One common question that’s asked by many beginning guitar players is “how can I learn to switch between different chords quickly”? There are a few reasons why guitarists have trouble switching between chords, and we will take a look at some of them in this guitar lesson.
Placing all of your fingers down at the same time
Especially when learning a new chord, the tendency is to put one finger down at a time. This is fine at first, but soon enough you will find that it slows you down drastically. It is important to work on placing all of your fingers on a chord at the same time. Here is an exercise to help you learn how to do this
1. Place all of your fingers down on a chord that you have chosen to work on. You might have to put your fingers down one at a time at first.
2. Very slowly lift your fingers off of the strings. As you do, try to hold your fingers in the shape of the chord. Do not lift more than a centimeter away from the strings at first. Try to watch those stray fingers that do not want to obey your wishes.
3. Put your fingers back down on the strings that they just came from. Try to make all of your fingers touch the strings at the same time.
As you become more comfortable with the above technique, try to lift your fingers further away from the strings each time. Also try to increase the speed that you lift up and put down your fingers.
Switching between two different guitar chords
Next, pick two different chords and try switching between them in slow motion. Try to get your fingers in the shape of the chord before your fingers touch the strings.
Keep your right hand in-charge strumming
The next common block to switching chords quickly, is a mental one. Often, beginning guitar players want to make sure everything is perfect before they will strum a chord. Sometimes you have to make a leap of faith that you will make it to the next chord. If you do make a mistake, or put your finger on the wrong string, don’t stop. Keep going, and fix any problems with the chord as you are playing. Perfectionists can not stand doing this. But if you have to check and double check every chord that you are playing in a song, it will never sound like a song.
You will get more accurate with your chords the more you play. If any particular chords or chord combinations are giving you trouble, by all means stop and work on them. But when it is time to play a song, do the best you can and keep going.
When strumming a song, I always tell my students that your right hand (strumming hand) should be in-charge. If your left hand is in control, then it will stop, make sure everything is perfect, and then tell the right hand it can continue. If the right hand is in-charge, it will keep moving and not give the left hand time to stop and smell the roses. The left hand will learn very quickly to keep up, if the right hand is in-charge.