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First song learned?


Triumph_Rock

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I supposed it depends on what is meant by "learned"? Does it mean the whole song so I could play it as part of a band, or just being able to pick out the main riff?

If it's the former it would be "Since You've Been Gone" by Rainbow, which was the first of about 20 songs I learned when I joined a Dad Rock covers band about 10 years ago.

Before that I did all my musical learning in the 70s on the guitar rather than the bass, and even then it was little more than being able to strum through the chord progressions in "The Beatles Complete" songbook rather than actually learning the proper guitar parts. Once I'd mastered this I formed a band with some school-mates and we started writing our own songs. By the time I bought a bass guitar (in 1981) this band was already well-established and I just carried on writing bass lines for the songs we were composing, and had no interest in learning how to play songs not written by the band.

I learned a few covers in the 80s but that was when I was playing synth...

And in the early 2000s I was in a couple of bands that played a mixture of covers and originals, but even then I just wrote my own bass lines rather than learn what was on the recording. To be fair the only things either band kept form the original version were the lyrics and the vocal melody, so even if I had learnt the "proper" bass line it probably wouldn't have worked with what the other instruments were doing. Plus a lot of the time I was only barely aware of the original versions so it was very easy to treat these covers like any other new song idea my band mates had come up with.

So if just being able to pick out the main bass riff of a song (but nothing else), it would probably be something like "She's Lost Control" by Joy Division and then it was probably completely by accident, in that I started playing something for a song that we were writing and thought it sounded a bit like another songs so I worked out the rest of the main riff, before discarding it and getting on with writing something of my own instead.

Edited by BigRedX
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The first song I learnt completely by ear was Joe South's Games People Play. Bit of a lightweight number but I liked the catchiness in the bassline. I then put some effort into reading bass clef and cracked Queen's Hammer to Fall, which is a song I love and was one of the reasons I picked up the bass in the first place.

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The first song, I learned by ear, was Smoke On The Water, which was pretty simple.

I then bought a 'How to Play Bass' book, from which I learned Hey Joe.

Then we had a 'gig' in the guitarist's living room and I had to learn All Right Now, which was pretty daunting.

And I've gone downhill ever since :shok:

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2 hours ago, la bam said:

My very first band was 5 of us at 16, spending Saturdays in the drummers garage jamming and drinking. We couldnt play a note between us, but we all liked metal so tried learning what was in the current edition of guitar magazine or something similar.

Sounds like Frank Zappa's song Joe's Garage... "down at Joe's garage, we didn't have no dope or LSD... just a couple of quarts of beer... would fix it so the intonation would not offend your ear..."  🤣

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I’m not sure. Daft thing is I can remember the first thing I learnt on guitar some 50ish years ago - Teach Your Children, CSNY (although I learnt it incorrectly). On bass, I’ve come to the instrument twice (the first time I started in the ‘80s a band suddenly needed a guitarist and back I went to the 6 stringed beast) the first time around it was probably Paul Young’s ‘Hat’ or Come Back and Stay (I assume we mean songs all the way through). Second time, I think it was either Santana’s Smooth or Thin Lizzy’s Waiting for an Alibi, closely followed by Hotel California. Guitarist magazine did transcriptions and backing tracks for various tunes and I had those waiting to be learnt (I never bothered to learn them for guitar).

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I’d like to say - Not good enough - See Me ! by Brand X from their Product album - way to go Percy ! 
 

No, it was Love Hurts (cover) from the Nazareth Greatest Hits album - history teacher wrote out all the notes with the lyrics - bought his Fender Musicmaster (Olympic White, rosewood board). £100 in 1980 ☺️

Migrated to the Stranglers soon thereafter...........

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Polly by Nirvana.

When I was 14 my best mate, who was heavily into Nirvana at the time, had just been given a drum kit for Christmas and decided that we should start a band playing nirvana covers (despite the fact that I didn't play an instrument - unless you counted not quite having reached grade 1 piano when I was about 7 years old). He suggested I try bass as that way I wouldn't need to learn any chords before we could get started. 

His dad however was quite a decent classical guitar player so worked out and showed him how to play the bass parts for Polly which he then showed me. Its only a very simple bass line but the fact that I managed to play it correctly at the first attempt and with my mate literally only showing me once before I got it, convinced me that bass would be my instrument. It was the first bass line I ever learnt but it wasn't even on a bass guitar as we didn't have one yet. It was an old steel string guitar with only the E and A strings on it and to be heard over his drums we used to shove a cheap microphone in through the sound hole and plug it into his Goodmans twin cassette home karaoke machine.

Good times! 🙂

 

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Can't sight read even now but I tried learning from 'teach yourself' books from library and then once I grasped basics I'd write the notes out longhand from sheet music books also borrowed from library ( no tab then).

I vaguely recall Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Living In The Past being among first I could do all way through. I think Peaches was probably the first thing I tried to work out just by ear.

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I cannot remember exactly....But it was either - 
Pet Sematary - The Ramones
or
Burning For You - Blue Oyster Cult

(There was also Sell Out by The Levellers before that, but that doesn't count as I still am not happy with how I play it.....cannot for the life of me seem to get the picking rhythm right......!)

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Well what a range of answers, makes for interesting reading, seeing what songs or parts of songs people learned when they where starting out, or out of necessity for a band performance in three weeks time even though they had only just started to learn bass guitar!

I will have to listen to some of the songs. See what I think, I've yet to learn my first song. It might be a Black Sabbath song, I like Geezer Butlers playing style, Maybe even a Megadeth song as David Ellefson uses a bass with humbuckers or maybe Cream. Cream because I like there music and Jack Bruce used an EB Bass guitar. Maybe a Motorhead song as I'm a big fan, what ever I pick will have to be easy.

 

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38 minutes ago, oldslapper said:

One of my brothers taught me “all right now” bass solo on his battered old acoustic guitar. It was 1970, I was 9, and hooked on bass from that moment. Subsequently realised (some years later) he was playing it wrong....but whatever. 

Good first song to learn.

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When I was in my mid-teens I taught myself to play guitar by playing along to early Status Quo.  Who needs more than 3 chords, right?  So when, in my mid 40s, I decided to start playing bass I did the same.  I picked up my pick and hammered out root notes on my Peavey Milestone.  To be honest nothing much has changed since then apart from the bass :) 

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