I'm just starting out, so what would some good practices be to strengthen my hand and get it used to changing position more quickly?
Start with a couple of chords at a time, set a metronome and change between them; like D to G, or C to Am. Once you are in time (say 50bpm), start increasing the time by (relatively) short intervals (say 5-10bpm) and keep repeating until you are comfortable.

Once you have mastered a few (play the chords both strumming, down strokes, up strokes and arpeggios - be sure you can hear all the notes ringing clearly) change them around a bit. For example if you are confident changing G to D, maybe try G to Em. Or add an additional chord (like G - D - Am).

It sounds dull, but repetition will develop your muscle memory and improve your technique.
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Quote by maddog61
I'm just starting out, so what would some good practices be to strengthen my hand and get it used to changing position more quickly?

Learning open chords and switching between them. If you're playing electric guitar, learning to bend in tune is a great strengthening exercise.

I wouldn't really worry about doing any regimented exercise besides getting started learning songs you like. Pick a song you like (almost any pop or rock standard can be reduced to open chords and digestible riffs) and start getting it under your belt. Practice won't feel so much like practice if it's something you enjoy playing.
Hey Maddog!

I tend to agree with Slap-happy and Geldin that starting out with learning your open position chords is a good place to start. They're used all over the place, so as soon as you can play them you can start putting songs together.

You could start by just learning the chord shapes themselves. That would be Em, E, Am, A, Dm, D, G, and C chords.

Then try pairing them together, practicing strumming each chord once and switching between them.

Then try strumming each chord 3 or 4 times.

Here are some good pairs to try out (meaning they sound good and are very common):

G to Em
C to Am
Em to Am
G to C
G to D
A to E
A to D

Hope that gets you going!
Last edited by BenTunessence at Jul 18, 2013,
Hi I've learnt a few chords now but struggle with strumming patterns
I'm into oasis but can never get the strumming right except for live 4 ever any help please
Hey leewaldronr1!

See if this helps you get into strumming more:

1. Get comfortable down-strumming with a metronome. Pick a couple chords, and strum down 4 times for each of them along with a metronome, switching chords in time. When you can do this, move on to the next step.

2. Add an up strum at the end of your pattern so you have Down Down Down Down-Up. If you count the rhythm, it's (one - two - three - four and). Again, pick a couple chords to practice with, and try the strumming pattern a couple times on each chord.

3. Same exercise, but with this pattern: Down Down-Up Down-Up Down. Count it: (one - two and - three and - four).

4. Same exercise, but with a tricky "missed" down strum: Down Down-Up "miss"-Up Down. Count it: (one - two and - "miss" and - four). Where it says "miss", you still swing your hand down, but don't hit the strings. If you can miss a down strum like this on purpose, that's a huge step in being able to strum without thinking about patterns.

The overall goal here is to be able to keep your right arm (strumming arm) swinging with the beat of the song. Your right arm becomes a sort of metronome for your playing, swinging down for the "down beat" and up for the "up beat", whether you hit the strings or not.
Last edited by BenTunessence at Jul 18, 2013,
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