#1
All this time I was just practicing technique, but now I really wanna learn to play songs by ear. Any tips how to start? are there some exercises for that or I just need to try to figure out notes and key? I tried that out but it's so difficult. Any advice?
#2
I just learned tons of songs through tab, got familiar with notes and chords and before I knew it, I could hear songs and know how to play them. But that's just me.
#3
The best thing to do would be to go to

http://www.good-ear.com/servlet/EarTrainer

An learn to recognise asm any intervals as possible. Start with just the maj3rd, per4, per5 and octave and once you've got them nailed start adding more.

At first it is best to have your guitar in your hands so you can play the intervals as they come up. Also find tunes/songs which you relate to the intervals such as a perfect fourth here comes the bride or maor2nd happy birthday etc.

Then try and recognise the intervals without the guitar in your hands.
#4
^ Don't really think that's the best way to go, it's very concrete and although good to know, usually not the best way to start.

Try and sing the notes you play, try thinking of a melody in your head and playing it on guitar, can be as simple as you like.
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#5
Learning theory helps, or at least it set me on the right track. Learning key signatures and how tonic, pre dominant & dominant chords function in each key, as well as practice. The more you practice the easier it will become.
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#6
Just play alot, you'll soon hear everything you need.
Dont bother reading posts about lingo that you'll not understand, just concentrate on the notes you play - maybe a tiny bit of interval training if you're really bothered.
Everyone is different, for some people they have to do everything methodically and the most least creative way.
I was similar to slayer88, i learned loads of songs and wrote a tone of progressions and riffs - when i finally looked at getting a grade test to get into a good music university, i had no problem with identifying melodies, intervals, time sigs, playing back rhythms etc.
Always waiting for that bit of inspiration.
#7
Quote by W4T3V3R
Just play alot, you'll soon hear everything you need.
Dont bother reading posts about lingo that you'll not understand, just concentrate on the notes you play - maybe a tiny bit of interval training if you're really bothered.
Everyone is different, for some people they have to do everything methodically and the most least creative way.
I was similar to slayer88, i learned loads of songs and wrote a tone of progressions and riffs - when i finally looked at getting a grade test to get into a good music university, i had no problem with identifying melodies, intervals, time sigs, playing back rhythms etc.

so while you never learned any theory you magically knew all the names for the conventions, much less enough to get you into college? how'd this happen?
Last edited by z4twenny at Sep 27, 2011,
#8
Here's my advice:

Go buy the book "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" by Keith Wyatt et al. It's under $20. Really great book that will teach you a lot of theory while teaching you how to hear it. Fantastic stuff.

Also, however, a lot of work. And it moves pretty quickly through the early stuff, so you should complement it with the following:

Trainear.com, which I found to be the best website for interval work because of the integrated songs.

Miles.be, which has what they call the "functional ear trainer." Also very useful. The first time you try to use it you'll probably feel like you're hitting notes at random, but you do develop over time - but I do think it's probably too frustrating to use until you have a decent grounding in interval recognition.

The thing about ear training is ideally you do it for 10-15 minutes every day, maybe as much as 30-40 minutes, but doing it regularly is what matters.
#9
Quote by kimi_page
All this time I was just practicing technique, but now I really wanna learn to play songs by ear. Any tips how to start? are there some exercises for that or I just need to try to figure out notes and key? I tried that out but it's so difficult. Any advice?


start easy and always listen. Every song you learn puts more sounds in your mind. With experience you start to recognize those sounds. Learning theory helps, but you don't have to wait for that to begin developing your ears. Pick an easy song, learn it, memorize it, play it, enjoy it. Build up a repertoire.
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#10
Thank you guys for advices. Just one more question: is it important to learn harmonic and melodic minor scale and some diminished for developing ear? I use(know) only pantatonic, natural minor and major scale and I think that if I figure out that songs is in , for example Am pentatonic, I will be easier to find notes, but if it's in harmonic minor, I wouldn't know
#11
Quote by kimi_page
Thank you guys for advices. Just one more question: is it important to learn harmonic and melodic minor scale and some diminished for developing ear? I use(know) only pantatonic, natural minor and major scale and I think that if I figure out that songs is in , for example Am pentatonic, I will be easier to find notes, but if it's in harmonic minor, I wouldn't know


Most ear training will focus on the natural minor and major scales. Once you have them down, you'll find that you're able to apply the concepts to other scales pretty easily. If you follow a course of study like I recommended above, you'll probably be fine when it comes to the melodic minor, etc.
#13
Quote by HotspurJr
Here's my advice:


Miles.be, which has what they call the "functional ear trainer." Also very useful. The first time you try to use it you'll probably feel like you're hitting notes at random, but you do develop over time - but I do think it's probably too frustrating to use until you have a decent grounding in interval recognition.

.

Is this ear trainer effective? It's kinda weird
#14
I know this sounds a bit cliche but it really is about feel. You sort of pick things up overtime. I've never had a guitar lesson other than somebody showing me a few chords. I recommend really playing acoustic. The acoustic is not as deceiving as electric. Electric guitar you can modify your sound in a lot of ways with pedals and different pick ups etc... Theres a place for electric guitar but the acoustic guitar is a, "more natural thing." to quote the late great Muddy Waters.

Just mess around. I start by figuring out the power chords to a song I like and then I start playing open chords or seventh chords and build from there. As far as riffs go just feel it out. Learn the blues scale if you can.

Just remember everybody is different and everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. I'm easily imtimidated by shred junkies on youtube but I just remember that guitar is fun and thats the most important thing.

Just play whatever you FEEL like playing and you'll pick things up by ear over time.

You know when I was in highschool I played guitar but I had other hobbies I went through trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. I always loved guitar and I bounced around with other things like drawing and stuff. Then I realized that when I drew I would approach it in a very structed over analytical way and I wasn't enjoy it. But with guitar I can sit back, watch television and simply enjoy myself. So now I mainly play guitar.


Just figure out what works for you because no two people are alike in every way shape sound and form.
#15
Is this ear trainer effective? It's kinda weird


It does seem kind of weird. But it appears to be effective, as well. It's hard for me to point to one thing and say "that's what's making the difference for me," but I've been mixing that ear training, interval training, and the exercises and Wyatt's book and, slowly but surely, my ear is getting better.

And, oh yeah, I've been jamming with other musicians too.


Quote by sunliteacoustic

Just play whatever you FEEL like playing and you'll pick things up by ear over time.


I think this tends to be true of people who learn as kids, but less so for those of us who came to the instrument primarily as adults.

Certainly, with experience your ear will improve. But it seems clear that you can improve your ear more rapidly by working specifically on it, and there are lots of techniques to help you with that.
#16
Quote by HotspurJr



I think this tends to be true of people who learn as kids, but less so for those of us who came to the instrument primarily as adults.

Certainly, with experience your ear will improve. But it seems clear that you can improve your ear more rapidly by working specifically on it, and there are lots of techniques to help you with that.



You dont need to correct me when I said everything right.I believe if you really love music and thats what you enjoy most in life then you should be able to play guitar by ear. Look at T Model Ford he picked up a guitar at 57 years old and in a week he was playing some cool blues licks. I'm not a technical junkie. Like Neil Young said, " I have no interest in being the next mutant guitar freak." People who study guitar take the fun out of it. I mean if I wanted to study I would read a history book. But hey man it ain't my life. I know what I love to do and I'm happy doing it.
#18
Quote by kimi_page
All this time I was just practicing technique, but now I really wanna learn to play songs by ear. Any tips how to start? are there some exercises for that or I just need to try to figure out notes and key? I tried that out but it's so difficult. Any advice?

The truth is that when starting out with transcribing, people have a hard time of it, sorry. Pick the song apart bit by bit, listen to the bass guitar as it will be playing the root most of the time.

Once you've identified the root note, sing and try and hear the tonality in relation to that bass note at that particular moment. Does it sound minor, major, dominant, suspended. Play all the different types of chords you can think of, with that bass note as your root, and you'll find the chord eventually.

It may seem painstakingly slow, but, and I don't really like using cliches, the more you do it, the quicker you'll get.

Get good at pressing the pause button.
#19
Quote by W4T3V3R
Dont bother reading posts about lingo that you'll not understand, just concentrate on the notes you play - maybe a tiny bit of interval training if you're really bothered.
Everyone is different, for some people they have to do everything methodically and the most least creative way.



Ouch, man, ouch.


" I have no interest in being the next mutant guitar freak." People who study guitar take the fun out of it. I mean if I wanted to study I would read a history book. But hey man it ain't my life. I know what I love to do and I'm happy doing it.


I know what I love to do as well and have a blast doing it. What I do is study the guitar, it's more fun each and every day.
Last edited by Vlasco at Sep 28, 2011,
#20
Quote by sunliteacoustic
You dont need to correct me when I said everything right.


I'll try to keep that in mind in case you do eventually say everything right.




I believe if you really love music and thats what you enjoy most in life then you should be able to play guitar by ear.


Your belief is not relevant here. I know lots of people who enjoy the instrument immensely, but have never been able to play by ear until they made a point of studying it.

It's great that wasn't the case with you. Don't make the mistake of thinking everyone's experience is the same as yours. In fact, since the original poster was asking the question, and has clearly been spending a decent amount of time "practicing technique," it seems far more likely that she's not someone who's just going to spontaneously pick things up by ear.

Look at T Model Ford he picked up a guitar at 57 years old and in a week he was playing some cool blues licks.


Was he playing them by ear?

In any event, point conceded. There are some people who seem to pick things up by ear very quickly and easily. I never disputed this.

On the other hand, the existence of T Model Ford does nothing to argue against what I wrote, which is that some people need a dedicated course of study.


I'm not a technical junkie. Like Neil Young said, " I have no interest in being the next mutant guitar freak." People who study guitar take the fun out of it.


Really? I study. I have a tremendous amount of fun playing guitar. So do lots of people. You should, perhaps, only speak for yourself. You may not find studying to be interesting. Don't assume that everyone shares your experience.


I mean if I wanted to study I would read a history book. But hey man it ain't my life. I know what I love to do and I'm happy doing it.


And I never suggested that you should do anything different, so I don't know why you've gotten so defensive.
#21
Quote by HotspurJr



In fact, since the original poster was asking the question, and has clearly been spending a decent amount of time "practicing technique," it seems far more likely that she's not someone who's just going to spontaneously pick things up by ear.


She? I'm not a girl, I'm a guy. The ear training you recomended is not bad. I'm slowly starting to realy recognise notes in there.
#22
Quote by kimi_page
She? I'm not a girl, I'm a guy. The ear training you recomended is not bad. I'm slowly starting to realy recognise notes in there.


Your name is "kimi" - which isn't conclusive, but I know a low more people with that name who are female than male. I was playing the odds.
#24
Thanks guys. I was trying to figure out some slow solos, and it's not bad, I figured a first couple notes in Knockin' on heaven doors by ear, but I took me a while, it's not easy