California Dreamin - playing my transcription of intro and flute solo - SteveL April2023

NOTE: If you are short on time you can just look at the “ Playing my transcription of the intro take 2” and the solo transcription video and give your opinion. All the videos playing the intros are just 20 to 25 seconds. The flute solo video is just 1 minute. This is a work in progress and full version will follow later, but I thought the transcribed intro and solo were interesting enough to give an early view of the playing.

I have used California Dreamin’ as my personal transcribing project - to improve the simplified standard intro and to transcribe the flute solo for acoustic guitar. Justin demonstrates a simplified introduction which I noticed is the same transcription of the into used in the GuitarPro songbook.

You can listen to the intro in Justin’s Song Lesson video on the website:
JG song lesson for California Dreamin

Or you can listen to my short video of the standard simplified intro:
Playing the standard simplified intro

If you listen to the intro in the original recorded song you can hear that the actual intro is different from the simplified version of the intro after the first measure.

The problem, pointed out in several sources, is that a second guitar, a 12-string acoustic, joins the intro in the second measure. I probably listened to the intro at least a hundred times at different speeds and at least that many times in my head trying to decide on the right notes. Acoustic Guitar magazine had a transcription of this song in the Jan./Feb. 2023 issue this years, but tried to transcribe both guitar parts in the same intro to be played by one guitar and was too complex to follow. I was happy to see though that I had used some of the same notes in my transcription.

Here is my transcription of the intro, trying to capture the dominant notes of the guitar duet in the intro. This take was a little weak on the first measure and emphasized the higher pitched strings in the E7sus4:
Playing my transcription of the intro take 1

Here is another take with slight smoother intro and emphasis on lower pitched notes of E7sus4 chord:
Playing my transcription of the intro take 2

Here is one more take with a recent idea to add dyads or double-stops for the last measure. I don’t think it adds much, but here it is:
Playing my transcription of the intro take 3 with dyads

I have always liked the bluesy flute solo in this song and thought that it would be an interesting guitar transcription project. I had an easy time transcribing a rough draft of the notes, since I could just listen to the solo in my head and transcribe. To get a better transcription I had to burn a CD from my iTunes library and copy the mp4 file into the Transcribe software and loop the flute solo. I also had to tune my guitar to the pitch of the recording since I haven’t learned how to alter the pitch in Transcibe by a 1/4 tone. I tried to transcribe the solo into GuitarPro but I ran into a problem with notating the rhythm, so I played this solo with my handwritten tabbed notes without rhythm notation, since I have a good memory for song rhythm as a lifetime singer.

Here is my guitar transcription of the flute solo from California Dreamin’:
Playing my transcription of California Dreamin flute solo

Notice the bends and the pre-bends that I added to make it sound more like the flute playing. This is the first recording with a metronome app in the background. The original recorded song is about 112 bpm and I set at 78 bpm or about 70% of original speed since I am still an advancing beginner. I learned from my last video to stay within your limits when recording and not play faster than you have practiced.

I will eventually add the entire song with singing and the intro and solo.


Nice one. It sounds nice and clear.

Also, you’ve got the good habit of playing with the metronomme. I wish I had used it more thoroughout my guitar journey.

Thank you very much for sharing :ok_hand:

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Thank you for your kind words and for your good advice. I have just started using the metronome to keep myself from playing too fast when recording and tripping and falling on my face in my playing. I did that last month in my video and resolved to start using a metronome.

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It’s always good to have some reference to keep a stable rhythm, indeed.

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Hi Steve,
I have very little time (give myself little time), but nice that I watched and listened to this :sunglasses:
I look forward to the end of this project, it can only be good, take your time, you are doing well.

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Rogier, Thank you for taking the time to see and listen to my videos. Hopefully I can practice enough to finish the project next month. When I practice solos, then I have to spend more time practicing strumming. I’ve found that all my guitar skills get rusty or stale when they are not used. I look forward to hearing your finished recordings in the future.

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That is all coming along nicely Steve and all very recognisable in your playing. I’m looking forward to you doing the whole song sometime in the future. Nice bends as well by the way.

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Hi Steve, sounding good to me. In my opinion the diads add sound volume and fit well.

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Excellent project, Steve, you are sure to learn and grow tremendously through it. I watched the take 2 and solo, both of which soudned good to me.

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