Ear Training is an important skill to add to your arsenal. Bar chords can have a different sound than open chords. Let’s start by listening to and playing back some chords.  Try to figure out the chord form, chord name, and chord diagram. Often the highest note gives you a clue.  Write out the notes on the staff and on the TAB lines. As you get better, you’ll be able to pick out chords and harmonies from more complex arrangements.

Start with a freshly tuned guitar. For a variety of reasons outlined on the [tuning standards page], you may have to tune your guitar to the actual recording.

For each exercise below,

1. listen to the mp3, then
2. try to play it, and / or play along with it.

When you have it figured out,

3. write out the notes on some staff paper.
4. Play back what you’ve written
5. Check your answers

blank chord staff tab paper.pdf

Tip: There are programs and practice aids that will slow down songs while preserving the pitch to help you figure out difficult passages, but you don’t need any tools. Just listen to the section over and over until you can sing it over and over. Then, you can simply sing it at any speed you want and you don’t have to keep pressing buttons.

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 1.mp3 )

Hint: Ear Training – Bar Chords Hint 1.png

Answer: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 1.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 2.mp3 )

Hint: Ear Training – Bar Chords Hint 2.png

Answer: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 2.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 3.mp3 )

Hint: Ear Training – Bar Chords Hint 3.png

Answer: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 3.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 4.mp3 )

Hint: Ear Training – Bar Chords Hint 4.png

Answer: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 4.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 5.mp3 )

Hint: Ear Training – Bar Chords Hint 5.png

Answer: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 5.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 6.mp3 )

Hint: Ear Training – Bar Chords Hint 6.png

Answer: Ear Training – Bar Chords Exercise 6.png

For more practice, start transcribing rhythm guitar parts from your favorite songs. The more you practice, the easier it will be to pick out the rhythm guitar part.

The more you transcribe, the easier it will be to write down the ideas that come into your head.

Join the discussion and share your tips.

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