For this article a handful of ideas of what you can do to learn to play guitar by ear. Playing by ear is simply playing whatever you can hear or sing.
Learning to play the guitar is about learning to play music, music is a language and most people learn to speak by imitating sounds. You can use a similar approach when it comes to playing the guitar: Simply play whatever you hear. Simple or………….??
It is but the big difference with learning to speak is that we speak with our mouth, to make sounds with our mouth we do not think about what to do, we just utter the words, or sounds and there we go. When it comes to the guitar, there are these six strings, you can play them with any finger, you can use a plectrum or your fingers and……………you see what I mean.
Most adults in a learning situation will ask questions like: “What finger do I need to use to play this?” Children usually are better, they just play however they can and what feels good for them.
When it comes to playing by ear it is a good idea to also read a little about how to use your fingers or plectrum, also get informed about the instrument, the names of the strings etc. Do not get too seriously wrapped up in all the technical jargon, just be playful. Use this approach to your playing as well.
For those who really will take things seriously, books can help you, also taking up guitar lessons with a tutor ( or sit down with someone who can play and does have patience, time and is willing to show you the first steps).
Playing without any sheets or books feels natural, and it is something you should try to achieve, even if you can already play, but most of your playing may be at the moment from sheets or books.
Playing by ear can be used in the learning process during the first stages, once you get more experienced you can go and look into particular techniques and topics of playing. Books may be useful as a source to inform you with, after you have internalised the information you can still play some of the material by ear as it will feel more natural.
Keep at it and enjoy your learning process and hope to catch you soon again.