The first challenge of learning to play the guitar is getting to grips with the finger positioning for chords. The second challenge is the ability to smoothly move between chords. In order to play songs you will need to overcome these two challenges. This blog post is here to help you jump the final hurdle by explaining different ways to practice those chord changes.
If you are looking to practice chord changes, you should have already perfected simple chords. I would suggest knowing C A G E D Am Em Dm and D7.
TOP TIPS FOR PRACTICING CHORD CHANGES
- Go slowly and focus on your chord hand
- Be lazy – try not to lift your fingers too high
- Visualise – Don’t lift a finger before you know where to place your fingers for the next chord.
4 TECHNIQUES FOR PRACTICING CHORD CHANGES
- Pivot method
Choose 2 chords to change between where you would keep one finger the same and hence not have to move it – this finger would thus act as a pivot.For example G and Em both have one note in common – the index finger on the second fret of the A string (check out the images below). This finger can act as a pivot as you change from the G chord to Em.
Other chords you can try the pivot method with is C to Am, D to G and E to Em.
- Repeat method
The hint is in the title! Play a chord, take your hand completely off the fret board and then play the same chord again.First try doing this slowly then gradually speed up as you become more confident.
When you start to get more confident with the pivot and repeat methods you should move onto the next two methods:
- Rhythm method
Strum a chord for a beat then change chords, strum this also for a beat and then change chords again.To start you might want to choose a chord circuit to make for example G, D, C, Am, Em (you can also incorporate what you learnt with the pivot method), play this repeatedly until you feel comfortable with changing between each chord.
- Speed method
Change quickly from chord to chord not strumming at all (you can try the chord circuit as suggested earlier). When you feel comfortable try strumming just once.This method will ensure that you are comfortable with quick chord changes and thus is the final technique to honing your chord changing skills!
If you thoroughly practice these methods they will help to set in your muscle memory!
Make sure to check out our intro to the guitar tutorials!