The most valuable pieces of equipment you have as a guitarist is not your guitar and amp. It isn’t your Laptop or your stereo either… It’s your ears! We sometimes seem to forget that there is a HUGE benefit in using our ears to work out the right note to a solo, or using our ears to help us develop a new sound or learn a new scale or chord.
Learning from chord diagrams and tabs is a great way to get started, but the sooner we start training our ears, the better we will eventually become. Using our ears to learn songs is a great way to hear all the little nuances and stylistic differences between guitarists, and it is also a great way of discovering new sounds by accident! It’s also the best way to find new places to play common licks and phrases too.
Try this one out at home! Once you are comfortable with one position of a new scale and you can memorize the sound quite well, try to use your ear to play it in a different position on the guitar neck. It can be very frustrating at first but you’ll soon get used to it! I’ve honestly lost count of all the cool sounds and phrases I have stumbled across whilst trying to work out something completely different!
So the next time you are learning a new song, before you reach for the tabs or look for a tutorial video on youtube, have a go at trying to learn it just by listening instead!