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Play Guitar By Ear - Learning Hazards
Ok, so I can hear songs in my head, how do I play these songs on
the guitar? How can I play guitar by ear, without having to look
for sheet music or spend hours looking for guitar TAB on the
By developing the ability to play the guitar by ear you will
overcome some of the biggest learning hazards.
Learning hazard 1:
Printed sheet music is often in a different key than the recorded
version of the song. Consequently, when the guitarist tries to
play along with the original recorded version of the song the
guitar will sound out of tune and generally give the impression
that the guitarist is untalented.
Why is the printed music in a different key that the recording?
There's two main reasons:
(a) In many instances the recording artist may not be the
songwriter, naturally, the songwriter would have written the song
in a key suitable for their own voice. When a song is accepted by
a recording company, the successful submission undergoes many
changes to suit the particular recording artist/ record producer.
These changes may include, changing the key to suit the recording
artist's vocal range, re-harmonizing the chord progression to
suit the artistic direction of the album or making a new
arrangement to create interest and showcase the various
instrumentation options and talent of the artist/group.
(b) Often a song will be recorded in different keys by the same
artist, depending on whether the song is a 'live' recording or
Live performances often are often in lower keys than the studio
versions of the same song, the reason is that with studio
versions the artist can record and re-record over and over until
they get the 'best take'. Live performances is a different
matter, the artist only gets one chance, so it's better to re-
arrange the song in a more user friendly key, that way the singer
can reliably perform the material night after night.
Learning hazard 2:
With guitar TAB, the quality of the material varies depending on
the ability of the player that submitted the work. The central
issue is, you do not want to waste time learning the wrong way
and then having to try to re-learn incorrect material.
side note: It takes one hundred correct inputs to correct a
single incorrect data input, if you are serious about learning to
play the guitar by ear, you need to consider the consequences of
A guitarist with a well developed ear can by-pass these learning
hazards, by playing exactly the sounds that he or she is hearing
on the recording.
By identifying the problems that confront the musician who
wants to play the guitar by ear, the guitarist takes the first
step toward a successful, self-reliant performer.
How to Play Guitar
Rave Reviews for Express Guitar:
a student of Mike Hayes since 1999, I have found his teaching methods
and products to be first class. Whatever style or area of music I have
been interested in, he has provided me with useful information, advice
and study materials. His style of teaching and teaching products
enabled me to progress through his guitar course far quicker than I
ever imagined. He also helps in teaching yourself to find and develop
your own style of music. Mike’s teaching gives his
student’s the ability to become useful musicians, not just
Stephen J Reid
Guitarist & Musician
course teaches us how to learn, how to retain, and how to recall
information quickly. This entire program is built around "connected
learning" with key phrases, picture words ( yes there is such a thing )
and the most dynamic personal motivator I have ever had the pleasure of
Ken C Simpson
Business Owner & Guitarist
course is varied, in-depth and well-structured, making learning and
comprehension fast, thorough and enjoyable. It’s a great way of
learning, as you can pace yourself and move onto the next stage when
you feel competent. I find this course both innovative and
inspirational. I find myself leaving Mike’s lessons with the
determination to reach my new goals.
Karl J Ricker
Sunshine Coast, Australia