Just Use Sound To Improve Now!
Music is about sound and listening, so this part of your guitar study will help you a lot more than you will initially realise. Many people never grasp the essential technique of learning songs by ear, but I believe that it is one of the most important skills that you can develop as a musician. But it is hard! People like me, that learnt before the internet, had to be either shown a song by a friend or work it out by ear. Every single guitarist that I have ever met that I have thought to be any good had transcribed lots of songs. Transcribing is working out a song using your ear and then writing it down. This could mean working out every single note of a guitar solo, but also refers to working out the chords and rhythm patterns to play for a song. This is a great skill to start developing as a beginner, rather than waiting until much later in your guitar playing career.
It is hard to just jump in the deep end and work songs out without knowing what the possible
chords are or how they might be played. So we’ll start in this course by playing some chords from a set palette for you to identify. This will help you realise that you can learn to do it, and I hope that by the end of the course you will be able to work out songs on your own.
It does take practice, in fact more than we can cover here, so you will need to do some work on your own. You could try and replicate the lessons that I present here by recording yourself, waiting a few days and then trying to work out the answers, or you could get a friend to play chords and chord sequences for you to work out. I prefer this ‘jam buddy’ method because it is always more fun working with another musician.
Now it is time to get your ears working
Don't forget that music is about sound and listening so this part of your guitar study will help you a lot more than you will realise initially.
REMEMBER to stop the track right after the chord you are trying to identify because...
The Last Thing You Hear, Stays In Your Ear!
Take it slow and don't expect results too quickly, it will take some time develop your listening skills.
Make sure you do ALL the exercises in each test before checking the answers!
We’ll start with two exercises: Single Sound Recognition and Chord Progression Recognition. In this introduction I explain what to do in Single Sound Recognition (SSR).
Single Sound Recognition (SSR)
On the CD you’ll hear me play a chord – and then you have to work out what chord it is. To start with, do this by trying to find the chord on your guitar. Eventually – and this may take quite some time – you’ll be able to tackle exercises like this without touching your guitar at all, as you learn to recognise the sound of each chord. For this reason it’s worth revisiting these early exercises even when you’ve progressed to the later stages.
The chord will be played three times. What you need to do is:
1) Listen to the chord played for the first time – hit pause on your CD player – and have a go at figuring out what chord it is. You can write down your answer on the chart below.
2) Hit play again, listen to the chord for a second time, and then hit pause again. Have another go at working out what the chord is (hopefully you’ll be confirming what you thought the first time).
3) Hit play again, but this time play the chord you think it is along with me, and you should hear whether you’ve got it right or not.
OK, now we are ready to work out some chords! So here we go - remember to pause after you hear the chord and try and figure out what chord I play. This training is really beneficial so please don't skip over it!
Chord Palette: D, A, E
Chord Progression Recognition (CPR)
In this exercise you will hear some chord progressions that you have to figure out by ear. In the SSR exercises you’ll work out one chord at a time. In this exercise—and at the same point in the other stages—you’ll work out a sequence of chords played one after the other, just like working out the chords for a song. The trick is to pause on each chord and try and figure it out before continuing. At this stage I will be playing each chord for a full bar: four down-strums on each. You only have three chords to choose from, so you should find this easy enough.
Chord Palette: D, A, E
Only look at the answers if you really have to! Find them here.
If you need to ask a question about this lesson - there is a topic set up specifically to help you with this lesson. To help you find it easily you can click the following link and it will take you right the topic. You'll be able to see questions that other people had and ask your own questions! Hopefully one of the very helpful members of our community will be there to help you soon, I do go there and answer stuff too - but there are just too many questions for me to answer alone!
Justinguitar Beginner's Products
I have four great beginners products that will help you make the most of this course. Most popular is The Justinguitar Beginners Songbook which contains 100 songs arranged by difficulty that perfectly match up with each level of the course. Many people told me they like books more than web pages so we've made The Justinguitar Beginners Course Book (comes with 2 x CD's too!) and many people found being online to watch the videos a pain so we offer The Justinguitar Beginners Course DVD which also means you can watch the vids in much better quality. Together they complete the whole online course and are perfect when there is no internet connection!! Also very popular is Practical Music Theory for those that like to know what they are doing and why!! It covers very basic theory in an easy to digest way and puts it onto the guitar! They are all available in Bundle Packs too where you can save a bunch of money!!
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