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Old 12-16-2012, 02:01 PM   #1
Turbo2212
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Staggering fingers when changing chords

Hi all, I'm new here and have been playing the guitar about 4 months. I seem to struggle changing chords quickly as my fingers seem to stagger rather than landing on my next chord all at the same time. This really slows the change down and I've practised repeatedly to try get out of this habit. Is it common? Any exercises or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 12-16-2012, 10:03 PM   #2
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Look for fingers that the chords have in common. When changing from an open A minor to open C major, all you really have to do is move your ring finger (assuming that you play A minor with your index on the B string, your middle finger on the D string and your ring finger on the G string).

Other than that, just practice more. It takes a while. You've only been playing for 4 months. That's nothing.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:30 PM   #3
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Use a metronome. Start at a slower speed and gradually work up to a faster speed.

Or just keep playing and learning new songs and it will come eventually. But with a metronome, you can tackle this in days instead of months.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:02 PM   #4
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On justinguitar.com, Justin uses one-minute changes to help with chord changes. Basically, you're just changing between chords as smoothly as you can in a minute and you keep track of your progress over time. Start slow and soon your fingers will be able to make the changes easily. Don't worry about how slow you're going at first because in the end it benefits you and nobody is going to see how slow you're going.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:27 PM   #5
CarsonStevens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbo2212
Is it common?


Quite. I still have trouble with changing to open C and F chords, mostly because I never use them. You'll find that eventually the chords you use most often will become automatic first. For me, it was open A, open D, open E, because the first few songs I wrote used those chords exclusively and I practiced them over and over. Also, as has been mentioned, they have positions in common.

It's going to be hard to learn every chord under the sun competently and quickly. I'd personally stick to a few, or to learn movable chords (barres, power chords, etc.) that you can use anywhere to maximize the number of chords you "know".

But, yes. It's all just a matter of practice, and four months isn't going to cut it.
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:27 PM   #6
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Well yeah it is common. Ever guitar player passed through that phase but don't worry, you will get better in no time, that is if you practice of course! Just exercise on easy songs: I would recommend Let it be- The Beatles for a variation of open chords, then try some song with bar chords. Don't rush things first, play the song in "slow motion" then quicken up your pace a little till you get to the speed you are aiming for.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarsonStevens
Quite. I still have trouble with changing to open C and F chords, mostly because I never use them. You'll find that eventually the chords you use most often will become automatic first. For me, it was open A, open D, open E, because the first few songs I wrote used those chords exclusively and I practiced them over and over. Also, as has been mentioned, they have positions in common.

It's going to be hard to learn every chord under the sun competently and quickly. I'd personally stick to a few, or to learn movable chords (barres, power chords, etc.) that you can use anywhere to maximize the number of chords you "know".

But, yes. It's all just a matter of practice, and four months isn't going to cut it.


+1. Barre chords and their inversions, especially if you play an electric.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:22 PM   #8
Lutz Richter
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In addition to what is already said here, it is a good idea to practice only one chord at a time you struggle with, without strumming it.
To do this, grip that chord, then relax your fingers without moving away from the strings, then grip it again, then relax again... repeat this over and over again for some minutes.
Then do the same, but lift your fingers off the strings, then gripping the chord again (all notes at the same time, this is important!), then lifting the fingers off, .... over and over again.
This is a very efficient way to get comfortable with new chords and change them quickly. I know that it works well, my students improve fast with this method.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lutz Richter
In addition to what is already said here, it is a good idea to practice only one chord at a time you struggle with, without strumming it.
To do this, grip that chord, then relax your fingers without moving away from the strings, then grip it again, then relax again... repeat this over and over again for some minutes.
Then do the same, but lift your fingers off the strings, then gripping the chord again (all notes at the same time, this is important!), then lifting the fingers off, .... over and over again.
This is a very efficient way to get comfortable with new chords and change them quickly. I know that it works well, my students improve fast with this method.


Thank you for sharing this. I'm going to give it a whirl and see if it helps any.
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