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Thread: Compositions (from simple to hard)

  1. #1
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    Compositions (from simple to hard)

    Hi everyone!
    I'm looking for a list of compositions (or songs) for electric guitar, from very simple to hard, with the increasing difficulty. The intention is to build the technique and be able to play complete songs all the time.

    My problem is that when I try to learn some song, I usually get it almost done, but very often there are some bars which I can't play with original speed/timing/attitude/etc. Rather disappointing... I think it's because I'm trying to jump over my head

    So I'm asking everyone experienced, please, can you say which songs to play, so that each next song is playable if you mastered the previous one? I'd prefer rock or classic, but other styles are also fine as long as they build technique gradually.

    Thank you very much!

    P.S. I already practice excercises from PG's "Intense rock 1 & 2", and what I'm looking for is complete musical compositions.

  2. #2
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    That's not a bad idea you know. But it isn't something I've actually done so I can't provide a list.

    You could also do something like, songs that use the same chords/principals:

    Poisons-Every Rose
    G 'N' R - Paradise City
    Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama

  3. #3
    Registered User superlocrian's Avatar
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    Let me play devils advocate here by saying that learning full compositions is a great idea and that you can learn tons from it, but that it is extremely time consuming. Even learning a tune with the simplest lead break takes time because not only do you technically have to master the piece, but you have to remember everything note for note. I had to learn Sweet Home Alabama once and even though it was a relatively easy song to play it took me a while to memorise both solos exact. In my exprience, unless I am performing the song in its entirety rather:

    1. Take licks out of the song that you like and put them in a kind of lick library that you can reference in future.

    2. Analyze the solos and chord progressions and find out what scales are used. This way you can try similar ideas on stage.

    3. Learn full songs only that you will know you will play and use otherwise you simply forget them after a couple of weeks.

    Dont get me wrong, learning full songs is cool and will benefit your playing, but make it count. Songs on my list would be:

    Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry (basics in rock n' Roll playing 60's)
    Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd (country type rock 70's)
    Still Got The Blues - Gary Moore (bit more blues rock and nice chord progs 80's)
    Panama - Van Halen - (Modern Rock 80's)
    Jeremy - Pearl Jam - (90's Rock 90's)
    Linkin Park - (Nu-metal 2000)

    The idea with my suggested list is that you start with the basic rock n' roll and learn how the genre steadily evolved into what we have today. You could do this with other genre's as well.

  4. #4
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    I agree with Russ but I can't really provide with a list of tunes. It would be a good idea to start a list to use with students. You could start with some basic Nirvana/Green Day and the such tunes (they apply power chords and will get students playing right away). Then maybe some basic hard rock tunes (easy KISS tunes etc) then Classic Rock and Blues and then you could tackle some more technically challenging tunes deppending on the student interest. The problem though is that not everyone is the same (not everyone likes KISS lol) so it would be hard to compile a specific graded list. A compilation of many different tunes in many different styles and from many different bands in the same difficulty level would not be a bad idea though. It would just be time consuming. Anyone has time for a summer project? I got a gazzillion chapters to read for my English class (I decided to take both my required English classes in the summer along with history II and psychology... I hope I measured my free time right)

    -Jorge
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

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    Thanks everyone for the answers!
    I'll try to learn some of recommended songs... though the genre evolution is interesting, but I'm more concerned about technique rather than style. You know, I love many musical styles

    Please share the compositions you can play, and how difficult they are technically. BTW, I don't have any problems with memorizing the melodies, because I graduated from musical school on piano, and have some common musical experience.

  6. #6
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    Hmmm yeah. You are a stark reminder that in reality I probably know very few songs completely off pat.

    What I tend to do is keep the chords right and then mimic the solo by say stealing the main theme so people know you're playing the solo from the song but then go off into your on improv on it, returning to licks from the solo or themes so that you staty close to the original.

    i find tryint too muich to play the solo note for note will always result in you being compared, usually less favourably, to the original artist. It's therefoper nice to put your own stamp on an ol' favourite.

    The other reason I do this is that I am intrinsically lazy and as such spend a few hours leanring the first half of the solo before getting bored and improvising the rest...


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKRuss
    What I tend to do is keep the chords right and then mimic the solo by say stealing the main theme so people know you're playing the solo from the song but then go off into your on improv on it, returning to licks from the solo or themes so that you staty close to the original.
    That's perfectly ok! But at this stage my goal is to build the technique. The improvisation is a wide and complex subject, and I don't want to get into it much until my technique is ok. In other words, I'm trying to learn how to walk before thinking about which way to walk
    Or maybe I'm wrong?..

  8. #8
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    No, no. I hear you.

    I think learning the solos off pat is good as long as you analyse why it works as it does, otherwise you're not really learning anything from it IMO, although picking technique and other techniques like palm muting, harmonics etc. can be honed in this way.

    The analysis might give you the tools to start improvising yourself as you pickup some theory as well as licks and tricks.

    It's kind of like making sure you're taking a holistic approach rather than trying to isolate one element or technique, when one song or solo could teach you so much more than that.

  9. #9
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    One thing that came slowly for me (and its still coming) was using vibrato on held notes particularly at the end of phrases. It was learning some of the easier hendrix solos note for note that actually got me started on this as I was sub-conciously trying to get the same sound once I got past the learning the dots stage. Same goes for basic phrasing - simple stuff like leaving gaps and not continuing with the same note divisions all the time etc.

    Note for note learning does take a special kind of determination and once I get close (ish) I tend to avoid obsessing too much and try to get some part of me into it.

    Back on topic. I think this is in general a good idea as often I've got in over my head and learned a too hard song badly - it's almost impossible to ever learn it well once you learned it badly! Having failed in this way myself I would have to go away and think carefully before making any suggestions about songs to try.

  10. #10
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    Well, I always try to analyse how the solo/chord progression is built and which concepts are used. Music theory is not a terrifying thing for me, since it's the same as on the piano But the technique... it's even more disappointing because I was able to shred on the piano when I was 10, and now I have problems with guitar when I'm 25

    Thanks for the advice anyway!

  11. #11
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    My previous answer was addressed to UKRuss.
    ashc, yes, I agree with you. The song must be playable. I think it's essential to be able to play complete musical pieces, because you learn to express an idea by music, and that's the purpose of music.

  12. #12
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    I played a bit of keys before guitar as well (no shredding) but I do know that guitar is a lot harder - I almost wish someone had warned me before I got hooked

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