#1
How do you learn songs by ear? I just don't get it. Is there any specific technique that I should use? How many seconds should I learn at a time? Also does anybody know any songs I should start off on for practice in learning by ear?
Please help me as I am very interested and willing to learn how to do it.

Thanks in advance
#2
Step 1: figure out what key the song is in ( I hit every note down the low E, until I find one that fits, generally most songs are I- IV-V progressions)
Step 2: See if you can make out the melody in that key, and work out what scales the guitar player is possibly using
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#3
For me:
1. Grab Guitar.
2. Listen to song/part of song you want to learn 9 bazillion times
3. Figure out what string riff starts on. (e.g. Crazy Train starts on low E)
4. Find note by going through entire fretboard on that strings
5. Repeat
6. ???
7. Profit!
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#4
hahaha, i just kinda screw around with it. Sometimes it happens at random, i learned Bowl For Two by The Expendables because i was just done playing Adams Song and i was screwing around in C-Standard tuning and i happneed to catch a few nots from the song so i kept tryin till i got it. If your really in a tough spot then just go on youtube and see where the person's fingers are and then just try and figure it out from there
#5
u can start out by trying to learn easy songs that have only a couple of power chords in 'em ...like songs from GreenDay or blink182. Take is slowley ...and just practice a lot ...u'll see that after a while u would be able to tab more difficult songs by ear.

good luck

ah ..and be sure to have ur guitar tunned
#6
Yeah, same here where you get a riff from another riff. This one time, I was about 3/4 baked, and got Sunshine Of Your Love from playing Purple Haze backwards. I actually though I wrote the SOYL riff until I played GHIII.
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#7
most vets have the years of experience to figure such stuff oout, until then I for one leave it to them :p. It's really mind numbing to listen to a song a thousand times trying to figure out each note, not to talk about tapping and hammers/pulls and such they can easily be misheard.


in short: experience :p
#10
i usually just play random notes on my xylophone till i hear the right one

thats right i said XYLOPHONE
playing guitar music on xylophone is no easy task

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#11
It's like anything, the more you try to do it the better you'll get at it. Pick a simple song you want to learn and have a go at working it out first, spend a half hour or so on it. You'll get nowhere, trust me, so find a tab but take the time to compare it to how you were working the song out. See where you went wrong and perhaps where you went right and make sure you reinforce the connection between the tabs and the sound they make.

Keep doing this, and eventually you'll work out a simple song - when I say simple I mean campfire strumming stuff. Other tricks you can use are trying to pick out the bassline and building from that, or listening to see if you can spot anything that you recognise from other songs - riffs, licks or chords etc.
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#12
Takes me years, I just come here and go to the "TABS" section
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#13
yeah pretty much sit at the computer and hit the "back to beginning" button on itunes until you get the 1st chord, then the next, haha
#14
I learned dance of death by ear yesterday, it wasn't hard, it's quite an easy song to find out by ear.
#16
When I play with my ears, it huurts :p

Seriously though, Youre born with it I think. I have always been able to do it ever since I picked up a guitar I have been able to just "play".
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#17
How I learned it:

The way I see it, learning to play songs by ear goes hand in hand with learning to improvise, because both heavily involve using your hearing and translating it to finger movement on the fretboard.
-Put on a record. It doesn't matter which one. Preferably one you like. It can be classic rock, dance (dance actually works pretty great for what I'm about to describe), hip-hop or anything in between.
-Grab a guitar and start trying notes until you're playing something that sounds nicely along the record.
When you're just starting out this will be very hard. You will probably find yourself playing one or two notes for an entire song, because they are the only two you can find that sound OK. As you do this more often and experiment a bit every time you do this, you will discover patterns of good-sounding stuff across the fretboard (commonly referred to as 'scales'), and you will find yourself playing more complicated stuff along to your record.
It will familiarize you with the structure of songs, and with using your ears to do stuff on the fretboard. I know this is going to sound really cliché, but as you do this try not to think of anything and just play along with the music. At some point you will be playing the exact riff of the song without even knowing it. After you've done this a few times you're trained enough to start learning songs by ear. I know this is going to sound weird, but at that point you can pretty much 'just do it'.

I hope that made some sense, and good luck. It takes a while, but learning by ear and improvising are awesome skills to have, and pretty much essential if you're taking your guitar seriously.
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#18
I've been blessed with perfect pitch, so I'm not sure if any of my suggestions are actually helpful, but here you go...

I would make sure you're familiar with chords and typical chord progressions first. A lot of songs are very predictable once you know what key it's in. Listen to the bass line. That's usually where the roots of chords are located. For melodic lines, keep an ear out for patterns. Typical melodies repeat patterns many times. Keep practicing and you'll see improvement quickly. I wouldn't dedicate too much time to learning this skill, however. It comes with experience. The best thing to do is just keep playing music.
#19
Quote by Samothomas
How I learned it:

The way I see it, learning to play songs by ear goes hand in hand with learning to improvise, because both heavily involve using your hearing and translating it to finger movement on the fretboard.
-Put on a record. It doesn't matter which one. Preferably one you like. It can be classic rock, dance (dance actually works pretty great for what I'm about to describe), hip-hop or anything in between.
-Grab a guitar and start trying notes until you're playing something that sounds nicely along the record.
When you're just starting out this will be very hard. You will probably find yourself playing one or two notes for an entire song, because they are the only two you can find that sound OK. As you do this more often and experiment a bit every time you do this, you will discover patterns of good-sounding stuff across the fretboard (commonly referred to as 'scales'), and you will find yourself playing more complicated stuff along to your record.
It will familiarize you with the structure of songs, and with using your ears to do stuff on the fretboard. I know this is going to sound really cliché, but as you do this try not to think of anything and just play along with the music. At some point you will be playing the exact riff of the song without even knowing it. After you've done this a few times you're trained enough to start learning songs by ear. I know this is going to sound weird, but at that point you can pretty much 'just do it'.

I hope that made some sense, and good luck. It takes a while, but learning by ear and improvising are awesome skills to have, and pretty much essential if you're taking your guitar seriously.


That's how it's usually done. That's how I work on it. One additional tip that worked very well for me; join a band that embarrasses you every time you're on stage because they play unrehearsed songs or familiar songs in a different key. After years of enduring this humiliation time and time again, I am now coming at a point that I don't just play along with most of what they spontaniously decide to play, but I sometimes can even join into songs that I never ever heard before.
#20
Quote by Marcel Veltman
That's how it's usually done. That's how I work on it. One additional tip that worked very well for me; join a band that embarrasses you every time you're on stage because they play unrehearsed songs or familiar songs in a different key. After years of enduring this humiliation time and time again, I am now coming at a point that I don't just play along with most of what they spontaniously decide to play, but I sometimes can even join into songs that I never ever heard before.

Worked for me - it's surprising how your survival instincts kick in. In that kind of situation you've got no choice, you HAVE to listen and figure out what's going on if you want to play and not sound crap.
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