13 April 2011

5 Tips for guitar chord practice

There are lots and lots of guitar chords out there. How do you go about learning them? This article offers some responses with 5 tips to get your guitar chord practice organized into fighting shape.149610584_304ef3b29d

1. Plan your chord learning

There are a lot of chords to learn, so map out a plan of what ones you need to learn and follow it. You don't have to include every chord under the sun in your plan. Select the kinds of chords you need for your chosen style of music and forget about the rest.


2. Keep working on new chords

Always have at least one new chord to work on in your practice sessions. Some chords might not take long to learn, they are a small increment upon those you know already. Other times you might attack a new kind of chord that requires more strength or agility and it takes you a while to master. Either way, as long as you keep working on at least one new one you'll keep growing.


3. Work on chords away from your guitar

You can do a lot of work to help learn more chords outside of your guitar practice space. Carry a few chord diagrams around in your pocket, or get a mobile application so you can view and study chords on your mobile phone. Use this time to memorize chord shapes so you don't have to figure out what the shape is when you do have your guitar in hand.

4. Work slowly and lightly

When you practice chords it is a good idea to work slowly and without applying pressure to the strings. When you work slowly you can focus on making the correct movements and optimizing the way you move your fingers so they have less distance to travel as you change chords. By using only a light touch of your finger tips on the strings you can reduce muscle tension and help improve the accuracy of your finger placement.

Of course, you have to speed up some of the time too so you can develop the same skills of economy of movement and accuracy at normal playing speed.

5. Put new chords to work when you use them

If you learn a new chord shape but don't play it regularly you'll end up losing the skill you worked hard to acquire. So whenever you learn a new chord or a new way to play a chord put it to work in the songs you play. You can change the way you play a song's chords to use the new shape so you won't forget it.

There are so many guitar chords that you won't find time to learn and play them all. When you organize your chord learning at all stages of playing you'll learn more and faster and you'll retain what you learn better.

Focus your efforts on the chords you need by creating a plan. Include some new chords in your plan and time to review those you already learned. Use time away from your guitar to reinforce what you learn during practice time, and work slowly and lightly to make the most of practice. Finally, remember to put those chords to work so you don't forget them.


Photo by Dan Zen.

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