Learning new material

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Parttime, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Parttime

    Parttime Gretschie

    Dec 6, 2018
    When trying to learn a new song for example.
    Or mr sandman
    Blue moon of Kentucky
    You know something pretty technical.
    Does anyone else ever just get close enough for the song to be recognizable from frustration and then go back later to clean it up once you’re more comfortable with the song?
    I’m mean unless you are performing for an audience who cares how you learn it right?.
    r0de0 and Zeek like this.
  2. S.R.Cash

    S.R.Cash Gretschie

    Aug 29, 2019
    Ontario, Canada
    I like to take a song and learn properly, then after a few run through's I'll notice little bits and bobs here and there, where there's certain little riffs or changes that flow more freely, or reach easier for my style of playing. I guess I ultimately end with a slight variation everytime. The beauty in no two players playing the same way.
  3. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    I always learn songs in sections. The OCD in me keeps me from learning the next part until I learn it right. Even if I have to slow the whole tempo down. It probably takes me longer to learn the song then most.

    Which song are you working on... all three at once?
    Wjensen, Stefan87 and unknown fan like this.
  4. GlenP

    GlenP Synchromatic

    Jul 23, 2019
    I just do those tricky parts slow and even, and gradually speed them up to tempo. I don’t use a metronome, but that is a good idea to keep you even and on time at a slower pace until you have it nailed, then speed up the metronome a notch.

    I have been trying to learn some Lindsey Buckingham stuff, not quite as technical, but singing at the same time makes it interesting.

    And some times I work from the end of the song, the last measure, then back up and do the last two measures, etc. by the time you work your way to the first measure you really know the ending well and the song improves as you go through it since you know where you are going.
    Gregor and Jeff67 like this.
  5. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    Absolutely. Over the last few years I've been called on to play lead on many songs for our band... and I've NEVER been a lead guy. I often have to simply a complex or fast phrase. The Middle (Jimmy Eats World) comes to mind. I have no idea how anyone can play that fast!

    But what does the audience care? My audience is looking to dance, and is well liquored. As long as they can recognize it, they're super happy.
  6. Gregor

    Gregor Gretschie

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Most "new" songs that I work on I already know how they're supposed to go in my mind...so I really don't have to learn the melody. I work at slowing everything down(a metronome is a big help here), You Tube videos can be slowed down and certain online programs can also be used to slow down pieces. Then I work in small sections at a time. If I'm still having problems, I either slow things even more or decrease the size of the section I'm working on. When I can repeat it 3 times in a row without making a mistake, I move on to increasing the speed or the size of the section. I may not have it perfected yet but can at least play it reasonably well.. I work my way through the entire song in this fashion. I don't continue to play parts that I already know but work on the parts I don't know or am having trouble with. When I finish this I then go back and work on only the parts I'm still having problems with. Some times I will change certain parts of the song to suit my ability(I don't play in a band anymore so don't have to mesh with other players. So no, it doesn't have to be "perfect"but I have to be satisfied with it.
    section2 and Parttime like this.
  7. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    If i couldn't do it perfect,i just got it as close as i could, some things were beyond my ability .:oops:

    Having stopped gigging several years ago i'm having to relearn stuff,which is frustrating .:confused:
    Gregor, johnny g and Parttime like this.
  8. Parttime

    Parttime Gretschie

    Dec 6, 2018
    I think a good example of personal interpretation is “Johnny B. Goode”
    I really like the original chuck berry version but I have never heard another artist play it spot on. I mean I’ve heard better and worse versions some with distortion even but not the CB version.
    S.R.Cash likes this.
  9. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    Yep, have done that a lot. Did it to extreme for months trying to learn to play stuff like SRV's version of Little Wing etc Never ending trying to "clean that up". :>)
    Occasionally I play a song on YouTube etc that have played for years and go "whoa.. I forgot about that lick/fill" Gotta go back!
    Parttime likes this.
  10. Parttime

    Parttime Gretschie

    Dec 6, 2018
    I had a few of my own country bands in my mid 20’s
    Never hit big by any means, also never was able to really get a full band with fiddle and steal guitar. We just had to make due with drums, bass, what ever lead player was available and me on rhythm. I never really pressed who ever was playing lead to get it perfect. I was more than happy with recognizable.
    Jelly Roll Horton likes this.
  11. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    Yup, always bite size bits, in order, one at a time. Sometimes it means working on one trill or transition for a day or two until I get it.

    Sometimes, ok, many times, I hit that section that I know is way beyond me so I rewrite it trying for the same feel and sound but something I can master. I have many times gone back a year or two later and redone that section again getting even closer to the original.

    As I type this, I just put down my guitar as I worked on another two bar lead section from EC’s version of Tore Down.
    I have the rhythm with the walking baseline, partial chords and the fills all down and 4 or 5 bars of the lead....Work in progress.

    I have learned to embrace the struggle, the learning and not fight it. 10-15 minutes on a particular section, then work on something else, then come back to it again.....repeat many times:D
  12. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    This is a great method. I once read about a study asking virtuoso classical musicians how they practiced, and most of them described the same method that you use. The takeaway was that the most skilled musicians tended to slow the music down, focus on the parts that they couldn't play well, and play the most challenging sections over and over again at low speeds until they'd perfected them before speeding them up and then moving on.

    I'd like to build a practice routine like that, but I find that I struggle with impatience. Any tips?
    Gregor likes this.
  13. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Nowadays I look up the technical stuff on Youtube. I practise the complicated stuff and wing the parts between them.

    Usually there is not much technical stuff involved with the songs that I have to learn. I remember learning a complete set of cover songs without ever touching my guitar before rehearsal just by listening to the songs over and over in my car on my way to work.
    new6659 and Gregor like this.
  14. johnny g

    johnny g Country Gent

    Sep 2, 2017
    union, ms
    Best time to try new material is at the end of the night. As Mickey would sing, the girls look prettier at closing time.
    LivingMyDream and new6659 like this.
  15. Gregor

    Gregor Gretschie

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    ++++= A1
  16. Gregor

    Gregor Gretschie

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Although this meth0d may seem as though it is a slow process, it actually has the opposite effect in that, when you slow things down and are able to complete sections at a time, you create a situation where you're certain to "win the game" and so you become less frustrated and as a result less impatient because you know that at each practice session you're going to succeed..... whew, that's a long sentence!
    LivingMyDream and section2 like this.
  17. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    That's a great perspective! Thanks for sharing it.
  18. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    One thing I've found useful is to learn in 5-10 minute sessions. When you walk by, pick up the guitar and do that chord sequence or rif a few times. Put it down and go away. Next time you walk by, do it again.
    Gregor likes this.
  19. Gregor

    Gregor Gretschie

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Exactly why I leave my guitar out of it's case and on a stand. very easy to access.
    Wjensen, Parttime and swivel like this.
  20. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    It‘s always a new challenge...


    Step by step. Play it slow and let it sit, then a bit faster and after all at the right speed. If everything’s in time and you’re safe play it finally with your heart.
    My actual challenge:

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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