Learn to Play Guitar by Ear

Inspiring Creative Project Ideas

play guitar by ear with these fun tips

Welcome to Play Guitar by Ear, an Adventure Learning Initiative in mentoring and instructing apprentice artists. We hope you enjoy this harmonic adventure in the simple life of guitar and music.

Learning to play guitar by ear is one of the greatest adventures I have undertaken as a musician. The process is relatively simple and a lot of fun! We tend to be so consumed by our sense of sight that hearing often takes a back seat. But there is a whole world of wonder waiting for you as you develop your ear. Taking the time in learning how to play a guitar by ear has been an extremely rewarding journey. The Adventure Learning Creative Project Ideas has made it possible for me to share these little gems of harmonic appreciation with you. Enjoy!

Tips for Playing Guitar by Ear

Next to hands and fingers, your ears are the most important part of your anatomy to develop when learning how to play a guitar. Developing a good ear is especially important if you're going to be playing with other musicians because it'll make you aware of changes in tempo, pitch and rhythm.

Having a “good ear” is a quality that you can develop with practice. So fear not if you are tone deaf for the solution is at hand. The tips on this page are fun and simple. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity though! They are far more effect than they appear.

  1. Tune Your Guitar by Ear
    Learn to tune your guitar by ear. See if you can detect the correct pitch of a string without having to use any tools other than your ears. Don't be lazy and reach for the tuner each time.
  2. Sing the Song of Your Heart
    Singing is one of the best ways to learn how to play guitar by ear. So sing wherever and whenever you can. I love doing it in my car with music on full blast! Singing will also train your voice (another important tool) to hit the right notes. This will translate into your playing and you’ll be detecting more and more subtle differences in tone and pitch.
  3. Your Voice is a Tool, Use It!
    Use your voice as a creative tool in conjunction to playing your guitar. Sing a note and then find it on your guitar. Fine tune your voice until you’re in absolute harmony with the note you’re playing.
  4. Play with an Imaginary Band
    Get your hands on some jam tracks. These are backing tracks of music that don't have the guitar part in them, so you can fill it in.
  5. Try Before you Peek
    Try and figure out the chords of your favorite songs without looking at the tablature first. If you get stuck, then refer to the tablature.
  6. Ear Push Ups
    Finally, do ear push ups. What's an ear push up? It's where you lie on your side, ear on the ground and lift your body weight using nothing but the strength of your ear. That should give you a bionic ear in no time. P.S. Good luck with that one.

Remember, most important of all is to have fun and be happy!

Musically Yours,
Andrew Pittendrigh in association with
The Adventure Learning Muso Mentors

If you feel you would like to mentor or instruct in a creative short course or program, simply complete the Creative Project Ideas Mentor Application form.

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