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Guitar lesson: Learn To Play Every Breath You Take By Ear

Aug 17, 2007
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to play the hit songs you hear on the radio and be able to play them on your guitar even without tabs or sheet music!

In this guitar lesson we will use Every Breath You Take as an example.

The hits songs you hear are usually copyright protected and shouldn't be found as free sheet music on the internet and really not as guitar tab either without permission from the copyright owner.

However I can tell you that I personally have saved a lot of money by my ability to play songs I hear by ear. I don't have to buy sheet music and I can also play them as they are heard on the radio or make a guitar solo version of them.

To be able to play songs on your guitar by ear you have to develop your ear and your ability to find yourself around on the guitar fretboard.

In this guitar lesson I will show you how to play "Every Breath You Take" in the key of G. This means that you cannot play together with the original version by Police and Sting but I think it will be easier to play the melody on your guitar in this key.

Guitar lesson part 1

The verse begins with the words "Every breath you take"

The chords on your guitar will be:

G Em C D G

The melody notes you will need in order to play this song will be:


A very economic melody as far as melody notes are concerned. But how do you play these notes on your guitar?

I will show you these notes with a form of guitar tablature that will be displayed correctly on article sites like this one. Some examples:

23 means that you press down the second fret on the third string.

03 means that you play the third open string. This means that you play the third string with you right hand without pressing down a fret.

In other words, the first number indicate which fret to press down and the second number which string.

Guitar lesson part 2

Let's go back to the melody notes you'll need for the first verse:


With the previosly explained guitar tablature the notes will look like this:

03 23 02 12 32

I will not show you the melody. You are supposed to learn to find this out by yourself. I will only help you by saying that the first note to play is B and is notated 02.

Guitar lesson part 3

Let's take a look at the part of the song beginning with the words "Oh, can't you see"

The chords will be (a bit simplified):


This part starts with the note G notated 03.

The notes you will need to use are:

G B D E F# G A

and they are notated like this:

03 02 32 01 21 31 51

This melody starts with the note G notated 03.

I will not help you more that this in this guitar lesson. The best way to learn the melody is by trial and error.

In the process of learning this melody you will also develop your ear and your ability to find your way around on your guitar.

This means that the next melody you will try to learn will probably be easier to learn!

You can prepare yourself to pick up melodies on your guitar by doing these two exercises:

1. Learn scales on your guitar. Learn to play the scales up and down.

2. When you know a scale well you can improvise simple melodies and play around with the scale and at the same time you will learn to find your way around the guitar.

The more you learn scales and create your own melodies on your guitar the easier you will have to figure out how a certain melody can be played on your guitar.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and learn to play guitar resources at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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