Hi, I'm a beginner with the guitar and have only been playing about 2 months now. At first I was having alot of problems with chords and blanking out other strings with my fingers, even though i have gotten a little better and can play a few chords clean now...I still blank out some strings are the more difficult chords...but my main problem where i seem to fall behind in is transitioning from one chord to another no matter how easy the chords...want to know if you guys of any advice for me? I also purchased a metronome to see if that will help me but don't really know a good bpm to start at or aim for? Thanks for the help in advance...I have a yahama fg acoustic steel string guitar.
You just need more time. You're probably still at the point where you need to think about what the next chord is and where your fingers need to be for it. Once that's no longer necessary it will become a lot easier.
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It's natural when you're just beginning to have trouble changing chords. Just give it time and a lot of practice, and it'll come. As far as "blanking" strings, just work on your finger strength. Do exercises, and make sure that your fingers are in exactly the right place when you play a chord. No use building muscle memory if you aren't doing it right.

Also, acoustic guitars take more finger strength to push down the strings and make the notes clear. You could try an electric until you get the hang of it and then move back to acoustic.
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Last edited by *kill'emall* at Mar 25, 2011,
practice your chord changes with the metronome. start slow, like 50 BPM or something. ANd just go back and forth and back and forth between the chords. just make sure you go slow enough that each one sounds perfect

It takes a while before you start noticing the improvement (like lifting weights) but it'll be worth it
I've had some success using this method with some of my students, so I'll share it with you.

Changing chords when you first start playing the guitar is incredibly frustrating. I HATED playing chords (WHY PLAY C MAJOR WHEN I CAN PLAY A C POWER CHORD!!!!!!), but learned that I had an unfavorable opinion of them due to not being able to play them. It seems like what may be holding you back is making sure your fingers are going down properly, in the correct order.

What I did was figure out an "order of importance" for which fingers to bring down in chord transitions. When you're moving from a C major to a G major, and you're strumming down exclusively, you are obviously going to need to be putting your middle finger and index finger down for the G and B (3 on E and 2 on A respectively) before your other fingers. As you strum down, you're given an extra split second to drop your ring and pinky for the D and G (3 on B and 3 on e, respectively). This split second doesn't seem like a lot of time when you think about it, but during practice it can make a lot of difference. When transitioning with chords, make sure you're not trying to put down "blocks" of fingers, put your fingers down in order of the shape you're playing (Some chords you can't do this with - beware) so you can become familiar with the shape. Trying to drop all your fingers down on a chord without even associating yourself with the shape will hinder you more than hurt you.

And, as always, practice it slowly so you can get it under your fingers . Start between 45-60 BPM playing quarter notes; if this is easy, speed up a bit and still playing on the quarter notes. Once you can do up to 90, slow it back down to between 50-60 and start practicing the transitions using eighth notes.

Most of all, don't be too worried about it! You've only been playing for two months, you will soon learn that patience will make learning the guitar less of a chore and more fun + rewarding. Best of luck!

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I don't mean to brag or anything, but I've got this in about 2 weeks. Maybe because its because of my love of guitar by practicing around 4+ hours a day, but it all comes down to this:

Practice WILL always get you better!

Of course its with the chords I know: G, D, E minor, asus7, F, and a couple others I'm forgetting. I learned it while learning to play an acoustic song, so that may help.
I agree w/ what every1 says. Don't worry if u're having a hard time. I was stuck for a week bec. of chord transition(had a small hand back then). And my timing still suck even after that.

Just look for a song you really like w/c is composed of easy chords(G A Am Em D Dm C) in order for you not to lose interest in guitar playing.
Changing between open chords well is hard, don't let anyone tell you different.

One thing that's super important is there are loads of "shortcuts" between open chords that make things much much easier - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DcjDp5Iexw

Stuff like, when going between C and Am, you only need to move your 3rd finger to change between the chords. If you move all three fingers it's three times harder than just moving the one. The vid link is all the open chord shortcuts that I could think of last summer.

(oh, and tell me if you see why it's got so many dislikes, I thought it was a pretty good lesson. )
Number one is don't listen to the guys talking about getting it in two weeks. I think at month 3 I felt like I was starting to get faster at changing. The two things that help are practicing changing between chords where at least one finger can stay on a string and keeping your fingers as close to the strings as you can. Don't lift the fingers way up and then put them back down. What made it really click in my head was practicing a scale excruciatingly slow and concentrating on barely moving my fingers while I was doing it. I did that for about two days and then suddenly my fingers were flying between chords. Anyway, good luck
The best way to learn to do this is by starting out with chords that have very similar fingerings. You'll find that when learning to play chords this way, you actually rewire your brain to think of chords as shapes rather than fingerings. You can then begin to play more and more complex chords and easily move between them.
I had a similar problem when I got started with chords. My teacher had me to do a G --> C -->D --> C exercise.

So firstly you need to know how to play the G, C, & D major chords. Once you know them you get a metronome and set it to something slow like 60 bpm.

Start the metronome off and strum the first chord (G chord) on the first count. Use the next 3 counts to transition to the next chord which is the C. Strum the C chord on the first count of the metronome and again use the next 3 counts to get to the D. Strum the D and use the 3 counts to go back to the C. Finally strum the C chord and use the 3 counts to go back to the G and repeat the process.

After you have that down pat on 60 bpm, you can either increase the tempo by 10 bpm until you get to 120bpm, or add another strum to be played on the on the 2nd count, and then increase the tempo once you can play it.

Its does start off slow, but this really helped me out.
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Last edited by Paul Bright at Mar 28, 2011,
Really good advice from everyone...The C and G chords are prob the 2 hardest chords for me that I currently know to strum cleanly with out muffing out strings. Changing between them isn't so difficult its changing between them and getting a clean strum.
I'm thinking its about your fretting hand changing fast enough without losing a lots of sound. So you want it to sound smooth right?

If its easy to change between chords, shouldn't you get a clean strum? (if you fret them correctly of course).

Feel free to eloborate.
I'm sorry that is not what I meant as I re-read what i wrote. I mean that the actual finger movement from C to G or vice versa isn't that difficult...its very hard for me changing them smoothly, quick, and without blanking out other strings. I hope that explains it better to what I mean.

I need to do some finger stretch and finger independence exercises...I think this will help me a lot with chords and the smooth transitioning between them. Does anyone know of good exercises or tools that get/buy?
I need to do some finger stretch and finger independence exercises...I think this will help me a lot with chords and the smooth transitioning between them. Does anyone know of good exercises or tools that get/buy?

Well, not really to be honest - but you might want to try this - www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvhZ80OsuTQ

Try reading the main technique sticky section on open chords as well.