Jamming circle. The song is called out....
Next one is Kiss Ole Kate, let's do it in D; ready 1 & 2 &...... I've never heard Kiss Ole Kate before....
From here on I'll have to assume some things. I know the key is D and the chords in the key of D are:
D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm, C#m7b5, D.
The I-IV-V7 will be D, G, A7.
Em and Bm will probably come into the picture somewhere, however, if I miss them the earth will not stop spinning.
I'll assume the verse starts with the D and then somewhere near the end of the first line of the verse the G will come into play. This G will continue into the second line of the verse and then somewhere near the ending of the second line the A7 will become active and the second line will end with the tonic D.
I'll also assume the 3rd and 4th line of the verse will do as the first two lines did. If I'm lucky.
If not I fake it till I can find where every body else is. Anticipate the change from I to IV; watch the rhythm guitar's hands and change chords when he does. Or if really lost, vamp a V7 or revert to a tonic pentatonic, until I can find my place.
Your ear will get better and everything will fall into place, sooner or later.......... But you have to start somewhere. Your CD's are a good place to start. After you figure what key the CD is using write it on the label.
Finding the key to a song on one of your CD's:
Listen to the CD and walk your G string up the neck. When what is happening on the CD and what you are doing on your G string come into synch, sound good together, you have found the tonal center, thus the key. Look down at what note this happened on. That is the key the CD is using. Assume a I-IV-V7 and hang on.
Or better still call up one of the backing track videos, with chords, that are on the Internet and play along. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvF-Natz-tM
Yep, you called it - your ear needs some practice. Songs using the 12 bar blues progression make good learning songs. Why? The 12 bar blues progression is fairly static and you can anticipate the changes. Four bars of the tonic chord starts the progression, then two bars of the IV followed with two bars of the tonic. Then the last line does and can change depending on the turn-a-round being used. The progression listed below does not have a turn-a-round. If you ended the last measure with the V7 (D7) that would draw you back to the starting tonic I chord as the D7 would act as a turn-a-round. With out that the progression returns to rest and begs to stop on the tonic I chord. If the progression is to continue with another 12 bar (verse) let the turn-a-round lead you back to the beginning, however, if you will be ending the song let the tonic chord end the song.