Okay so I understand having some background in theory helps with learning songs by ear, and just training your ear naturally. Im working with that. But my problem is this.
Sometimes I literally CANNOT hear the guitar. Especially if the song has keyboard/synth, drums, bass, vocals, 2-even possibly 3 guitars, and then whatever effects might be used. Sometimes it just makes it really hard to hear the overall rhythm of a chord progression, or every note in the riff being played or whatever. This is especially true for me with post-hardcore/metal music for me, because its typically not as simple as a lot of other things.
I hope I'm not the only one with this issue, and hopefully you know a way to overcome this maybe? Like do my ears just suck? Or should I use some sort of audio software to take parts of the song out or what?
Hi Brandon. This is a common issue among musicians trying to learn songs by ear.
Many people find listening with headphones can help separate the instruments more effectively than through speakers. So try that first and foremost.
However, probably the most effective solution is, as you mentioned, to use some kind of EQ software, reduce the unwanted frequencies and increase the frequency of the guitar.
Audacity is a free piece of audio editing software that is pretty simple to use.
The newest version includes a plugin called "vocal remover" which can isolate or reduce the presence of the vocal track. How effective this is depends on how the original track was recorded.
If this doesn't work, there are other possible ways to reduce the vocals, such as splitting and inverting the tracks, which is demonstrated in this video...
There is also a 31 band EQ in Audacity, which will allow you to pull back and increase certain frequencies. You'll most likely want to reduce the bass frequencies first and work from there. Simply work from left to right on the EQ panel, listening to the track each step of the way.
Once you get to the middle frequency region, and the bass has been cut, you might want to start cutting the highs, from right to left. This will hopefully close down the guitar frequency.
It may take some time to isolate the guitar, but even if you can bring it forward slightly, that might be enough to hear what you need.
I hope this helps. If anyone has any further suggestions, please use the comments link below. Cheers.