Hacker Highlight: Guitar Ear Trainer

3 min readApr 19, 2020

Featuring: Julian Hirn

Welcome back to our Hacker Highlight series! Looking for inspiration on projects to do at home? We wanted to bring you some of the fun and creative projects we saw at HackBeanpot 2020 to help get you thinking about a project of your own! Next up on our highlight we have Julian Hirn, the creator of Guitar Ear Trainer — a game that helps you improve your ears in identifying musical notes on the guitar!

You can check out Guitar Ear Trainer here: (Use Chrome, Firefox, or an Android device for best performance)

Completing a level on the guitar trainer once you identify all the notes.

What inspired you to build the Guitar Ear Trainer?

The initial spark that lead me to create the game actually wasn’t music related. A few weeks ago, I played the game “Celeste” and was blown away by the beautiful story, music and most importantly the pixel art style. When I was brainstorming for HackBeanpot, I was struggling to find ideas that I was passionate about, so I downloaded some drawing software and started drawing a few things. After various attempts, I drew a guitar that I was happy with and then my musical mind woke up and I decided to turn the drawing into a game! At that point, I was focused on making a fun, interactive and fully working game by the end of the hackathon.

What did you learn along the way?

Because of my background in computer security, I didn’t have any experience drawing assets for games let alone writing any kind of game logic. Fortunately, I was able to use my previous skills of finding documentation to learn to use the Godot game engine for my game. I also learn the basics of pixel art and improved my design skills. I also learned that making games can be tedious, since I probably spent over an hour recording my own guitar for the notes in the game.

You can pick from three different levels of difficulty or enter practice mode.

Could you talk about how your interest in music/guitar influenced the way you went about designing this project?

Once I had the idea and implemented the basic logic, I had a lot of fun adding different levels/tracks to the game. While you play them, you can’t tell what song you’re learning and then you feel glad when all the notes play and you recognize the full composition. It’s also just a good tool for working on a core skill that people that play the guitar (including me!) need to improve on.

Anything you would like to say about your experience at HackBeanpot?

HackBeanpot this year was a great way for me to reunite and catch up with a lot of old friends and acquaintances. The vibe at the event was very fun and it was of course amazing to get to present my project to everyone!

Interested in being featured in our next highlight? Let us know about your project at team@hackbeanpot.com!