Easy Songs to Transcribe/Learn by Ear

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by blissop, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. blissop

    blissop Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    I'm just starting out learning songs by ear and im wanting to learn songs that are easy and that I enjoy. Ive tried to learn some songs by ear, but they were clearly a bit above my level for transcribing. I couldnt decipher the bass lines too well. (I am learning bass and guitar) Also, I am using the software Transcribe to slow down the songs and to adjust eq.

    So, I was wondering if anybody could suggest some songs to start with.. I enjoy bands like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, The Cure, The Strokes, Tame Impala, Deerhunter, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Cream etc Maybe acoustic music would be a good place to start. Thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  2. dcbc

    dcbc Member

    Messages:
    1,538
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    The Stones are pretty straight forward if you ignore Keith's tuning. The Beatles stuff ranges from moderate to quite difficult.
     
  3. gennation

    gennation Member

    Messages:
    6,691
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
  4. JonR

    JonR Member

    Messages:
    12,137
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    London
    The older the better - with pop music at least. (I mean "simpler" - not necessarily "better" in quality... ;)) Anything pre-mid-60s is worth trying.
    Early guitar instrumentals are great, because you get clean melodic lines, as well as (usually) clean rhythm and bass parts. Shadows, obviously, but also Ventures, Duane Eddy, etc.
    Songswise: Buddy Holly, Hank Williams, Elvis. Dylan should be good; also Neil Young. Both use simple chords almost all the time.
    Stones are also pretty straightforward.
    Beatles - great resource of inventive chord and key changes, but can be challenging to transcribe. Definitely worth digging into, for all kinds of reasons other than ear training! Kinks likewise, and probably a little simpler.

    BTW, with Transcribe!, remember you can raise the octave to easily hear the bass, in almost anything. (I've never found the EQ settings too useful.) With stereo tracks, the Karaoke/out of phase option is handy - usually removes lead vocals (but also bass).

    Don't forget to learn melodies as well as chords (and bass lines).
     
  5. MGT

    MGT Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2006
    Location:
    Halifax, NS Canada
    You mentioned The Beatles.....how about Come Together? Floyd's Another brick in the wall is another.

    I've always learned songs by ear (no tab when I started) - just take songs that you love that don't have a lot of chord changes or that have simpler riffs.
     
  6. Paul Bateman

    Paul Bateman Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2013
    Defo the beatles :)

    Roy orbison and Del Shannon songs are fun too.

    Working out chords is really good for you and a lot of guitarists that can work out riffs secretly struggle with chords.

    Its really good for your ears. Work out the root note and then decide if the chords falls into the major family, minor family or dominant family.

    Joe pass made the point of putting other chords like augmented and diminished into the dominant family so your ear can learn to recognise one of the 3 families. You will be hearing 7 chords in all kinds of music before you know it and its a rewarding skill being able to hear your progress whilst listening to music
     
  7. JonR

    JonR Member

    Messages:
    12,137
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    London
    Yes, a lot of Floyd tunes are good, because the chords tend to be simple, and the tempos often slow, so each chord lasts a while. Such as:
    Wish You Were Here
    Comfortably Numb
    Breathe

    Early Eagles would be another good source of straightforward chord sequences, nothing too fancy.
     
  8. JackStraw12

    JackStraw12 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,611
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    Location:
    Denver
    Hey there,

    Good for you for learning! I too am starting still, and I found that closed back headphones help a lot. As far as music goes, I always warm up with some Toots and the Maytals.
     
  9. jay42

    jay42 Member

    Messages:
    6,800
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Location:
    Sandy Eggo
    Creedence Clearwater Revival is great for major chord stuff. The Beatles can get really complicated harmonically. I would advise anyone who loves them to start with the Hal Leonard white book. I don't what it costs now, but I got mine for $59 from Amazon. There are mistakes, but usually it's a matter of the tab not matching the notes...either can be wrong.
     
  10. JPF

    JPF Member

    Messages:
    8,601
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    REM and the Kinks have some easy and fun to play songs as well
     
  11. blissop

    blissop Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    Thanks everybody for the suggestions! I learned No Expectations by the Stones and it's super easy; only 3 chords haha
     
  12. Turi

    Turi Member

    Messages:
    9,517
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    I'll back the Buddy Holly suggestion.

    The songs are great, the chords are simple, the lead lines are up front in the mix enough to easily distinguish them from any rhythm guitar stuff.

    There's also some cool rhythms and stuff to be found.

    Check out Not Fade Away and Oh Boy!

    Both are achievable for a noob (I did it lol).
     
  13. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

    Messages:
    9,365
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer
    I would just put on the oldies station and play to whatever came on. Doo-wop and classic R&B to early rock and roll and british invasion. Lots of straight forward chord changes with classic arrangements. Now oldies radio is '70s classic rock, maybe you can find an internet or satellite radio station.
     
  14. fusgtr

    fusgtr Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Beatles - Let It Be, in C & also learn the guitar solo, in C major pentatonic (Am pentatonic)
    Animals - House Of The Rising Sun, in Am
    John Lennon - Imagine, in C
    Rolling Stones - Satisfaction, great all time classic riff
     
  15. lhallam

    lhallam Member

    Messages:
    15,904
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    Lost
    Here are some common progressions to listen for:

    I IV V
    I V IV
    V IV I

    I vi IV V
    I vi ii V

    I VII
     
  16. stevel

    stevel Member

    Messages:
    12,954
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Surf (well, not Dick Dale to start!) and 60s instro.

    The Shadows and The Ventures.

    Usually pretty simple accompaniments and with very obvious melody lines that aren't too difficult.
     
  17. blissop

    blissop Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    Thanks :) I'll check it out.
     

Share This Page