3 Things That Will Help You To Hear And Figure Out The Songs You Like On Your Guitar

by Maurice Richard
Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons

One of the most sought-after skills when playing guitar is to be able to hear a song and then play it on your guitar without having to go to the internet of get a book to learn it from.

It feels so awesome when you are finally able to do this. I remember when I first was able to do this and I felt very accomplished and good about it.

It was a major milestone in my playing that gave me confidence and inspired me to go even further with guitar.

I can figure out just about any song I want to play pretty quickly now and the feeling I get when I do this is still the same. I love it!

However, most people struggle to learn how to do this and are missing out on such a cool part of being a guitar player.

Here are 3 you need to do so you can learn to hear and play the music you love on your guitar.

hearing and playing music on guitar can be frustrating

1. Practice

Ok, this seems obvious, but it’s not likely what you think.

I don’t mean practice your guitar. That is definitely a good thing because the better you are technically the easier it is to play the music you hear.

What I mean is that you need to practice listening to music and trying to figure out what chords they are playing.

Sure, it will be difficult, it can be frustrating, you may only get 1 chord or maybe none.

However, just going through that process will start to train that part of your brain to recognize different sounds and patterns and will begin to close the gap between your current abilities and the ones you need to successfully do this.

As you continue to try don’t worry about figuring out all the chords. If you can start to lock in on one here and there this is a great start! Be encouraged by it!

2. Songs At Your Level

This is where most people fall off the rails with this more than any other place and why they usually do not practice this skill.

If you want to be able to figure out an entire song by ear and play it on your guitar then you have to start with the ones at your level.

Many new guitar players try to learn their favorite songs but get stuck because they are a lot more complicated than their playing abilities can handle.

Many times, they have barred chords or variations of chords they know, etc. If you are not trained to play these chords you will struggle.

How do you know if a song is at your level? There is no magic formula but I would at least start with songs that are slow and perhaps with few instruments and that is very repetitive.

The slower the song and the more repetitive it is makes it likely the chords change less frequently and the more chance you have to figure it out.

3. Basic Music Theory

Understanding how chords work together is a very important step to help you figure out songs by ear.

This will help you in many ways and when it comes to figuring out songs it will help you by narrowing the possible chord combinations that will typically appear in your song.

This is not always exact, music does not follow rules, but knowing basic theory will help you navigate things much easier.

What do you need to know exactly? For now, understanding what a “key” is in music will get you started.

This will help explain to you what chords to expect and how they are laid out in a specific key which is usually consistent throughout a song.

The next task would be to figure out one or more of the chords of a song, map it to a specific key and use that to figure out the possible remaining chords.

overcome struggles hearing and playing music on guitar

Finding Someone To Help You Will Speed Up The Learning Process

Learning to hear a song and figuring it out on your guitar is an awesome skill to have that feels so great when you finally accomplish it.

You can learn to do it on your own using the tips above but it will take a lot of time and effort because you will still need to use the trial and error method to figure it out.

You can shorten the time it takes to get the result you want by finding a professionally trained and certified guitar teacher to guide you.

Make sure to find someone who will tailor their lessons to you and your needs and you will find success will come quickly!