Guitar Ear Training: How To Develop A Good Ear For Guitar

Guitar Ear Training or Ear Training Guitar

ear training guitar

Training your ear is really important and necessary for any guitarist but we always forget it or at least most of the time, this happen when we spend all the time practicing our technique with the guitar or learning how to play scale down or up without any standard. This happens to most of the guitarist at the beginning and even sometimes after we learn how to play the guitar so now I ask you, will you be able to recognize or identify the chord of a song that you’re listening if the guitarist is improvising? Will you know which escale is he playing? If your answer is no then I invite you to keep reading below, it will help you a lot on guitar ear training.

Why so many guitarists don’t have a good ear?

The main reason why we don’t train our ears it’s because we’re so used to have a lot of tools that make our job easier when it’s time to play the guitar, as an example, the tuners and tablature are some of them. That’s why it is important to learn how to read sheet music when you’re a musician, a guitarist in this case. The tablature (or tab) should be use only to compare or when you have doubts while you are playing a song that doesn’t sound like the one you’re trying to learn, so I suggested you not to use the tablature when it isn’t necessary because at the end you will turn into a lazy musician without skill.

A lot of guitarists have problems when they, for example, listen to a saxophone or a piano and then they try to play the same song and here is when I ask you, what do you do when you can’t find the tablature on the internet? When you’re in a new band and they give you a CD and say “you have till Monday to learn that”? In all my years, I’ve seen a lot of fellow musicians that have been playing for years and they don’t know how to tune the guitar with their ears and at the end, they need to use the tuner, as an example. It’s not a sin but you should try to do it with a tuning fork.

The Perks of having good ear

If you take at least 10-15 minutes a day to train your ear, you’ll acquired new skills that you didn’t know before and which will help you to be a better guitarist in the future, some of them are:

  • Identify any kind of chords, major, dominant, diminished, increased in the sixth, seventh, ninth, among others.
  • Transcribe music that you’re listening to and even the one that is in your head
  • Improvise about any harmonic progression without asking the tonality (doesn’t it sound cool?)
  • Tune the guitar without using a tuner
  • Improve as a guitarist
  • You’ll be able to recognize when you’re playing off key

There are some guitarists that are really professionals with the neck of the guitar, they know every note and chord from head to toe, every escale and a lot of exotic ways to play the guitar but those kind of musicians are poor because they don’t understand the music in a deeper way. Now, you’re probably thinking, what do I have to do to train my ear?

How to start training your ears

If you want to train your ear, you need to be aware that it will take time and a lot of practice, it’s like going to the gym, it’s hard to get into a dynamic but with the time you’ll be thankful and all the things that I said before will be insignificant. So now, I’m going to teach you some tools that will help you a lot to educate your ear:

Online Program to practice intervals


This website will help you to practice the intervals, I suggested you to put it in your browser as a favorite. It’s really easy to use so let me explain it, an interval will sound and all you have to do is choose the one that you think was played. The box that we see in the right has 5 buttons, they will allow you to repeat the same interval if you didn’t recognize it and want to give it another try, you can change intervals, practice ascending and descending intervals, practice melodics and harmonics intervals or both at the same time. The last button is for reset the results of the smalls boxes with correct, incorrect and the percentage of mistakes, now that I mention the percentage, don’t be scare if it is high, you just need to keep practicing and you’ll see the results.

Practice intervals with famous songs

Yes, that’s what I said. Maybe you don’t know how to identify the intervals or you’re having some troubles doing it but I’m 100% sure that you will recognize the next songs. In Earmaster, the official website, you will be able to choose between the songs that you already know and use the correct intervals that appears in the screen. Each song has a link that will send you to YouTube in the moment where the interval appears. I’m almost sure that with the method of ear training you will start to identify the intervals easier and faster because, as an example, who doesn’t know how does sound the soundtrack of the Simpsons or Batman? If you ask me, I think it is the easiest way to educate our ears and it’s fun. You can download the official software of Earmaster and believe when I say that it’s the best app for training your ear.

Intervals position in the guitar

This is a handier method and simple, you can do it whenever you want and the only think you need is your guitar, this method consists in 4 steps:

  • Play the note in your guitar
  • Think in the interval (doesn’t have to be one in specific)
  • Sing the interval
  • Check it with your guitar

Let’s put it easier, play the note D (Re), you think in the interval in fourth, you sing it and then check that the fourth of Re, that is G (Sol), sounds like you sang it. It can sound a little bit floppy but I know a lot of people that educated their ears doing this, including me, so I really hope that you try it and practice it a lot as your guitar ear training because this is one of those essential things that we need to know if we want to be an amazing guitarist.


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