1 June 2009

Chord Change Practice Drills

Chord change drills are an easy system for ensuring thorough chord practice. When you can easily play many chords learning new songs, fitting in with a band or jamming becomes easier.

How Well Prepared Are You?

Just as an olymic final will be won by the best prepared and best trained athletes the best musical performances will be given by the best prepared guitarists. Training makes the difference between poor, average and great players.

You might not be aiming for guitar olympics any time soon, but you surely want to play the best you can. To do this you need a good training routine, just like an olympic athlete.

You might think chord drills are a little over the top for guitar practice. After all, it's not so complicated, just pick up the guitar and play through a few songs or chord progressions.

But consider just how many different chord changes there are to practice. For example, the seven chords of any major key give you 42 chord changes to work on - and that's without counting different fingerings, inversions or extensions of the chords. Do you know you've practiced all 42 changes enough to play them well?

Chord Drills

It should be clear that you need a disciplined approach to master all those chord changes. Discipline is a word that might not sound very rock 'n' roll, but simple drills that help you track the chords and changes you practice will lead to better guitar playing.

There are many different ways to create chord drills, so disciplined doesn't have to mean dull and dreary. Here are a few ideas you can use to start, you should find many more of your own to suit whatever your practice aims are.

Key Drills

Key wise drills help you to work through all the chords in a particular key. Choose your key, pick a chord type, e.g. open or bar chords, and play all the changes between the chords.

Position Drills

Position drills get you to work on all the positions of a single chord. Play the chord in open and closed positions all over the fretboard.

Inversion Drills

Similar to position drills but you work with different inversions of the chord. You might work with one chord or choose several from a key or progression.

Progression Drills

Choose a progression such as I - IV - V or ii - V - I and play through the chords in all the possible orders. You can also play the progression using different positions, inversions or keys.

Over To You

Good chord practice drills help you to practice chord changes effectively. They take away the guesswork and help you avoid forgetting or ignoring chord changes. Drills are also a simple way to measure progress as you note the number of drills you can play successfully.

Now it's up to you, if you're serious about improving your guitar chord playing, create a chord drill and get practicing. I'd love to hear about your experience with chord drills, please leave a comment to let me know how they helped you.


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