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how do you approach new songs you've never heard


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  • how do you approach new songs you've never heard

    For whatever reason, you need or want to learn a song that you've never heard before.

    How do you go about it?

    All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

  • #2

    1.)  listen to it as many times as I need to until I'm sufficiently familiar with it.

    2.) figure out the chord changes and the riffs.

    3.) play it.



    • steve mac
      steve mac commented
      Editing a comment
      Listen to the original a few times, go onto utube and see if anyone has covered it and if so listen to those covers to see how they tackled it. Then go to Ultimate guitar and see if there is any or better still a variety of tabs, if not sit and work it out. Practice it, perform it.
      Cheers Steve

  • #3

    pogo97 wrote:

    For whatever reason, you need or want to learn a song that you've never heard before.

    How do you go about it?

    Find at least one recording of it and listen carefully.


    • #4

      The last song I learned was a week or so ago - Wildflower by the local group Skylark http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9bJJNUdXEs

      I had a sequence of the tune I had revamped, and although I had played it way back when, I had never sung it. So I did a YouTube search, listened a few times, downloaded the words, and did my best to learn them on the train ride into the gig. The chords kind of play themselves because they are so natural, without being simplistic. I did have to lower the key so I wouldn't blast out the folks enjoying their crab cakes... but that was basically it.

      Side note - Donny Gerrard, the singer from Skylark (BJ Cook was also the singer) was just in town with Mavis Staples, so he's still performing. As is David Foster, obviously. In fact many of those guys are still at it years later. Hard to get music out of your system.


      • Notes_Norton
        Notes_Norton commented
        Editing a comment

        I can't get the music out of my system. I'm of retirement age, but never intend to retire. Why should I? I like it too much.

        I think when people truly love what they do, they don't want to stop. It's not a job, it's not what they do, it's what they are. I've read about musicians, artists, chemists, engineers, and so many others who never retire, because they love what they are doing, and can't imagine life without that part of them. I consider myself in that group and truly feel we are the lucky ones.

        Oops, I think that's a thread hijack.

        I'll try to fix it.

        Most of the times when we learn a new song that was requested and we weren't familiar with, it all works out fine. On rare occasions we end up changing the melody a bit - not intentionally - not enough to make the song unrecognizable - but enough perhaps to warrant the comment that we stylized it a bit. But then, even some songs we know by hard end up with our own vocal modifications.