#1
Everything I have learned up until this point has either been through tabs or private/video instruction. I play guitar by patterns rather than music. What I mean by that is I don't recognize a song by the notes that are played, but where my fingers are supposed to be by a certain time. I have heard that learning by ear is very valuable, Especially in learning to improvise and jam. How do you actually learn to do this? the thought of hearing a song and then playing it is mind blowing.
"Sometimes you have to go insane, to out sane the sane"- Mortecai
#2
Quote by Fret Frier
Everything I have learned up until this point has either been through tabs or private/video instruction. I play guitar by patterns rather than music. What I mean by that is I don't recognize a song by the notes that are played, but where my fingers are supposed to be by a certain time. I have heard that learning by ear is very valuable, Especially in learning to improvise and jam. How do you actually learn to do this? the thought of hearing a song and then playing it is mind blowing.


There are lots of ways. Transcribing, familiarity with pitch collections. Theory which reveals the big picture and reveals common tendencies. Knowledge opens a lot of these doors.

Best,

Sean
#3
Quote by Fret Frier
Everything I have learned up until this point has either been through tabs or private/video instruction. I play guitar by patterns rather than music. What I mean by that is I don't recognize a song by the notes that are played, but where my fingers are supposed to be by a certain time. I have heard that learning by ear is very valuable, Especially in learning to improvise and jam. How do you actually learn to do this? the thought of hearing a song and then playing it is mind blowing.


It is hugely important. As someone who is primarily self taught/learned through youtube, this was something I neglected because I didn't really have a mentor.

I have been playing for about 7 years but I struggle to jam and pick up on even simple song structures because a lot of what I did on guitar was simply tab regurgitation.

Look into ear training as soon as you can.
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#4
It wasn't until I really got to the point of working on my ear that I felt like I could call myself a musician. Here's my advice on how to improve your ear:

Work on it regularly. You don't have to work on it for long, but ear training seems to go well when people work on it for a short amount of time as often as possible. At least three days a week, if not more, for 10 minutes a day will help you progress.

Start with simple melodies, stuff you know by heart like christmas carols, nursery rhymes, and movie themes. Sit at your guitar and try to find them. This will be surprisingly hard, and that's okay. Keep at it. There will be a lot of trial-and-error, hunting and pecking.

Start working with the functional ear trainer, a free download from miles.be.

Once you've gotten comfortable with that, you should start transcribing more complex things. Personally, I recommend the book "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" by Wyatt et al, which is a structured series of transcription exercises - starting very simple and getting much more complicated. But ultimately you can do this on your own just by picking more and more challenging stuff to listen to and try to figure out. Don't leap into crazy fast solos. In fact, I encourage you to work with melody lines for a while before you try to play most solos. But that book is great, I recommend it.

Good luck!
#5
I found that the first few years, trying to learn chords, scales, techniques makes a better foundation than jumping right in. After I was comfortable with that I moved on to ear training with simple melodies.
Now I can pretty much play any simple melody in my head, just seems to be quite natural after hearing the notes tens of thousands of times, the fingers just go to where the brain wants.

Maybe it's better to start earlier, but I never used tabs, still don't, I'll watch a vid just to see what part of the neck they are on maybe, or stuff that is too fast to figure out by ear.
#6
I hope it isnt too impolite/rude/whatever, to continue this question a little but I am struggling myself. How to START playing by ear? Without any knowledge or skill, the very basics
#7
One way to get started is to learn the sound of a few intervals, such as b2, 2, b3 and 3.

You want to listen to a couple of intervals either melodically (one pitch then the other), or harmonically (both pitches at same time), for a few minutes a day

I'd suggest melodically initially.

You can get software that can randomly generate these ...

Better yet, get a friend to work with you. Get your friend to tell you where (s)he's going to start (e.g 7th fret on D string), and agree together which intervals are going to be used, and then listen as (s)he plays each interval, and try and recognise it by ear, and hence move your fingers the requisite amount to create that interval.

Later, add more intervals.

Later still, start listening to simple chords.

If you're stuck, don't know what intervals are, message me with your email, and I'll help you out.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Oct 26, 2014,
#8
Quote by LegendaryBear
I hope it isnt too impolite/rude/whatever, to continue this question a little but I am struggling myself. How to START playing by ear? Without any knowledge or skill, the very basics


It would be impolite only if you somehow didn't read the post above which specifically said, "Start with ..."

#9
Quote by LegendaryBear
I hope it isnt too impolite/rude/whatever, to continue this question a little but I am struggling myself. How to START playing by ear? Without any knowledge or skill, the very basics


You're being led all over the place here, in spite of good intentions.

This is how you start learning by ear:

1) tune your guitar
2) listen to the first bar of music you want to learn and stop the music!
3) through trial and error, find the notes.
4) repeat this process for the entire song- one small part at a time.

You may have to listen to a note or phrase 20 times to get it - that's normal. You may have to slow down faster passages with software - that's fine.
#10
Quote by LegendaryBear
I hope it isnt too impolite/rude/whatever, to continue this question a little but I am struggling myself. How to START playing by ear? Without any knowledge or skill, the very basics


It's not rocket science, but you have some ground to cover but you'll learn really quickly if you can practice every day.

How I would start is by learning some theory:

Try to learn how to build triads in a key.

Learn the pentatonic scale in said key.

Apply this knowledge to your guitar and PLAY. Your ear will start to recognize what sounds "good" and what sounds "bad."

After learning these basics, you have to find other friends/musicians that you can jam with. Hopefully you will find people who aren't jerks and who have more experience than you and they can show you a few things.