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The_Highlander
post Aug 6 2007, 11:44 PM
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I wonder if anyone know a good way of improving your ability to figure out how to play songs by ear? Every time I try I usually get frustrated and put the guitar down after a few minutes. Should I start out with easier songs?
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Pavel
post Aug 6 2007, 11:55 PM
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Well, i get asked that question here in Croatia pretty often and i can't answer it! It's something i was always able to do, my father is also good at it. But i could never explain it!

However you can approach it in kinda simplest way of: hearing a chord - than trying to find a first note of it - like root note, by hitting any note on guitar (would be nice to hit something inside first 5 frets to make life easier wink.gif ) - that way you can hear how far or close are you to a root note of a chord you want to play, and than just trying to locate the precise note by moving up or down the note you just hit. You'll know if it sounds higher or lower so it shouldn't be a problem. Once you located the root note you can figure out the rest of a chord by singing it and trying to put it together.

You can also practice chord sound memory by playing a random chord and sing the notes of it. That way you will be pretty fast able to learn how the minor, major, 7th chord sound and that will greatly help you to achieve your goal.

As i said it was never a problem for me so i don't guarantee the above tips will work BUT they can help!


BTW: when you want to play a chord and you don't know which one is it - first sing the chord you want to play - note by note - and than try to put it on fretboard.

Good luck m8!


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KGZ
post Aug 7 2007, 08:49 AM
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I know people say this all the time but... it comes with practice. People are always looking for a shortcut or an easy way out but honestly there really isn't one. Definitely start out with easier songs. And slowly but surely your ear will improve naturally. One of my best friends can create the most beautiful solos when improvising but finds it very difficult to play another person's piece by ear. He just has a knack for matching his notes to the chord he's playing over using his relative pitch [which basically everyone has].
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Tank
post Aug 7 2007, 11:07 AM
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I pretty much agree with what's been said here. I'd add a little exercise which we had to do when studying classical music.

Pick a complex piece you like (classical music, or soundtracks are often good for this). Find an instrument in the mix, and try and follow it with your ear. Blank out the other instruments, and just try and follow this one sound to the end of the piece. Then start the track again, and pick another instrument do the whole thing again. What you are doing is training your ear to discriminate sounds, which will help when it comes to finding notes in chords.

It is difficult to describe, when hearing chords. For me, I try to "see" the notes stacked one above the other, and listen for the distance between the each note on the stack. Add a little bit of theory, and I can recognise the inversion, and if there are any odd notes (9ths, 11ths) in there.

But it does take training. Just as much as fingers, but its very much worth it.
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Muris Varajic
post Aug 7 2007, 02:39 PM
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Yeah,try with some easier songs/solos for sure.
But also,in my opinion,great stuff to update your playing by ears is to sing as much as you can.
I know this might sound a bit odd,but actually it helped me a lot.
At the time when I started playing guitar in Sarajevo(during 90s, war time),we had no power to use PC,read tabs,watch instructional videos etc.
we had a small generators able to run units like tape recorder or something small like that.
This was my routine:
-I put tape and play the part I want to learn for few times.
-Then I sing it step by step while trying to locate notes on fretboard
(sometimes this step is really hard,holding a single note with my voice for about 10 seconds until I find it on fretboard)
-And on and on...

After some time(not sure of how long tho),you'll find yourself able to "see" fretboard and intervals between notes while listening to it.
Just must "listen" to the music,and try to sing as much as possible.
Actually,every voice needs some practice to get in shape,just give it some time and hard work. smile.gif
Let us know how it is going!!
Cheers smile.gif

Muris


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Tank
post Aug 7 2007, 03:26 PM
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QUOTE (muris @ Aug 7 2007, 02:39 PM) *
Yeah,try with some easier songs/solos for sure.
But also,in my opinion,great stuff to update your playing by ears is to sing as much as you can.
I know this might sound a bit odd,but actually it helped me a lot.
At the time when I started playing guitar in Sarajevo(during 90s, war time),we had no power to use PC,read tabs,watch instructional videos etc.
we had a small generators able to run units like tape recorder or something small like that.
This was my routine:
-I put tape and play the part I want to learn for few times.
-Then I sing it step by step while trying to locate notes on fretboard
(sometimes this step is really hard,holding a single note with my voice for about 10 seconds until I find it on fretboard)
-And on and on...


This is absolutely great advice. I started playing guitar in 1988, and used to do exactly the same thing. You were lucky to find some tab in a magazine of a piece you wanted to learn, so I spent ages learning riffs and chords from tapes. I think the internet has has killed off that sort of "research", as you can just get the tab off the net nowadays! (Old bloke grumble!!)
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Muris Varajic
post Aug 7 2007, 03:58 PM
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Agree 100%
Tabs are great,but use them only when it's really needed.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 7 2007, 05:07 PM
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When I started about the only way was to repeatedly play the record - that ages me guys ohmy.gif .
Nonetheless it was a great but at times - lots of times - frustrating experience. However it does get easier with practice as you develop your relative pitch more and more. It is also, like Muris says, easier if you sing or hum the bit out loud in time with the music away from a guitar. That way you focus on the music and harmony rather than what your fingers are doing. Also if you haven't done this already try to play common easy stuff like carols and the like from memory and then once you have the melody add the chords and harmonise them. Then check it against a recording/score and see how you did.

One thing - don't be afraid of using software/hardware to loop and slow down a piece. I do, else I'd never be able to get some of the fast complicated stuff in Holdsworth. Now if I'd only had Audacity 20 odd years ago I wouldn't have ruined so many stylii laugh.gif .

A great thing about learning by ear is it really improves your understanding of the way the song is constructed AND you pick up on more of the phrasing nuances. Also a lot of tabs - particularly free ones on the Net are not very accurate. Best of luck - learning by ear can and is great fun.

Cheers,
Tony


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Muris Varajic
post Aug 7 2007, 05:18 PM
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Agree again!! smile.gif
Slow it down for sure,but still listen and you'll be fine wink.gif


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The_Highlander
post Aug 7 2007, 05:48 PM
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Thank you for all your tips. I´ll see what I can come up with smile.gif
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sillyman
post Aug 7 2007, 06:06 PM
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hey cn u giv me sum idea of a song that would be good to start applying this ear-trainin?

This post has been edited by sillyman: Aug 7 2007, 06:06 PM


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ibanezkiller
post Aug 10 2007, 04:59 AM
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i sat down with audacity(slows down songs) and metallicas Master of puppets... Many moons later i mastered the master of puppets... BY EAR...


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