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Triumph_Rock

Memorising a song?

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Hi Everyone,

Is there a trick or technique for learning a bass line of a song ?

I'm trying hard to learn the bass line for my first hard rock song, but am struggling to memorise it from the tab, listening to the song and reading the lyrics?

Interested to hear all your thoughts?

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I expect this is fairly common - I don't read and never really got on with tab.  I listen to the song several times without going anywhere near my bass, just to pick up the structure.  Then I dissect it with the bass and figure out out to play it on the neck - best positions etc.  Then I just listen to the song as much as possible, over and over again, imagining how I play each note as the song plays out.  I haven't found any shortcuts, just keep listening. 

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5 minutes ago, Paul S said:

I expect this is fairly common - I don't read and never really got on with tab.  I listen to the song several times without going anywhere near my bass, just to pick up the structure.  Then I dissect it with the bass and figure out out to play it on the neck - best positions etc.  Then I just listen to the song as much as possible, over and over again, imagining how I play each note as the song plays out.  I haven't found any shortcuts, just keep listening. 

This, exactly what I do too! Listen first, dissect, play and listen! Visualise playing along when listening, knowing hand positions etc... it’ll soon stick 

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I'd say knowing the chords helps a lot. Akin to doing the edges of a puzzle first to get the basic structure.  Then you can understand the style and feel of the recorded player as they 'work around' the chord structure.

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18 minutes ago, Triumph_Rock said:

...I'm trying hard to learn the bass line for my first hard rock song...

What song are you learning..? Knowing this may help with relevant tips or advice. :|

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8 minutes ago, Paul S said:

I expect this is fairly common - I don't read and never really got on with tab.  I listen to the song several times without going anywhere near my bass, just to pick up the structure.  Then I dissect it with the bass and figure out out to play it on the neck - best positions etc.  Then I just listen to the song as much as possible, over and over again, imagining how I play each note as the song plays out.  I haven't found any shortcuts, just keep listening. 

Me three! Although to throw a curveball of sorts, I tend to break it down also, so I’ll listen to the intro (for example) work out positions etc and get that, once intro is sussed I move on to verse, same thing(s) again, break it down into palatable sections whilst also listening to the song as a whole so I can join the pieces so to speak

 

on the other hand, the times I’ve learnt an intro and moved onto something else is uncountable...you need a bassist for an intro covers band...I’m your man!

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2 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

What song are you learning..? Knowing this may help with relevant tips or advice. :|

Reasonable point that!

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Start with the chords, always the chords.

Once you know the chord sequence, many basslines simply fall into place.

 

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Cheat notes help when I'm going from playing along with a recording to playing with a band. I will often write down something like:

Intro D G C x4

Verse D A D A x2

Em D A Em

Chorus A Bm A Bm C# x4

So it's not tabbing out a riff or whatever but it sets out the structure of the song for me so I don't get lost without the cues the original recording has and if I forget the exact riff at least I can play around the chord. 

Then after I've played it enough I don't use the notes any more. 

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Just now, Happy Jack said:

Start with the chords, always the chords.

Once you know the chord sequence, many basslines simply fall into place.

 

This too...in a former life I was a guitarist so as a bass player, especially in a live/jam/rehearsal situation I find following the chords with root notes then adding the fills/flourishes later much easier

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I find that if the bass line isn’t straight root notes and if I have the tab then rather than trying to learn the whole song at once isolating four bars and mastering those, then repeating til I’ve got the whole song works. But I do agree with the posts above, knowing the chords and knowing the song really helps.

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1 minute ago, Lozz196 said:

I find that if the bass line isn’t straight root notes and if I have the tab then rather than trying to learn the whole song at once isolating four bars and mastering those, then repeating til I’ve got the whole song works. But I do agree with the posts above, knowing the chords and knowing the song really helps.

For this kind of learning, it's a Good Idea to learn the last few bars first. Once they're ready, learn the preceding few bars; rinse and repeat. This way, you're playing more and more into the 'comfort zone' of stuff already learnt. It's an old theatre trick for learning stage lines. Start from the end and work forward, and you'll never be lost.

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Thanks for the fantastic ideas, will start to experiment. 

The song my tutor has me learning is Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses. Which I think is mainly played in D, C, G chords. 

 

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1 minute ago, Triumph_Rock said:

Thanks for the fantastic ideas, will start to experiment. 

The song my tutor has me learning is Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses. Which I think is mainly played in D, C, G chords. 

 

The toughest bit is not the main part of that song, it’s the bass fill/solo right at the song intro, getting all the right notes in the correct order.

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3 minutes ago, Triumph_Rock said:

Thanks for the fantastic ideas, will start to experiment. 

The song my tutor has me learning is Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses. Which I think is mainly played in D, C, G chords. 

 

One of the first songs I learned. It's quite easy to follow as it's a basic and repetitive structure for the most part. 

I still love playing the bass into part. 

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9 minutes ago, steantval said:

The toughest bit is not the main part of that song, it’s the bass fill/solo right at the song intro, getting all the right notes in the correct order.

Now see I've got the intro down, it's the rest of the song I'm struggling with. I would be the opposite to everybody else 😄 

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Just don't watch 'Last of the summer wine' before learning the intro to Sweet Child. They are very similar and I once played Summer Wine for fun just to mess with the band. 

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Yes, it's difficult.

One thing I do is try to spot patterns.... like part A is always followed by part B.

And make note of things that break a pattern..... like the third verse is shorter.

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Has your tutor nothing to say on the subject..? Have you mentioned it to him/her..? o.O

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After listening to the song quite a few times I can normally work out what’s going on theory wise , and I find listening to the song in the car while driving to work helps because the tune is in my head then most of the day , if I’m struggling I break it down into sections. 

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Duff does throw a few curve balls into this one with odd fills that he only plays once during the main verse structure, but i've found over the years that it's a similar story with a lot of the Duff's lines.

As most have said, get the fundamentals of the track down into sections then work on each section individually,  fine tuning them and making minor corrections as you go along.

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On 01/11/2020 at 19:35, Triumph_Rock said:

Is there a trick or technique for learning a bass line of a song ?

First learn the song. The bass line should fall into place after that.

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Realising that the bass is only part of a song always worked for me. Learn the lyrics and the melody so you are playing the song not simply the bass lines. Singing the song in my head always keeps me in the moment and in the right place in the music. In other words link the bass lines to the rest of the music, dont just think of them in isolation.

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