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Thread: Who feels the same way about songs?

  1. #1
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    Who feels the same way about songs?

    I've been playing for maybe a year and a half, and when i play I really don't learn that many songs, I honestly can only play around 5 songs that took time to learn and are impressive and the rest are just a lot of chord progressions. Then I know a lot of riffs and lead lines, or solos from songs but not the whole song some I have forgotten. I feel that I am lazy to learn songs, like somtimes I think that I should know more songs by the amount of time I've been playing. Sometimes I look at certain songs and I just tell myself its too hard or it'll take too much time to learn. When I pick up the guitar, I honestly like to just jam a lot, Improvise, work on speed, technique, rhythm, and try to write and make riffs.

  2. #2
    Registered User Madaxeman's Avatar
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    I was, and still am the way you are talking about to some degree. I have found that for me, by going back and really learning the guitar, (which I am doing now) I have opened so many doors. I used to get intimidated when it said "he used C# Dorian, or Lydian, or a Dmaj7b5 chord". By getting into theory, and understanding how it all works, I can see now a song is just combinations of the elements of theory. Knowing that basis makes it easier to see the whole and why it was put together a certain way. Theory is not essential, but it makes it much easier.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    I just learnt what I needed to learn. Like a while ago, I learnt the solo and intro to 'Hot For Teacher', because it was what I needed to know. My goal isnt to be a recreation of other peoples songs, but to be technically proficient enough to produce whats in my head. Thus I simply assimilate that which is vital to the cause. Need to work on sweeping? Learn some Yngwie or Paganini sweep section, you get the idea.

    adios my lil borritos

  4. #4
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Learning other peoples songs is not a Taboo. It's actually the best way to learn music.

    When I was younger, I met a guy that could play anything and in any key. You mentioned a song, and he could play it. Even if he never tried it before. He had a great association with how to produce the sounds he heard in his head. I asked him how he got to be so good. He asked me how many songs I knew. I said about ten. He replied, "talk to me when you know 100-200 songs."
    He was so right.

    So you want to be creative hey? So you dont want to play other peoples songs heh? Learning what other people have done before you is one of the best theory lessons you can learn.

    How to go about it.

    Buy song books. Above each chord, write down the Roman numeral for each chord. Then, instead of playing the song the way it is written, look only at the roman numerals and play the song in different keys. This will force your brain to transpose. At first it will take time. Soon it will become easy.

    This type of training is a great tool for people who want to write their own stuff. Soon you will be familiar with how progressions work and how to express the sounds you hear in your head.

  5. #5
    Groovy Bastard Maarten's Avatar
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    Los Boleros says some great stuff as always, and I'd like to add this: Learning scales and stuff often ends up in learning about your instrument; Learning songs ends up in learning about music.
    It's not entirely true ofcourse, but think about this: In the end, what will you be playing on stage? My guess: Songs.

    I've had some great success with some songs I wrote. I guess that's mainly because I "stole" most stuff from other great songwriters. For example, I totally love Stevie Wonder, so I've figured out almost every song he wrote and learned so much from it that I almost always use one of his tricks in my own compositions. The same goes for jazz standards (which Stevie obviously used to listen to too).

    People who say they don't want to play someone else's stuff because they fear to become unoriginal forget that music often gains it's impact from the context it exists in. Originality and variation are often overrated I think (though still important, but it's a complex story) while recogniscion and repetition are overlooked as very powerful musical tools.
    Stop talking about modes and start working on your groove.

  6. #6
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    Well, I know tons of theory and I've studied Jazz harmony. I mean its not like im against learning songs, its just that my motivation to do so has gone down. I'm a perfectionist and I have high standards for songs to learn, when Im actually motivated too, I sit down and learn that song from head to toe, every single nuance. I try to get the rhythms and timing all right. And this happens rarely, only when somehow im motivated. But usually when I try to learn a song, I look at it, and sometimes I just learn parts of it and never finish it, sometimes I think its too hard, or it will take too much time and energy to learn, im busy. Like, for challenging songs I start to feel tired when im trying to learn a son. I mean when it comes to learning and playing chords of a song, its a breeze for me but when I try to learn a challenging song, I just feel discouraged. Like before I was trying to learn Classical gas and I learned the first few measures but then some parts were too hard and I quit. And sometimes during the process learning a song, I get frustrated at a certain nuances I can't perfect and I obsess over it. I really don't know why I don't learn songs that much. I honestly spend a lot of time trying to find songs that are in my level of playing but sometimes its hard. When I do, I think its too simple. Now a days, I spend a lot of time on the internet with my guitar. But I practice mostly with improv and just making riifs to jam and groove on. I work with metronomes a lot. And everytime I hear certain songs on the radio, tv, etc. I pick up my guitar and Jam over it. But I like to listen to music a lot and just try to finger out licks, riffs, chords, by ear. Sometimes when I hear a lick from a song and I can't figure it out by ear, I look online. Its funny sometimes I hear these licks and riffs in my head and I forget what songs it from and I get frustrated.

  7. #7
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    Great advice so far...

    I tend to think of Songs in two categories. 1) chord book / lead sheet songs - e.g. Beatles, Kinks etc. 2) "Guitarist / Instrumentalist" Songs - e.g. Hendrix, Led Zep, whatever your into. (the artist examples are very generalised - there are songs by all of these examples that could be in either/both of my categories).

    What I really mean is that in category 1) you have songs where you can strum the chords and sing and no one cares a damn if you play the exact arrangement - I call these "song songs" ;-) . 2) Songs that are very much based around the guitar performance and as a guitarist you want to get it dead on.

    I like to work on both kinds, type 1) for how songs work and for my Ears - I'm just starting to find my ears are getting back to where I can work out simple songs quickly without trawling the net. type 2) songs to develop as an instrumentalist. You could learn five type 1) songs in a day but a 2) song around your limit could take some months. Progress is multi-dimensional and it's worth becoming a musician as well as a guitarist.

  8. #8
    Registered Abuser widdly widdly's Avatar
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    Most of the time with the electric guitar you don't actually play a song, you play the part that the guitarist would play in a band.

    With "song songs", if you strum and sing, it is a complete piece of music rather than a bunch a riffs and licks that are not heard in the correct context. Even more so with classical guitar. What you play is a complete piece of music.

    Unless you are playing or rehearsing with a band, learning a lot of songs on the electric guitar is a difficult task to stay focussed on because of the lack of context. So my advice is to work on things that you can perform for people. That means either forming a band or finding pieces of music that work on solo guitar.
    ________
    How To Roll A Blunt
    Last edited by widdly widdly; 04-11-2011 at 08:01 AM.

  9. #9
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    Well put Widdly, thats part of what I was trying to say!

  10. #10
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    Thanks for your advice guys.

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