One of the most useful skills you can learn as a guitar player is being able to find the key of a song by ear. You might think this skill is reserved for the gifted few, but there are some simple processes that you can follow to find the key of just about any song. In this guitar lesson, Andrew Clarke will show you his system for identifying the key of your favorite song.
The first thing you’ll need to know is a basic major scale shape. This can be any major scale shape, but in this case, we’ll use a 3-string E major scale. Take some time to get it under your fingers so you don’t have to think about it too much.
Now we’ll take that shape and move it up and down the fretboard while listening to the song we’re trying to find the key of. Eventually, one of the positions will sound like it “fits”. That location gives you the key of the song. Simply locate the root notes of the scale shape and that’s the key you’re in.
You may not be able to immediately notice which one fits, but the more often you work on this, the quicker and easier it will be to identify the key. If you’re still struggling with this method, you can try adding some ear training exercises to your daily practice time. It won’t be long before finding keys of songs becomes instantaneous for you.