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learning multiple songs?

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(@eak000)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Topic starter  

I've been taking guitar for about 4-5 months, so I'm still a rank beginner. I'm curious what others are doing when learning new songs. Do you learn one song until you have it down pretty well, then add another, or do you add more songs to learn while the others are still quite rough? I am adding about one song a week, even though I have nowhere near mastered the previous ones. I wonder if I would be better served by mastering the ones I already have before adding new ones? I realize this is all relative and will be different for everyone, but I'm curious what other beginners are doing?


   
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(@mmoncur)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 168
 

I did the same thing, adding one song every week or so and never mastering them. I think that's OK, each song teaches you a new technique or a new chord. Eventually I would leave a song behind because it got frustrating, but I come back to it after a month or two of practicing other songs and suddenly I can play it!

There are some songs I still can't get right after nearly 2 years, and others that I can play perfectly now. And I never know which is which until I try. So I think the more songs the better.


   
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(@joehempel)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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when I started learning, I would pick a technique that I wanted to learn and find songs that had that technique in it and practice the song until I got the technique down and then kind of move on.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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(@dogbite)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

when I want to record a song I tend to stick with the one song.
I internalize it. the song is played in my head all day long. I play the song and work out tricky parts until I am satisfied with them. then I hit the Red button.
generally, I play a bunch of songs all at the same time. some I play well, some I don't.
but I do this for my whole life time. so now after many years I know the songs well, having figured them out along the way.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@huffheinz)
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How many songs do you know? 20 or so? How many are polished and how many are still rough? I, personally, don't like to have more than 5 or 6 songs that need polishing at any one time. I will force myself to polish one up before tackling a new one.

To me, nothing is more annoying than listening to a guitar player that knows only parts of a lot of songs. So if a song (or part of a song) is too hard, work out a simplified version of the tricky parts (so you can consider it done) and then re-visit it in a couple of months.

- Huffheinz


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

I generally find that when I'm learning a new song, there'll be something in it that'll lead me to another song....

Example - a few years ago, I learned John Lennon's "Starting Over" - there was a chord in there, A augmented (A+) that I'd never seen before. I'd tried to learn Roy Orbison's "You Got It" before that - gave up because there was a chord in it I couldn't work out. Guess what - yep, A+. So learning one song helped me to work out another.

A similar thing happened when I was trying to learn Bon Jovi's "Wanted - Dead Or Alive." First time I'd come across Cadd9 - x32033 and this version of the G chord - 320033. That led me into songs like Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells A Story" and Uriah Heep's "The Wizard," to name but two....

I can even remember when I first started out - one of the first songs I learned was Lennon's version of "Stand By Me." Didn't take me long to realise I could use the same chords for Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" and Elvis's "His Latest Flame."

So yeah, I've usually got multiple songs on the go - one thing always leads to another!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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When I started learning, I put all my favorite songs in a list. I searched the tabs or chords for all those songs. And I sorted the songs on depending the number chords and also the chords themselves. For example, if a song has just three chords G, D and C, the next one is a song that has G, D, C and, for example, Em.

Thus, I learned a new chord (sometimes more) with each new song and I kept practicing the previous chords.

Currently I dedicate much more time to the bass but I try to keep fresh the songs that I already know in my memory by playing them once or twice each week. Fingerpicking songs are harder to remember at least for me.


   
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(@eak000)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Topic starter  

Thanks for the replies! It's nice to get a gauge on what works for others! I learn something new from everything. 2 recent songs that I'm learning feature Bm, so I'm working on my barre cords...which are starting to sound pretty good most of the time, but I'm still awfully slow at switching to them! My most recent song is one that includes fingerpicking, so that's new for me.
How many songs do you know? 20 or so? How many are polished and how many are still rough? I, personally, don't like to have more than 5 or 6 songs that need polishing at any one time. I will force myself to polish one up before tackling a new one.

To me, nothing is more annoying than listening to a guitar player that knows only parts of a lot of songs. So if a song (or part of a song) is too hard, work out a simplified version of the tricky parts (so you can consider it done) and then re-visit it in a couple of months.

I am so new, I would have to say NONE of the songs I know are "polished"! LOL! I can play Wish You Were Here all the way through with minimal mistakes, but the timing on some of the chord changes is still not good. That's probably my best song right now. No, I take that back...my best is Knocking on Heaven's Door, which was the very first one I learned.


   
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(@huffheinz)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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I am so new, I would have to say NONE of the songs I know are "polished"! LOL!
Dude, I completely understand. I'm a bass player who is just now started to work on the 6-string last week.

A lot of people, upon finding out you have a guitar, will ask you to play something for them. So the first thing I concentrated on was "rough polishing" 4 very simple songs that I can pick up and perform. They are simple 3 or 4 chord songs that I just sing and strum, but they will work for show pieces while I woodshed the more difficult stuff.

I recommend "rough polishing" 3 to 5 simple songs to friendly performance standards. Then only work on 3 or 4 new songs at a time.

- Huffheinz


   
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(@eak000)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Topic starter  

I recommend "rough polishing" 3 to 5 simple songs to friendly performance standards. Then only work on 3 or 4 new songs at a time.

That sounds like good advice! Especially since I just added a bit of singing into the mix!


   
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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1089
 

I generally find that when I'm learning a new song, there'll be something in it that'll lead me to another song....

...

So yeah, I've usually got multiple songs on the go - one thing always leads to another!

:D :D :D

Vic

Same thing here. I start working on a song, and for some reason I'm inspired or prompted to branch off to another. It may be because I'm having trouble or bored with the first. I add songs then keep bouncing back and forth. I asked my teacher if this was a problem. He said no. Of course the more songs you're working on, the longer between times for working on any one song. One thing I won't do is learn just part of a song and become proficient only with that. Years ago I did that, and could only play song intros. That's not playing. Now I may play a song and it sucks, but I can get all the way through. If I had to wait until I knew a song perfectly before moving on to the next one, I'd never get anywhere. I personally think that by working on a few things at a time, you actually learn more.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@eak000)
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Topic starter  

If I had to wait until I knew a song perfectly before moving on to the next one, I'd never get anywhere. I personally think that by working on a few things at a time, you actually learn more.

Hey, I'm not aiming for perfection at this stage of the game!! I'll settle for "not-horribly-embarrassing" or even "recognizable"!
:)
I'm still at the stage of big pauses while I get my barre chords situated!


   
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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1089
 

If I had to wait until I knew a song perfectly before moving on to the next one, I'd never get anywhere. I personally think that by working on a few things at a time, you actually learn more.

Hey, I'm not aiming for perfection at this stage of the game!! I'll settle for "not-horribly-embarrassing" or even "recognizable"!
:)
I'm still at the stage of big pauses while I get my barre chords situated!

We are on the same page! :D

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@hanging-chord)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 87
 

I'm still at the stage of big pauses while I get my barre chords situated!

I'm finding that it's a lot harder to move from open to barre chords (and vice versa) than it is to go from barre to barre. I actually tend to "barre" behind the nut when I play open chords, just to keep my fingers honest and not confuse the muscle memory, but sometimes a barre 0 is a real stretch (e.g., G or D). So my preference is to substitute barres for open, and try to play the entire song barred. It does seem to help the transitions, at least for me. (Note that my hand is fairly small, and it seems to "fit" the neck best in the range of frets 5-8, so I usually make an effort to keep my notes and chords in that area).


   
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(@alangreen)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

For my own personal repertoire, I've got used to starting three at a time. I used to work new songs one at a time but my Grade exams meant I had to get three worked up to performance level so it was eaier to start working on them all together.

My orchestral work uses two different approaches

Let's call the first one "Dreadfully Serious" orchestra - I'll explain why once I've got over one of our lead players playing the wrong tune last Saturday - we get new tunes one at a time and spend a few hours rehearsing that specific tune before incorporating it into our normal rehearsal schedule. Then we work it as part of our regular rehearsal for a few sessions, and introduce it to concerts. Then we introduce the next tune. This is all single-line stuff and I'm usually playing Guitar 4 or 5 for these guys. We've brought in three new pieces in the seven months I've been playing with them - two pieces by Stravinsky, and "Beck's Bolero" by Jimmy Page.

Let's call the other one "Let's play a few songs, get riotously drunk and have a good time" orchestra - we have just been given the music for next year (starting September) so I have 15 new works to get my head around in just over 10 weeks. This is also 4-part music, but I'm routinely playing Guitar 1 for these guys and it's not always single-line stuff- go to Youtube.com and enter "Boccerini Introduction Fandango"; check out the trio performance, think that I have to play 16th note rasgueados and you'll get an idea of what I have to put up with. We'll get September 2010's music this time next year.

The orchestral work doesn't have to be note perfect, because there is always more than one player on each part (except that Fandango when I'm on my own on Guitar 1). The personal repertoire is the stuff I take onstage as a soloist, and that has to be a lot tighter.

A :-)

"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
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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