#1
I'm not classically trained, wasn't able to join band in high school or anything like such. I picked up guitar at age 15 and I've been on a plane since then, never really going nowhere and getting frustrated. Guitar teachers in my small town only teach little kids so they can't help me. (I know most chords, pretty much everything but tapping and harmonics (except jazz chords)). Now I'm 20 and I feel like i pretty much suck, I watch people figure out songs in minutes or by ear. I see on youtube people making renditions of songs, and i'm stuck learning tabs. I mean i do practice tabs and a few scales but how do i get to that level? How do i train my ear to learn songs by ear? I think i need to change the way i've been practicing guitar (pretty much this is my scenario "oh that sounds good" than i learn like half the song on tab). Any tips or advice?
Javier Ponce
#3
I mostly listen to Queens of the Stone Age, led zep mostly just classic rock. Although I don't play too much QOTSA (with their wierd G tuning). Although i try to learn acoustic songs, such as beatle songs.
Javier Ponce
#4
No One Knows, 3`s and 7`s, Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret just play those songs with the CD on. It helps for your timing and stuff, and No One Knows is good for your technique.
Beatles? Hmm fingerpick Le It Be but make the solo harder, faster licks between and stuff.
If you have a Capo then you should play Eagles - Hotel California.
#5
Never thought of using the cd as training wheels for say. Might actually help
Javier Ponce
#7
an ear for music is one of those things you kinda need to be born with. i mean yeah, after years and years of playing you can develop relative pitch and improved ability so you'll be able to tab songs, but never expect to be as good as someone who was born with absolute pitch, or is just naturally talented.
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#8
Quote by Baarmy_Sheep
an ear for music is one of those things you kinda need to be born with. i mean yeah, after years and years of playing you can develop relative pitch and improved ability so you'll be able to tab songs, but never expect to be as good as someone who was born with absolute pitch, or is just naturally talented.

Not really.

An ear for music is something you develop - however you're not going to develop one just listening to a couple of bands from a single genre.

The more music you listen to and learn to play the more experience you gain, it all takes time. With the guitar it also helps to be able to chart the "evolution" of the music you like so trace it back to it's roots and learn it from the ground up...for rock music go back to the blues and work your way back up.

However, you shouldn't limit yourself. Make an effort to play pretty much anything, if you hear music have a go at learning to play it, whether it's rock, metal, a pop song, tv theme or even an advertising jingle.
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#9
I don't believe in the whole "born with perfect pitch" nonsense. I think someone can be born with the ability to learn them easier, etc. but you don't know everything when you are born.

You train your ear with practice. Realize this will take a while and you will not learn it in a day. It will take months at least. The way my music teachers at my college do it is they make you sing everything. Sing intervals, scales, etc. It helps to have a piano, but play a note and then try to sing a minor second above it. Then play the m2 and see if you were right. If that doesn't make sense it is the jaws theme song, da da (the second da is a minor second). Then try to sing one below it that would be the first two notes in Fur Elise. I would start with these and go through all the intervals until you can sing them.

If that makes absolutley no sense then I would google search music intervals to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. When you know them then you can improvise better because you can hear what you want to play and know what it is.


As far as learning songs by ear. Just play a note repeatedly with the song until you find one that sounds good all the time. That is most likley what key the song is in (the note you are playing is tonic). Then you use your music theory knowledge you figure out the rest so you can stay in key.
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#10
Most people are correct in that you need to develop your ear but that is half of what you need to do. Transcribing is a skill just like any other thing with the guitar. I have just started transcribing by looking up a list of beginner songs and trying to transcribe those since they are usually just open chords or simple barre chords. (Note: Ive been playing trombone for 4 years now so it might be more difficult for you to do start transcribing) An important thing when attempting to transcribe is that you need to be able to play the song in your head without the music playing other wise it is very difficult to recreate that sound. Slowly but surely it does become easier though.

If you want something more in depth i suggest you watch the videos here: http://justinguitar.com/en/TR-000-Transcribing.php
#11
That idea about "natural talent" is almost a complete load of crap. It does exist to some extent, but just a bit of hard work makes it so minute its not even worth going on a guitar forum sight to bitch about (but I will anyways because I have nothing else to do). When I first started playing, I probably couldn't even have figured out Smoke on the Water without tabs. I practiced a lot, and spend all the time I'm not playing guitar listening to music. I have now been playing for about 2 years and learn Opeth and Dream Theatre songs by ear. So don't listen to that garbage about natural talent, just keep working at it. Good luck.
#12
No one is born automatically knowing everything about guitar, perfect pitch, etc. (except Satch). Yes some people might be able to learn faster than others but everyone can learn and no one is born with a disability to learning guitar. (unless that disability is you were born deaf)

It takes everyone a really long time, but don't give up it will come.
#13
Play the guitar and listen to music. Lots of music. Listen to a riff and think about how you would play it, even if you have no idea. Learn and practice your intervals. It'll come eventually.
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#14
i'd like to add that it helps to start with songs that have very distinct riffs and/or melodies that aren't too fast. once you select your song, then work on just little bits at a time and don't try to do too much to the point where you're overwhelmed. even if it takes 30 mins, figure out what those first 4 notes are!
#15
Quote by sisuphi
i'd like to add that it helps to start with songs that have very distinct riffs and/or melodies that aren't too fast. once you select your song, then work on just little bits at a time and don't try to do too much to the point where you're overwhelmed. even if it takes 30 mins, figure out what those first 4 notes are!


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#16
Learn about intervals.

Depending on what the tonic is (the tonic is the "root note" of a key- if you're in E major, the tonic is E), each interval will have a particular sound. The key to playing by ear is to know what each interval sounds like. You're not learning what, say, a C sounds like. While that's possible, it's very difficult. You need to learn what, for example, the fifth note of a particular key sounds like. If we are in E major, a B (the fifth) is going to have a specific sound. If we are in C major, a G (the fifth) is going to have a similar sound.

If you play the chords of these notes, it'll be even easier to hear. Try playing these chords:
E A B

This is a I-IV-V progression. Basically, it's the chord of first note of the scale, then the chord of the fourth note, then the chord of the fifth note. If you're wondering whether these chords are going to be major or minor, just look at the scale you're playing in, start on the note that you want the chord of, and count two notes after, then two notes after again. So if you wanted to find what an A chord is in E major...
We look at the E major scale... E F# G# A B C# D# E
We look at the fourth note- A... count two notes after.... C#.... two more notes... E.
So our A chord is going to consist of A, C#, and E. That's a major chord.

Anyway, back on topic... You'll hear that the V chord (the chord of the fifth note of the key) will always have a particular sound. The same applies for every other chord- the fifth is just an easy one to recognize. Play each chord and listen to the sound it gives. Try doing this in different keys. Eventually you'll figure it out.


I'm half asleep, so I hope that made sense/helped.