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fatedspadez 02-04-2013 03:29 PM

Learning by ear
Hey guys,
I've decided that, after 2 years of playing guitar using tabs, i'm gonna start learning by ear. I've tried a couple of times in the past but to no avail. I was wondering if anyone could give me some help, for instance some songs to start with. I'm generally open to anything, except songs that focus purely on chords, (waiting to get my acoustic for that).
I heard that starting with old Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden is a good first step, but i'm not sure.
Any help would be great guys, thanks in advance :)

HotspurJr 02-04-2013 03:34 PM

Start with simple melodies that you already know by heart. "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," Christmas Carols, etc.

I also found the functional ear trainer, a free download from, to be invaluable.

Brotherbrodude 02-04-2013 04:13 PM

An easy ear song would be the dumb song by Psychostick. Another is Another One Bites The Dust. Maiden not really. Sabbath, kind of. I learned Into The Void by ear.

Brotherbrodude 02-04-2013 04:14 PM

Canon in D is another good one.

Tempoe 02-04-2013 04:21 PM

Learn to play any simple melodies you know, (^ yeah exactly -like twinkle and happy birthday, xmas songs etc. )in your head. Most will be major scale probably but learn to hear the difference in intervals basically.

Calymos 02-04-2013 05:14 PM

It's all easy, really. I know it doesn't seem like it, but you've just got to go one note at a time. Slow down your tracks, and take it slow. It only really gets complicated when you start doing chords, but for now, focus on single notes, then two, etc...

Again, take your time.

yourfavlesbo 02-04-2013 07:06 PM

My method of "learning by ear" is to load up a track in my DAW and then click the notes into a midi track. For me it's easier to transcribe from the piano roll to guitar than to try and figure it out just from hearing it. (Both are possible, but actually knowing the notes helps me along.)

This method might just be time consuming to others. In which case, starting slow with familiar jingles as others have suggested always works. Learn small sections at a time. Break a single melody into parts and stitch the parts together later as you learn them.

technical death 02-04-2013 08:01 PM

Lol I just hum out the melody and then try to play it.

macashmack 02-04-2013 11:40 PM

solfeggio is the only way every other way is for poop heads.

fatedspadez 02-07-2013 02:35 PM

Thanks guys, i'm using Rob Chapman's "train your ears" to help me along, i'll tackle a song soon.

a0kalittlema0n 02-07-2013 03:55 PM

I'd definitely practice singing the song and trying to learn it from your ear. If you get familiar with that it opens up so much for you. I always used to say "I'm really good at playing guitar with my mouth..." also how I can think up the most sick drum beats ever, in my head... If you could only be proficient at playing what you heard you'd be amazing.

Honestly though, it seems impossible, but I've sat down for an hour and learned an entire song that I thought would take me weeks to learn. You can do it.

MaggaraMarine 02-07-2013 04:41 PM

Learn some AC/DC songs and other simple rock songs. They are primarily power chords.

fatedspadez 02-09-2013 07:31 PM

One more thing actually, should I just cut out tabs for good now concerning songs?

Sleepy__Head 02-09-2013 07:49 PM

Don't be daft lad.

Ear training to train your ears, tabs for learning songs with minimal effort.

skilly1 02-09-2013 07:52 PM

Originally Posted by fatedspadez
One more thing actually, should I just cut out tabs for good now concerning songs?

No, use tabs and lessons "youtube" as a guide, but you should try figuring songs out yourself but if it's too difficult which it maybe at first, learn from the guides and enjoy it, the more you learn either from tab or ear the better you'll get anyway

mdc 02-09-2013 08:04 PM

Originally Posted by fatedspadez
One more thing actually, should I just cut out tabs for good now concerning songs?

Ideally, yes. What kind of songs, genre do you want to transcribe?

fatedspadez 02-10-2013 06:34 AM

Originally Posted by mdc
Ideally, yes. What kind of songs, genre do you want to transcribe?

Well I mainly listen to rock/metal, I know some of the bands I listen to, like Killswitch Engage and Trivium will have to wait, so i'm open to all sorts really. Say for instance blues, but I don't really listen to it so i'm not too familiar you know.

Hail 02-10-2013 06:43 AM

learn music you want to learn. it'll be harder at first, but also far more rewarding, and you'll be a lot more willing to listen not only to the guitar part, but to how the instruments all work together.

ultimately, that's the biggest benefit of learning by ear - tabs won't tell you what the drums or bass or vocals are doing in a way that really lets you understand how the music "gels", and just isolating the guitar part, while it may be easier, will compromise your ability to fully understand and internalize the music in a way that benefits your mind's library of harmonic and melodic ideas

danyal92 02-10-2013 08:30 AM

Use the software "transcribe" it can be very useful. slow down music and transcribe one note at a time.

fatedspadez 02-10-2013 03:50 PM

Thanks guys, I learned the solo for "nothing else matters", quite quickly tbh. A nice start :) should help my youtube channel now.

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