Beginner Guitar Lessons: Ear training

You know how to play a few chords, but what's next? TG's beginner guitar lessons are here to walk you through the essentials. Here we look at ear training.

When you're starting out there are two kinds of chord you need to worry about: major and minor. Aside from being able to play these chords, it's also good to be able to identify them by ear. If you can hear the difference between these two chords you'll be on the way to being able to work out songs by ear - a valuable tool for any guitarist...

Major chords = happy

Open the 'Major chords = happy' tab (Right-click to download)

When you see a chord that is just a letter name (like 'G' or 'A') this is a major chord. Major chords have a bright, happy sound. Example 4 is made up of major chords. Don't worry if you can't play it yet (though it's not difficult), just listen to the track below and get used to the major chords' happy sound. You might need to listen to it a few times before it sinks in.

Tip: listen to this track a few times to help get the bright, happy sound of major chords into your head.

Minor chords = sad

Open the 'Minor chords = sad' tab (Right-click to download)

When you see a chord with a letter name and a small 'm' after it (like 'Em' or 'Dm') this is a minor chord. Minor chords have a dark, sad sound. The audio sample below is made up of minor chords. As with the previous example, it doesn't matter if you can't play it yet - listen to it until you're confident you know how minor chords sound.

Tip: this example has only minor chords in it (notice the small 'm' after each letter), which sound sad and moody.

Combining major and minor chords

Open the 'Combining major and minor chords' tab (Right-click to download)

This example uses a combination of major and minor chords.

Tip: Notice how the track becomes darker halfway through the chord sequence.