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View Full Version : I'm awful at playing things by ear



Apathy
04-21-2007, 09:46 PM
So there's this song with a bass part I really like. It's called By Force (http://www.purevolume.com/theflamingtsunamis)

It sounds simple enough, and I can pretty much guarantee that I can play it. However I cannot learn how to play anything without sheet music or tabs and since this is a smaller band, none of that exists.

I realize this is a long shot, but if anyone can help me out at all it would be greatly appreciated.

Thomas
04-21-2007, 10:36 PM
The only thing I can suggest would be to take a music theory class. It'll help you identify notes and intervals and whatnot.

killer_queen
04-22-2007, 05:38 AM
Music theory class? What the hell is that? I can't believe I've never heard of it. I've been playing music for 12 years and I could have never played a decent song by ear. I should take that class too.

By the way, Apathy, everyone says the hard thing is reading music. I guess we are the lucky ones.

mrconeman
04-22-2007, 06:14 AM
I dunno how to explain that I can do it, I guess when I hear a note I can just know where on the fret board it will be, with a fair ammount of accuracy anyway.

One thing I've found that helps is to recognize intervals, if you get even one note of the bass line right, if you recognise the pattern you should be able to work the rest of the notes out like that.

A really, really boring way to do it if you're desperate would be listening to the song with bass in hand and literally just playing every note (within reason of where it could be) and just waiting until you stumble accross the right ones.
How long have you been playing aswell?

I was fairly hopeless at doing things by ear untill about a year into playing, then I got o.k at it, now I can figure out pretty much whatever, unless its some crazy jazz or classical chord I haven't seen before or something.

Apathy
04-22-2007, 09:39 AM
I've been playing for about a little under three years now I think. I've taken some music classes but ultimately did not have enough money to learn anything worthwhile and stay in the class.

opivy21
04-22-2007, 10:32 AM
I think the best way to learn to tab by ear is just to do it. Most of the songs that I've wanted to learn don't have tabs on the internet, so I just sounded them out. Of course it's not that bad considering it's mostly barre chords. Like mrconeman said, you'll just start to memorize how intervals and progressions sound and sometimes you can listen to a song and be able to play it as soon as you pick up your guitar/bass.

And there's always the method of sitting down with the song and pausing it and playing it over and over until you get all the notes, but as said earlier, it's tiresome and by the time you figure out the song you'll probably be too sick of it to play it.

Apathy
04-22-2007, 11:07 AM
And there's always the method of sitting down with the song and pausing it and playing it over and over until you get all the notes, but as said earlier, it's tiresome and by the time you figure out the song you'll probably be too sick of it to play it.

The sad thing is, I've already tried this and I still can't figure it out. I think I might have the first note, but from there I have no idea.

T-6005
04-23-2007, 10:41 AM
Well, in this particular song don't go with the one played at the very beginning - the timing is confusing. Go a few seconds in where the drums come in - that'll help.

Also, try figuring out the (power) chords that the guitar plays. Once you figure those out, it'll help you a lot in establishing which notes the bass could feasibly be playing.