Harmony Central Forums
No announcement yet.

Learning by ear


  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Learning by ear

    I learn guitar primarily by ear, with the occasional bit of tab or a video to help me out.

    Recently though, perhaps as a result of having less time available to play guitar, I've become conscious of just how long it takes me to decipher and learn parts. It has occurred to me that perhaps my approach is too 'slavish', in the sense that I'm not happy to proceed to the next bar until I've sussed out every nuance to the best of my (limited) abilities 

    "Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on..."
    - Billy Connolly

  • #2

    Oh shucks, I've just realised that Hendrix's Strat was tuned to Eb when he recorded that song!!! .png" alt=":smileysurprised:" title="Smiley Surprised" />





    Nah, just messing

    "Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on..."
    - Billy Connolly


    • #3

      Well, it's a matter of choice really.  I find if I learn it myself, I never forget it and it becomes part of my arsenal.  However, I have been using youtube lessons for licks that I'm having trouble figuring out and they are great tools, far better than tab as far as I'm concerned.  Just be thankful that you can figure things out by ear, many can't.


      PS  My comfortably numb solo isn't quite right but I can live with it.

      MIA Fender Strat / Gibson Les Paul Studio / Custom Telecaster / Washburn WI66 / Martin D15S / Guild D55
      Simon & Patrick Cedar


      • #4

        One-armed Alec wrote:

        ...are you happy to use a bit of 'artistic license' by making the thing ultimately recognisable, but with your own embellishments, touch, whatever else you want to call it?


        That's closer to my usual approach - I go for as accurate as possible within reason.  Don't get me wrong, I do try to learn things correctly and accurately, but time is a factor so sometimes I just have to be okay with "close enough."  It depends on the artist and genre, too.  Some genres, like blues, I don't want to do everything note-for-note (although it's good to learn what was actually played on a given recording).  That's not the spirit of it.  I may want to do some signature phrases note-for-note, but doing an entire solo or something just would't be right.  If it's a song I'm learning to do as a solo-acoustic piece, I'm not going to be too worried about learning every single guitar part note-for-note because that's not what I'm going to ever play.  I'd be a good excercise, certainly, just not the best use of mylimited practice time.

        I've also noticed that a lot of times I *think* I have it right, until the next day when I listen again I realize I was just not hearing it right and have to go re-learn it the "real" right way.  Definitely a skill I need to keep working at.

        Multiple award winning blues/rock/country at http://www.zeyerband.com or http://www.reverbnation.com/zeyer.Check my solo (instrumental rock) projects at: http://www.reverbnation.com/vincedickinson"Music is like the English language - it's just full of rules that need to be broken or you aren't hip.""It doesn't take talent to upgrade your playing. It takes patience" - Kenny Werner


        • #5

          billybilly, I find the same

          "Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on..."
          - Billy Connolly


          • #6

            I have absolute pitch and I can sight read music, and for classical, score is the only way to go, but for pop music? I can say that the majority of scores and tabs I've seen for much of the music I've looked at aren't that great. That said, it's best to not rely on your ears only. Even if it's fantastically accurate, your ear has a way of hearing things that it wants to hear rather than what it actually hears. I think it's best, if possible, to look at how the person is playing the piece, through a live recording or something, and then to use your ears to fill in the gaps and maybe read a tab or two.

            Electrics: Fender '73 Mustang RI, Epiphone Inspired by John Lennon Casino, Gibson 60s Tribute Les Paul Studio, Daisy Rock Retro-H Deluxe, Squier Hello Kitty Strat x2Acoustics: Taylor 316CE-LTD, Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QITBasses: Squier Badtz Maru Bronco Bass, Aria CSB-300, Fender Mustang Bass RIAmps: Vox TB18C1, Vox Pathfinder 210, Peavey Transtube Envoy, Ampeg Micro VR StackMy Band: http://mittensband.com


            • Wayne2
              Wayne2 commented
              Editing a comment

              I was a clarinet player in high school, and I've never really been able to shake that mindset.  There were nine of us and we had to sound the exact same way every time.  So yeah, I like tabs.

              Another issue is that I look on YouTube at players who are much better than me, yet they sound nothing like the recording.  It's fun for me to sound like my heros, and if tab gets me there I'm going to use it.

              But the real reason is my technology addiction.  If I put any kind of gadget near my playing space I spend more time with it than with the guitar.  If I find myself spending time futzing with a cd player or MP3s it's just not fun for me, it becomes some kind of sad OCD session.

            • sammyreynolds01
              sammyreynolds01 commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree if you can find a live recording that is best because the way people play live and in the studio are two different things. Internet tab is usually wrong because you are relying on someone's ear to be correct. There are many programs for slowing things down to make it easier.