Update Feb '23
Beginners course progress - Completed up to Grade 3 Module 15, just starting Module 16
Theory Course - Completing module 4.3 (on lesson “A Fretboard in Your Mind”)
…I have pretty much stalled on the beginners course since Dec when I had a go at transcribing during Mod 15 and really enjoyed it. That threw me into wanting to know more theory, so I’ve been working my way through that course and finding that it’s been sinking in pretty well so far.
I have also (finally!) started making headway on learning all the notes on the fretboard. I feel confident I could name them all without having to count up from the nut or think for more than a couple of seconds about it but they still don’t all jump to mind instantly, especially on the D, G & B strings, and certainly not when I’m playing!
I had my first go at transcribing with Know Your Enemy (by Rage Against the Machine) in December. That, I felt, went reasonably well considering my basic method and appalling notetaking (see link above )!
I then sort of fell into the next song, which is a Kiwi rock classic from the late 70s called Be Mine Tonight by Th’ Dudes. Not sure if too many people will know this other than the NZ’ers on here who definitely will and maybe the Aussies? I’ve always really liked this song and having heard it on the radio around the Xmas break, I thought I’d have a go at learning it as the solo sections seemed pretty doable (wishful thinking! ).
I found a couple of basic tabs online but they were not ideal for my purposes and didn’t cover the end solo, also there was a YT tutorial of sorts on some sections, including the intro solo and rhythm sections, but again it was a bit lacking, so I thought, well why not have a go at making my own Pro tab. Which is what I did…
This project sort of blew out into a rather major undertaking that involved not only transcribing the guitar parts but also the bass and drums. I know nothing about bass and even less about drums, so sorry to all the bass and drum players out there (esp. thinking of Endureth & JK! )! But I super enjoyed doing it and quite proud of the fact I actually at least come up with something in those areas! In fact this whole project has given me a lot of confidence to tackle one of my loftiest goals for this year, attempting to write my own music, which I am excited to get into sooner rather than later.
I used Guitar Pro 8 with the song embedded as an audio track to figure out the tab (as shown by Justin here) and it was a fantastic tool to use and really made it much easier, plus it has a ridiculous number of features that I barely scrapped the surface on. Looking forward to using it more.
So I have done a couple of recordings, one is a play through of my GP8 tab I created with the original track playing along. The other is me playing it… Now, overall the song didn’t appear too hard, but it didn’t pan out that way for me. I found the simple main rythym riff was super hard to play consistently and kept falling out of time. I just haven’t been able to get that right all the way through yet.
The first three little solos were reasonably okay, as was the beginning of the big end solo, but I realised I first really need to learn how to bend properly and get my ear in so I can pick up the pitch I’m trying to hit before I’m going to get it right. I really found that part super hard the further I went up the neck and all my efforts with that were a bit of a disaster, with off-pitch notes all over the place.
In the end, for the sake of moving forward, I cut my rendition short compared with the original track as I couldn’t get it right and I really needed to move on to other things so didn’t want to spend tonnes of time now on something I haven’t reached yet in my learning (although you can still hear some of my awful bending towards the end of my recording )
Therefore this is why I haven’t put it in the AVOYP section as it is still very much a work in progress and not yet at a point I’m happy with. Although, I am very proud of what I have achieved and learnt throughout the process, it has even felt quite empowering in a way. I do intend to return to this song down the track but for now I will leave it as is, being a record of where I was at.
Finally, there was one other major step I took on this…Singing . I have never been a singer, in fact I was that kid in highschool that just mouthed all the words to the songs we had to sing in morning assembly . However, I have had a go… and didn’t hate it… and will keep having a go as I’m sure it will be important when I come to writing my own music. However, in saying that, I am not yet at a point where I want to commit time to lessons or anything like that. Maybe some point down the track. But for now I still want the majority of my focus to be on guitar, just with a little bit of singing (if it can be called that! ) on the side.
So, what have I learned from all this…
- Really enjoy transcribing but it is immensely time consuming
- GP8 is awesome and I’ll use that more
- Reaper is also great and I have committed to using that as me DAW going forward.
- Relearning Adobe Premiere after years of not using it was great fun… but it’s super expensive.
- I need to learn how to bend properly and train my ear.
- I need to work on my rhythm and timing.
- I need to record all playthroughs so I have the correct video recordings to match my audio tracks!
- I have a lot to learn about mixing a song.
- Singing is hard!
- Recording is hard!
- …But both are fun and I want to do more.
- My 8year Acer laptop sucked for recording & video editing! (so I brought a secondhand, off-lease, Dell Precision T5820 Tower PC (Intel Zeon W-2104, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Nvidia Quadro P4000 video card) which is AWESOME!)
Here is a screen shot of my mix in Reaper. I ran with two recordings of most guitar parts as well as the vocals:
Here is my GP8 Tab Playthrough:
Here is my cover:
Now my time hasn’t all been spent on what seems like a fairly major deviation from my metal shredding journey! I have also been working on another song, which is off perhaps one of the greatest metal albums of all time, at least according to some (and often myself depending on my mood)…
Angel of Death by Slayer is on my dream set list of songs and I have been messing around with it for a while, however now felt like a good time to get a bit more serious with it as the main iconic riff includes a series of hammer ons & pull offs which ties in nicely with where I am at in the beginner course. Plus there is plenty of fast single note work which is helping me to focus on my speed and accuracy.
I have run it up to about 85% which seems to be about my limit for now (or perhaps slightly beyond as I tend to do! ). And again I have a couple of recordings as I know this song definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (my wife says it’s just screaming and makes her angry! ) so the first one is just the bits I really need to keep working on (as you’ll see in the recording of the whole song!) and the second is my progress on the whole song at 85% of full speed (with a little of my string-breaking-frustration when recording this track tacked on at the end! ). I would welcome any feedback on how to increase my speed and precision with these couple of sections so I can reach 100%.
Riffs to work on:
Slayer - Angel of Death cover 85% wip
One final thing to note is that I actually had a brief jam with a couple of mates the other night! One plays guitar and the other bass, so they came round and we cranked out a couple of tunes together which was great fun! Also, I had another mate ask if I wanted to jam with him as well?! He’s learning drums and would love to play along with someone. So both of these were welcome surprises and are making me excited this could be a break out year, all going well!
Thanks for taking time to read this and watch my clips! Hugely appreciated! In fact, there is no way I would be doing any of this if it wasn’t for all you wonderful people with your kind words and encouragement. It has made the world of difference to me and my guitar journey! Thanks so much!!