Switching between chords

Guitar Tricks Forum > Guitar Basics > Switching between chords

tedarnold09

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Joined: 04/18/20

Posts: 2

New to learning the acoustic guitar. I've been at it for about 9 months. I am struggling with switching between chords when playing along with songs, especially songs with a quicker tempo. Only able to practice about 3-4 times per week, 15-20 minutes per practice session.

Is this something that will improve with time and practice?

Should I be looking at the neck to help with switching between chords?

Any tips or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

#1

New to learning the acoustic guitar. I've been at it for about 9 months. I am struggling with switching between chords when playing along with songs, especially songs with a quicker tempo. Only able to practice about 3-4 times per week, 15-20 minutes per practice session.

Is this something that will improve with time and practice?

Should I be looking at the neck to help with switching between chords?

Any tips or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

mjgodin

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Joined: 11/23/19

Posts: 192

Originally Posted by: tedarnold09

New to learning the acoustic guitar. I've been at it for about 9 months. I am struggling with switching between chords when playing along with songs, especially songs with a quicker tempo. Only able to practice about 3-4 times per week, 15-20 minutes per practice session.

Is this something that will improve with time and practice?

Should I be looking at the neck to help with switching between chords?

Any tips or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Try not to focus on keeping up on tempo. Making the chord cleanly and getting good tone is more important at this stage. Time and practice will make both of those things better and that timeframe is different for everyone. Most of us are beginners and struggle with the same stuff.

9 months, 3-4 times a week at 15-20 minutes is not a whole lot honestly, but it's better than nothing and I can relate to it. Some nights that's all I get and it can get sloppy after a long day of work. We all have other things that get in the way so patience is a virtue.

You can look at the neck if you need to, but again in time your fingers will develop that muscle memory and find their rightful place.

Again, emphasis on time and practice. A good and fun way to practice chord changes is try one of the "Made Easy" songs in the library. Something with a lot of the same chords over and over. Start with chords that are easy to get to like D to Am or Em to A. Just play that song or those chords over and over until its second nature. It will make that 15 minutes go by much faster thats for sure.

If still having problems post the question in one of the instructors section with the specific chords your having problems with.and they can better assist you. I know Lisa has certain strategy tips for making changes a little more seamlessly. It's all about using certain fingers as pivot points to get to the next one. Have you gone through the Fundamentals courses 1 &2? Nothing wrong with a review.

Good Luck,

Moe

#2

Originally Posted by: tedarnold09

New to learning the acoustic guitar. I've been at it for about 9 months. I am struggling with switching between chords when playing along with songs, especially songs with a quicker tempo. Only able to practice about 3-4 times per week, 15-20 minutes per practice session.

Is this something that will improve with time and practice?

Should I be looking at the neck to help with switching between chords?

Any tips or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Try not to focus on keeping up on tempo. Making the chord cleanly and getting good tone is more important at this stage. Time and practice will make both of those things better and that timeframe is different for everyone. Most of us are beginners and struggle with the same stuff.

9 months, 3-4 times a week at 15-20 minutes is not a whole lot honestly, but it's better than nothing and I can relate to it. Some nights that's all I get and it can get sloppy after a long day of work. We all have other things that get in the way so patience is a virtue.

You can look at the neck if you need to, but again in time your fingers will develop that muscle memory and find their rightful place.

Again, emphasis on time and practice. A good and fun way to practice chord changes is try one of the "Made Easy" songs in the library. Something with a lot of the same chords over and over. Start with chords that are easy to get to like D to Am or Em to A. Just play that song or those chords over and over until its second nature. It will make that 15 minutes go by much faster thats for sure.

If still having problems post the question in one of the instructors section with the specific chords your having problems with.and they can better assist you. I know Lisa has certain strategy tips for making changes a little more seamlessly. It's all about using certain fingers as pivot points to get to the next one. Have you gone through the Fundamentals courses 1 &2? Nothing wrong with a review.

Good Luck,

Moe

SusanMW

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Joined: 07/05/20

Posts: 74

I feel your pain! I'm struggling with chord changes too. But I like Moe's suggestions of making the chord clean and getting a good tone.

I am working on songs with G, C, and D in them. There are some in the song library and songbooks you can find elsewhere that just have a few chords in them. Amazing Grace is one of them in the song library here. https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=19335&s_id=1490 The Made Easy songs are great to check out, too.

I'm hoping that by focusing on these three chords and switching between them that it will help me out with the other chords too, just by getting used to the motions. I also do some 1 minute changes sometimes, too. Set a timer and go as fast as you can and count how many you can do, strumming each time (once). Don't worry about getting a perfect tone, just get your fingers on the strings...tone will improve once you get used to changing chords quickly. (Just a tip I've picked up along the way and I feel it's helping me.)

Good luck!

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

#3

I feel your pain! I'm struggling with chord changes too. But I like Moe's suggestions of making the chord clean and getting a good tone.

I am working on songs with G, C, and D in them. There are some in the song library and songbooks you can find elsewhere that just have a few chords in them. Amazing Grace is one of them in the song library here. https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=19335&s_id=1490 The Made Easy songs are great to check out, too.

I'm hoping that by focusing on these three chords and switching between them that it will help me out with the other chords too, just by getting used to the motions. I also do some 1 minute changes sometimes, too. Set a timer and go as fast as you can and count how many you can do, strumming each time (once). Don't worry about getting a perfect tone, just get your fingers on the strings...tone will improve once you get used to changing chords quickly. (Just a tip I've picked up along the way and I feel it's helping me.)

Good luck!

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

SusanMW

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Joined: 07/05/20

Posts: 74

Another good one to try is the Verse/Riff for Runaway Train...there's a couple great tutorials on here for that. I'm working on it tonight and there's an easy chord progression for it.

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

#4

Another good one to try is the Verse/Riff for Runaway Train...there's a couple great tutorials on here for that. I'm working on it tonight and there's an easy chord progression for it.

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

faith83

Peace, Love & John Denver

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 289

@Susan -- not clear from your post if you know already that you don't need to confine yourself to what's on GT and in songbooks. There are lots and lots (and lots and lots) of chord charts available for pretty much any song you can think of just by searching the guitar chord sites. Ultimate-Guitar.com would be the place to start, but there are dozens of sites like that with thousands of available songs at no cost to you.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#5

@Susan -- not clear from your post if you know already that you don't need to confine yourself to what's on GT and in songbooks. There are lots and lots (and lots and lots) of chord charts available for pretty much any song you can think of just by searching the guitar chord sites. Ultimate-Guitar.com would be the place to start, but there are dozens of sites like that with thousands of available songs at no cost to you.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

SusanMW

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Joined: 07/05/20

Posts: 74

Ohhh yeah, thank you. I did know that. I just try not overwhelm myself but it's nice the possibilites are endless!

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

#6

Ohhh yeah, thank you. I did know that. I just try not overwhelm myself but it's nice the possibilites are endless!

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

faith83

Peace, Love & John Denver

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 289

Originally Posted by: SusanMW

Ohhh yeah, thank you. I did know that. I just try not overwhelm myself but it's nice the possibilites are endless!

Definitely easy to get overhwhelmed by all the available chord charts! The best part for me is when there's a song that I really want to learn that was too hard for me and then finding it again and saying, oh, I can play that now!

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#7

Originally Posted by: SusanMW

Ohhh yeah, thank you. I did know that. I just try not overwhelm myself but it's nice the possibilites are endless!

Definitely easy to get overhwhelmed by all the available chord charts! The best part for me is when there's a song that I really want to learn that was too hard for me and then finding it again and saying, oh, I can play that now!

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

ddiddler

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Joined: 05/13/20

Posts: 123

There are 2 schools of thought here and you decide what is the aim of any session.

In some lessons Lisa stresses the need to place fingers correctly and check the strings all ring out cleanly.

But in some lessons the stress is keeping up with the pace of chord changes and ignore the inevitable duff notes.

So some practice to make clear chords and changes at whatever speed you find you are capable of if using the metronome.

In another part try and see how many chord changes between 2 chords you are able to make in 60 secs.
In one you will see the muscle memory increase in forming the chord

In the other you will have a clear measure of chord change speed increasing as your dexterity across the fretboard improves.
It never has to be just one or the other.

#8

There are 2 schools of thought here and you decide what is the aim of any session.

In some lessons Lisa stresses the need to place fingers correctly and check the strings all ring out cleanly.

But in some lessons the stress is keeping up with the pace of chord changes and ignore the inevitable duff notes.

So some practice to make clear chords and changes at whatever speed you find you are capable of if using the metronome.

In another part try and see how many chord changes between 2 chords you are able to make in 60 secs.
In one you will see the muscle memory increase in forming the chord

In the other you will have a clear measure of chord change speed increasing as your dexterity across the fretboard improves.
It never has to be just one or the other.

SusanMW

Full Access

Joined: 07/05/20

Posts: 74

Faith, I was just telling my boyfriend today that it's nice to return to music or chords I couldn't dream of before and now I'm actually able to do it. So rewarding!

ddiddler, that is a good idea to use both strategies or schools of thought. I'm finding both to be helpful. I'm also applying that when I am learning a strumming song too...if I'm having trouble with the chord change and keeping rhythm, sometimes I will just worry about keeping rhythm primarily and making the chord changes a secondary thought. Then eventually the chord changes come around (eventually....albeit with very slow pace...).

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

#9

Faith, I was just telling my boyfriend today that it's nice to return to music or chords I couldn't dream of before and now I'm actually able to do it. So rewarding!

ddiddler, that is a good idea to use both strategies or schools of thought. I'm finding both to be helpful. I'm also applying that when I am learning a strumming song too...if I'm having trouble with the chord change and keeping rhythm, sometimes I will just worry about keeping rhythm primarily and making the chord changes a secondary thought. Then eventually the chord changes come around (eventually....albeit with very slow pace...).

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

faith83

Peace, Love & John Denver

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 289

Originally Posted by: SusanMW

Faith, I was just telling my boyfriend today that it's nice to return to music or chords I couldn't dream of before and now I'm actually able to do it. So rewarding!

@SusanMW, wait till the first time you have that experience with a song that has a barre chord in it. It's awesome!

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#10

Originally Posted by: SusanMW

Faith, I was just telling my boyfriend today that it's nice to return to music or chords I couldn't dream of before and now I'm actually able to do it. So rewarding!

@SusanMW, wait till the first time you have that experience with a song that has a barre chord in it. It's awesome!

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel