Transcribing Music

Questions & Answers with the one and only Jim West, Weird Al's guitar player!

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Postby Grom » Sun Jul 24, 2005 5:25 pm

Greetings from Down Under, Jim!

Apologies if it's been asked before, but: How do you go about transcribing the guitar work of songs for parodies, and what would you say was the hardest song you've had to work on thus far?

Thank you!

P.S. Remember me from the Novotel Hotel in Canberra? My family was checking in the same time as the band. :P
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Postby snoodle » Sun Jul 24, 2005 5:56 pm

Thanks for your question...yes, I remember the Novatel in Canberra...

Some songs are really simple to learn but many songs have multiple guitar parts with a lot of variation,nuance and even mistakes.With these, I have to notate each part to remember the subtleties.

I often have to play with the EQ when I am learning the songs to bring out the individual parts. I'll often listen in different environments-speakers, headphones, car stereo,etc.

The toughest was "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies. Not that the parts were hard but just the sheer number of guitar tracks. It was the kitchen sink of guitar overdubs on that one! About 12 distinct parts in all. I think they were impressed that someone wouold take the time to figure them all out.

Cheers,

Jim
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Postby CatraDhtem » Sun Jul 24, 2005 6:48 pm

snoodle @ Jul 24 2005, 11:56 AM wrote:The toughest was "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies. Not that the parts were hard but just the sheer number of guitar tracks. It was the kitchen sink of guitar overdubs on that one! About 12 distinct parts in all.


For a song like that then, what is the next step after you figure out every single part? Is it a matter of trying to condense them all into just one or two, or does Al insist that you recreate each of the twelve separate guitar tracks?

I ask because it sounds like the song is translated very well when performed live (apparently with Rubén's help I imagine), so the fact that the original was written with numerous guitar parts makes one wonder about the process of simplifying all of it.
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Postby minnick27 » Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:20 pm

Sort of a follow up, do you transcribe it totally by ear or do you look up sheet music too?
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Postby Kristine » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:30 pm

Do you actually get copies of the individual tracks or is your ear that perfect? lol...... i try to notate songs for keyboard by ear with the commercial CDs and its tough stuff!
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