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learning songs by ear


mobass

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The other guys are correct, you just have to do it to get good at it.

 

Find a song that isn't too fast, and has a clear bassline you want to learn. Play it on a digital source (computer) so you can jump easily. Play the first note and just keep hitting notes on your bass until you find it. That's half the battle, because you know there's a logical next note: listen, play in the box, find the second note, etc.

 

It gets easier as you find more notes.

 

 

As a transition, use a tab to find the first note, then explore on your own (most tabs on the internet are incorrect anyway).

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As far as the key or the note of the first root, either ask someone or figure it out by trial and error.

 

After playing bass for a while, and figuring out songs by ear, two things happen. First, you learn the common patterns, which are really applied scales, that are in the different styles of music. Secondly, by figuring out songs, you slowly learn to hear intervals, or the musical distance between notes, and can almost automatically play what you hear.

 

It's like anything else, either you're a savant, or you need to practice, practice, practice....

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The more you do it the better you get.

 

 

 

 

Pretty much - sometimes when I've covered my set lists as well as I can, and still want to play - I'll play random songs that come up on the radio... of course, a few come up that I know, and that gives me a mental "break" - but the rest are an excellent exercise in ear training...

 

 

 

 

- georgestrings

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What everyone else says. Practice. That is the only way.

 

 

Perfect pitch? Yes, I can. :thu: I'm pretty lucky I guess. I've never had to work at it, it just comes naturally.

 

My parents said I was born with it. From what I've heard, you are either born with it or you have to work extremely hard to be able to do it.

 

 

Practice, practice, practice.

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Perfect pitch? Yes, I can.
:thu:
I'm pretty lucky I guess.

 

That is more than pretty lucky.

 

I have a good ear, and it came from years of learning songs by ear. Randomly I'll be able to identify a note correctly when I hear it. Other times I will incorrectly identify a simple interval. It takes work. Blah. :thu:

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As far as the key or the note of the first root, either ask someone or figure it out by trial and error.


After playing bass for a while, and figuring out songs by ear, two things happen. First, you learn the common patterns, which are really applied scales, that are in the different styles of music. Secondly, by figuring out songs, you slowly learn to hear intervals, or the musical distance between notes, and can almost automatically play what you hear.


It's like anything else, either you're a savant, or you need to practice, practice, practice....

 

 

 

that's pretty much how I learned too. Just gotta try it. Once you have a song or 2 worked out, check it against a tab or pro transcription and see how close you are. That works well for me.

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Make sure your bass and what you are listening to are standard tuned. Then you know everyone is on the same map.

 

You need to train your ears to hear certain things, and not necessarily the bass.

 

Can you recognize a major chord from a minor chord in a song?

 

Are you familiar with different bass playing styles, ie blues, metal, funk?

 

Can you hear the role the bass is playing in relation to other instruments?

 

I am not trying to be a smart ass with these questions, it is just that there is a lot of natural musical ability mixed with PRACTICE that makes learning by ear possible.

 

I am pretty good at it, but even I struggle with some stuff, and in that instance I just approximate the part, and compose my own bass line in that style.

 

My brother has perfect pitch, meaning I can play a note in one room and in the other room he can just call it out, even #s and flats. I am ALMOST that good, but not quite!

 

But perfect pitch is not needed to learn songs by ear.

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Yep, all the responses are correct.... the only thing I'd like to add is to make sure you have a basic understanding of music theory.

 

It's not brain surgery....but a basic understanding will help you limit how many notes you've got to try to see if they sound right.

 

And sometimes when the note is not real clear or disappears in a drum beat or sumpin..... you have a note that fits just fine!:wave:

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