I can't hear subtle things well

I have a friend who goes to play my gear and he immediately can tell things like my compression is off or the noise gate is set too high or the feel of the settings is not right for subtle picking. He’s been playing much longer than I, but I do have 13 years playing.

Is this a skill that can be developed or am I just “tone deaf” or something. I admit it’s a little frustrating that I can’t hear subtle things like he does.

And even when I’m adjusting settings on my amp or pedals, I find sometimes I don’t hear the effect that he seems to.

Is there a way to improve this ability or am I just stuck with the way this is for me?

You could improve your ear by tweaking the settings and focusing on what it does. Theta music has good games for it.Link

But remember most of it is personal taste, it’s not always a fact that it doesn’t sound right

When he’s farther off you amp, he’ll hear it better than you beign very close, arced over your amp.
In the band, we often check each others signal and our own by taking different spots and mostly taking distance. try it!

Hearing the compression is off is a nice skill and that asks some more ear traing but it is “family” of spotting noise gate issues. Basically it is hearing 2 things:
hearing things that shouldn’t be there
not hearing things tht shoold be there.

You might be very focussed on what you are playing when playing and less on the hearing. Does he hear all that stuff while he’s playing himself?

Best way to train this is:

  • Checking this stuff while you ONLY listen to your mate
  • recording yourself from a distant spot but also a direct line out…and listening to that.

@Mutant Thanks I’ll check out that link.

@LievenDV Thanks for the advice. I have some hope to keep going at it. :slight_smile:

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