Ive been playing finger-style guitar for a year now and i started out with just memorizing tabs just to develop the finger strength and flexibility without getting bored. Now i want to learn how to play any song that I hear without using tabs. How would i go about doing this? Is there a method or is it just all about using our ears? Should i learn scales? If so how does it help me? Where should i start? Some help/tips would be most appreciated.
For example if i want to figure out how to play this:
where should i start
Last edited by Darkn3ss99 at Dec 28, 2013,
Tried but i cant. I can somewhat figure out the melody with just playing around
Last edited by Darkn3ss99 at Dec 28, 2013,
yes, learn scales. there is a pattern across the neck that is the same for all major scales, another for minor, another for pentatonic, etc. Since almost every song is written in one scale you know the patter you know the scale you know what notes are playable.

i hear solfege (goole it, free) is good for ear training, part of my new years resolution to work on. I watch my teacher (40 years of pro experience plus teaching) listen to a song and he'll run notes (scale pattern) to find the key the song is in (ear training!) then run up and down the scale to get the riff. Awesome to watch him do it.
You're essentially asking to learn music theory and fingerstyle technique on a forum..... Not perhaps the best way to go.

You can get a teacher/instructor... That's likely the best way to go but of course not available to everyone and costs money.
You can avail yourself of the very wide variety of internet instruction; YouTube has a whole bunch of instructional material.
I suggest this YouTube channel to start:
Stefan Grossman has been around for many years and the material covers all manner of blues, ragtime, folk, and other styles, generally in lesson format.

Another great resource is to download one of the many programs/apps that put up tabs of the material and allow you to play along to a synthesized track at whatever tempo you like.
Like "Tefview":


It's great because it lets you follow along and hear the music at the same time.

There are literally hundreds of tabs put up in this format available from a variety of sources, and there are other similar programs available for free.

There is no magic to learning scales or any other music theory. Scales are merely the building blocks of music, and chords are extracted from scales and harmonies are extracted from the chords in a particular key/scale.
This is basic stuff and you should learn it... It's not necessary to learn a particular scale, rather learn how major, minor, pentatonic, and other scales are structured. Learn how chords are extracted from these scales to make harmonies.

And be aware that this knowledge will help you construct your own arrangements and such, but if you just want to learn fingerstyle arrangements of songs, they are likely not necessary.
What's the most challenging fingerstyle song you can play at the moment?
Well i can play dust in the wind and livin on a prayer not perfectly but i can play it all the way through. Learned both of these through tabs.
Go get some free lessons at "www.justinguitar.com" Cheers