View Full Version : Tone-Brain-Finger Connection
To you experienced/gifted musicians. How is this developed. I'm sure time and lots of playing helps, but what practice techniques will help develope the ability to "hear" and play back a tune.
Play to recordings 90% and tab 10%
Also, take a tune you are intimately familiar with, but never tried to play (thinking about something like "Happy Birthday", or some corny TV themesong) and work it up on your own, without tab, in several keys.
As you progress, I think you'll find this easier and easier to do, and someday, basic melodies will just plop from your mind right onto your fingerboard.
I should add that I don't think I'm any more gifted than the next guy, this is just advice that was given to me at the early stages which has worked well for me.
To you experienced/gifted musicians.
"You Ain't Talkin' To Me!" - Title of an old-time fiddle tune. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
Seriously, the experienced and the gifted often don't appreciate what is hard for the rest of us. There are formal exercises, but I have never found them much use. What has helped me is learning a lot of tunes by ear. Start learning tunes from CDs rather than books, and from instructors who don't teach your from tab or sheet music or chord charts. I spent 30 years doing it wrong. Learning by ear has been an epiphany for me. The only thing that makes it easier is just doing it. I will say that using "slow down" devices can help.
Michael H Geimer
Singing the notes first can help you form association. This helps even if you don't think you 'have a singing voice'. A good vocal performance is not the goal, but in order to sing any note at all, you must first hold the thought of the note inside your head, and that will help train your brain to recognize the notes and intervals with more ease.
That, and it takes a really really long long time. I do recall sitting at the piano with our drummer a decade ago, asking him how it was that he could just launch right into some popluar song without ever having sat down to learn it. I also recall being annoyed by his reply, "[shrug] I've just leanred so many songs at this point ... "
Well ... last night, my guitar player and I messed around on The Eagles 'Peaceful Easy Feeling'. We made it all the way through, with a few staggers here and there, but we made it all the changes, got all the words, etc.
[shrug] I guess I've learned enough songs at this point.
Oh yeah ... no expert here either, folks.
thanks for the comments.
This reply speaks more to the 'tone' aspect of the question- As you listen to tunes, try to play along, not necessarily catching every note, but more trying to figure out where the player is on the fretboard. The same note can be achieved on different strings in different 'positions' on the fretboard...those positions further up the neck (toward the bridge) are going to sound more 'mellow' than the same note played on a different string, closer to the nut (more 'treble' sounding).
This also speaks to ease of playing (learning) a tune...I worked on a tune by Blue Highway ('Flannery's Dream' I believe it's called) that I found was SO frustrating; only to learn that if I played some of the notes on different strings/neck position, it was EASIER...AND sounded more accurate 'tone-wise' so I knew that was actually how THEY play it!