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What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:39 am
by MesaMan
Hi fellow Bassplayers,
Driving home yesterday listening to some original music I started thinking about some of the more challenging musical pieces I've learned over the years.
I'm keen to hear what other people have found challenging and why. I think it should provide interesting reading for all.

I have a passion for rock music so most of my learning has been around that but for a couple of year I played in a covers band doing soul/funk stuff. Everything I learned was done from either cassette tapes or MP3's. During that time I had the pleasure of learning Kid Charlemagne by Steely Dan which I found challenging. But one of the most challenging would have to be What is Hip? by Tower of Power - what a fantastic piece of music. Its years since I played it but I'm going to 're-learn' it as a practice exercise. One of the most satisfying pieces I learned was Rio De Janeiro Blue by Randy Crawford.

What have you all found challenging/most satisfying to play?

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:19 am
by pins
Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder.
I am not as skilled as some here and certainly not the fastest player by any means,but I found this song to be a real challenge and really enjoyed learning it.
It also gave me a huge boost of renewed enthusiasm which was really lacking at that point of my career.
Must have a look at the songs you mentioned.

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:59 pm
by Mr Bass Man
pins wrote:Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder.
I am not as skilled as some here and certainly not the fastest player by any means,but I found this song to be a real challenge and really enjoyed learning it.
It also gave me a huge boost of renewed enthusiasm which was really lacking at that point of my career.
Must have a look at the songs you mentioned.
x2 - My band decided we were going to learn that track and it was very hard to learn, but I did it...... we rehearsed it but never did play it live.....

Phantom of the Opera by Iron Maiden was another hard one to try and learn.... most Maidens stuff is - Steve Harris is a phenominal bass player!

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:12 pm
by pins
Mr Bass Man wrote:x2 - My band decided we were going to learn that track and it was very hard to learn, but I did it...... we rehearsed it but never did play it live.....
Ha ha ! yes,yes....as a fellow covers player you and I can relate to that I'm sure,there must be hundreds of songs by now I have learnt,rehearsed with the band but never played live as well :? what gives with that ?

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:53 pm
by foal30
I'd say "What is Hip" is challenging in a "technical" sense, as opposed to a "musical" one.

If 16th notes are Musically good sense for you then it's just repetitive practice to build the speed level.

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:54 am
by john
I had a lot of trouble with "where the streets have no name" by U2

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:20 am
by joppo
Most challenging? Whatever I'm learning now :lol:

Most rewarding? Probably It's my life by Talk Talk and The man who sold the world by Bowie. Both were songs I worked really hard on when I started playing bass. I could play the notes a long time before I got the feel.

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:32 pm
by Harley
One I have struggled with for over 30 years and still can't nail right is the start of Bowie's Jean Jeanie - 4 sets of triplets, you think I;d be able to play those after all that time, but no, I stuff the timing up every single time! :oops: The rest of the song which has much more complicated bass, I nail bang on. Go figure!

Challenging songs - Nikita and Lady in red. Mind bogglers. Also Footloose and Walk this way.

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:07 pm
by MesaMan
pins wrote:Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder.
I am not as skilled as some here and certainly not the fastest player by any means,but I found this song to be a real challenge and really enjoyed learning it.
It also gave me a huge boost of renewed enthusiasm which was really lacking at that point of my career.
Must have a look at the songs you mentioned.
Just listened to this. I see what you mean and a very nice piece.

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:47 pm
by foal30
Giant Steps - there is no other piece of music I've attempted that has it's form.

All The Things You Are - great chord progression, difficult to play well and do justice to what is a beautiful piece of music.

Get Up (I feel like being a Sex Machine) - 16th note finger twister. Key does no favors either.

Aint No Stopping Us Now - both the greasy slide and the use of the E natural

Aint Nothing Like the Real Thing - Bridge trips me up plus the 2/4 bar

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:21 am
by Mr Bass Man
john wrote:I had a lot of trouble with "where the streets have no name" by U2
I don’t find U2 stuff that hard to learn, but that track requires using a pick and playing the notes very fast, and I prefer to use my fingers
Actually "New Years Day" from U2 was one of the first things I learnt on the bass (self taught)

I've been listening to a bit of Iron Maiden and Rush recently - damn I'd hate to have to learn some of that stuff.... would be nearly impossible to play!

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:18 pm
by john
It wasn't the pace that I found hard I just always messed up the changes and I'm not really sure why, because it is such a simple structure.

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:04 pm
by pins
Just had a listen to some songs mentioned...this sticks out for notes played "What is Hip by Tower of Power" cool 8) ,dig the bass line .... but jeeze..... I think my fingers would melt before the song ended :lol:

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:11 pm
by foal30
[quote="Mr Bass Man"][quote="john"]I had a lot of trouble with "where the streets have no name" by U2[/quote]

I don’t find U2 stuff that hard to learn, but that track requires using a pick and playing the notes very fast, and I prefer to use my fingers
Actually "New Years Day" from U2 was one of the first things I learnt on the bass (self taught)

I've been listening to a bit of Iron Maiden and Rush recently - damn I'd hate to have to learn some of that stuff.... would be nearly impossible to play![/quote]

see I read John's line as a pisstake
It's funny how different readers get a different message eh.

Re: What is the most challenging piece you've had to learn

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:18 pm
by john
Yeah I did mention that one because it is an odd one to find hard. I sometimes get lost on simple 12 bar blues tunes too :oops: But I am generally pretty good with complicated structures