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

what's the hardest tune you've learned?

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

  1. PearlJamNoCode

    PearlJamNoCode Tele-Meister

    May 26, 2017
    This is so true. I started played around 2001. Internet tabs were available, as was online shopping for gear. I pretty much stopped playing and paying attention to gear while I was in college (2005-2009), and have gotten way back into it in the past 3-4 years. I am absolutely floored with how many youtube videos there are for gear reviews, tips, etc. Just in that short time it seems the amount of information has exploded!
  2. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    It may be easier, but people learning now days are losing something, and they probably don't even realize it. Having to learn by ear (as we did) helps develop your ear, and in my experience, helps bury those melodies and harmonies more deeply in my 'inner ear' so to speak. I'd never trade all those countless hours learning music by ear, or even the reading charts (to a much lesser extent) for just having tabs and YouTube serve it up for me. I have a very quick ear, and can catch quite a lot of music on the fly, thanks to having to work out songs, solos and melodies by ear.

    Yeah, sure, I use tabs and YouTube when I'm under a time constraint to get music learned quickly. But I refuse to rely on it solely, or even predominantly.
    PhredE, Sounds Good and ndcaster like this.
  3. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

    Oct 2, 2017
    Luton UK
    Sometimes though utube can be off putting so many reviews crammed into my mind so it ends in tutmoil, so i just let subconscious be my guide alot as well as the facts.

    Learning songs from tabs is great, but alot i play by ear as well it helps more to make new music of your own as well.

    I think abit of give and take is best personnally.
  4. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    I'm sure there are many examples of the hardest songs I've learned, but two in particular are presently getting my attention:

    1. "MacArthur Park" complete version — for years I've been slowly working on a solo guitar arrangement. I'd like to cover the song with a larger group, too. Working from the 11 pages of sheet music, with insane time signature changes and chords I've never encountered in any other song.

    2. "Mission Impossible" Theme (from the original TV series) — our band is attempting to cover it but to make it really work is requiring some... work!

    I've learned it, but now can I play it? The 5/4 time signature is cool, though in the instrumental solo (my guitar, in our case) I have some trouble getting out of the 4/4/ feel. I may end up just copying the clavinet solo of the original. :oops:
    RoyBGood and awasson like this.
  5. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    I use YT for guitar the way I use it for learning how to fix my dryer: for very specific things, like if something just stumps me

    there's no substitute for sheer time put in on the guitar

    for example, playing between positions -- that old fretboard isn't going to learn itself
  6. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    Hey man, you've got The Ear! And that's how Chet Baker himself played: by ear.

    At a recording or rehearsal session, Chet was known to ask the guy next to him, "What's the first note?" The guy might say, "It's in B-flat." That didn't mean anything to Chet; he'd respond, "Just tell me the first note" and he could transpose as needed, just by listening.* That's rather amazing to someone like me, who's had to struggle to train my ears, yet can barely approach that kind of natural, deep musical understanding.

    *on edit: And believe me, that ain't easy on the trumpet! (Unless you're Chet Baker!)
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  7. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    Sultans of Swing for me. It's about 900 different interlocking riffs. By the time i get to #8 I've forgotten #3. I have gotten a very passable guitar tone however. It'll never sound fluid though.
    I did get down Tumbling Dice thanks to the yt video by tonedr.
    richiek65 likes this.
  8. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 8, 2007
    Norfolk UK
    Thanks I didnt know that .I think Wes Montgomery was another ear person .I did start out playing trumpet .I was in my school orchestra .Every one who knew how to pick an instrument up was .i had to get some one else to play the part for me .Then it all made sense .But not the band teacher .No place for ears .I gave it up and played a guitar instead .i do regret not playing the trumpet when I hear Chet play though .
  9. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

    Jun 26, 2007
    Oh I don't know. It's still your choice how you want to learn. The web has only added available options, which on balance I still think is a good thing, because it's what you make of it that counts.

    Back in the day, I'd start from the record and if I could get my hands on the tab, I'd use that in addition, not in place of the record. Now with the web, when I want to learn a tune, I still start from the record and if need be I'll use the tab and add the YouTube video if it's good. But it still takes me the time to concentrate, persevere and learn the darn thing.

    It might be faster and easier but I don't consider that to be a bad thing, if only because it might make fewer budding guitarists give up so easily.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  10. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    I never said is was a bad thing, only that a person gives something up by not getting the ear training that learning by ear provides. Yes, the web has added available options, but those options don't require, demand even, that you train your ear in order to get the results. Learning anything by ear trains the ear. It's one reason (not the only reason) why they ask you to transcribe music when in a music program of any sort.
    Sounds Good and PhredE like this.
  11. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    Jun 4, 2010
    Yes, I had to give names to the multiple sub-phrases and then write out the order in which they occur in each verse. I still have to refer to that list almost every time I play it.

    There's a reason why Knopfler hasn't played it the same way twice since the original record !
    PhredE and RodeoTex like this.
  12. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Holic

    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
    Blackberry Blossom. I had been playing a few years at the time, but mostly playing rhythm to the fiddle players. A guy showed the lead line to me on the guitar and I must have worked on it for 6 months (back when I was 15 and could afford to spend hours just sitting and playing in the evenings). I remember specifically, the end of the 8th measure, I couldn't get it. The guys told me, "you just have to grit your teeth, throw your fingers onto the fretboard, and see what you get. Then keep doing it until you get it right fairly often. '

    It was such a good thing to do. So many good habits developed from that- alternating picking up and down, learning some of the bluegrass intervals, etc. At the time I was playing something way out of my league but it was totally worth it.

    I'm still not much of a bluegrass guitarist- I'm much better at faking bluegrass banjo than faking bluegrass guitar because my right hand fingerpicking is way faster than my left hand fretting- but I can break out Blackberry Blossom to change things up if I need to.
  13. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

    Apr 25, 2015
    I spent a summer back in 78 learning Mood for a day ,by Steve Howe. From the record and seeing him several times. The other would be " Cause we ended as lovers..from jeff beck. That took alot of work to get the inflections and feel. It was my big moment tune on gigs for years. Have not played either in 20 years though.
  14. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Meister

    Sep 25, 2017
    Suburban PDX, OR
    Ah, Lalo Shifrin. He did a bunch of scores in the late 60s and onward. Good stuff. The spaghetti western scores by Ennio Morricone are a blast to do on guitar too (not just the guitar parts). Shifrin and Morricone are two of my favorite film composers.:)
  15. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Meister

    Sep 25, 2017
    Suburban PDX, OR
    In order to transcribe, a person has to be able to read and write in standard notation also. So, I'd politely suggest:

    Optimal learning = f(a trained ear + music reading ability)
  16. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Aug 2, 2011
    Branson, Mo
    What a great song! Here's Emily Remler and Larry Coryell:
    mgreene likes this.
  17. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    Sure, but even before I ever could read a note, I was working out melodies, songs and solos by ear. The first solo I ever learned was the solo on Rush's "Jacob's Ladder". Pretty easy stuff, really. I couldn't tell a whole note from an eighth rest at the time, but doing that led to more involved solos, and so on. Players of all instruments who can't read a note have been learning by that method for many decades.

    EDIT: Many here can't read, and have no interest in it. That's fine, but develop your ear the best you can, if you're going to spend much time playing with other musicians. If you just play at home, and only seek to enjoy your self, I'd say don't sweat any of this. Just make use of tabs and YouTube and don't give this a second thought.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
    PhredE likes this.
  18. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    Yup, if there is one thing I’ve learned in my 40+ year relationship with the guitar, it’s that there is no singular right or wrong “way” when it comes to learning, playing or enjoying music. Like anything there are dozens of ways to learning the intricacies and what works for some people doesn’t work for others. Or what didn’t work 10 years ago, might just work today and vice versa.
    Sounds Good likes this.
  19. W.L.Weller

    W.L.Weller Tele-Meister

    May 20, 2014

    There’s almost nothing to this, maybe that’s why it’s so tough.
  20. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    Per my edit to that post you replied to, there are some who just want to have fun, and don't need to be concerned with any of this. If you're never going to play beyond your couch, bedroom or basement, just enjoy what's out there and don't let any of this be an issue for you. For those folks, the things I described would actually be a bad investment of their time.
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