View Full Version : Transcribing songs??

05-26-2003, 10:01 AM
Hey all. I've been playing for about a year, think im doing all right but one of the things i've noticed is im heavily reliant on other peoples tabs or official tab books. I'd love to simply be able to sit down, and work out a song by myself, but i have absolutely no idea how to do it (other than pure guessing, which never works for me!). Could someone tell me what i need to work on in being able to transcribe, given i have very little music theory knowledge. I remeber, people have have mentioned learning 'intervals', for example, but im not sure exactly what they are.

Thanks big time for you help! (in advance lol).

05-26-2003, 01:23 PM

Concerning the learning of intervals, Guni has a great article
writen on this subject.

The transcription of songs is a matter of ear and practice, and it
also very good to have an idea of theory, scales and harmony, of course, but anyway while you play and learn new songs, by tab or
any other resource, your mind is inherently associating the sounds with the notes on the fret. So the longer you play the easier be your ability to learn by ear.

I would recommend you that begin with easy melodies and try to
play it with the guitar, take short melodies from your mind or from any record you like, take a piece of any lick and try to begin with
easy melodies. Every time you pick the guitar you should dedicate a couple of minutes to do this king of transcribing work by ear.

I sure you that with the time you'r be able to transcribe a lot of stuff. Don't forget to learn theory, scales and so on, since these resources will help you a lot in this learning process.


05-26-2003, 01:38 PM
To start yourself off, put on some of the music you enjoy listening to (keep it simple at first), and sit with your guitar and try to play along. You'll probably find you get bits and pieces sounding okay. Keep listening back over the music and playing along. You might be able to work the whole thing out. If there is something in there that you're really stuck on, THEN go to the tab to see what the transcriber thought it was.

Good luck,


05-26-2003, 09:48 PM
You should also try singing along with what you are playing. This will establish the link between what you hear and what you play.

For example, if you know how to play a song with this chord progression, A-D-E-F#m, try singing the root note of each chord as you play it.

Start simple and work on it everyday. You'll be amazed at how quickly your ear will progress.

Good luck!

Abraham Lincoln
05-29-2003, 11:37 PM
I believe it took me something like 3 years before I could sit down and figure a song out without music. Granted, I was 9 when I started playing and I know no music theory, so perhaps I was a bit handicapped to where you are with music.

07-02-2003, 07:26 AM
hello, guys
i've got the same problem .
after 3 years playing guitar, I've managed to transcribe couple of songs say GnR, Bon Jovi, Deep Purple almost by myself, no help at all. ..so it was very frustrating for me those days.. and i use tab only for refferences and also fixed some mistake ..
but now i'm kinda have a problem..though i have fixed that mistake by using tab..but i keep making the same mistake everytime i learn a new song or style.
what do you think i should do?

Eric Vandenbergh : what do you mean actually with the words
"keep it run" on the fixing problem ( don't disturbed article )?
i've got only a little time to practice ( 1-2 hour per day ) and i used to spend it almost only for ear training and sometimes i think it is useless but in the other side..i think it is the most important skill that i need to work on all the time . so if i stop spending my time only for learning by ear and take only 15 minutes for this exercise ..can i have the good aural skill? cause i always think that it ( 15 minutes ) isn't enough to achieve a good aural skill. thanks