Have you ever noticed how a great guitarist can hear a song and immediately know exactly which chords are being played?
Or how about they “jam along” to a song they’ve never heard before? Frustrating, right?
No need to feel frustrated! These ear skills are surprisingly super simple for even a new guitarist to pick up on! All you gotta do is practice this simple activity to strengthen your ears every single day.
Interested??? Read on.
Imagine a baby playing with a shape sorter toy. The baby learns shape recognition by fitting the correct shaped block into the matching shape on the sorter toy.
*cough cough* Not to compare your musical ability to the basic motor skills of a baby, but it’s a good analogy for your ear development!
A beginner guitarist’s ear needs the musical equivalent of a baby’s shape sorter toy! This will teach you to match the note you are hearing with the note on your instrument.
Are you ready to hear what the musical equivalent of a baby’s shape sorter toy is?
Tuning your guitar by ear! Do this each and every day and you will become amazing at note recognition.
A guitar requires tuning everytime you play it. So why not improve your ear skills while tuning?
As you have probably experienced, nothing on the guitar (or life) comes easy, or quick. Just because a baby can recognize a triangle doesn’t mean that they can park a semi-truck. Tuning your guitar by ear won’t automatically give you perfect ears.
Tuning by ear is simply taking the first step to drastically improve your ear skills. With time and patience, you’ll eventually be able to recognize chords and notes just by hearing them.
Here’s how to tune by ear:
-The Fifth fret of the big E string is A
-The Fifth fret of the A string is D
-The Fifth fret of the D string is G
-The Fourth fret of the G string is B
-The Fifth fret of the B string is E
So play the fifth fret of the Big E string. While that note is sustaining, play the open A string. These notes should be exactly the same. If they aren’t the same, adjust accordingly!
The next step is simply to do the same thing on the next string. Play the 5th fret of the A string. This should match the open D string.
This process repeats across each string. Until the G and B string. You need to use the 4th fret of the G string to tune the B string!
Here’s another way to visualize it if you are familiar with tab:
Now I want to be totally honest with you. Unless you have naturally good ears, you won’t get your guitar perfectly in tune doing this (for now!) So after you are done tuning by ear, pull out your electronic tuner and just double check. But perfection isn’t the point here! Practice is.
So this, my friends, is a 2 minute activity that will completely change how you play and hear music.
Write back and let me know if you have any questions!
Also be sure to reply and let me know: do you ever tune your guitar by ear?