How to Practice Changing Guitar Chords

Practical Guide to Practice Changing Chords

man playing guitarPractice makes perfect they say! And learning to play and change chords with your guitar is no exception. Mastering this part of playing the guitar takes time and dedication. After and during continued practice you will see your speed and confidence increase. Your skill and music will only improve from there!

Chord Changing Speed

Most likely the biggest obstacle you’ll face as you work on improving your ability to quickly and swiftly switch from chord to chord is developing the muscle coordination required for the task. You’ll need to be patient as your brain develops and acclimates itself to this new skill and movement you’re introducing to it. This kind of muscle and brain development is common in all types of new skills we learn.

Whether it is playing baseball and needing to see just the right moment before you use your body to swing at the ball, or even typing quickly on a computer keyboard, hand-eye coordination is a must and takes time to improve on. Continuing to practice will allow the time for your brain to catch up and meet you at the challenge.

Coordinated Effort

Guitar is a full body endeavor just like playing baseball. Your arms, wrists, fingers, eyes, and even your thighs and feet are a part of the process. It is important that all of these parts do their very best and work together to read the music, create the vibrations of the strings, and ultimately produces the sweet, sweet tones of the guitar. As long as you continue to improve on your hand-eye coordination you will see that changing chords becomes increasingly more comfortable.

Fortunately, there are some tips that will help you work on developing better muscle memory and ear training. This will help you be more efficient in the switch of the chords and therefore be able to do it more quickly. Below you will learn that changing chords can be easier than you might have otherwise thought.

Memory And Visualization

The first step is to memorize all chords of the song you are working on. Visualization helps so picture exactly which fingers are used and where they are placed. In barre chords for example, the most important finger is the pointer finger. It will squeeze all six strings across the fretboard. So as you progress into playing the cord you need to start with your index finger being placed on the correct fret along the fretboard. Then, you can place the other fingers on their corresponding positions.

f you’re playing a simple or broken chord, the pointer finger is usually the most important finger anyway. The idea is that the index finger and thumb offer a stable anchor on the neck of the guitar. This way the other fingers the other fingers are able to press on the other strings of the guitar for the chord. Generally the index finger plays on the lowest fret and highest string. It is easier to find the proper note, allowing the other fingers to finish the chord.

Take Your Time

At the beginning you will be slow. Don’t fret it. Make sure to keep time with the music and look ahead to which bar and on which beat the next chord will be. Try to take yourself through the entire song, beginning to end. Take your time.

After you can play the song in its entirety, without making chord errors, feel free to start increasing the speed and tempo at which you play the song. Notate on your guitar tab or music which chords are the tricky ones so that you can prepare for them.

For example, there are easier and more challenging chord changes. If you are playing two bar graphs one immediately following the other, it will be a fairly easy change. You would only need to slide your pointer finger onto the correct positioning on the fretboard while quickly pressing down on the other strings of the chord.

However, there are far more challenging switches as well. If you are changing from barre chords to simple cords, for example, or chords that are far from one another on the neck of the guitar, it will prove to be more difficult. As you play through the piece, pick out these more difficult changes and practice them in isolation. Practice, practice, practice!

Chord Switching

Even with a slower tempo, the chord is still difficult to complete, we suggest not playing the last beat of previous chord in order to use the time and prepare your fingering for the chord coming next. Rest assured, with time you will be switching from chord to chord like a pro, it just takes a little patience, determination, and dedication.

After you spend some time focusing on the tricky parts of the piece, continue to practice the entire song through. From here and when you can play the whole song without any errors, mess around with different styles of strumming. Try to emphasize or accentuate different parts of the song or even a specific beat of the song. Another idea is to try alternative strumming or light picking to change up the variety or volume of the song.

It’s not a bad idea to play the song how the artist originally played it, but it’s equally important for your development in guitar proficiency and skill to mix it up and add your own technique and flare to the song. This will undoubtedly make you a better player of guitar by working on different combinations of chord changes and styles of playing.

Apply these steps to every song that you learn how to play. With practice, you’ll be playing like a guitar expert in no time flat.

Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives a finders-fee from the companies whose products we link to. This doesn’t cost you anything extra. These commissions help to keep the rest of our content free, so thank you!