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How to Tab a Song by Ear (Hearing)

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Tabbing a song by ear
First, you must understand that it's not at all difficult. It's a bit like riding a bicycle. You have to do it to know how to do it. And just like riding a bicycle -
  1. Tabbing is easier than it seems
  2. It just needs a bit of practice
  3. It takes some time to learn
  4. Tabbing is hard at first and gets easier as you progress
  5. Once you learn how to tab a song by ear, you can't forget it
  6. It's faster, if you have someone teach you how to
  7. You enjoy the result in both cases

  1. You must know the song well ( must have heard it a couple of times)
  2. You must know how to write in tab notation
  3. You must be patient

What this tutorial teaches you:
  1. How to find the scale / key of a song
  2. How to find the tabs of a song on a guitar
  3. How to find the scale of a song on a guitar

So, here's the process of tabbing a song by ear:
  1. Think of it as singing the song with your hands on the guitar.
  2. First listen to the song - this will get your mind to catch the original scale of the song.
  3. Try humming the song - this will make you sing the notes of the song
  4. Now catch a few notes of the song by trying to play it on the guitar. It's a trial and error process.
  5. Now, when the pitch goes up, play a higher note to match. Play a lower note when the pitch goes down. Match and play with the humming.
  6. Play again and again from your mind try to remember the sequence.
  7. As more and more of the song unfolds, the easier it will get to figure out the rest.
  8. Add details and things like hammer ons, pull offs, etc on subsequent passes

And that's how you do it. Try it and ask for and clarifications in the comments below the post.

To figure out the chords to a song:
Follow a similar process, but try playing chords instead of notes. It's a bit more difficult than tabbing. Discussed separately (read about figuring out chords for a song).

To figure out the strum pattern of a song:
To get the pattern of the strum, all you need to do is listen to the song over and over. Discussed separately (read more about figuring out the strum patterns)

Happy tabbing...

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How to Tab a Song by Ear (Hearing)

Comments: 4 comment(s)...have your say!


hi friend can u illustrate what are high and what r low notes

Arindam Sarkarsaid...

High and low notes are with respect to a singer. A deep heavy note is a low note, while the ones at the other end that are shrill are high notes. It takes considerable skill to sing either.


friend i am capable of finding the tabs of a song on my own(lead part of a song) after small effort....
but plz do explain how to find anyone of the chords used in the song....
is the chord is same as the begining note of the lead part of the song?????
or the chord is one out of 6 chords made by including this note....
i am trying to clear out the concept of this thing from very long time but i am unable to do so....
plz do help me about this thing...
or that chord is the key chord for the song at which note there is a pause in the lead part of the song???

Arindam Sarkarsaid...

Finding out chords is like finding out tabs. Just try different chords in those places. Read the elaboration I'm posting above now. Thanks for the question.

BasicMusicTheory Tip:

Tune your guitar before you start playing.^Top^

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