22 March 2010

Build Your Guitar Skills With Two-Chord Songs

Two-chord songs offer an easy way to pare down your practice to the essentials you need to hone your guitar skills. Many players dismiss such songs as too simple to spend time on, but there are in fact many benefits to be had from two-chord songs. They can help you to learn guitar by taking away all the fluff and leaving you with only the simplest structure to work with. Here are a few of the ways that simple structure can benefit your guitar practice.

Practice Chord Changes

Looking for an easy way to practice a chord change you have trouble with? Try a two chord song.

Whenever a chord change in a song is giving you trouble take out the chord before the change and the one that follows it and practice them in isolation.

Develop A Musical Ear

Two chord songs are a great tool for developing your musical ear. Pick a chord interval you want to memorize the sound of, choose or make up a two-chord song and practice it in every key. Better still, record your song and listen to the changes every day too, your musical ear will thank you.

Learn to Improvise In A Simple Harmonic Context

One of the secrets to creating guitar solos that sound great is to make the sound of the chord changes stand out. This is a hard skill to learn but with two-chord songs you can give yourself the simplest possible context to practice in.

Practice until you can hear the chords with only the notes of your solo. Build up your skills gradually with different pairs of chords and then join things together until you can work with three, four or more chords.

All Songs Are Two-Chord Songs

Songs are always on one chord and heading for the next. If you use this idea you can break down any song you learn into a series of little two-chord songs. This will give you easy stepping stones to learn and practice until you can play the whole song.

If you want to benefit from two chord song practice, choose yourself a two-chord song (or make one up, if you don't find one with the chords you want) and get to practice. Here's a reminder of some of the things you can do.

  1. Practice chord changes, build your skills one pair of chords at a time
  2. Develop your ear, memorize the sound of each chord change
  3. Learn to improvise, sound the chords as you solo
  4. Learn any song, using the simplest building block
Two-chord songs give you a simple tool to build guitar practice sessions from. Use them to strip away distractions and simplify your exercises to work on one thing at a time.

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