Hearing chords is a little more difficult than hearing the melody lines. Let’s start by listening to and playing back some simple open chords. As you get better, you’ll be able to pick out chords 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 chord names, diagrams and the notes on some chord staff paper.
4. Play back what you’ve written
5. Check your answers

blank chord staff 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 Open Chords Major Minor.mp3 )

Answer: Ear Training Open Chords Major Minor.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 01.mp3 )

Answer: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 01.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 02.mp3 )

Answer: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 02.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 03.mp3 )

Answer: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 03.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 04.mp3 )

Answer: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 04.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 05.mp3 )

Answer: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 05.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 06.mp3 )

Answer: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 06.png

Listen:

( download link: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 07.mp3 )

Answer: Ear Training Open Chords Phrase 07.png

For more practice, start transcribing the chords and melody lines from songs you hear on the radio. You want to get to where you can easily play and write down the ideas that come into your head.

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