Episode 002: Learning Songs

Learning songs is an important skill for any player. Hear about tools and strategies to help you meet the challenge.

Music: Jahzzar, Please Listen Carefully; spinningmerkaba, Urbana-Metronica (wooh-yeah mix)

Show notes

  • Topic introduction: Efficiencies in learning new songs
  • Dave’s experiences/journey
    • Hit a hard wall as salsa breaks, changes and fills grew in complexity
    • Jazz guitarist friend recommended Transcribe
      • Sexy algorithms, quality controls, EQ, Speed, loops etc.
      • Amplitude, Logicpro, AnyTunes (App)
    • Acoustic Onion: learn 50 songs in 2 weeks
      • Shorthand charts scanned into iPad
  • Paul’s experiences/journey
    • Sub for a nice winery gig — about 60 songs to learn in 3 weeks
      • Pre-tablet/smartphone
      • Charted out to paper, tried to memorize as much as possible
    • More recently, wedding gig on short notice — no set list
      • Nowadays I use a tablet — mine’s a Samsung 7”, thinking about a bigger one in future
      • iGigBook — load in copies of real books so you can quickly locate the songs
      • iReal Pro
  • When you have to learn songs quickly, what’s important to you?
    • Dave
      • The convincing little riffs that offer character
        • Loop until it’s ingrained in the muscle memory
      • Spending time developing a true sound for the style of music
        • Equipment, mutes, attack, tone, hand positioning etc.
      • Finding quality YouTube bass cover videos for optional hand positionings
      • Be able to sing the bass line
    • Paul
      • I concentrate on the basic groove and the song structure first
      • Then like Dave, listening for little riffs or hooks in the bass
      • I listen to the songs incessantly — put them in a YouTube or Google Play Music playlist and listen to them at work, in the car, etc. so they soak in constantly
  • When do you learn new songs?
    • Dave
      • Cover bands, learning new styles, break up practice routine, if I hear a song somewhere that I really like, understand a bassist I admire
      • I found it made me marketable in the subbing and gigging world
      • Very practical way to experience the many different things you can do with 4 strings
    • Paul
      • Any time I get a new album… I’m pretty eclectic so it’s a wide range
      • I listen to the charts in Top 40, AAA/AOR, etc., but I also tend to keep my radio tuned to classic soul to balance out the “quantization”
  • Sometimes it doesn’t take 20 minutes…
    • Dave: I’m still learning Teen Town!