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Problem tabbing out songs


Bassplayerjoe

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Hey guys I have a problem that I am very frustrated with. I have a an extremely hard time tabbing out songs. I don't know why my listening is so bad but I am frusterated to the brim. I don't see how you guys do it so I need as much advise and help as possible. Thanks guys

"All things are possible through Christ." (Matt 19:26)

 

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Keep at it, do it often, compare notes with others who are good at it if you can, and it'll improve.

 

The best advice I can give beyond that is learn some theory and analyze some stuff you can hear that's also been written out - in STANDARD NOTATION - by someone good. Theory will give a lot of clues as to what's going on and thus what some likely note and chord choices would be in problem spots.

 

Finally, here's one I just got around to at the start of summer when I had to learn a whole lotta songs accurately and in a hurry (some of which had obscure mixes for the bass): get TRANSCRIBE (or something like it, but this was the one I liked best) by www.seventhstring.com - not only can you pitch shift and slow down music on your computer, you can rip from CD, you can slow down and speed up, set markers for measures, sections, etc... loop sections, EQ everything out until only the bass (or some other) region is present - and a whole lot more.

 

It's a great tool!

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Oh, yeah - get beyond TAB. Standard transcription is a lot richer and actually a lot easier to deal with once you've got a handle on it.

 

Sounds like a lot I know, but build in all these areas and playing, jamming, improvising, it ALL comes easier.

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Hey BPJ, the problem isn't the writing, it's the ears. Don't worry, you can improve them. Try taking things more slowly at first. I like GB's suggestion on getting some technology to slow down whatever you're listening to. Back in the day, though, we had to manually reset the stylus to the vinyl.

 

But we did it without slower-downers. :freak: Try to listen to smaller pieces at a time. Go for one note, even. Hum along and match the pitch. Stop the recording and keep humming. Play a full 12-tone chromatic scale until you match the pitch (if not the octave). Now find the right octave. Go back to the recording and double check.

 

Yes, this is painfully slow. To help speed things up, you need to train your relative pitch. Play a note on your bass. Now play a different note. See how they sound next to each other? For example, play an open D string, then an open A string. If you play them over and over again it sounds like the ending to a Beethoven piece or something, right? If you were in the key of D, you'd be playing "fifths". This comes from the fact that the A is the 5th note in the D major scale (D=1, E=2, F#=3, G=4, A=5, etc.). (A little music theory type stuff there.) More precisely, the A is "a 5th below" the D. Although it helps to learn some of this terminology when talking with other musicians, for ear training it's enough that you just recognize the intervals. You should get to the point where if you know the starting pitch you should be able to figure out the next pitch based on the interval. For example, a song that starts in F# that sounds like the next note (the interval) is a 5th below would be a C#.

 

You've been practicing your scales, so you know that if you start on the 2nd fret or above on the E or A strings, you can play a one-octave major scale in any key using the same fingering pattern. (Well, ok, you can run out of frets on the high end of the neck, too, but that varies with the number of frets available on the bass you are playing.) Whenever you play the octave (8th pitch) and 5th (which is the 5th below), they are always on the same fret on adjacent strings. So now you can get away from note names and concentrate on patterns. This also helps whenever you learn a song and somebody wants to change the key; you just shift the pattern up or down the neck. (Well, most of the time it's that easy.)

 

The sibling to relative pitch is perfect pitch. If you can develop this, you'll be on easy street. It means that whatever pitch you hear, you know immediately exactly which note it is. Some people seem to be born with perfect pitch, some can learn it, some are just happy to have relative pitch, and then there are the "tone deaf".

 

But the best way to develop your ear is by practice. Just don't start with the complicated songs; look for easier material until you're more comfortable.

 

And yes, you'll be better off in the long run learning music theory and standard music notation. A great place to learn is private lessons or at a community college.

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OK, how about something USEFUL from me for a change? ActiveBass.com has an ear trainer that you can use to find notes relative to any note. It works both by you picking the root and chosing notes relaive to the root, or chose the root and let the computer generate a note and you guess what it is (second, third, flat third, etc.) It takes a little time (me about three years, and I'm still not great at it), so stick with it.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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I find transcribing in standard notation is a hell of a lot easier than using TAB. I always have to sit with my bass when tabbing out something (usually for someone on this forum), because there are so many different ways to play a particular passage, and often what works in one bar won't work in the next, depending on what's coming up. There are so many different places to play the same note on the instrument.

 

On the other hand I can usually write out a standard notation transcription with only an occasional grab of the bass for an unusual interval or wide register jump.

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Honestly, tab is detrimental to your development.

 

Using tab to play a song has several serious problems:

 

1. It is usually wrong

2. It doesn't have a standard method of conveying rhtyhm

3. It prescribes position

 

To expand on 3, one of things that makes playing guitar or bass different than playing piano is the fact that to play a note, say E1, you have multiple options (E-string 12th fret, A-string 7th fret, and D-string 2nd fret).

 

Tab will tell you exactly where to play that note. Instead of telling you to play E1, it tells you to play D-string 2nd fret.

 

That has two inherent problems; (a) while each note of E1 played on different parts of the fretboard have the same pitch, they have a very different timbre and (b) following the fingers without processing the information that is being fed does not teach you to visual the fingerboard a sets of intervals.

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traning your ears is like learning another language..study the grammatic rules and go to the country to speak as much as you can = learn theory and play as much as you can

 

you can work on relative pitch and improve a great deal...that's really one of the most important tools when it comes to transcribing!the gary willis book on ear training works for me...

 

other things that can help are singing (once you can sing the line you need you can slow things more than any computer or phrase trainer can and you will always be in tune and hear the notes properly )and not trying to hear (and transcribe) long musical phrases at first...take your time and work with groups of 2 maybe 3 notes at the time....if you keep doing it experience will get you where you want faster

 

all things are hard at first so don't give up ...

Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care.
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Originally posted by getz76:

3. It prescribes position

Actually, I always tab out songs I'm learning for a 4 string bass, but when I'm playing them (while looking at the tab) I'll usually play them somewhere else on the neck, and possibly on the B-string.

 

But I'm just weird like that :D

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

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