Talk to me about transcribing then . . . Everyone insists it’s the only way to progress

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hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1635
I’m dipping my toe in again . I barely have any experience ,except for one relatively easy solo that I seemed to luck out on and following a few vocal melodies (I really enjoy  doing that actually,should do it more).

anyway Im a big Slash fan and some guy on YouTube did a great improvisation piece that I liked  so this afternoon I spent 30 minutes installing transcribe , downloading the video off YouTube  and  actually transcribing the beginning few notes .

im quite buoyed by my initial success ,although to be fair it’s a few slow expressive bits at the beginning. The challenge will come when it gets into those endless Fast cascading picked/legato type runs . I’m working on some similar type stuff in paradise city / November rain outro solo’s  so hopefully 
the experience of working on these and the transcribing will consolidate eventually into some sort of proficiency .

I figure if I do a bit each day as an extra to my regular practice I might be able to improve my ear , My ability to construct my own solos,  to improvise and  to transcribe more stuff in that style  Also I’m thinking when I do use tab books for learning specific stuff it should improve that too.

tell me your stories and experiences        Hints , Tips   Or especially. How it improved your playing and ability as a musician 

thanks 
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Comments

  • RolandRoland Frets: 5766
    Doing a little each time, but frequently, is the way to go.

    One of the things you learn from transcribing is how other guitarists move their fingers. It’s tempting to think of experienced recording artists as using all four fingers, and having wide stretches. In practice a lot of their playing can be done with just two fingers. 

    Fast flurries of notes tend to be based on finger patterns learned through playing scales and riffs. Sometimes the average audience member won’t discern the actual notes. If you look at live videos you may see that the original artist doesn’t copy what they played on the recording.

    The third thing I’ve learned is how often TABs on the internet are wrong. Either writer hasn’t worked out what was being played, or has just applied their own finger patterns
    Known here as Old Misery Guts or the Big Bad Classified's Sheriff. Also guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
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  • BahHumbugBahHumbug Frets: 265
    Transcribing can make you a much better listener (especially if you go into it with the right attitude).   There are a few bits of music that I ‘kind of new’ for years...then when I sat down and transcribed them, I found that I had been playing them wrong for years.

    if you are going to transcribe dots as well as tab, then it will give you a much greater appreciation of rhythm, both written and heard.  So much rock and pop is very rhythmic, guitar solos are often very interesting rhythmically.  If you don’t transcribe them, then you just end up ‘feeling’ the rhythm as you play.  If you transcribe, it can be challenging but it really sharpens up your knowledge of the piece and of music generally.
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1635
    Thank you for your insightful replies ,much appreciated 
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  • NeillNeill Frets: 936
    Guys like Justin Sandercoe still place great emphasis on transcribing, and with good reason. 

    Once upon a time we had no choice - you either knew someone who knew the chords/notes or you worked it out for yourself.  Then guitar magazines started tabbing popular songs, then we got CD's with the magazines, then Youtube came along and now pretty much any tune you can think of there will be a vid on YT teaching you how to play it. 

    If you go down that route though you will never develop a musical ear, and, you will never know when the so called experts have got it wrong...  

    I'd say most of the tab you find on the internet is inaccurate, some of it is laughable.  When you get to Youtube it's better, but I'm often surprised how many can't tell the difference between a slide and a bend.

    An interesting effect for me is that, with solos, I find that if I can hear something, I can play it.  If I can't make out the notes at normal speed, I can't play it.  That really fast run in the Sweet Child o Mine solo for example, I simply can't make out what notes he's playing how ever hard I try, so just out of curiosity I went to Justin's tutorial where he plays it through really slow - and I still can't nail it, at normal speed.
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 787
    Transcribing is the art of holding the last sound you heard in your head and trying to play it with your fingers. Like mentioned above there's many many incorrect guitar tab versions of songs usually in the wrong tuning or the rhythm is not right (if you're lucky enough to get any).

    Most tab sites only give you the number of the fret on the string and not how you play it, i.e how long for and what the rhythm is. Learning to count the bars by ear and hear how long the measure is helps you learn the length of the phrase if its a solo or the chord if its a progression.

    Rhythm is harder to transcribe which is probably why you rarely see the rhythm stems above the guitar tab scores on YT and Ultimate Guitar. But it accounts for 90-95% of guitar playing and without it riffs don't sound right. Solos are harder to learn as you won't know how long the phrase is in the bar or what beat of the bar it falls on, many solos start before the first chord i.e the + of the last beat or even before.
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  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 94
    Get this piece of software. It is invaluable for transcribing

    https://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/overview.html
    Check out my Blues lesson channel at:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBTSHf5NqVQDz0LzW2PC1Lw
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 3644
    kelpbeds said:
    Get this piece of software. It is invaluable for transcribing

    https://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/overview.html
    It's such a good bit of software.  I was using it tonight just to learn some songs.

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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 210
    I find that if I can transcribe something, that I tend to play it with better feel and remember it better. It's not easy, but worth persevering with to make you a better musician.

    I totally agree with previous comments regarding variable internet tab accuracy, including tabs that are in the wrong key.
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1635
    That’s what I’ve been using . Another 40 minutes tonight  still on the easier bits 
      Did cheat slightly though, I looked at the video to see where his hands were ,I was on the right track .

    im just doing it very basically for my own use ,no rhythm Slash’s 
    more learning by ear than transcribing I guess . I do listen to the track slowed down sometimes in the background while I’m cleaning  etc  hoping bits will sink in.

    Some great licks in there which is a bonus . 

    I really need to read about markers on transcribe , in fact I might watch a video too, I remember last time I used it I watched one by Jennifer batten ,unless I dreamed it lol.

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  • NeillNeill Frets: 936
    Transcribing is the art of holding the last sound you heard in your head and trying to play it with your fingers. Like mentioned above there's many many incorrect guitar tab versions of songs usually in the wrong tuning or the rhythm is not right (if you're lucky enough to get any).

    Most tab sites only give you the number of the fret on the string and not how you play it, i.e how long for and what the rhythm is. Learning to count the bars by ear and hear how long the measure is helps you learn the length of the phrase if its a solo or the chord if its a progression.

    Rhythm is harder to transcribe which is probably why you rarely see the rhythm stems above the guitar tab scores on YT and Ultimate Guitar. But it accounts for 90-95% of guitar playing and without it riffs don't sound right. Solos are harder to learn as you won't know how long the phrase is in the bar or what beat of the bar it falls on, many solos start before the first chord i.e the + of the last beat or even before.
    It took me a long time to figure out that playing the guitar well is all about rhythm, but it's surprisingly hard to get it right sometimes.  Most guitarists would benefit from learning to play drums - Tommy Emmanuel for example considers himself a drummer first and a guitarist second which sounds astonishing, but when you watch some of his vids you see how the rhythm of the tune is absolutely key to getting that amazing technique.

    Sadly I've found as I've got old(er) that you lose your timing a bit and it's very frustrating.  there's stuff I used to play 30 years ago that I can't reproduce now and it's not because of lack of dexterity it's because I'm just not 100% on the rhythm. 


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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1635
    Neill said:
    Transcribing is the art of holding the last sound you heard in your head and trying to play it with your fingers. Like mentioned above there's many many incorrect guitar tab versions of songs usually in the wrong tuning or the rhythm is not right (if you're lucky enough to get any).

    Most tab sites only give you the number of the fret on the string and not how you play it, i.e how long for and what the rhythm is. Learning to count the bars by ear and hear how long the measure is helps you learn the length of the phrase if its a solo or the chord if its a progression.

    Rhythm is harder to transcribe which is probably why you rarely see the rhythm stems above the guitar tab scores on YT and Ultimate Guitar. But it accounts for 90-95% of guitar playing and without it riffs don't sound right. Solos are harder to learn as you won't know how long the phrase is in the bar or what beat of the bar it falls on, many solos start before the first chord i.e the + of the last beat or even before.
    It took me a long time to figure out that playing the guitar well is all about rhythm, but it's surprisingly hard to get it right sometimes.  Most guitarists would benefit from learning to play drums - Tommy Emmanuel for example considers himself a drummer first and a guitarist second which sounds astonishing, but when you watch some of his vids you see how the rhythm of the tune is absolutely key to getting that amazing technique.

    Sadly I've found as I've got old(er) that you lose your timing a bit and it's very frustrating.  there's stuff I used to play 30 years ago that I can't reproduce now and it's not because of lack of dexterity it's because I'm just not 100% on the rhythm. 


    Rhythm Timing is really the whole thing ,if the notes are not in time it’s just a mess ,if there is no space it’s just a constant tone, I think hearing that in the music is really the hardest part , I try to sync myself to what I’m playing 
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 787
    Yep. Doesn't matter if the notes are bang on if the timing is wrong its never going to sound right or very good. Some of the greatest players are really good rhythm places. Take EVH for example. Everyone knows him for the Beat It solo cos it sounds cool but he was also a fantastic rock rhythm player with great riffs. Imagine if those riffs were played sloppy and out of time?

    Whenever I learn a riff or a phrase the first thing I always do is sing back the rhythm before I add any notes. This enables my picking/strumming hand to get the timing right so its got a context of applying it to a measure.
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