Chord Changes
Photo by clumsy_jim

So, you are able to play the Basic Open Chords very well. Not just the easy ones like D, E or C chord but even the tougher ones like G and F chord too.

But what about moving from one chord to another? Suddenly you stop your right hand, focus on the left hand, place the fingers on the required frets and before you can strum your newly formed chord, the rhythm has already gone for a toss!

Frustrating, isn’t it?

To play songs nicely, you not only need to be able to play the chords but also change them effectively without breaking the strumming action and the flow of the right hand. This can seem to be quite difficult initially. But as with many things related to guitar, regular practice does wonders.

I remember how frustrating it was to play the chords but not able to quickly change to another. But I can’t remember when I actually got comfortable doing it. I just kept at it, playing the chords and trying to change from one to another until it so happened that the brain recognized the finger shapes that were required for various chords and transferred the whole process into the subconscious mind.

The bottom-line is: PRACTICE. If you give up on the way, playing the guitar would always be a distant dream. But if you persist and perspire, you are sure to witness miracles! (Aww.. that was poetic!)

Let me give you some tips which will ensure you are on the right path and speed up the learning process.

1. Improve Finger Dexterity

It is crucial that your left hand remains loose and free instead of hard and stiff whatever the chord position be. A loose hand will be more adaptable than a stiff one.

2. Correct Hand Position

The left thumb should be supporting the back of the guitar neck instead of rising over the top of the guitar reaching the strings. This helps in stretching your fingers for the Open G and F chords and the critical barre chords.

3. Try all Permutations and Combinations

Make sure you are trying all possible combinations of changing the open chords. Start with the easy ones like D to G chord or Emin to C chord. When you are comfortable with these, move on to tougher ones like A to G chord or the ultimate one: G to F chord!
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4. Right Way to Practice

This is the way you should go about practicing it: Play a chord four times a bar, then change to another chord and play it four times a bar again, then come back to the previous chord. Do this till you are so comfortable that you can change the chords without seeing your left hand! Of course, it will take time, so be patient.

5. Avoid Barre Chords at the Start

When you are starting out, don’t try to change to barre chords or back. That would be a big demotivator! First get used to the basic open chords, then go ahead with the barre chords.

6. Practice, Practice and More Practice!

All the tips above are useless if you don’t practice enough. By enough, I don’t mean 5 hours non-stop, hell no! 30-60 minutes a day is more than sufficient. Just keep yourself motivated by whatever inspires you and keep at it. You will get there in the end.

Go, grab the guitar and start chording right now!

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