Tricks to Force Yourself to Play by Ear and Not by Eyes

I’m sure I’m not the only one.  I constantly play by looking down at my fretboard — a bad, bad habit.

Closing my eyes or looking elsewhere work to some extent, but today I discovered another trick that really mess it up for me, in a good way.

Play half-step down.

Plenty of recordings are done with half-step down tuning.  Instead of concert E, the Es are turned to Eb.

Play along those with standard-tuning guitar.

Now, you can’t look at your fretboard.  Because you can’t get that E by pressing where Es normally are.  It’s confusing and frustrating, so I’m forced to look away, and play only the notes I’m sure will work.

A great way to practice playing by ear.  If you’re trying to unlearn playing visually by looking at the fretboard, then try it.


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