So…. I need to learn new songs for the band – OK… busted, actually old songs that we are gonna play that I never learned before. Now that we have that clarified, old or new, I have a plan of attack every time I learn a new song and/or solo -
I LOOK FOR PATTERNS
We live our lives through patterns really. How do you know that a door knob needs to be turned in order to open the door? You have encountered it before and you know the pattern. Ever come to a door that had some new fangled bullshit type of way to open it and you had no freakin idea what to do? What did you do? Sat there like a dork lookin at that damn door like you have never seen one before, fumbled around trying to figure out how to get the damn think open, and hoping nobody is watching you make a fool of yourself. Hell, I have even been in the bathroom with some fancy ass toilet and having absolutely no idea how to flush that bitch (don’t act like you haven’t been there)!!
So, we live through patterns. Get it?
Now that we have that established, what I do is look for patterns in the music. What is reoccuring? What riffs am I familiar with? What style/techniques/etc does this player mainly use? Even to the point of what is the song structure? Is it a common – verse, per-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, Bridge, chorus…. or some other pattern? And on and on and on…. until I have broken it down into the smallest common parts.
Not getting it? Ok, check this out….
Take “Fade To Black” by Metallica…
Here is the part right before the last guitar solo:
Ok… could be a lot to remember… UNLESS… we look for patterns. Do you see any reoccuring shit?
How about this part?
Seems that this part is consistent.
Now… all we have to do is practice this part over and over until it is burned in our brain and finger’s muscle memory.
Now we need to find other patterns….. Let’s see…. OH.. OH… OH… Here is one!!!
Because I am used to seeing patterns I can see that there are moveable bass (low) notes – which you can see in measures 152,154,156,158 and then the pattern repeats:
So all you have to do is practice the first riff until you can do it in your sleep and then put these two together by adding the bass notes between these riffs (yeah I know … the bastard messed up the pattern a bit in measure 159 by putting that 7th fret in there – so beware of some of these quirks – just like a door that swings in instead of out). Red = moving bass note and Blue = Repeating pattern….
Like I said, this works for riffs, solos, song structure…. everything!! Look for patterns and make your life easier.