30 April 2010

24 Guitar Chord Change Tips

Guitar chord changes are an important part of any guitarists arsenal of skills which is why it's important to develop good strategies to practice them. Good chord practice will make you a better guitar player and these 24 tips will help you develop your daily routine to practice chord changes.

1. Work slowly; give yourself time to make the movements correctly.

2. Know where you fingers are going; be clear in your mind exactly where each finger goes and how it gets there.

3. Work chords in pairs; practice changes back and forth for a few minutes and then move to another pair.

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4. Identify a guide finger for each chord that moves into place first and acts as the guide for the other fingers to form around.

5. Find paths of least movement from one chord to another; slow practice is especially good for this.

6. The best place for your thumb is centred behind the neck for most chord playing.

7. Keep your arm and shoulders relaxed.

8. Check your arm is in a good position, not too close to your body.

9. Lift you guitar neck higher; the classical position with the guitar neck tilted up near your head makes fingering chords easier.

10. Plan chord changes in advance; memorize the pieces you play so you know in advance when chord changes are coming.

11. Practice different fingerings for each chord to find which are easiest for you.

12. When you know several fingerings choose the one that makes the next chord easiest to play.

13. Practice "grabbing" chord shapes with your fingers in the air before they touch the guitar strings then place all the fingers at once.

14. Practice often and in small bursts; frequent repetition reinforces your muscle memory and short sessions don't tire your muscles so much.

15. Don't sweat the small stuff; occasional string scrapes, buzzes or muffled notes are not the end of the world.

16. Don't stop if you muff a chord, adjust if you can to eliminate wrong notes or string buzzes but keep playing.

17. Always finger the whole chord shape even when playing only a couple of notes. If you accidentally strike the other strings the chord will still sound OK.

18. Learn one new chord shape at a time. Don't make things hard on yourself by learning a song with four unknown chords.

19. Build your chord vocabulary all the time, have one new chord in progress at all times.

20. Break things down to solve one problem at at time, e.g. get one finger in place, then two...

21. Separate practice of chord changes from strumming or picking; work each hand separately.

22. Use a metronome to set a comfortable practice tempo and to gradually train for more speed.

23. Don't try to go too fast; accept that it takes time to learn new chords and let your fingers technique develop at its own pace.

24. Look for nearby chord voicings to reduce movements.

Chord skills are vital to any guitar player and it's important to know how to practice chord changes to grow as a player. To build a powerful routine to practice chord changes print out these 24 tips and keep them handy to find solutions to your chord practice needs.

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