#1
I've decided to pick up guitar again this summer and my one goal in playing guitar is to be able to learn how to play songs I hear on the radio, I want to learn to play them by ear. I want to be able to learn the chords to a song even if it doesn't have a guitar playing in the background. I'm not sure how to train my ears how to do this or where I would even start. I would really appreciate it if someone would give me an outline of what I should practice doing every day so I can reach this goal.

Also, just to let you know, my skill level in guitar right now is decent, I am able to play open/barre chords and can keep a rhythm with my strumming hand pretty well. I know how to play two scales, the major scale and the blues scale.

Thanks!
#2
1. play a song on your mp3/stereo/radio/whatever
2. figure out the chords based on trial and error.
3. repeat. often.

there's no real secret, imo, just time, practice and patience. You get what you put into it. If you get pissed off and frustrated everytime you try and figure out a song and quit, then youre not going to get anywhere. If you work your way up, say work on something like old folk stuff with easy open chords, its a lot easier and you dont feel like quitting everytime you feel that you're just not getting it.

one more thing, there are a handful of chord progressions and most songs on the radio nowadays are just variations on the key of those chord prograssions. observe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I

figure out some of the patterns and play around with them in different keys and different positions on the neck.
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#3
Quote by Jhachey22
1. play a song on your mp3/stereo/radio/whatever
2. figure out the chords based on trial and error.
3. repeat. often.

there's no real secret, imo, just time, practice and patience. You get what you put into it. If you get pissed off and frustrated everytime you try and figure out a song and quit, then youre not going to get anywhere. If you work your way up, say work on something like old folk stuff with easy open chords, its a lot easier and you dont feel like quitting everytime you feel that you're just not getting it.

one more thing, there are a handful of chord progressions and most songs on the radio nowadays are just variations on the key of those chord prograssions. observe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I

figure out some of the patterns and play around with them in different keys and different positions on the neck.


Thanks Jhachey22, the chord progression tip is really helpful ~ I'll start working on those. Great advice on not giving up as well, I learned not to get too frustrated when I was first learning barre chords haha. Thanks again! hopefully i'll get this down soon.
#4
Hey kewlkat,

Ear training exercises include:

-transcribing music by ear

-singing scales

-singing intervals

-singing arpeggios

-improvising with your voice over chord progressions

-dissecting chords with your ears (what notes are in that chord?)


That should give you plenty to work with... Pick a different exercise to do each week and spend 5-10 minutes per day doing it.

Ear training is great! Not only can you pick apart and learn songs by ear better, but you also dramatically improve your creativity with music, and it refines your knowledge of music theory, which in turn helps you to make better musical choices when it comes to making variations on songs you learn.
#5
naturally, knowing the notes on the fretboard will help also. You should spend the time to memorize those notes, because that way you won't need to rely on trial and error to find the notes that you hear.

You will need to study music theory as well, as you practice ear training.

Those three skills are seperate, but work together in an integrated, systematic way.

When you know what key it's in (music theory) you will know how to listen to the intervals and chords of the music (ear training) and then instantly know where to find it on the guitar (fretboard memorization)

Hope this helps!
#6
Thanks maltmn! I really appreciate the breakdown of ear-training, this should give me more than enough excercises to focus on this summer and onwards
#7
The trial and error thing works alright. But honestly, I've found that I progressed much more by playing with other people. I play electric at my church on Sundays and after many practices without music I eventually, and naturally, learned what most keys, and chords, sounded like.

It makes it really easy if you have scales memorized (not the patterns on the fretboard, but have the actual notes memorized)

That way, If you find the first chord in the song, its much easier to find the next chords in the song once you've figured out the key.

For example, if you are trying to play a song and you know the first chord is a Gmaj, you know that the next chord will be a G, A, B, C, D, E, F#. Providing that the song is in the basic major scale, which works alot of the time but you can't always use this, but with practice and experience you will know what certain intervals sound like and what sounds odd or out of key. Anyways, you know the next chord will be an a, b, c, d, e, f#. You also have decided that the next chord sounds a little bit higher, but not too high. Which means you think the chord will be most likely some form of a Bm, C or D. (Most likely)

Using this method, you can save alot of time and is a great way of learning to play by ear (in my opinion and expierence. Some people may not agree but thats just what I think. I used this for a long time until I got good enough to just naturally know what the notes were as I heard them.

Hope I helped!

#8
Quote by kewlkat
Thanks maltmn! I really appreciate the breakdown of ear-training, this should give me more than enough excercises to focus on this summer and onwards


No problem kewlkat

The cool thing is you can practice ear training when you don't have your guitar with you. once you've learned how the chords, scales, arpeggios, and intervals sound like, you can sing them without your guitar