Learning new songs

Hi just started learning full songs and finding it a bit frustrating… Using ultimate guitar pro app… I can play most of the song but cant seem to nail the little fills and changes even though im practicing a fair bit I feel I should be able to do it. Im not sure if the app is a good way to do it as you cant see whats coming next in tab and it comes up quick. You can slow it though and print it, if I could work that out lol.
Just wanted to hear your experiences and just see if its just part of the process thanks.


Any difficult fills or riffs I slow to about 70% of their proper speed and gradually speed it up 5%at a time once I’ve mastered it to a satisfactory standard.
Time consuming but works for me


Does it take a fair few goes till you get it?


It’s a good idea to break it into sections, also. Learn the chorus well, for example. After you got it down, try a verse. Then try those two together. A bit like how Josh breaks his examples on the lessons.

I don’t linger too much on slower speeds though, just to get the nuances right, but your experience may vary.

In my experience, learning a bit at full speed brings me more joy and motivation than having the whole song ok at slow speeds and a mess on regular speed.


I absolutely think it helps to print it out so that you can see “what’s coming up” on the page changes. When I’m trying to learn “on screen” the page changes always throw me.

But, yes, it does just take some time to learn a full song. I’ve found that it helps to play along with the song (versus trying to learn the piece solo), as I’ll pick up on musical cues that help me know when changes occur…


It’s a good idea to break it into sections,

Ye I think thats what i need to do thanks

absolutely think it helps to print it out so that you can see “what’s coming up” on the page changes. When I’m trying to learn “on screen” the page changes always throw me.

Its catching me out everytime and im not ready for changes need to setup my printer again… Thanks

Thanks for help

Not sure how to highlight what your saying properly thats something else I need to work out lol


I’m on desktop, not mobile, so it may be different, but if you highlight the text in someone else’s message, there a “Quote” pop-up - if you hit that, it adds the quote to to your response. Or I believe that you you can just surround the text with “[quote]” and “[/quote]” tags… Or, apparently, if you put a “>” as the first character in the line, it treats it like a quote.


Thanks I will try it out next time.


In my experience, it’s basically the same, but It can be a bit trickier selecting the text.


One other thing I recommend, if you don’t want to print, is to use a bluetooth page turner pedal. They’re inexpensive and are a very good companion for scrolling pdfs or webpages.

In my case I also use it to trigger the record/stop function on Reaper, so I don’t have to constantly leave the bass.


Wow never heard of that… I mostly use my phone for everything but I will be trying different things out to try and make practice easier.

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This is going to be the case for anything new you learn. Don’t get discouraged over not being able to do it the first time, or even the second, third or ninth time. Take your time, slow it down (practice slow = learn faster) and you will absolutely get there.

I remember some years ago as a total beginner guitarist, getting caught up on some small part of a song, and complaining about not being able to play along to it. My husband was like, “Why not just keep the rhythm through that part with one or two notes that sound good.” and I remember asking him in disbelief –

"You’re allowed to do that?!"

Don’t forget to have fun playing music. You’re absolutely allowed to rock-out to the parts you know and “fudge” the ones you don’t until you get them down. I think the right note played over and over again in time is way better than all the right notes all over the place. :slight_smile:


Good advice!

And most of all, don’t forget you’re trying to mimic something a way more experienced pro player has put together. It’s more than understable that you need your time to get comfortable with it.


Thanks @chordsykat @gcancella that what I needed to hear really.


Out of curiosity, do you mind sharing what you’re trying to learn? Or was it just a broad question?

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@gcancella I was trying credence clear water bad moon rising for the challenge. The tab is a bit different on ultimate pro… Its not hard Iv done harder on b2b so it just suprised me how long its taking me to get it… I guess some of it is not having josh break it down, learning from the app and that being different, sometimes you cant see the fill and it can be different each time. I just think I wasgetting frustrated need to approach it better and have more patience and more fun lol


Well spoken, @chordsykat . . . I find myself doing that a lot . . . :slight_smile:

Keeping the correct rhythm and pace is more important than hitting ALL the “correct” notes . . . that will come with repeated practice. Sometimes I have to leave out a few notes to stay on beat.




How true.
Most people seem to forget what the main function of the Bassist is in a band.

Wanna play lead or shred a solo, to stand out, play a 6 string electric or acoustic lead guitar.

To me solos and riffs are not the main function of a bassist’s part in a band. The Bassist must work in conjunction with the drummer to drive the rhythm.

If the lead guitar plays one wrong note chances are nobody notices but if the Bassist, or drummer, screws up the rhythm everybody will notice because the song will fall apart.

Look at the first couple of lessons in B2B where Josh has beginners playing Bass along to backing tracks using just the root note of the chord with whole notes. In other words you are only playing one note per bar. Then progress from there. Many songs only use the root and fifth of the chord using quarter notes.

The time for any Bass fill riffs and solos will come in time but you need the bassics first and that is what B2B teaches you.

OK David climbs off his soap box, but only for a while. :slightly_smiling_face:


I don’t know if this will make sense/be relevant to you, @locket, but a lot of the times when I’ve already learned a bass song and I want to then sing along to it, I’ll sit in front of Youtube and fail over and over again at lining up words with my playing until my brain starts to enmesh the two.

I never hit all the notes the first time through, even if I’ve played the song a hundred times on bass and sang it a million times in the car. Even if the song is “easy”. But one thing I absolutely pay attention to, is the beat. I’ve tried it the other way, too – forcing myself to get all the notes right before proceeding onto the next part, and as far as retention and progression go, I would pick keeping the beat and missing some notes over painstakingly hammering out each note perfectly while keeping on voice.

Everyone here is right about the bass player’s role in the band – you miss that beat and you risk tearing the song apart. You miss a note and you simply miss a note. You’ll absolutely have an easier (and more enjoyable) time of learning songs if you go through the basics and add onto it, piece by piece, as you learn.

Aaaaanyway – Josh’s latest video shows you a little about breaking a song into its parts, but I tend to think this slightly older video here is a little more relevant if you’d like more detailed instruction: The 5 Levels of Smells Like Teen Spirit


Its all great advice thanks. I have to remember the role of a bass player I guess even in practice. Also not to be too hard on myself if I dont get it perfect straight away, if im getting the bare bones of the song right well then thats a good thing and a good start and be pleased with that.

I used to sing with guitar but I cant imagine singing with bass that takes some skill.