May 6

How To Speed Up Chord Changes On Guitar

Guitar lessons for beginners


In this article I am going to break down one of the absolute WORST ways to practice your chords.

If you have been struggling to get your chord transitions down this may be EXACTLY what you need.

A huge milestone for beginning guitar players is to be able to play their chords and make transitions quickly and in time with the music.

When they struggle they often think that:

1. It's hard and takes a long time
2. There is something wrong with them 
(They are too old, don't have natural talent, their hand size etc etc)

For most it doesn't occur to them that its simply their approach...

It's HOW they are practicing the chords that cause them to not make progress.

If this is you, its not your fault!

There is so much misinformation around this topic that its mind boggling. It's really not that hard. Yes, it takes practice but not as much as you may think...

So lets break down the WRONG WAY to practice your chords then I'll show you the RIGHT WAY that has a 100% success rate.  (assuming you have good / decent technique)

Over the past decade of helping people learn how to play the guitar  I've made some very interesting discoveries...

One of which is that


What happens is guitar players try to play chords (that are too hard for them) which means they can't get their fingers where they need to go fast enough to keep in time with the rhythm.  
Which means their coordination doesn’t develop BECAUSE THEY CAN'T KEEP A RHYTHM!

Does that makes sense?

If you try to play the FULL VERSION (more on this below) of the chords in the beginning it's like trying to run before you walk...

It's like trying to learn to juggle with 8 balls instead of 1 or 2...

It's like trying to do algebra before you learn the whole add and subtract thingy...

When you try to play chords before your hands are ready for them all it does is slow down your progress.

Yes, I know that's how most guitar teachers teach chords
Yes I know that's what most internet sites have on their web pages 
Yes I know that how most books teach the chords

and it's fine - if you ALREADY CAN PLAY THE CHORDS!

But if you SKIP STEPS You will literally have to work 10x harder and deal with all the frustration that comes along with it.  

I don't want this to be you and I see players struggling all the time with this and its really easy to fix.

So now I am going to break down how to learn your chords THE RIGHT WAY so you know EXACTLY what to do and start getting better! 

Step 1 (Level 1 Chords)

Below I have what I call "Level 1 Chords" for the "C" chord and the "G" chord. They are simply ONE FINGER chords and we are going to train our hands & brain to KEEP A RHYTHM while doing the chord transition. 

Step 2 (Level 2 chords)

The next step is to literally just add a finger in BUT you MUST go slow enough so that you can keep a steady rhythm. I wrote the beats below the music so you get it right... The ONE is green as that is where you strum and if you have to pause to get your fingers in place you are going too fast.

P.S. Did you notice how the Baby chords use the SAME fingerings that are used in the  BIG BOY / BIG Girl version? I Am BUILDING YOU UP to do what you want. 

Step 3 (Level 3 Chords)

The last step is to add in remaining fingers. 

** Note, It may take you a few days or few weeks to get from step 2 to 3. Don't rush it. But it WILL come together! 

So there you have it!

It's literally this easy to get your chords down! Some people struggling for months or years and its just because they are going about it ALL THE WRONG WAY... 

But not you!

Now you know what to do

To recap:
The worst way is to start with the FULL VERSION (all the fingers) because you can't keep a rhythm and get your fingers in place. Keeping a rhythm is critical to building neural connections in your hands / brain (coordination.)

To solve this you simply strip away fingers so that you can keep the rhythm thus allowing coordination to be built. 

Which means you will:

  • Build coordination
  • Develop your rhythm skills
  • Get your chords down faster
  • Have fun when playing the guitar


Hope this helps!

About the author 

Preston Howard

Preston Howard is the owner & founder of SLC Guitar and creator of the Multi-Dimensional Guitar Training Method. A unique and ground breaking method that builds aspiring guitar players SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, and CREATIVITY in many areas ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Besides guitar, he enjoys, snowboarding, fitness, and riding his motorcycle. vroom vroom!

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