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valentine

tips on how to improve your musical ear

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hey, im a bassist obviously, been playing about a year now just over,anyway,ive got to grips with most techniques but the one that i want the most still seems to largly elude me,which is the abilty to hear something a riff,or a song and play it straight back or least be able to play it with in 5 mins or so,my brain just doesnt seem to convert the notes of the guitar/bass riffs im hearing into what frets i should be playing on the bass very well,its fustrateing, how do i get good at this with out it takeing 10 years? like i play bass all the time generally a couple of hours practice a day ,i have got better with my ear subconciously ive picked things up but is there a way to fast track my progres cause at this rate its going to be about 5 or 10 years before i develp this skill to a level where im not having to use tabs or watch people on youtube playing songs and trying to tab up bit by bit what there playing,learning the tabs and trying to tab up my favorite bands songs takes the fun out of doing covers so i mostly make my own material which im quite good at anyway,it doesnt help that im into the sub genres of metal,ie mathcore,death metal ect with its complex intevals and note combinations



anyway any adive or tips please and let me know how you find this also

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Make your next 1-3 years learning aurally based (learning from cds) slow and simple at first, make sure you are getting it right, play the same passage 15 million times if necessary. In an amount of time, determind by how good your ears are and how dedicated you are to the process, you will find that it just gets quicker and quicker.
I can learn songs whilst performing them live for the first time with a combination of good predictive aural skills and watching the left hand of the keys player or being hollered chords by the guitarist etc

PS don't just limit it to cds, copy advert themes off the tv or theme tunes... anything

Edit
Oh and learn to punctuate your posts better, your question was hell to read. :)

Edited by jakesbass

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I wouldn't advocate shelling out money for ear training courses or software, just use cds you already own as a basis for ear training. Take small sections of songs (the simpler the better to start with), listen to what the bass is doing then try and sing the part being played. Once you've got the notes, find them on your bass. This will develop the link between your ears, your voice and your hands and should help to speed up the process of being able to play by ear.

As an add-on to what Jake already said, don't just limit yourself to bass parts. Try and work out vocal melodies, sax lines and piano stuff on your bass.

And be patient, it may take some time.

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Don't want to put you off, but I've been trying to do that for 30 years and still can't manage it - I think it's called tone deaf, but don't let it hold you back :)

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[quote name='valentine' post='421834' date='Feb 28 2009, 06:11 PM']send me a link of something you think i should invest in then ie a cd or a program you recommend and i will invest in it


safe[/quote]

Sorry I wasn't clear, I mean Cds that you already have... of songs... Just listening to the bass parts to work them out is the hands down, most effective, sure fire way of improving you ears.

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[quote name='redstriper' post='421895' date='Feb 28 2009, 07:21 PM']Don't want to put you off, but I've been trying to do that for 30 years and still can't manage it - I think it's called tone deaf, but don't let it hold you back :)[/quote]

If you can tell the difference between a dog bark and bridsong, you are not tone deaf. If you can't, you can always play Country & Western :rolleyes:

I made a lot of progress trying to name intervals on the fly (hearing something on a record, tv, even ringtones and working out the sequence without an instrument - its hard when you start but it does get easier. When you recognise the fact that most harmonic movement is within a half octave, you soon realise that there are generally only 5 options! It less intimidating already.

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[quote]Just listening to the bass parts to work them out is the hands down, most effective, sure fire way of improving you ears.[/quote]

+1. I can't recommend this enough.

To make things stick, once I've figured something out, I rack my brains to think if there are any other songs I know of that have a similar sounding effect/progression/lick/riff etc. Then I figure out if it uses the same idea or a slight variation. That way I've learned how a certain idea evokes a certain response when played. I can then pull that out whenever I want to create that response, and I will know when others are using that idea.

Mark

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[quote name='mcgraham' post='422305' date='Mar 1 2009, 12:25 PM']+1. I can't recommend this enough.

To make things stick, once I've figured something out, I rack my brains to think if there are any other songs I know of that have a similar sounding effect/progression/lick/riff etc. Then I figure out if it uses the same idea or a slight variation. That way I've learned how a certain idea evokes a certain response when played. I can then pull that out whenever I want to create that response, and I will know when others are using that idea.

Mark[/quote]

Exactly - so once you start to hear the similarities between progressions/licks/bass lines then the whole 'hearing' process becomes a lot quicker - afterall there are only 12 notes so the chances of stuff repeating - jazz in particular uses the sames sets of chord changes in umpteen different songs - the same is true of popular song; once you start to spot these different elements you'll be a lot more confident in how you approach creating a bass part to fit them. Obviously music is vast, getting familiar with even a few fragments of it takes years - but if you do this with focus everytime you try and learn something by ear it stands to reason that the more you do it he easier it will become. If you're still confused about intervals and various harmonic things maybe get with a teacher and getbthem to explain them and demonstrate them to you.

Cheers

Mike

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[quote name='bilbo230763' post='422234' date='Mar 1 2009, 09:39 AM']I made a lot of progress trying to name intervals on the fly (hearing something on a record, tv, even ringtones and working out the sequence without an instrument - its hard when you start but it does get easier. When you recognise the fact that most harmonic movement is within a half octave, you soon realise that there are generally only 5 options! It less intimidating already.[/quote]
+1

I can't recommend learning intervals by ear enough. I've managed to compose whole songs and work out songs I've heard on the radio in my head, without an instrument, just by knowing the basic intervals by ear.

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