Learning songs

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Nickguitar800
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Learning songs

Post by Nickguitar800 » December 22nd, 2014, 11:22 am

Hello everyone, I am in a band and we are updating our song list; usually I use tabs to learn songs, but I hate tabs, maybe it comes from years of piano but I just can't stand tabs. My question is; is there a simple way to figure out songs by ear? I can usually figure out solos and lead guitar by ear but I almost always have to use tabs on my rhythm parts to learn the chords. Also, is there anywhere that you can get guitar sheet music? By the way, I am almost completely self taught on guitar, so I don't have a teacher to consult with or to figure out songs for me. Thanks in advance!

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Alan Green
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Re: Learning songs

Post by Alan Green » December 23rd, 2014, 12:23 am

Look back to your piano days - there's a Key Signature at the start of every line. Take your key signature, write out the scale, and use your basic harmony skills to construct the chords you need from those notes.

So long as you have the melody and the bass note for the first beat of each bar, then you've got almost all of the chord for that bar. Melody lines tend to start on the 3rd or the 5th of the chord so practically all of the work is done for you - there will be the occasional bar where more than one chord gets used but you won't need to change chord on every beat like you see written out under some piano music (unless you're playing jazz). Diminished chords are very rare in modern songs; augmented chords even more so. Experiment once you've got the basic harmony to see if you're looking for 7ths or other extensions.

Guitar sheet music - the shop where you bought your guitar is a good starting point. They have a computerised link to their suppliers and will be able to look up any song you want.

A teacher won't figure out songs for you. I don't figure out songs for my students; I expect them to do that. As a teacher, I teach people to play the guitar - yes, I use songs (from pre-printed scores) to use those new skills in a proper performance context but a teacher who teaches you just to play songs is not teaching you anything you can use in another song.
"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger
"I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk

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dhodge
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Re: Learning songs

Post by dhodge » December 23rd, 2014, 6:57 am

In addition to what Alan mentions, it's not all that hard to figure out the chords of most songs by ear. We've got quite a few lessons on that topic:

http://www.guitarnoise.com/topics/ear-training/

You might find this trilogy a good place to start:

http://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/happy-new-ear/

http://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/unea ... structure/

http://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/solving-the-puzzle/

And, by the bye, there are over a thousand lessons here at Guitar Noise. Paul has just done an amazing job of putting together a new site map that you may find helpful with any future questions:

http://www.guitarnoise.com/sitemap/

And, of course, you can always ask here at the forums.

Peace

Nickguitar800
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Posts: 24
Joined: December 8th, 2014, 10:30 am

Re: Learning songs

Post by Nickguitar800 » December 24th, 2014, 10:07 am

Thank you for the help! I was wondering if there was a way to figure out chords using music theory! Also, thank you for the links!

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