Ear training is a hot topic for guitar players, because so many want to play guitar by ear and ear training is the key to learning to play by ear.

There are two ways to answer the question of what ear training a guitarist should do.

Core listening skills for guitarists

The first way to approach guitar ear training is simply to decide which listening skills matter to you as a guitar player.

  • Do you mostly play rhythm guitar? If so, then chord progressions and rhythm ear training are where you’ll want to focus.
  • Do you play lead guitar? If so, you will want to work on your relative pitch skills with interval recognition ear training in particular, to improve your ability to play melodies by ear and improvise solos.
  • Are you an FX addict? If so, doing audio effects ear training could help you craft even better sounds with your guitar pedalboard.
  • Do you like experimenting with your sound? Learn about cool guitar techniques you can incorporate into your own playing.

Of course, you can mix and match all of these to suit your personal guitar style!

Ear training on the guitar

The other way to think about guitar ear training is “how can I do ear training on my guitar?”

This is about taking ear training exercises, such as interval recognition and playing chords by ear, and using your guitar as the instrument to practice on.

Some examples:

  • Use note-finding practice tracks to practice finding notes on the fretboard by ear.
  • Do interval ear training using guitar interval practice tracks, since that’s the instrument sound your ears are most familiar with.
  • Learn chord ear training using actual chord shapes on the guitar. For example if you’re working on recognising the 4 types of triad chord, practice playing guitar triads.
  • Practice playing by ear with your guitar in your hands. This helps bridge the gap between hearing, understanding, and acting. Ear training helps you get from hearing to understanding, and if you always practice ear training with your guitar in hand you’ll easily move from understanding to playing too.

There are many ways to connect ear training with your guitar playing.

Learn more about guitar ear training in articles here on the site.

Similar questions answered on this page:

  • What ear training helps guitar players?
  • How can I do ear training on my guitar?