Learn How to Play Guitar by Ear

guitar by earLearning how to play guitar by ear is among the most difficult things to master. It requires some natural talent and understanding of music and sound. If you wish to learn how to play guitar by ear you will have to show patience and have a peaceful location to practice.

Fundamental music knowledge

If you would like to kick-start your learning process it is usually advisable to have a basic understanding of music. It doesn’t mean you have to be capable to read written music, or be any kind of a specialist. It simply means that it’s beneficial to have some elementary experience with a different instrument, or some general music knowledge.


Patience is the key when you learn how to play guitar by ear. Not only then, but also when you try to master techniques like hammer-on or pull-off. You have to be able to repeat the same individual guitar sounds and chords many times, so that you can perfect the sound. Something you need to be prepared for.

Use of Mp3s

The main thing to do when you start learning can be to go through your Mp3 collection and find ones that have an extensive guitar section. An excellent example are works of Carlos Santana. Getting familiar with some fine tunes sets your mind in the right way, so you can get used to the whole idea and in the end replicate their sound. And please, don’t go for the most evil albums ever right from the get go.

Absolutely no need for written music

When you try to learn how to play guitar by ear there’s no need to go through written music or spending time on learning chords or riffs (although it’s important for your overall improvement as a guitarist). Besides, many famous guitarists don’t even play exactly note for note what has been written in the sheets.

A fulfilling experience

Once you learn how to play guitar by ear you will find your achievements much more satisfying as you are totally self trained with no help from instructors. Being that person always arouses some interest among your friends.


Making sure your environment is peaceful is a vital element when you try to learn to play guitar by ear. Silence is necessary if you want to hear every sound while listening to an Mp3 and trying to come up with what the artist is actually playing. Quiet atmosphere will also ensure you stay peaceful and calm, and that you can soak up everything you should when you learn how to play guitar by ear.

Remember practice is the thing that makes the difference between a good guitarist and a great guitarist! So keep practicing and you’ll be paid with a fantastic skill! Only then you can become a rockstar and get a piece of that famous rockstar behavior.

Now tell me what your experience is. Have you ever tried to learn how to play guitar by ear? What was your path to success?


  1. Olaf Koenders says:

    I started to play electric lead back in 1985. Always liked Deep Purple, Led Zep and Black Sabbath as an older teen, but something about the sultry sounds of Dire Straits really inspired me to buy a guitar and live the dream.

    It took plenty of practice and playing along with the music, rewinding the tape a bit and playing until perfected, then go to the next song. I’ve always played by ear and I believe the above is likely the best method.

    I now play Gary Moore, ZZ-Top (easy to play), still some Dire Straits, Joe Satriani, Santana (also easy), Tommy Emmanuel, Noiseworks and anything with good guitar.

    I have 2 guitars, an old Strat copy (my first) and a Gibson Explorer. Been in a few bands over the years for kicks. It’s great fun jammin’ with friends over some good music.

    My greatest night out was at a country pub back in 1993 where the band could play ZZ-Top’s La Grange, but the lead guitarist must have been new and didn’t know the tune. I got stuck in and we all had a blast since I knew every note. His guitar was an Ibanez and felt very comfortable. Action was a little higher than I like tho. I remember getting rather drunk that night.. ;)

  2. Thanks for commenting, Olaf :)

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