Chord changing can be difficult at first.
In this article I will show you what you need to do to practice changing chords. Once you know this strategy, and it is a strategy, you will know how to tackle new chords for the rest of your life.
I remember a story.
I was sitting in a class with my student and he was having a hell of a time changing chords.
This student was getting frustrated and was having difficulty because of specific things he needed to change.
Once he changed them, he was able to change chords easily.
Here are those 4 things:
- Slow down considerably.
- Use a metronome.
- Analyze your fingers.
- Spend more time with your guitar.
We usually can’t change chords quickly because our fingers are not used to the positions they need to be in.
I remember playing power chords at the beginning of my learning process and then going into barre chords and my hands were just not having it.
Had I done any of these 4 things I would have progressed a lot faster.
If I would have slowed way down to look at my fingers and what they had to do exactly…I would have had more progress early on. I would have gotten much better, much faster.
You can do this. I promise you can do this. Slow down considerably and you will see that you can. You will soon master the art of changing chords by slowing down.
Using a Metronome for Practicing Chord Changing
As soon as my student put on the metronome, he was changing quicker and with more ease.
Why is this?
This happened because after he slowed down and (taught his mind) what to do, the chords came out.
They came out because his mind now knew what to tell his fingers to do.
Once the metronome was on, he was able to move quicker.
The metronome is your best friend. If you don’t like using one, you have to ignore that feeling. Just go through the motion of using it. Its going to improve your playing because the metronome acts as pressure.
It pressures you into moving to the next chord before the next click happens.
Give yourself enough time by slowing the metronome down to 68 bpm. This is a speed that is slow enough but not so boring as 50 or 60 bpm. What I mean is…give yourself enough time to change chords.
4 clicks is what you want to use. Give yourself 4 clicks before the next chord. That means you have 4 beats to change to the new chord.
Analysis of Your Fingers While Changing Chords
Analyze what each finger is doing when changing to a new chord. Sometimes the fingers don’t have to move. For example, when you are changing to a D chord from a G chord (with 2 fingers on the top 2 strings), the ring finger stays put.
You should know these things because they make it easier for you to change chords.
Spend More Time Changing Chords
It’s almost like the guitar is a jealous girlfriend.
If you don’t spend enough time with her, she won’t give you what you want. The more time you spend with her, the more she gives back to you.
Simply spend an extra 5-10 minutes changing chords, analyzing what your fingers are doing, using a metronome and slowing things way down and you will see progress.
And progress equals happiness.
You will feel accomplished. You will feel like you are progressing and you will feel like this guitar journey that you’re on is not only doable, but is enjoyable.
Enjoy your chords.
If you want to learn more about chords, subscribe to my “Play Guitar Like a Beast” newsletter to receive updates on posts. You can purchase the best book on chords and progressions on the market here.
Also, stay tuned for an article on a Chopin chord workout and analysis of Prelude 2 in Am as well as Part 7 of Learn the Guitar by Yourself.