The Woodshed

simple’ versions of songs

1

I really want to make an effort to improve my playing this year, and figure here is a good place to get some advice from people much more talented than I.

So, when learning a song that is a pushing my skill level, if the end goal is to play it as the recording, would you recommend learning a 'simple' version of the song first, get the chords and rhythm down first, then progressively adding in all the fills/licks/interesting stuff?

Or would I be better off taking more time to learn it as the recording right from the start?

I have found in the past, where I learned a lick incorrectly, it was way harder and took longer to break that habit and play it the correct way than it did to learn it the first time. So I'm a little worried if I learn a 'simple' version first, I won't be able to shake that out of my muscle memory.

Thanks!

2

Definitely learn the chords first, it’ll give you a road map for where the melody is going.

If you’re learning solos learn slow and gradually get up to speed, otherwise you’ll just learn to play mistakes really quickly. There’s a ton of software out there that’ll make this easier.

Good luck!

3

Jon, I go to YouTube. If it's a popular song there are usually several different lessons available. I'm choose the ones that I think are best and keep at it until it works.

4

I start with the chords first and then break down the solos in parts. I get the first part part of the solo down exactly (which might just be a measure or two) and then add to that. The key for me is I don't move on in the solo until I have the preceding part completely figured out.

Also, once I have the solo down I tend to change it up to my own preferences and add my own notes to it. I don't learn the exact solo to reproduce it note for note, I learn it as a guitar lesson.

5

Learn the rhythm first, then get fancy.

6

Try to learn the correct version. Things are so much easier now with the interwebs. I hated trying to learn songs back in the '70's which were "simplified" and almost always wrong. Didn't understand why I couldn't play Norwegian Wood; the "official" Beatles book had transcribed it as being in G instead of E. Doh.

7

Try to learn the correct version. Things are so much easier now with the interwebs. I hated trying to learn songs back in the '70's which were "simplified" and almost always wrong. Didn't understand why I couldn't play Norwegian Wood; the "official" Beatles book had transcribed it as being in G instead of E. Doh.

– lx

omg that happened to me too! Had the same book. Is it in E? I recently saw 2 buddies play it in D.

Re: the OP... Learn the real chords, then add licks later. I've been doing it for 40 years.

8

I suppose my question was meant for the general case, but since there's a specific song I'm working on that brought up this question, here it is:

Long Time Running by the Tragically Hip. I like the guitar in this version the best but it's not much different than the album version.

My concern is with all the fancy stuff between chords (let's call them turnarounds, slides, hammer-ons, maybe some double stops in there?), I think I'm going to have to move my left hand to other positions than with just the chords. If it was just to go from some simple strumming to picking arpeggios with the right hand, that's easy enough - seems like a logical progression. But with all the other stuff going on, that's where I thought maybe I don't want to get just the chords burned into my muscle memory.

9

Another question: is there a term for this style of rhythm parts (another example being Tom Waits Gin Soaked Boy) - where it's mostly picked notes instead of strummed chords? I know it's not Travis picking, and I've heard "finger picking" used to sometimes describe a technique (and I believe this guitarist is using a pick not fingers) or a style where you're playing both melody and harmony (e.g. playing the vocal arrangement and the guitar arrangement). So I'm not sure if this would be called "finger style" either.


Register Sign in to join the conversation