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Major Step Forward

The Transcribing Course

The Pentatonic Scale (and blues based material) is a great place to start transcribing, but it can be of great help to explore the major scale harmony early on too. It really helps free your ears to focus on the melody. What changes is two things, The harmony becomes more complex, and the relationship of the melody to the harmony is shifting more. Both these things make it both easier and harder to transcribe this kind of melody depending on the person transcribing! Many people find it easier, a few people find it harder..

These exercises are based around the G Major Scale Pattern 1 (starts with 2nd finger on 3rd fret of thickest string) which you really must know by now, it's a requisite for this course as I am designing it as a post-intermediate level.

As before the pause is one of the most important aspects, especially for faster runs, which there are now more of. You must pause as soon as the note you are transcribing has been played, if the next note starts then you have to go back and listen again. Listen from exactly the same point in the track if you can, helps your ear focus on the notes you are transcribing - using transcribing software this should be just one button away.

To keep things interesting we are introducing slides in this lesson. It's important that you get that there are two types of slides: Specified and Non-Specific. SLIDES ARE NOT SHOWN ON THE ANSWER SHEET, it's a pain to type them into Sibelius and your ears will tell you.

A "Specified" slide goes from one note to another, it would be shown as one number with a line going up or down to another number, something like: 5 / 8, which would be a slide starting in the 5th fret and sliding to the 8th fret. Going down would look like 8 \ 5.

Quite often there is not a set starting note. When there is no set place to start it's "Non-Specific" and could start just one fret below or above the note, or from 5 or even more fret! It is written with a line going to the note, something like / 8, would just be sliding into the 8th fret from 1 or more frets below. You can slide down to notes too, that would look like \ 8 and could be anywhere from 1 fret above.

So when doing these transcriptions keep an ear out for slides and see if you can hear a "Specified" slide and if so you will mark down both notes with the slide written in.

In these early stages you needn't be too fussy about it, we'll be covering them in more detail later, but I thought it might help keep the transcriptions interesting is we add them in now!

16th Notes
I'm also introducing some basic 16th note rhythms into the songs now, as you are not transcribing rhythms yet it's not so important, but be aware of them and while you are listening and working out the lines, you should look at the rhythm, mainly so that when we do start transcribing rhythm too everything will look at least familiar!!

1st and 2nd time bars
I've also introduced a first and second time bars, which you will see in TR-108-C at the end. The thick and thin line and two dots are a repeat sign, the one at the end of the "first time bar" repeats all the way back to the start. The second time you play through the song and come to the "first time bar" it won't let you in and you have to go the the "second time bar". I use this kind of thing when transcribing if there is a repeated section with a different ending because it can save a lot of pencil lead ;)

Hope you enjoy them!


Click here to download the pdf worksheet - note that it also contains the worksheet for the Justinguitar Transcribing TR-108 Plus Pack.

Transcription Exercise #108-A

Nice intro to using the G Major scale in an acoustic pop vibe.

Transcription Exercise #108-B

Little faster with some more slides to listen out for and a few triplets for good measure too.

Transcription Exercise #108-C

Some unusual rhythmic and melodic elements to make it a little harder but still keeping it easy.

Transcription Exercise #108-D

More pop melodies, this time we've got a few 16th note passages to keep it interesting!

Further Transcriptions - Transcribing Course Plus

Another 2 transcriptions for this lesson can be purchased in the Justinguitar Transcribing TR-108 Plus Pack. These have a similar vibe to the main tracks in this lesson but are a little more difficult and twice as long, 16 Bars each one, which equates to a whole page of transcribing for each exercise.

Transcription Exercise #108-E
This 16 Bar exercise has lots of 16th note passages, slides and should be real good workout, a proper solo!

Transcription Exercise #108-F
This 16 Bar exercise has a lot more complex rhythm parts which should make the parts a little more tricky to work out, it's also a bit faster with more 16th note passages. :)



Some real life examples...

Always more fun to be transcribing "real" songs, but they are harder and I can't give you the answers ;)

Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd (intro solo)
Uses: G Major Scale, Open Position and Pattern 1.

This is a great songs and the intro solo is a nice starter, there are some slides and bends in it but you can come back to those later is you like, just have a crack on it now for fun!

Fade To Black - Metallica (first part of main solo)
Uses: D Major Scale Pattern 5

This was actually the first major scale based solo I ever learned. I transcribed it and then realised it was based around "that stupid scale" my teacher had given me and it inspired me to properly learn my major scales! About half way through it moves up the neck (and using Pattern 3) and gets a lot faster so you might want to leave that bit for now... unless you really fancy a challenge. Last run up of the solo is a C Major Scale. I should point out here that these Major Scales are actually functioning as minor scales in this instance for those nit-pickers out there, but I don't think it's important at this stage.

Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns 'n' Roses (shorter solos, not the crazy one at the end!!)
Uses: G Major Scale Pattern 5 moving into Pattern 1 a bit.

Great solo's these but they do use some bends, slides and legato techniques... that said there would be no harm in having a go at these now - you might be presently surprised at how well you do! They have a strong melody so are a lot easier to do than ones that are moving a lot.

Come Up And See Me Make Me Smile - Steve Harley And The Cockney Rebel (main solo)
Uses: G Major Scale (all over the neck)

If you want a bit more of a challenge then this is a great G Major Scale based solo played by my buddy and awesome guitar player Jim Cregan. It covers there whole neck and uses a range of techniques, but if you want to try something groovy then this would be a cool choice.



Answers? Well I'm not going to make it so easy... so you have to use the forum link below to find them!

Lesson ID: TR-108