Ok, I have been playing guitar for about 4 years now, and I have got a lot of crucial skills down, I am able to solo, and I am improving every time i practice, and my technical skill is quite high.

But one area that I cannot seem to go is being able to work out chords myself. I am tired of having to refer to tabs to play songs, and I feel that to bring my musical skill to the next level that is the area that i need to work on.
Does anyone have any advise on this- or and websites that can help.

Cheers, Will.
It's one of those things you really just have to do.

You should try memorizing the sounds of different intervals, like play a note and then another and try to guess the interval and memorize what the two notes interacting sounds like. Then move on the adding another note, like say at first only do the 1st and the b3, and then add in the 5th.

There's a site that has some ear training pages that are pretty useful, I can't remember the URL but someone reading this will know the one I mean. It plays two random notes and you have to type in what the interval is, and there's one for pitch practice that just plays one note... yeah
Last edited by Wonthefu at Jul 3, 2008,
Quote by Wonthefu
There's a site that has some ear training pages that are pretty useful, I can't remember the URL but someone reading this will know the one I mean. It plays two random notes and you have to type in what the interval is

musictheory.net has some good ear training pages, they're at the bottom of the trainers drop down tab. I'd recommend just sticking to the interval and chord trainers for now.

In addition to training your ear, a good understanding of chord construction from scales is important. Start with the major scale and just get used to what the diatonic chords sound like in progressions.
thanks, will try that, how hard/ long is it to learn properly- I knows its an open question, but is it a particularly difficult thing to learn?
First thing you need to do is start training yourself to recognise the chords in isolation, without doing that you'll never be able to pick them out from songs. Simply play individual chords and make the effort to hear what's actually going on as far as how each note contributes to the sound and which note is on which string. Like other people have said study intervals too, they're the building blocks of chords and if you can spot the key ones you can usually figure out the rest of the chord. Thirds are particuarly useful....if you hear a major third in there then you know it's a major chord of some description, if you hear a minor chord then likewise it's minor..

Finally learn about keys and chord progressions, there's a lot of commonly used progressions in music and if you learn to recognise them it makes figuring out a whole song a lot easier, again this ties in with intervals too. Listen out for basslines too, the bass can be easier to pick out and it gives you a good pointer with regards to the key of the song and what chords are likely being used.
Actually called Mark!

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When you start start it can be good to spend some time playing an interval harmonically on your own instrument and then trying to sing the individual notes in the interval you played. Name the intervals and the notes you are playing to file them properly in your brain. You will more easily hear things on your own instrument at first.

Then after a few weeks when you have gone through all the intervals and can do it pretty well go for three notes together and build up from there. It can take some time to develop your ear and it's something you should never stop doing IMO. It can be really boring and frustrating you can feel like you'll never get anywhere but you will if you keep doing it everyday.

To liven things up try working out some songs that have a clear chord progression and don't use too many dissonant sounding chords. Then listen to a chord and try to sing it. Then match your instrument to your voice. You may be able to pick out a basic chord progression and bass line at first or maybe the vocal melody but you will feel good about it. The rest will come with practice.

Stick with it though. Spending 15-20 minutes a day on your ear will, in the long run, serve you better than spending that time sharpening technique or studying theory.

Good Luck
A way that usually works but isnt right....and well....... it will help you in the beginning
is to hear the singing of simple well known tunes like....whiskey in the jar by thin lizzy.....and try finding chords that go together in a key and that sound good according to the singing....so to sum up, you grab your guitar and listen to the first line of the song.....play a chord that youll think will sound ok....if it works go on to the second line...and hopefully youll find the songs key by the end of a few lines...and then write out the chords of that key and itll make finding out the other chords easier....

also....you should pay great attention to the bass...it really helps in finding the chord changes

hope ive helped..and if any of these is wrong please tell me
In more simple music, following the bassline generally yields the chord roots. Find the qualities of the chord based on the general tonality of the song and you're good. Also, this is an amazing site. Interval trainer, chord trainer, chord progression trainer(albeit only having a couple cadences). Also, take a song you already know and familiarize yourself with the sound of different chord movements. Get to know how a I V sounds like, how a ii V I sounds, a I iii, etc. etc. Connecting this information will eventually yield being able to ear out full chord progressions.
Try learning some songs from these artists...

ACDC---> the best for learning how to get the most out of simple chords...
*Trust me...if they cant leave the A-chord embedded in your brain...nothin will..*

Black Sabbath---> Good for learning how to make simple chords sound bigger..
Also good for learning how to use tone to make chords sound different.

GreenDay---> Good for learning Straight up chords...they dont do much to them
Offsrping-----> Another band that uses simple chords..with little effects

TooL----> Well...I dont know anybody else that can make a power chord sound as epic

Nirvana---> lots of memorable songs..good chord association

They all have songs that can be driven with power chords. After you learn they rhythm sections of their stuff you will learn what the chords sound like. That will help you out big time. I chose these bands for you because they dont really use alot of chords.

You can also use the roots to build power chords up and down the neck.
I did that and it helped me alot.

Take your guitar and watch music videos and play along. Thats good too.
It doesnt even have to be plugged in. Good training for your ears.
I know Power Chords aren't gonna solve your problem but they sound almost
the same most of the time..so it will help u with the roots.
I bet Charlie Brown's teacher's name was Mrs.Hammett
Last edited by Washburnd Fretz at Jul 4, 2008,