#1
This probably wouldn't work for the impatient, but if you've got some time on your hands try this:

I have had a guitar since 8th Grade, (2nd year in college now) and just started taking lessons 2 months ago. All I knew how to play was the open riff from Blink 182's Adam's Song.

The first song I got to learn was Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, which has G, C, D, and Em. I wasn't able to switch between the chords at all. I just kept trying to play through the song but it didn't help all.

Then I vaguely recalled hearing from some Discovery Channel show how it takes anywhere from 1000-3000 repetitions to have an item firmly commited to muscle memory. So, I set a metronome for 60 bpm, and just switched between the chords like this, 1 (G) and (switch) 2 (C) and (switch) 3 (D) and (switch) 4 (Em) and (switch)

Counting aloud and switching on the 'and' really helps with fluid transitioning, 1000 reps seems like a lot, but if you do it for 17 minutes, the time it takes to take a good crap, you've already done it a 1000 times and will be far on your way to getting it down.

The amount of times you need to do it depends on how much manual dexterity that you have in your fingers already, and whether on not your playing on an acoustic.

It surprises me that you see a lot of guys picking scales or doing finger exercises absentmindedly, but they don't do the same with chords.

I've got all the major, minor, and 7ths down, and I'm working on the sus2 and sus4, as well as scales. It's a ***** but it definitely works for getting things down quickly.

I hope this helps somebody else.
#2
The problem people have with chord transitions is the tension that builds up from stressing the fingers and wrist into un-natural position. Anytime I see someone who can't transition chords smoothly, their shoulder is up by their eyebrows and their thumb is like a vice on the neck.

Of course repetition is going to make the transition easier, doing it so many times turns it into something natural, but I still think the problem most people have is the tension when trying to grab the chords, and not so much lack of practice.
#4
the reason you dont see people doing chord exercises is because chords are so similar to each other that once you've got a few down you dont need to do exercises for them because they're already coming naturally anyway and changing one or 2 strings doesnt make a whole lot of difference. scales and finger exercises on the other hand, you can never do too much of that because the more you do it the faster you get and faster is desirable for that kind of stuff, not necessarily with chords because chords dont move as fast as single notes, does all that make sense?
anyway 1000-3000 repititions is strange because back when i used to do drama and we were learning miming, our teacher showed us techniques that could give you a good muscle memory of an object in like 10 seconds. i dunno if it'd work with chords but when you're in the desired position (in miming itd be like once you have the right size of a cup you're holding or something) flex your muscle in that area a few times and then it should be easier to go from another position to that exact position again.
#5
Quote by Necronomicon
the reason you dont see people doing chord exercises is because chords are so similar to each other that once you've got a few down you dont need to do exercises for them


Very true, once I was able to get C, G, D, and Em, down the rest of the non-barred major, minor, and seventh came quick. Now they bars are doing the same for me. I mean this for true beginners like me who are just picking it up

Finger exercises are great, because hitting the limit at speed for soloing takes years, but I think (at least some of my friends who've been playing for several years) may have neglected anything but power chords in favor of going 'wheedly-wheedly-wee', and now give me a blank stare if I ask them to strum C in 6/8.
#6
I've found that after developing my lead playing using all four fingers, that learning foreign chords and switching to them is pie. Not same shape, different note, but completly new fingers. I converted a song that was in Open C tuning to standard and the result was alot of very interesting chord shapes, but I picked them up almost instantaneously and the song was really easy to play.

Bry
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#7
Quote by myereadbik

Counting aloud and switching on the 'and' really helps with fluid transitioning, 1000 reps seems like a lot, but if you do it for 17 minutes, the time it takes to take a good crap, you've already done it a 1000 times and will be far on your way to getting it down.





Although it may raise some eyebrows if I walk into the bathroom with a guitar and don't come out for 17 minutes.
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#9
Quote by frenchyfungus


Although it may raise some eyebrows if I walk into the bathroom with a guitar and don't come out for 17 minutes.


Laugh it up, but my friend, who I believe is probably the best player in my city, said he used to do that. Granted he played for 8-10 hours everyday, it still goes to show every little bit counts lol. He is incredible...

Bry
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