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rleach
Akahai

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2022 :  05:31:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a question for everyone. I consider myself a lower end intermediate player so I am by no means a really accomplished player. Will you share with me how you go about retaining in memory the songs you earn to play? Is it simply playing them a gazillion times or going back every week or so and playing them all again? I have a problem that when I move onto learning a new song, I forget parts of previous songs I THOUGHT I learned. Mahalo in advance. Ron

Ron Leach

chunky monkey
Ha`aha`a

USA
1003 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2022 :  09:34:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For me, rote drill and muscle memory are essential; play the tunes as many times as it takes to "remember" it. There are songs that I play every day. Of course, you can't expect to remember every song that you've learned, but you can probably get a comfortable "set" that you really want to keep. The first song that I truly learned 20 years ago was John Keawe's "Mama's Music Box". I've probably played it hundreds of times and can almost do it blind folded. Following that thought, I've spent many hours with John, and there were tunes that I wanted to learn that he couldn't remember how to play. Not a criticism; just a fact.

Some of the retention comes from being really familiar with the tuning; exploring and mapping out all the places to play the different chords. For example, I've been messing a lot with a D6 tuning that John Keawe has used frequently (His "D-Tour" CD is almost all in D6). Jeff Peterson gave me a custom video of a song in D6/9 (tuning the #1 to E) and Sonny Lim's Malie is in D6/9, so these worked pretty easily with the tunes that I learned from John. Then you can begin to experiment with the tuning and create your own stuff.

Unless your are gifted, I can't imagine how else you'd do this. Maybe Fran Guidry can chime in here. I've learned a bunch about playing just by watching him and reading his posts.

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Fran Guidry
Ha`aha`a

USA
1572 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2022 :  06:38:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Fran Guidry's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think Terry covered the waterfront, the ones I play a lot stay in memory, the ones I don't don't. But I have found that if I learned a piece once ten years ago I can relearn it a lot quicker than I figured it out the first time.

I also agree that learning a tuning inside out really helps keep songs accessible.

I've been shooting videos since I first started playing in front of people so I have a reasonable example of my oldies but goodies floating around on YouTube to prime my memory. So that's another trick I would recommend.

Finally, I would mention that Ledward spends at least a couple of hours a day going over material, refining and reminding and exploring. There's just no substitute for time with the instrument.

Fran

E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi
Slack Key Guitar in California - www.kaleponi.com
Slack Key on YouTube
Homebrewed Music Blog
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rleach
Akahai

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2022 :  11:05:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You guys are awesome. Thanks for your quick feedback. I sincerely appreciate it.

Ron

Ron Leach
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Earl
`Olu`olu

USA
501 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2023 :  07:16:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit Earl's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ron, first off - Happy New Year to you and to everyone!

I have a song binder and keep a copy of my play list in every guitar case. The binder covers all of the songs that I regularly sing (four hours worth) covering Americana, 60's and 70's singer-songwriter, Hawaiian, and classic rock & roll. Plus my ukulele club list. Remembering lyrics -- and in in order -- is more of a challenge than chord progressions as I age. The list helps me not forget the blues and ragtime instrumentals done in various tunings (an hour) plus my slack key repertoire (a bit over an hour). The way that I keep things current is to play through all of that at least once a month, which can be quite a commitment.

There have been times when I have "slacked off" for a while and don't play something complex for too long. Then I need to go back and re-learn a song or three. I dislike expending that effort, but have also made some interesting discoveries along the way. Why did I finger this THAT way? I can find that note up here instead of reaching way back there. The down side of having a large repertoire covering several styles is that a new song REALLY has to be important to me to make the roster. Every new song adds to the monthly maintenance burden. There are some songs that are only ever played from a chord chart and lyrics sheet. They are often for a specific occasion or gig and simply don't make the but for my regular play list.

And I recently have begun to better see the chord shapes in various inversions up the neck within the rote instrumentals, which helps me to remember them. Instead of a specific sequence of notes and fingerings, I simply can think "play this phrase out of the E7 shape at the fifth/seventh fret", or "that is just the G form of the C chord based on the 7th fret". I've been working the CAGED system a fair amount lately. Always keep learning....
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rleach
Akahai

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2023 :  06:31:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Earl , Terry and Fran. Some really useful guidance here from you guys. I have recently put together a "set list" that will be an initial go to list of songs. My plan is to play them each several times a week as I don't have that large a list quite yet, and re-look at videos, tabs, and my own notes for parts that I get stuck on. I like Fran's idea of making a video of me playing the song so I can really see where I need the most practice.

In the end, there is no substitute for time in the saddle, so I'll juss press on. Mahalo you guys for being around.

Ron

Ron Leach
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Earl
`Olu`olu

USA
501 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2023 :  10:50:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit Earl's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ron, my first song list was a 3x5 index card in the case. Then printed on both sides. Then moved up to a 5x7 index card, and smalelr fonts. Now it has become a single spaced two-sided 8½ x 11 sheet with three columns on both sides. And there are still probably 60+ songs not on the list that get played somewhat routinely. I play in a variety of situations and circles as discussed above, so my list covers a lot of diverse territory.

Back when I was attending week-long guitar camps every fall, there were always unfamiliar songs called around the campfire during jams. I'd make note of those songs and learn them for next year. Learn 5-6 new songs a year for ten years and suddenly you have a big list. Ditto for ukulele festivals.

When I give lessons or conduct workshops at festivals, I always pass out blank 3x5 cards and tell people to list 4-5 songs (or more) that they can play from memory on demand. That helps to avoid "jamnesia" when you get put on the spot. You surely won't have your song binder, a music stand, the right chair, and a proper light when someone says around the campfire or on the back porch, "Hey, I see a guitar. Play something".
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thumbstruck
Ahonui

USA
2152 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2023 :  2:34:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Keep playing! The more you play, the more the instrument becomes a personal appendage.
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rleach
Akahai

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2023 :  3:11:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another question for the group if you will indulge me.. When I am sight reading notes, I sometimes struggle with the timing of each note and the proper counting of the bass and treble notes with all the ties, slurs, hammer ons and pull offs. If I know the song well enough in my ear, I can play it but if I don't and just look at the tabs and notations, I don't play it properly. Any feedback on how you guys mastered this? Should I separate the bass and treble and do my counting that way first? Mahalo in advance.. Ron

Ron Leach
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chunky monkey
Ha`aha`a

USA
1003 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2023 :  12:35:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Unless you are getting paid to perform and the audience contains experienced listeners, who cares if you get it exact? Play it like you like. I've been playing for 20 years and am pretty sure that the songs that I think I do well would probably appall Jeff Peterson or Ozzie. Did I get the right phrasing? Did I get the right base note? Did I play it exactly like the tab? Again who cares? I can't comment for sure, but I've never seen Led play from tab. Fran can comment on this.

When Jeff Peterson videos a song on his website, he almost always plays from tab that he did. But, he's gifted and I'm not. Even for tunes that I've learned from his website, I don't care much if I get them exact. I can't do lots of stuff that he plays. I'm happy to get a rendition that I can play from memory. Basically no one, except my wife and what's she going to say, hears me. I like the result and that's all I care about.

I recorded a "vanity" CD a few years ago with 16 songs that I recorded at home (1-take, no engineering, had it mastered in a real studio). I gave a bunch away (not dumb enough to try to sell although I did pay royalties and got permissions) and got great kudos from friends and family. I thought about half of the tunes stunk and I wish I had done a better job. I played most of the tunes 10 or 15 times before I got an acceptable version. But my basically inexperienced listening audience thought the effort was great. Go figure. Play it to your satisfaction. If it sounds good to you, go with it.
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Earl
`Olu`olu

USA
501 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2023 :  06:32:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit Earl's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I don't read music very well - maybe at the sixth grade level. I can read along if I know the song already, but is that really reading? One of my talents is a really good memory. When I was playing trumpet in middle school and early high school I learned to read pitch values on the staff. But I basically knew my part after hearing twice, so my time reading skills never developed.

Most of my fingerstyle guitar learning was from tab and vinyl, like the Kicking Mule LP's done by Stefan Grossman. So now I can almost sight-read tablature. But tab really doesn't normally have time values unless it is also written in parallel with standard notation. I doubt that most guitarists play exactly like the tab, and many times the tab is not all that true or accurate anyway. Part of internalizing a song is never playing it exactly the same twice -- make it yours. I strive to play each verse of an instrumental just a little differently than the last. But when selling a book, most people want the recorded performance and the tab to agree almost perfectly for learning purposes. That is VERY hard to accomplish. Generally, as soon as I have a song reasonably "under my fingers" I rarely look at the tab again.

Sidebar: I have played "Freight Train" for many years. I was visiting a long time friend who was playing my only recording in the background (that seemed a bit odd) and discovered that I now played it quite differently than 15 years earlier on the CD. I also played everything much faster in those youthful days. So I had to go back and relearn "my" original version from my recording and add back in the parts that had been simplified or glossed over with time. Who knows what other songs in my repertoire have the same issue? Plus there are many songs that I have learned purely by ear and have never seen any tab for, and a few that I have tabbed out for students. What a tedious process....

Edited by - Earl on 02/12/2023 06:38:01 AM
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Fran Guidry
Ha`aha`a

USA
1572 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2023 :  07:21:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit Fran Guidry's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chunky monkey

...I can't comment for sure, but I've never seen Led play from tab. Fran can comment on this.
...


No tab or score for Led.

One of his stories is about high school band where he played a bass horn and got called out for improvising his lines. He explained that he was just playing what he heard in his head instead of what was on the page. His teacher instead of scolding him told him he was "gifted" and he never looked at the page again.

Somewhere I heard a story about the recording session for "Melvenn Leed and With the Best of Slack Key" which included Led, Sonny Chillingworth and Gabby playing along with an orchestra. When Gabby looked at his sheet music he turned it upside down and saw that the notes looked like golf clubs. Since golf was his passion he left the sheets upside down for inspiration, but he never read music.

Fran

E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi
Slack Key Guitar in California - www.kaleponi.com
Slack Key on YouTube
Homebrewed Music Blog
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thumbstruck
Ahonui

USA
2152 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2023 :  09:59:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Someone asked Duke Domingo how to learn slack key. Duke said, "Step numba 1, da book. Step numba 2, no moa book." Many forget that written music came from lute tablature and that it was a way to "recorod" music. Because most rely on their visual faculties, they have less confidence in their ears and memories, thus selling themselves short.
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