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What's the longest time you've spent learning a song and getting it right?

TSJMajesty

Fractal Fanatic
I find that if I'm stumped by a song that I know is attainable for me (NOT something like DT As I Am), I need to back up, and determine what the actual technique is, that I need to improve.

Example: I'm one of those players that tend to balance my hand with my last 2 fingers on the body of the guitar when picking fast. (It's why I don't like PU rings.) But as I move my hand to the lower strings, it's hard for me to still balance my hand; It's too far of a reach. So as a result, my picking technique is more sloppy on the lower strings.

So rather than continue to play that ascending, 3-note-per-string lick that starts low, I'll sit with the metronome, and just play 16th notes, or triplets, on the low E string, forgetting about the riff for now, using just simple, single-note stuff, and work on getting that picking nice and even, and articulate and consistent.

So I generally try to improve the techniques a song requires, if the song itself is giving me trouble, rather than continue to try to learn just that song, because I also feel that type of improvement will translate to making it easier to learn other songs/riffs/solos.
 

Jimmytwotimes

Experienced
I find that if I'm stumped by a song that I know is attainable for me (NOT something like DT As I Am), I need to back up, and determine what the actual technique is, that I need to improve.

Example: I'm one of those players that tend to balance my hand with my last 2 fingers on the body of the guitar when picking fast. (It's why I don't like PU rings.) But as I move my hand to the lower strings, it's hard for me to still balance my hand; It's too far of a reach. So as a result, my picking technique is more sloppy on the lower strings.

So rather than continue to play that ascending, 3-note-per-string lick that starts low, I'll sit with the metronome, and just play 16th notes, or triplets, on the low E string, forgetting about the riff for now, using just simple, single-note stuff, and work on getting that picking nice and even, and articulate and consistent.

So I generally try to improve the techniques a song requires, if the song itself is giving me trouble, rather than continue to try to learn just that song, because I also feel that type of improvement will translate to making it easier to learn other songs/riffs/solos.
Exactly - I like to take one or two difficult measures, put the metronome on slow and work on it that way. Your learning the song and improving a technique.
 

Megadebt

Experienced
I had a teacher that told me - " practice does NOT make perfect - PERFECT practice makes perfect..." I still live by those words...
Playing it over and over won't eventually make it better. It just reinforces the muscle memory of playing it incorrectly. Time to stop and take a microscopic look to find out where the problem lies – and correct it, extremely slow if need be.
 
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kypen

Member
Pantera. Walk and Cowboys from Hell. Probably 3 months for each. Doesn't matter. I've got a great emulation of the tone using ToneMatch. I play all the "right" notes. Never sounds like Dime. He had this ability to play with Vinny in an almost sluggish, behind the beat way. Reminds me a bit of how Portnoy and Petrucci played together. I either end up too behind or too ahead of the real playing, especially during those legato parts, and it never carries the same emotion.
 

Moondog Wily

Inspired
Like some others here, I do not get hung up on playing it exactly as the original artist plays it! I am much more interested in being in tune with the feel of the song and communicating it's message!! This is not to say such note for note practice/learning/playing should not be pursued, it is just not for me!!! I also get a lot of pleasure in making others songs "my own" by just playing what feels right to me in various situations!!!! I literally had near zero interest in playing other folks songs until 2021 (I have owned guitars since 1989 or so but 2021 was my best and most hours year ever on guitar)! Now I am adding a new cover song a week or so, but MY version, not a note for note or tone to tone version! Add to that the fact that I am choosing easy stuff with cowboy chords for the most part, although I have been playing a jazz number from Stuff Smith ("I'm A Viper" - 1927). Kudos to those who pursue that level of perfect emulation and nail it! This is why I will probably never play any Zappa, too lazy and indifferent to spend the time and stain the magic that is FZ!
 

2204JCM

Inspired
The three that I worked on for years:
Trilogy Suite (Malmsteen) main theme and opening Cadenza -took forever.
First page of Paganini’s 15 Caprice is just as difficult.
The (mostly)12/8 section of Mables Fatal Fable (Jason Becker) is super difficult to get right too.
To be able to play them at tempo I had to go back and critically analyze my playing and practicing. Looking through a “microscope” and make rudimentary changes. For example my left hand was getting tight in certain places because mentally I was thinking of the notes coming up and not the ones I was actively playing.
 

TSJMajesty

Fractal Fanatic
Pantera. Walk and Cowboys from Hell. Probably 3 months for each. Doesn't matter. I've got a great emulation of the tone using ToneMatch. I play all the "right" notes. Never sounds like Dime. He had this ability to play with Vinny in an almost sluggish, behind the beat way. Reminds me a bit of how Portnoy and Petrucci played together. I either end up too behind or too ahead of the real playing, especially during those legato parts, and it never carries the same emotion.
I feel ya!! I have the most trouble learning stuff from the more "fluid" players, like Jimmy Page, EVH, etc., because you can read a tab, that say, shows a measure of 4 groups of triplets, but maybe because his pinky-ring-first finger pull-offs are just a hair faster than others, and you practice them with a metronome, trying to play them evenly, it ends up not sounding quite right.

Sometimes I wish I knew how the artist themselves learned certain licks, that might shed some light on why they sound a bit different.

I've also noticed with some players, parts of their solos are obviously a flurry of notes, and all they're really aiming for is landing the end note on a certain beat. Those are really fun to cop! :p
 

Chewie5150

Power User
Thought I'd share as I'm sure many of you can relate. I still have loads of Guitar tabs that i cut out of magazines I've bought over the years. #boomerstyle. I found the tab of Extreme - Get the Funk Out from a mag I bought back in 2001! This was how I used to learn songs/sections in songs - old skoooool.
 

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TSJMajesty

Fractal Fanatic
First page of Paganini’s 15 Caprice is just as difficult.
When I first got a hold of 5th Caprice, most of my time was spent memorizing it, before I could begin to actually practice it. I remember being SO blown away as to how he strings the chord changes together, trying to share my appreciation for what I'd discovered with some of my music buddies, and they were like, "Yeah, that's cool. Whatever. Let's play some AC/DC."
 

Freds55

Fractal Fanatic
Thought I'd share as I'm sure many of you can relate. I still have loads of Guitar tabs that i cut out of magazines I've bought over the years. #boomerstyle. I found the tab of Extreme - Get the Funk Out from a mag I bought back in 2001! This was how I used to learn songs/sections in songs - old skoooool.
So cool I have a box full of songs out of all the guitar magazines I had over the years.
 

Chewie5150

Power User
So cool I have a box full of songs out of all the guitar magazines I had over the years.
haha yep. I have a box that I cannot let go of. I had it all alphabetized in dividers with a master index list that I'd update. The digital age came and I still prefer hardcopy tabs. I had a housefire in the early 2000's and many of my saved tabs still have charred edges
 

Freds55

Fractal Fanatic
haha yep. I have a box that I cannot let go of. I had it all alphabetized in dividers with a master index list that I'd update. The digital age came and I still prefer hardcopy tabs. I had a housefire in the early 2000's and many of my saved tabs still have charred edges
I’m with yea I still love that hard copy to. Wow hate that you went through a fire that is a bummer. There was sure a lot of good music in those magazines.
 

Bruce Sokolovic

Power User
I never bothered with Nuno's solos. I don't have that staccato style pick attack down - but it's something I want to learn when I'm not bogged down learning other stuff for other projects. And as Bruce said - literally no one cares, so its a self indulgent pursuit to get this stuff perfect, haha. Though it does advance your playing techniques when you do.

I'm always striving to 'get it right', but generally if you take liberties to simplify parts that are beyond your ability, generally no one notices...

For instance, I end up 2 hand tapping a lot of stuff because I can't pick fast (read consistently) enough to rely on it in a live setting.. I use 2 hand tapping as a cheat, and I know it's holding me back, but due to time constraints limiting my practice time I do it anyway.... on the other hand (pun intended), I've got pretty good switching back and forth between picking and 2 hand tapping.
But that's not really a cheat. Its how you play. No one is great at everything. Well, almost no one. You develop a playing style around your strengths and you get a Nuno, or a Rhoads, or whoever. They're both really good at being the players they are but I promise you, they couldn't do everything, either. No one can.
About 5 years ago I stupidly thought I had the guitar figured out, that I was really maturing as a player and starting to "get it". Then I went to a Brad Paisley concert and couldn't begin to even start mimicking that style. Back to the drawing board, as they say. Ask him how much neoclassical shred he can play, or if he can read a book of music for an ensemble. All different skills. You do your skillset. Nothing at all wrong with that.
 

Bruce Sokolovic

Power User
The three that I worked on for years:
Trilogy Suite (Malmsteen) main theme and opening Cadenza -took forever.
First page of Paganini’s 15 Caprice is just as difficult.
The (mostly)12/8 section of Mables Fatal Fable (Jason Becker) is super difficult to get right too.
To be able to play them at tempo I had to go back and critically analyze my playing and practicing. Looking through a “microscope” and make rudimentary changes. For example my left hand was getting tight in certain places because mentally I was thinking of the notes coming up and not the ones I was actively playing.
Far Beyond the Sun ought to put some hair on your balls, too. What a great composition.
 

skolacki

Experienced
It’s been awhile since I was in a gigging band. What I used to do is learn the highlights of a solo and wing it in between. The audience hears enough of it to be recognizable, and saved me the trouble of learning it note for note. I’ve learned many songs over the years but none 100%. Plenty of bands don’t play the recorded solos the same live. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
 
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