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Tools for transcribing?


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What do y'all use for transcribing bass lines?


As for as hardware, does anyone use headphones to hear the bassline and focus on it? Does anyone use some specific piece of software to a) slow down the music or b) decrease vocals and increase the presence of the bass?


This summer I'm planning on creating a binder of songs that I have transcribed. I sort of got the idea from JeremyC after reading some old posts on transcribing, namely the one where he took the summer to transcribe a 4-CD motown set.

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Here is a link to a site that has bass clef staff paper:



You can use Windows Media Player 10 to slow down songs without losing their pitch. Also, it has an equalizer and bass boost that you can use to...well...boost the bass! You can use headphones at that point or just a sub connected to your PC.



-- Joe --


"If you think you're too old, then you are." --Lemmy Kilmister

"I have not seen a man who is not god already." --Austin Osman Spare

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Winamp with the slow down plugin and the loop plugin.



"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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If you want to spend one hundred and something bucks, you can buy the tascam BT1mkII (poratble bass trainer)


You'll be able to change the key (you know, those songs between pitches), to slow down the song, to mute the original bass track and playing over the cd because you-can-plug-your-bass-in!!!! Wow. :rolleyes:


It's a bit tricky to get a not-too-bad bass sound in it: you'll have to spend a lot of precious time with the EQ and two volume controls.

I've no more a guilty conscience, only a stomach.
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I use the tascam, though I rarely have to slow down the stuff I have to learn right now - mostly covers for gigs, I just loop it if necessary. It works OK as a headphone amp but isn't the highest fi as a bass sound - but that's not reallt what I need it for. You've reminded me that I need to make time to transcribe for study/self-improvement too. ;)
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I'm a big fan of Transcribe!. You can download a free demo through Seventh String software. You can change the speed with very little fidelity loss, EQ as you see fit, transpose (or fine-tune), and select sections of whatever length to loop. In short, it's awesome.


And for notation, I like Sibelius G7.

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Originally posted by Brian Fox:

I'm a big fan of Transcribe!.

I'll second the recommendation for Transcribe!. Besides all those functions Brian Fox mentions, I think the coolest thing is the ability to display the audio spectrum for a selection of sound. You choose a short section of the recording, and the program shows you what audio frequencies are present, superimposed on a keyboard. Makes picking out hard-to-hear notes much easier to figure out. It's not perfect, because it shows every note being played by every instrument, including all the overtones, and "noise" like cymbals, but in general it works very well. I think it works best for deep bass lines, and for chords-- if you see the same pattern repeated up the keyboard display, you can see what chord is being played.


I don't use it for every note I transcribe, but for something that's really difficult to pick out, it's quite useful.



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I am with Mr. Cohen on this as well.....

I never found much use for all the software "aids" available. I have Finale, and never use it....not even for notation.


My ears...a good pencil or two....a bunch of staff paper....a piano (or an acosutic gtr, but usually I just use my lil' beater of a Dean Performer ABG!). That's pretty much it.


I use this method for transcribing my own charts (and I have literally 1000s of them!), lessons, and my own original pieces.


I find that the old fashioned method, for me, is much faster and more efficient that any program or aid.


I try to avoid headphones for reasons of ear fatigue.


For serious chutzpah, I will trade out the pencil for a pen!!!



...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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