Any tips for transcribing a solo?

(13 posts)
  1. contremisart

    Hello everyone,

    The reason behind this question is that View from Moscow clip on youtube from 2006. I am addicted to that song and particular solo of Kurt's for years and I really want to play it.. well as much as I can.
    So do you have any tips for figuring out solos? Mind you that I have very little understanding of chords, scales or harmony. Does that make my mission impossible?

  2. jorgemg1984

    On that specific tune... yeah. The harmony is tough. But if you have the chops / ears you can learn it and just have fun with it - no analysis. Or just ask Kurt for the changes :)

    Have you listened to the Remedy version? I like his solo even more there.

  3. patfarlow

    It will be easier if you understand what key it's in. It isnt impossible though. However, after transcribing it , you need to figure out why those lines work, and that also takes theory to do. Good luck though, dont give up !

  4. contremisart

    jorge, I love the album version too but I was hoping some visual references could help me from the video:) and thanks

    patfarlow, thanks for the input. the most difficult parts are where he plays those fluid lines which feels like he's scrambling those eggs and I can't figure which eggs they are :)

  5. patfarlow

    I have a friend with perfect pitch, sometimes ill cheat and get his help with those crazy blurry parts

  6. andyjazz

    Listen to it; Sing it; Play it.

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  7. andyjazz

    Another way of looking at it is to sing what you are listening to; and then play what you are singing.

  8. contremisart

    I guess I will have a long long journey :)

  9. mretfasterer

    Obsessively Listen
    Memorize it and sing it (@ the same time, hopefully)
    Play it (& Write it, perhaps).....
    - Playing it is the hardest part for me. Guessing registers on the neck is the worst. I never know how the player played it, and what fingers were used and stuff. ESPECIALLY Mr. Rosenwinkel's guitar playing. He has a different Left Hand Technique than I learned, and his fingerings are WAY different than would have thought prior to seeing his hands!
    - I press pause A LOT. One note at a time, most of the time.
    I also get a lot out of writing the solo. It helps me with internalizing rhythms, patterns, shapes, etc. I always see things on the page that i didn't see with my ears.(see with my ears, hear with my eyes)
    I never know what the notes of a transcription 'mean' until WAAAAYYY after I learn how to play it, hear it, and memorize it.
    Perfect pitch helps me WAYYY less than learning new solos does. I learn new solos that I don't know what the notes mean. I am intrigued by new stuff, aurally.

  10. Neither

    I agree with what you said about what finger are used especially with Kurt (it's hard for me to hear each note of the voicings and the legato) . I transcribed some little things on youtube, using imovie after downloadind some videos using pause and decreesing the speed. And his fingerings are incredible (and unplayable for me).

  11. arewolfe

    "I have very little understanding of chords, scales or harmony. Does that make my mission impossible?"

    Not at all... this is the best way to learn an instrument in the beginning, IMO.

    Get obsessed with a song or solo and delve into it so that you play it over and over and over. Even if some (or lots) of the notes are wrong it's still incredibly productive to your dexterity on the instrument to learn new things and repetitively play them over and over. The majority of my melodic dexterity on guitar (single-note stuff) occurred during the first 2 years of my playing, because I was transcribing Metallica songs and solos, and shred metal riffs and solos like Children of Bodom 3 hours a day.

    And when I say I was "transcribing" I mean listening and memorizing. I wasn't writing anything down on paper. I had little to no knowledge of theory back then. I didn't know how to write music. I didn't even understand how to read TAB. I had never even heard the phrase "ear training." It was just me, my guitar, a cd player, and a remote control with a highly worn out rewind button.

  12. mwtzzz

    Sure you can transcribe a solo, but if you don't understand harmony it's not going to help you a single bit. The only thing you will achieve is being able to play the solo exactly how the guy played it. Which is pretty much pointless because the point of soloing is to improvise things at the moment.

    So the correct thing you should ask yourself is, why do you want to transcribe and what do you expect to achieve? If you just want to play the guys' solo exactly how he did, then go ahead. Transcribe. You don't need to understand harmony or even be able to read music. All you need is a way to slow down the song and the patience to keep playing it over and over again until you identify every tone.

    But if your goal is learn how to improvise, then don't bother with transcribing. Learn harmony first.

  13. contremisart

    Thanks a lot for the input guys. Since I am trying to improve both my physical and mental facilities, by the time I am done the with the tune, I hope I will be much ahead of myself now.


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