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Posts: 2
Does anyone listen to new reggae or rock/reggae, along the likes of Rebelution, Iration, The expendables, pacific dub, through the roots, tribal seeds, slightly stoopid, soja, matisyahu. anything chill along those lines? and if so, you guys should start tabbing it out for me! I am an intermediate player, but i cant pick up a song and know what they are playing. any tips or help for that? other than time and keep playing?
johnny [staff]
Posts: 1005
I won't tell you that time and just playing will help you learn songs by ear, what I will say is this:

have a read up on music theory, all you actually need to know is how scales and keys work. Once you figure out in which key a song is, it really narrows down the options to figure out a bass line.

One easy way to tab songs is to check if you can find guitar chords for the song. A lot of times the bass lines follow these chords - e.g. check out which notes are in that chord and try playing those notes, see what fits. I wrote something about this here in this forum.. I'll see if I can find it and link it.
johnny [staff]
Posts: 1005
Ok so here is the link to the thread

Thank you. That will be a lot of help. I've recently started paying with someone who plays a guitar and I play more of a rhythm to it and that has helped substantially. Bit I need to learn scales for sure. Thank you again
johnny [staff]
Posts: 1005
Learning scales really is useful. Apart from just knowing to play scales, you should also learn how to construct chords from scales (i.e. which notes of a scale to put together to form a chord). When you learn this, you'll figure out exactly which chords go into which scale and when you'll see a chord progression you'll immediately know which key the song is.

Here's a quick example..

Let's say you wanna tab out a song and you know that the chords are C Am F and G.

Now take a look at which chords consist of which notes:

C: C-E-G
Am: A-C-E
F: F-A-C
G: G-B-D

Looking at the notes of these chords you can see that only the notes of the C Major scale were used to make them (C D E F G A B ).

Or even better yet. The easiest way (and usually correct) way to figure out what key a song is in is this: listen to the very last chord of the song, the one the song resolves to. When guitar chords are displayed this usually isn't there but, for example if you would play the song Those Magic Changes and finish on the G Major chord you will leave the song hanging in the air, waiting for it to resolve on the C (three times in this particular song to do the cha-cha-cha thing ) which is the key of the song.

One other way to do it is to open a picture of the circle of fifths. I have it on a poster on my wall so now it's engraved in my memory, and I think it should be in every musician's head. It's really really useful. Here it is:

Let's say the song is in C major. All the basic triad chords that can be formed from C major are directly beside C major in the circle of fifths:

C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am (there's another chord, it's B diminished)

Some of thse chords are major and some are minor because some have a major 3rd and some a minor third.

But you'd do well to remember this formula:

I ii iii IV V vi VIIdim

So if you know the notes of any major scale you can construct the chords just by using this formula (uppercase roman numerals mean it's a major chord, lower case mean it's a minor).

So here's an example for the D major scale:

Here's the scale:

D E F# G A B C#

By applying the formula, I can get the chords:

D Em F#m G A Bmin C#dim

So really the only thing you need to know is how to learn the notes of any scale. I have memorized which scales have which sharps and flats and can identify them by that. I'm sure there's other ways as well

Hope this helps a bit

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