The Secrets of Learning the Fretboard

Transcribing Tips

Transcribing Lesson Feature Image

Everyone wants to know how to transcribe but no one finds out so here we go. These are really tips and tricks because there is no other way than to listen to the song and play it on the guitar, but these are tips that will help you a lot.

  1. Find a comfortable, well lighted, quiet place to work
  2. When transcribing try to find out the tuning by listening for strings that ring more. These strings are open so if you hear a low D ringing you know you’re not in standard tuning.
  3. Try to find out the key of the song. The key helps you determine which notes are most likely to be played. It also helps you determine which chords are in the song’s key.
  4. Use headphones. They help. Trust me!
  5. Try using a player with a left/right button. (A mixer is the ideal tool for this)
  6. Try using an Equilizer. (All you need is Low, Mid, High but a 10 band one is still more useful)
  7. Good pencil, eraser, and pencil sharpener
  8. If you have money, buy something that will slow down the playing. I know Ibanez makes one. The problem is that some of these also lower the note an
    octave too, but I don’t think that Ibanez’s does.
  9. Sometimes music is mixed on different channels (for example: guitars go through the right speaker while vocals go through the left) Use the left/right
    knob to only listen to the guitar side.
  10. Use the Equilizer to lower the Highs and Lows, then boost the Midrange. This helps to bring out the guitar and lessen the rest of the band
  11. If you can get a song onto your computer and have a program to manipulate the song to bring out the guitar, slow it down, etc. use that program. It’ll
    save you time and bad notes.
  12. You may also want to invest in a vocal eliminator.
  13. You can also cheat and find a video and see how they play it.
  14. Most of all… Practice and take it one step at a time. (Start Easy and build up)
About Patrick MacFarlane 127 Articles
I've been teaching guitar online for 25 years. My site has been featured in Rolling Stone and Acoustic Guitar magazine. I'm the author of The Secrets of Learning the Fretboard and Guitar Lesson World The Book.

1 Comment on Transcribing Tips

  1. Your posts are really helpful. This help me a lot. Please keep up the good work and keep us updated with your fabulous posts.
    Thank you..

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