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sammetal92
post Aug 18 2013, 10:11 AM
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I've been getting into teaching guitar to intermediate players (I can't teach a full beginners course, I can only focus on specific things that a learning guitarist like myself needs to work on), and I have learned a lot from teaching others.

The thing is that none of these people who have learned anything from me knew almost anything about transcribing! How frightening is that thought, I can't even describe in words sad.gif

A musician is someone who can make the music inside of him/her come out on to the instrument, and if you can't do that, I'm sorry but you're just not a musician!

I think every instructor and experienced guitarist here will agree in totality with me, and all of them must know transcribing. I don't think when any of these people want to play a new song they hear on their instrument, they search for tabs on the internet. They try to sort it out themselves, and for the most part, most of the song parts (the main melody lines, the riffs and the rhythms) they can sort out pretty quickly.

Imagine people like Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, SRV searching for tabs on the internet! Bizarre isn't it? mellow.gif

Bottom line: If you cannot play anything just by listening to it (without looking at tabs), you NEED to learn that in order to become a musician. No exceptions at all!

Of course, most people who transcribe don't just "suddenly" figure out the perfect notes to play, some notes might be mistaken here or there, but after trial and error, they do make it sound perfect, even if it doesn't exactly look like the musician who composed that piece plays it, but no one cares how it looks, if it sounds right and you can play it comfortably, its PERFECT.

So how does someone go about learning transcribing? To be honest, I started out by listening to songs I loved over and over again. Then I figured out the easiest parts to play, and listened to just those parts over and over again. Then I turned on my amp and on the clean channel (even if its distorted on the record), I tried to match the notes on my guitar. After that, I did the same thing with the other easier parts and gradually completed the whole song.

I admit it first took me around 5 hours to figure out 3 simple melody lines from a song on youtube that I don't even remember now, but that feeling of accomplishment is just priceless. Now I can figure out if its a single melody line, a chord, an arpeggiated chord or whatever, I find a bunch of notes and then I know what scale to use, and the process becomes easier (well, unless/until there comes a key change).

So how I made my "students" start out on their transcribing journey, is that I gave them any easy christmas carol or a rhyme (Happy Birthday to you is quite popular laugh.gif ), and they can grab any program that can slow down tracks if they think they need it (Audacity is popular, I use Reaper but I don't need to slow down a song to transcribe anyway), throw in their song and write down with a pencil on a sheet of tab the notes they find. And then I point out their mistakes and give them another piece which, I think, is just a wee bit harder than the previous one.

I apologize for anyone who doesn't like long posts (sheesh who does? laugh.gif ) but this is REALLY important, and I'm scared to see it being diminished! Its a great thing that you have the internet at your disposal, but don't let it dull your mind, train yourself to become a musician instead of a guitarist or a bassist, or a drummer or a violinist or anyone! This will help you IMMENSELY because after you can transcribe what you hear, you would be able to play what you hear inside your head and you'll be able to compose more easily than ever before! biggrin.gif

So keep on transcribing! smile.gif

PS: I thought of discussing this here because its a very less discussed topic at all, and it needs to be covered smile.gif I'm sure all of the instructors will agree with me.

EDIT: I'd like to add, if you can grab a MIDI file of any popular piece off the internet, that'd be loads more helpful than a recording, because you'll be able to hear each note clearly.

This post has been edited by sammetal92: Aug 18 2013, 10:17 AM


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Taka Perry
post Aug 18 2013, 10:35 AM
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I agree with you for most of the part man. I think, especially with the internet, people are way too reliant on tabs or Guitar Pro charts, and when they can't find a decent tab, they are clueless, as you said.

I'll admit that if I can find a decent tab on Ultimate Guitar or something, I won't bother transcribing it myself. Someone has done it already, so it makes sense to use that wink.gif

That being said, transcribing is still a really vital skill, as you said. If I'm preparing for a performance, and there is no tab for the song, I'll go and transcribe it myself (generally into Guitar Pro).


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sammetal92
post Aug 18 2013, 10:45 AM
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QUOTE (Taka Perry @ Aug 18 2013, 09:35 AM) *
I agree with you for most of the part man. I think, especially with the internet, people are way too reliant on tabs or Guitar Pro charts, and when they can't find a decent tab, they are clueless, as you said.

I'll admit that if I can find a decent tab on Ultimate Guitar or something, I won't bother transcribing it myself. Someone has done it already, so it makes sense to use that wink.gif

That being said, transcribing is still a really vital skill, as you said. If I'm preparing for a performance, and there is no tab for the song, I'll go and transcribe it myself (generally into Guitar Pro).


Guitar pro is good, but I don't really recommend it for transcribing, since writing has a few advantages over typing it in smile.gif But of course, if you want to give it to someone or send it to a magazine or something, nothing beats guitar pro smile.gif

About finding a decent tab on UG, the person who tabbed it out also transcribed it. You're better off transcribing yourself if you have the time smile.gif Because you memorize and learn the song/piece MUCH faster than you would by tab smile.gif


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Taka Perry
post Aug 18 2013, 11:00 AM
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That's a great point about transcribing yourself will make you learn the song quicker. I'll have to keep that in mind next time I learn a piece smile.gif

I've transcribed on paper a few times. What makes writing more advantageous to you over software? smile.gif


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sammetal92
post Aug 18 2013, 11:07 AM
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QUOTE (Taka Perry @ Aug 18 2013, 10:00 AM) *
That's a great point about transcribing yourself will make you learn the song quicker. I'll have to keep that in mind next time I learn a piece smile.gif

I've transcribed on paper a few times. What makes writing more advantageous to you over software? smile.gif


Well, off of my head:

1. Its quicker, just fret the note and write it down.

2. It stays in memory, because anything you write down gets etched at the back of your mind, that's why its preferred to write to memorize.

3. You don't need to care about the rhythm or the notes (whole half quarter eighth etc) at the initial stages.

4. In guitar pro, you hear the note you type in as you're typing. So (this is kind of rare) if you write a wrong note and don't realize it (because your ears are tired), you're gonna wake up next morning and wonder what made you do that laugh.gif Its hard to explain; you have some note in your ear but you play a note that's close to that note but not exactly that note. Happens pretty often with me, and the next morning I'm all confused laugh.gif Tired ears can ruin your day, trust me wink.gif

5. As humans, its more natural to us to write instead of type, so you can't really get confused when you're writing your tab down smile.gif Helps you stay in the flow.

This post has been edited by sammetal92: Aug 18 2013, 11:07 AM


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Aug 18 2013, 03:26 PM
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I agree with you Sam about transcribing.

Most of my friends are obsessed to find a lot transcribing on internet and I never understand why. I saw many tabs on internet with big errors and a lot people use them and not even realize how wrong are written.
I always make my transcribing with a pencil on a sheet because in this way I was usual in music school. I have Guitar Pro in my computer but I don’t use that program. I prefer to make this in the old traditional way smile.gif When I was in primary school we don’t have internet and programs that can slow down tracks. I listened to each part of the song and push the buttons “stop” / “play” on the cassette player for many times and after write with a pencil on paper.

Why I do that now and why I don’t use a musical sheet from the internet? Is very simple, I try to keep my ears “healthy”. If I stop training my ears every day, in time I will lose this skill and I don’t want this thing to happen. I don’t want to read a stupid sheet I want to focus on hearing the sounds. Music mean sounds smile.gif
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sammetal92
post Aug 18 2013, 03:37 PM
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QUOTE (Monica Gheorghevici @ Aug 18 2013, 02:26 PM) *
I agree with you Sam about transcribing.

Most of my friends are obsessed to find a lot transcribing on internet and I never understand why. I saw many tabs on internet with big errors and a lot people use them and not even realize how wrong are written.
I always make my transcribing with a pencil on a sheet because in this way I was usual in music school. I have Guitar Pro in my computer but I don’t use that program. I prefer to make this in the old traditional way smile.gif When I was in primary school we don’t have internet and programs that can slow down tracks. I listened to each part of the song and push the buttons “stop” / “play” on the cassette player for many times and after write with a pencil on paper.

Why I do that now and why I don’t use a musical sheet from the internet? Is very simple, I try to keep my ears “healthy”. If I stop training my ears every day, in time I will lose this skill and I don’t want this thing to happen. I don’t want to read a stupid sheet I want to focus on hearing the sounds. Music mean sounds smile.gif


Exactly, and if someone does lose the skill over time, they won't be able to write what they hear in their minds. If people want, they can use today's technology whilst training their ears: I've heard of programs (like I said Audacity, Reaper, and another one called "Transcribe!") that can actually slow down the song to any tempo you want! I mean what more can a musician ask for laugh.gif

I mean, a while ago, people had vinyl records, and they had to know the exact place where they had to put the needle on the record player and where they had to take it off, and that was a skill all on its own. Then came cassettes and CDs and now these programs, its so easy to transcribe, but its still going away. Its something which differentiates between a guitarist/violinist/bassist etc from a complete musician smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Aug 18 2013, 04:21 PM
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This is a very good topic Sam. I started playing the guitar in a world where there wasn't internet, there wasn't tempo slower software, and it you wanted a tab, you had to order it via amazon and buy the full sheet music songbook. I only had my cassettes and my player. I always learnt songs by year, sometimes checking it with my friends. I also remember that when I was 15 I started studying with a teacher who introduce me into the shred playing and he use to teach me Malmsteen, Saraceno, Gilbert songs, transcribing this ones in front of me, at the moment of the class. This also helped to to train my ear. After some time I was able to transcribe very difficult songs by my own. I started to give private classes and students asked me to do the same. So I was both working and training my year at the same time.

Nowadays I can say that my ear is my more valuable positive side as a musician. I believe that there are no limits if you have a goo musical ear, that's why I agree 100% with Sam about prioritizing your ear training, transcribing songs.


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sammetal92
post Aug 18 2013, 08:44 PM
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Wow you got to transcribe legends laugh.gif That must've been pretty rewarding!

When I started playing, there was internet but we didn't use it much at all, there weren't many guitar tab sites either, and as you said, to get tabs, we'd have to buy whole tab books which were normally pretty expensive!

I actually started out playing by buying a non branded 50 buck acoustic steel string guitar and I had a very old book on classical nylon string guitar and I started out playing guitar with that cool.gif


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leonard478
post Aug 18 2013, 10:42 PM
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man i owe almost all of my progress as a musician in the past few years to dropping tabs completely out of my world. its funny when i was younger i didnt even know you could do it by ear laugh.gif laugh.gif . i just assumed well..i knew how to read tabs and i didnt know how to read music back then so these are the only ways. And also my god tabs for me were next to impssible to memorize but once i got something by ear it was mine, nearly instantly smile.gif
awesome post!


QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Aug 18 2013, 09:11 AM) *
I've been getting into teaching guitar to intermediate players (I can't teach a full beginners course, I can only focus on specific things that a learning guitarist like myself needs to work on), and I have learned a lot from teaching others.

The thing is that none of these people who have learned anything from me knew almost anything about transcribing! How frightening is that thought, I can't even describe in words sad.gif

A musician is someone who can make the music inside of him/her come out on to the instrument, and if you can't do that, I'm sorry but you're just not a musician!

I think every instructor and experienced guitarist here will agree in totality with me, and all of them must know transcribing. I don't think when any of these people want to play a new song they hear on their instrument, they search for tabs on the internet. They try to sort it out themselves, and for the most part, most of the song parts (the main melody lines, the riffs and the rhythms) they can sort out pretty quickly.

Imagine people like Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, SRV searching for tabs on the internet! Bizarre isn't it? mellow.gif

Bottom line: If you cannot play anything just by listening to it (without looking at tabs), you NEED to learn that in order to become a musician. No exceptions at all!

Of course, most people who transcribe don't just "suddenly" figure out the perfect notes to play, some notes might be mistaken here or there, but after trial and error, they do make it sound perfect, even if it doesn't exactly look like the musician who composed that piece plays it, but no one cares how it looks, if it sounds right and you can play it comfortably, its PERFECT.

So how does someone go about learning transcribing? To be honest, I started out by listening to songs I loved over and over again. Then I figured out the easiest parts to play, and listened to just those parts over and over again. Then I turned on my amp and on the clean channel (even if its distorted on the record), I tried to match the notes on my guitar. After that, I did the same thing with the other easier parts and gradually completed the whole song.

I admit it first took me around 5 hours to figure out 3 simple melody lines from a song on youtube that I don't even remember now, but that feeling of accomplishment is just priceless. Now I can figure out if its a single melody line, a chord, an arpeggiated chord or whatever, I find a bunch of notes and then I know what scale to use, and the process becomes easier (well, unless/until there comes a key change).

So how I made my "students" start out on their transcribing journey, is that I gave them any easy christmas carol or a rhyme (Happy Birthday to you is quite popular laugh.gif ), and they can grab any program that can slow down tracks if they think they need it (Audacity is popular, I use Reaper but I don't need to slow down a song to transcribe anyway), throw in their song and write down with a pencil on a sheet of tab the notes they find. And then I point out their mistakes and give them another piece which, I think, is just a wee bit harder than the previous one.

I apologize for anyone who doesn't like long posts (sheesh who does? laugh.gif ) but this is REALLY important, and I'm scared to see it being diminished! Its a great thing that you have the internet at your disposal, but don't let it dull your mind, train yourself to become a musician instead of a guitarist or a bassist, or a drummer or a violinist or anyone! This will help you IMMENSELY because after you can transcribe what you hear, you would be able to play what you hear inside your head and you'll be able to compose more easily than ever before! biggrin.gif

So keep on transcribing! smile.gif

PS: I thought of discussing this here because its a very less discussed topic at all, and it needs to be covered smile.gif I'm sure all of the instructors will agree with me.

EDIT: I'd like to add, if you can grab a MIDI file of any popular piece off the internet, that'd be loads more helpful than a recording, because you'll be able to hear each note clearly.

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sumitnxt
post Aug 19 2013, 05:14 AM
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very inspirational post. i have yet to transcribe my first song. i think i will do it today.
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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 19 2013, 08:21 AM
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I have to agree with you guys smile.gif I only use sheet music, because of my constant struggle with time - sometimes, I need to sort things out on the run and I don't have enough time to listen and learn the oldschool way. I too was born and started studying the instrument in a time when the internet was barely beginning to show its face (1998-1999) and if i wanted to learn something, I either had to listen to it and sort it out or .. ask a friend to teach me tongue.gif

I had a friend - the one who's actually responsible for me picking up the guitar - who was writing down short passages from famous songs on napkins and he brought them into the park where he taught me how to play them and we would then play together - those were the days!! biggrin.gif

About training your ear - our hearing is the most essential thing in our musical development. You can play with demon speed but if you can't hear a melody in your head with the aid of which you can express your feelings in a musical way, it's all for nothing.

I totally recommend an ear training course, which helped me a lot:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Relative-Pitch-T...e/dp/0942542304

How do you guys train your ears?


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Darius Wave
post Aug 19 2013, 08:28 AM
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Beautifull memories - spending so much time on transcribing hard things and creating your own "how this could be played" in the places You could hear precisely in the recordings...smile.gif Such as Gabe I was lucky enough to start my playing this way. I only remember I was able to get tabs to the Extreme's "Pornograffitti" album...only tabs I own for many years smile.gif


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sammetal92
post Aug 19 2013, 12:27 PM
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QUOTE (leonard478 @ Aug 18 2013, 09:42 PM) *
man i owe almost all of my progress as a musician in the past few years to dropping tabs completely out of my world. its funny when i was younger i didnt even know you could do it by ear laugh.gif laugh.gif . i just assumed well..i knew how to read tabs and i didnt know how to read music back then so these are the only ways. And also my god tabs for me were next to impssible to memorize but once i got something by ear it was mine, nearly instantly smile.gif
awesome post!


Thanks a lot, everyone's replies are making me very happy, we need to spread the message, even if you don't or can't teach, just tell other instrument players to transcribe and how they can start out and what advantages they'll get, the biggest one being that you don't really need to memorize anything, because what you're figuring out by ear is already being saved in your memory automatically smile.gif

QUOTE (sumitnxt @ Aug 19 2013, 04:14 AM) *
very inspirational post. i have yet to transcribe my first song. i think i will do it today.


Thank you sumitnxt smile.gif if I am able to inspire even a single person to start transcribing, it really makes me happy, and of course, you or anyone else can ask help from me anytime, or our amazing multi-talented instructors, I'm sure they're eager to help anyone who needs any sort of help smile.gif


QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 19 2013, 07:21 AM) *
I have to agree with you guys smile.gif I only use sheet music, because of my constant struggle with time - sometimes, I need to sort things out on the run and I don't have enough time to listen and learn the oldschool way. I too was born and started studying the instrument in a time when the internet was barely beginning to show its face (1998-1999) and if i wanted to learn something, I either had to listen to it and sort it out or .. ask a friend to teach me tongue.gif

I had a friend - the one who's actually responsible for me picking up the guitar - who was writing down short passages from famous songs on napkins and he brought them into the park where he taught me how to play them and we would then play together - those were the days!! biggrin.gif

About training your ear - our hearing is the most essential thing in our musical development. You can play with demon speed but if you can't hear a melody in your head with the aid of which you can express your feelings in a musical way, it's all for nothing.

I totally recommend an ear training course, which helped me a lot:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Relative-Pitch-T...e/dp/0942542304

How do you guys train your ears?


Thanks Cosmin! biggrin.gif Its okay if someone really doesn't have time like yourself, but at least you can transcribe when need be and you're amazing at making the guitar speak what you hear in your head tongue.gif

I've actually heard only good things about that course, but its a bit too expensive for me tongue.gif I actually won a program called EarMaster (http://www.earmaster.com/) in a competition, which normally costs $60, and I've been using it, its pretty good!

There's an alternative freeware program to EarMaster called GNU Solfege (http://www.solfege.org/) which I've also used. Its the same program as EarMaster, just the user interface is not very decorated smile.gif

QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Aug 19 2013, 07:28 AM) *
Beautifull memories - spending so much time on transcribing hard things and creating your own "how this could be played" in the places You could hear precisely in the recordings...smile.gif Such as Gabe I was lucky enough to start my playing this way. I only remember I was able to get tabs to the Extreme's "Pornograffitti" album...only tabs I own for many years smile.gif


Thanks Darius biggrin.gif I only have one tab book too, its the Guns n Roses "Use Your Illusion" tab book tongue.gif Man you guys were lucky to transcribe legends biggrin.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Aug 19 2013, 01:43 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Aug 19 2013, 04:28 AM) *
Beautifull memories - spending so much time on transcribing hard things and creating your own "how this could be played" in the places You could hear precisely in the recordings...smile.gif Such as Gabe I was lucky enough to start my playing this way. I only remember I was able to get tabs to the Extreme's "Pornograffitti" album...only tabs I own for many years smile.gif



Nice choice! My "only tabs for years" in those days was "Surfing with the alien" by Satriani.


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verciazghra
post Aug 19 2013, 07:10 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 19 2013, 07:21 AM) *
I totally recommend an ear training course, which helped me a lot:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Relative-Pitch-T...e/dp/0942542304

How do you guys train your ears?

I agree strongly with this course, it's marvellous. I generally train my ears by practicing solfege or doing drills from The Relative Pich supercourse. Sometimes I will use small software like Ear Master School or Tenuto to practice identifying modes and scales and chords. But for the basic stuff I do solfege and singing. This book has helped me a lot:
http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Ears-Aural-Skil...s/dp/0793579406

Edit: By solfege i don't mean GNU Solfege wich is a decent software, I mean the actual solfege(Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti)

This post has been edited by verciazghra: Aug 19 2013, 07:12 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 20 2013, 11:38 AM
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QUOTE (verciazghra @ Aug 19 2013, 06:10 PM) *
I agree strongly with this course, it's marvellous. I generally train my ears by practicing solfege or doing drills from The Relative Pich supercourse. Sometimes I will use small software like Ear Master School or Tenuto to practice identifying modes and scales and chords. But for the basic stuff I do solfege and singing. This book has helped me a lot:
http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Ears-Aural-Skil...s/dp/0793579406

Edit: By solfege i don't mean GNU Solfege wich is a decent software, I mean the actual solfege(Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti)


When doing solfeges, have you tried singing arpeggios? I think they can establish a good connection between your ears and the sound of stacked intervals


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Aug 20 2013, 12:29 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 20 2013, 10:38 AM) *
When doing solfeges, have you tried singing arpeggios? I think they can establish a good connection between your ears and the sound of stacked intervals


This is a very good tip. I do that sometimes. Before to start and make some solfeges I'm doing arpeggios with accompanied on piano. Like as for vocal training. For me is like a warm up before solfeggios. Very useful smile.gif
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klasaine
post Aug 20 2013, 02:34 PM
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Great topic Sam.

I'll add that for those of you that haven't actually done it - it's the first one that's the hardest and the most daunting. But after you accomplish your first honest transcription - the next one's easier (even if the solo/song is 'harder'). And it gets easier and easier the more you do.
Also, don't attempt your first one with something ragingly difficult. Pick a solo that you actually know at least in your head and that you can sing.

*Whenever I have trouble finding a melody on guitar I sing it and then transcribe from there.

**You will learn more about music and guitar playing by transcribing (on the guitar and on to paper - by hand) one, simple 12 bar blues solo than you will playing through 100's of somebody else's TABs of anything.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Aug 20 2013, 02:35 PM


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verciazghra
post Aug 20 2013, 07:37 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 20 2013, 10:38 AM) *
When doing solfeges, have you tried singing arpeggios? I think they can establish a good connection between your ears and the sound of stacked intervals

Yes I sing everything in solfege.


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"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

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