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Can't Switch Chords Quickly


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#1 OFFLINE   Unit

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 08:56 PM

Hey Everyone,
I've been playing guitar for 2 months now and I'm practising simple songs, and some of Kirk's simpler finger picking songs... but I've noticed that I find myself having to always slow down my playing to a really slow pace 'cuz I can never switch chords easily and quickly enough. I come from the piano :unsure: I played that a lot - are there any piano players with some advice? or just anyone?
Thanks:smilinguitar:
~Matt

#2 OFFLINE   Teddy Madison

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 08:59 PM

Give it time. I played keyboards and chord changes are MUCH easier. It will come in time, just keep at it. It's all about muscle memory and when it happens it's pretty cool. All of a sudden you make a clean change. Of course, you then mess up the rest of the song cause your in shock. ;)

Wayne

#3 OFFLINE   allthumbs

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 09:10 PM

Two months is not long. Hang in there.

#4 OFFLINE   solidwalnut

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 11:10 PM

Unit said:

Hey Everyone,
I've been playing guitar for 2 months now and I'm practising simple songs, and some of Kirk's simpler finger picking songs... but I've noticed that I find myself having to always slow down my playing to a really slow pace 'cuz I can never switch chords easily and quickly enough. I come from the piano :unsure: I played that a lot - are there any piano players with some advice? or just anyone?
Thanks:smilinguitar:
~Matt

Try this exercise: Choose two or three chords. Say, start with G, D and C. Switch between them without regard to any rhythm or strumming pattern. Just simple down strokes. But don't play the downstrokes until you're sure that you have formed and are playing the chord cleanly. Start slow, work up some speed. Don't go any faster at all until you have formed the chord and are playing cleanly. Work up speed in switching. Get to where you can switch quickly. But never advance in speed unless you play the chord cleanly!

Like Wayne says, it's all muscle memory and it takes time. Before you know it, you'll have no trouble switching chords in time with the songs you're learning, and you'll even find that it's easy because you learned to switch between them much faster than any song.

Now choose three other chords and begin again.

Have fun!

Steve
Steve Cass
Solid Walnut Music/ASCAP

Becoming a great guitarist has less to do with fancy moves than it does becoming a master of the basics and learning musicianship.
It's not what you can't do. It's how you play what you already know.


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#5 OFFLINE   737blues

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 11:54 PM

The good news: You don't have any problem we haven't all experienced.

The bad: It does just take time, and a little thought about technique. Practice, practice and then some practice. Try thinking carefully about how each finger moves for a change and then place them deliberately, in sequence. Just like your keyboard. Accuracy first, then build up speed with practice.

#6 OFFLINE   6string

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 12:08 AM

Have you tried this Chord Changing lesson by Kirk?

http://www.guitarfor...ead.php?t=10156

Its sort of a walk before you run sort of thing
Deja Moo: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.

#7 OFFLINE   Stratrat

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 07:31 PM

Yep, what everybody else said. Quick chord changes will only come with plenty of practice.....you have to build up the "muscle memory" in your hands. It takes time, but as long as you keep at it, it will come. We've all been through it!
Mac


"I wish I could play that fast - then I would have the option of not doing that."


#8 OFFLINE   Unit

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:57 PM

Thanks a lot guys!
I'll keep at it!:hammers:

#9 OFFLINE   Aunt Doty

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:37 PM

I've been playing for about 7 months and it just takes time and practice!! One day you'll realize it's all coming together! I'm trying to learn barre chords now.........they sound really bad.. think I need some of that hand putty to strengthen my fingers or something. They sound really tinny and just awful!!!!:eek:

#10 OFFLINE   cshude

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 07:48 AM

Practice is the number one ingredient when starting out. The second key ingredient when just getting going is knowing the song inside and out. That way you are able to think ahead and get ready to make that change.
Chris

Life- live it.

#11 OFFLINE   schack

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 02:43 PM

hmmm....ive been playing for about a year now and
im not that good but
when i was beginnig i was having a really hard time too and still am...but something that reallly helped me was i just picked a few simple chords like G, Em, C, D
and play those over and over again
and pretty soon it will just become muscle memory
and it'll be a no brainer

#12 OFFLINE   Teddy Madison

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 04:03 PM

Oh yeah, After a year and a half, I'm still not guaranteed a clean chord and am not confident to play to a group but I have progressed enough to make me happy. That's your bottom line, do YOU like what you are doing. :)

Wayne

#13 OFFLINE   sweett

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 04:36 PM

I'm having the same sort of problem as Matt. I've only been playing for a month or so but I've been practising every night. Progress is slow but I am progressing.

I know a few people who play guitar and it appears nearly everyone struggles to start with but the key is practice, practice and more practice.

Also having this site is a real bonus so thanks to everyone for the tips and advice.

Cheers

Tony, UK

#14 OFFLINE   wpeach13

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 10:27 PM

ahaha..dont worry ur not da only one who's slow at switching chords :smilinguitar:

practicing really helps


#15 OFFLINE   Chris C

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 11:23 PM

Hi,

As everybody has said, it just takes time. Quite a lot of time. One annoying thing for beginners is discovering that “Easy Chords” and “Easy Songs” never actually are all that easy – except of course for the experienced player who told you they were easy. Nothing is easy when you first start out. Fortunately, things do pick up reasonably quickly if you put the time in.

There are also quite a few strategies that we can use when learning chord changes. Here are some of them:

    1. Get each chord nicely nailed before you start trying to do changes. A good way to start, once you’ve got the strings ringing cleanly is to lift the hand slightly off the neck and put it straight back down again, Repeat this many times, strumming as you do so, lifting a little higher each time. Your first ‘changes’ can even simply be away from the starting chord and back to it again

    2. Look for anchor points or shared patterns. Many common chord changes don’t need you to lift all your fingers off all the strings. Often you can leave one in position and swing the other fingers around it. This makes it much easier to land the change accurately. Also look out also for opportunities to slide a finger up or down a string and use it as an anchor point. Lastly, check for pattern repeats – sometimes part of your finger shape can be moved across and ‘re-used’ without totally reshaping your hand position.

    3. Make sure that you are keeping the neck steady. One reason that beginners can find it hard to land a chord easily is that the ‘landing ground’ moved when they took their hand off the neck! A strap can help, but just watching and being aware of movement is the first step.

Cheers,

Chris

#16 OFFLINE   guitarman37

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 11:40 PM

the best way i learned to change chords quickly was to go into a room turn the lights out and try to figure out the chords in the dark. its challanging but it got me where i needed to be.

#17 OFFLINE   Lyverbe

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 07:56 AM

guitarman37 said:

the best way i learned to change chords quickly was to go into a room turn the lights out and try to figure out the chords in the dark. its challanging but it got me where i needed to be.

Brilliant! Ok, I'd simply close my eyes, but I like that idea. I'll try that.

#18 OFFLINE   Europa

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 09:15 AM

Start practising switching between the easiest chords. Maybe just between only two chords, then three and so on.

Keep on practising. :smilinguitar:
I miss the comfort in being sad

#19 OFFLINE   Dan Carey

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 08:38 PM

You've already discovered the secret. Slow chord changes!
Do just that...change chord shapes slowly. Lift your fingers from the fretboard when you change chords and change shapes slowly. 1...2...3...

Then when you're comfortable with that try changing shapes from chord 1 to chord 2 a little faster. Don't try to play a song, just go from chord 1 to chord 2.
Then go from chord 2 to chord 3. Then go from chord 1 to chord 3. Then go from chord 3 to chord 2. Then add chord 4, and so on, so that your fingers develop muscle memory.
Say the chord name out loud when you play it. Don't worry about how silly you may sound because it will soon become an unconscious movement.
Play with the music and chord progressions that sound good to you.

It will start to come together sooner if your 'playing around' a bit.

Give it a try and get back to us here on this thread.

Good luck!
Dan

#20 OFFLINE   Matty Ryan

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 11:24 AM

I've been trying this aswell, but I've not made any progress. I've been practising 9 chords (E, A, D, Em, Am, Dm, C, G, F) for months now, working my way through them in that order then (E, Em, C, A, Am, G, D, Dm, F), but I'm still rubbish and having alot of trouble with motivation. I tried practising a single chord over and over, lifting my fingers up together and placing them all down at once but I got bored very quickly. I was going to move on and learn another 9 chords then play through all 18 in sequence. I thought it would increase flexibility in my left hand if I was trying other positioning, but after reading about "muscle memory" I don't know what to do. Would anyone recommend moving onto learning new chords, or should I stick with the first 9 until I can change between them quickly and cleanly? Any advice would be very much appreciated. :)
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