
    Sing the song first in a suitable key to suit voice .Almost blue I found hard to learn .Then I sit down and start matching chords to voice by ear .It seems to work out but I never know the name of many chords I use.I just invent them to fit .I sometimes use the RealBook but often they dont seem to match my ear .Its all a bit weird but works .A lot of jazz chords I cant play anyway as my hands are too small so many are 4 string versions .After a while you get to know progressions and certain patterns.I tell friends its like musical diarrhea .Once I start it all falls into place ...just.
    This is no help to anyone.Not even me .
     

  8. hemingway

    hemingway Friend of Leo's

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    The hardest tune I've learned is always the latest one I'm learning. I remember struggling for an eternity with the Bohemian Rhapsody solos, now I play them in my sleep.

    Now I'm learning a lot of stuff from the 00s, not my era at all. It's pretty simply, but it's new to me and it's a struggle.

    I just find new stuff hard. Always. Even when it's easy.
     

  9. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Meister

    184
    Oct 2, 2017
    Luton UK
    Hi Snowbird! I like that song as well although i have never tried to learn it. Shawn use to mention about using his fingers to pick certain notes on hard parts also, for me i could never do this i prefer the Paul Gilbert way of jumping with the pick.

    But yes thats what i do just work out the best way to pick a lick for your style, and also record it to see how it sounds of course, also with Shawn he use to show many ways of doing the same thing in some cases he was never narrow minded about style, and also liked most types of music to learn from.

    I will run the tab through on that song later just out of interest, also with fast parts just relax and they become that much easier to play, just think of blending them in with the song, and just focusing on the rhythm more and let your fingers take you through the fast passages can help alot.
     

  10. theleman

    theleman TDPRI Member

    78
    Sep 11, 2017
    Mars
    Have tried to learn Hotel Californica solo, but find it very difficult, and keep quitting.
     

  11. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    194
    Jun 4, 2010
    Melbourne
    So much of my learning anything hard these days depends on finding the 'right' Youtube lesson with tabs that goes at my speed. For Hotel California these worked for me. YMMV. I download the video and then play them back in VLC Player, which makes it easy to loop, and slow down (without changing pitch). Before Youtube there is no way I could have learnt something like this.



     
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  12. mgreene

    mgreene Tele-Meister

    230
    Jan 27, 2010
    south carolina
    Joy Spring - Clifford Brown.

    The head goes on forever. It is a jazz classic but you may not have heard it because, like Giant Steps, not many people cover it because it is such a PIA to play.
     
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  13. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    Nashville
    Hard is relative to your facility/vocabulary/history on the instrument so, IMO, it's a tough call. The first time you learn that big shred can be daunting, but if you spent years slowly speeding up exercises/taps in all the keys/etc later on they won't be so intimidating, if so at all. Same goes as you develop with anything else, I remember learning my first bop head felt near impossible because it wasn't just a damn scale. Later on you learn more and "ah, scale tones, chromatic walk up, circling the root, descend in dominant, ascend in major" then it makes some sense and you see it on the instrument much quicker. You could be blazin' fusion guy in LA then someone shows you a Chet Atkins thing and all of the sudden your chops meter goes back to 1, since plucking the bass line with the melody takes some shedding.


    But, bla bla, sticking out in my memory banks is one tune a group wanted me to learn last year.

    I can't, for the life of me, remember the name and the artist. But, it was an older pop diva and the tune I'm guessing was recorded in the 80's. So, as usual they ask me "can you play this" and I hit youtube.

    The song starts off and I grab a pencil (just in case.) It's slow, a little intro, something like I vi iii IV the first 4 bars. Then, I iii (first bar) iv IV V. Ah, okay. BUT NO!!!

    It continues...next bar ii, diminish to iii, back to ii, then IV.

    Every four bars was a different meandering. Meanwhile, there's no meaningful melody going on with the changes, just the same slow diatonic walk. It's hard to say what you'd call a "phrase" was ever sung.

    The chorus??? Same ****! Meandering changes, never ever repeating 4 bars.

    This goes on for about 5-6 minutes!!! Wailing vocals and a big old sheet of mostly diatonic changes. At one point modulating up a step towards the end (gotta do that y'know, bring it home, "take it to church")

    So, I'm thinking, "chart it all out?" which isn't my style being as it was just a soul/motown group and every tune I'd just memorize. I mean, in order for me to nail the song verbatim I would have to hear it many, many, more times. Yet, it was such an awful song, I don't always go that far but holy smokes did this tune irritate me for some reason!!



    That's one of the first times I can recall being asked to play a tune and just saying "eh, let's do a different song." I probably could have just substituted a couple repeating sets of changes, but I just really didn't like the song to the point of "no thank you."
     
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  14. theleman

    theleman TDPRI Member

    78
    Sep 11, 2017
    Mars
    Thank you TimTam. Excellent vids !!!
     

  15. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Two other tunes I spent some time laboring over are Eric Johnson’s “Dusty” and “Tribute To Jerry Reed”.
    Both are fun to play, and easy to goof up!
     

  16. claes

    claes Tele-Meister

    484
    Aug 20, 2007
    sweden
    Im not interested in playing guitar but to make music. I get bored practicing guitar after 15 seconds and start strumming a song instead. "Out in the fields" is probably the most difficult song I could do from start to finish.
    Finding the ultimate pace on an acoustic and keeping it (and keeping it interesting) the hole song without other musicians is really differcult I think. My favorite songs is difficult for other reasons.
     

  17. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    50
    Jun 26, 2007
    London
    The thing about learning songs properly is that the more of them you learn, the easier it gets to learn new, more intricate ones. For example, it took me much longer to learn Message In A Bottle than it did to learn Every Breath You Take. More time to learn Little Wing than The Wind Cries Mary. More for Under The Bridge than Dani California.

    What's hard is getting acquainted with a player's style and phrasing if you're not familiar with it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  18. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Meister

    184
    Oct 2, 2017
    Luton UK
    Yes i agree with this i tried them Cliffs of Dover fast licks this morning talked about in this thread, and they are similar to licks i have learnt before or have improvise around so it makes it hard for me to break from the patterns i know or go on instinct with but them string skips are quite tricky in it i agree.

    But as you say the more new you learn the better you become, i must admit it takes discipline to think new song or lick time today.

    This is a good thread btw! and Thanks! to ndcaster for starting it because maybe we can all encourage and help folk with their learning and playing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  19. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    50
    Jun 26, 2007
    London
    At least nowadays, with the interwebs, there is a wealth of support to facilitate learning. You still have to sit down and take the time, although compared to 30 years ago, things are definitely easier, including more gear options for all purses.

    You kids don't realise how good you got it.

    Now get off my lawn :D
     
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  20. daddyplaysbass

    daddyplaysbass Tele-Meister

    469
    Mar 19, 2003
    Chandler Arizona
    "Color My World" after the prom; brain dump then need to learn for the next prom/wedding reception. Like the time signature but not the tune
     

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