Transcribing - hearing the bass

I try and do some transcribing every day. Today I was looking at Holiday by Greenday. The intro is clearly just four chords (and let’s be honest, Greenday isn’t going to be harmonically complicated!) so it should be straightforward. I was looping the 4 chords and could clearly hear Ab, F, C, G. They were obviously not the chords, but those notes were so clear. I didn’t eventually work out that I was hearing the third of each of the chords, and got there in the end, but if I was just using my ear (and no music theory) I doubt I’d have found it.
Any else have this problem? Any tips?


I often fall back on theory to work bits out. All part of the fun

A chap at a recent open mic suggested using the g string to ‘find’ the key of a song rather than the low E string because he found it easier than comparing the lower bass notes. I’ve tried with limited success, helps if you can go from root note on said g string to pentatonic or, I guess, other scale or maybe triad shapes…

Thanks Dave - Perhaps I’m making it harder than it should be but I’m really trying to be able to hear the isolated chords rather than establish the key and work backwards. Perhaps I should learn to walk before I run!

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Aye, find what works for you. That’s the secret :wink:

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