Im trying to pick out my first lick right now and i find it very hard to do it. Is there any tricks or ways to make it easier on a person that is just starting to try to learn by ear? Where should i start trying to learn easy songs if so what songs should i start with first to get the hang of it?
Start with songs that you know by heart. So that you can sing the melody without needing to listen to the song. Sing the melody slowly and try to match the pitch with your guitar. In the beginning it's just trial and error. Start with really simple stuff like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Pay attention to whether the melody goes up or down and whether the jump between the notes is big or small. That way you don't need to try every note.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.


Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
I would always advocate singing as a good recourse, you don't even have to have a good voice.

I still do this to this day, if i can't sing something first, i won't learn in on my instrument. I want all information to be perfectly in my mental state before i transfer it to a physical state, so it is me playing the sound i want to hear on the instrument rather than the instrument playing me.

Works for fast lines aswell, you just have to slow them down enough to learn them. But i agree with MM here, start simple with songs you know by heart. Sing the line of the song and find it on your instrument, that is probably the best advice i got.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”

Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
Also...get some software that can slow them down without changing the pitch... Audacity is free and can do this.... it will help you isolate single notes easier..
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
I used to do it with trial and error trying to match the pitches with my instrument. That works, but a better way is to learn to sing the major and minor scales (solfege) and transcribe a ton of things with and without your instrument. You will be able to write down entire songs without even listening to the notes you've written, because you can sing the pitches and hear which they are in relation to the tonic and each other.

After doing this a lot, you will begin to hear the pitches even without singing them so you can "transcribe in real time". You also learn to hear sheet music notes in your head without actually hearing the music being played.


I do 200-500 intervals with this per day and also transcribe some music. It's a good idea to sing each interval with the solfege syllables. I used to get like 40% or less right. Now I get around 98% every time after like 8 months of practice. Those 2% are harmonic perfect fourth and fifth. It's impossible to tell (not really) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solf%C3%A8ge#Movable_do_solf.C3.A8ge
Last edited by Elintasokas at Sep 30, 2014,