Guitar Tricks Blog
Posted: July 17, 2020

Guitar Chords Easy Changes

guitar chords

Guitar chord changes can be easy if you follow some of these tips from instructor Gary Heimbauer. Gary suggests that every guitar player, new or experienced can learn to be better at changing chords if they practice making chord shapes while hovering above the strings, focusing on fingers and building strength, and much more. These are five quick and easy tips on how to master perfect chord changes. 

Hover Chords

The first tip is to practice hovering your chords above the fretboard without having your fingers touch the strings. So what happens is your fingers are making the chord shape but they’re essentially floating above the strings. This helps because it builds muscle memory and allows you to play a chord strictly from muscle memory as opposed to using the strings and the fretboard as an anchor. It sounds tough, but it will really help your playing in the long run. 

In order to practice this effectively, you must take your time when creating the floating chord changes. Take as long as you need to create the chord shape while your fingers are hovering, and then once you have it, simply drop down onto the strings. 

The next part of this tip is to transition from one chord to the next. You’re going to do the same thing. If you’re playing a D major open chord, and switching into an E major, it’s going to feel a little weird at first. But simply lift off from the D chord, and then create the E major open chord while hovering above the strings. Again, remember to take your time with this. Once you have the chord shape, drop it down. At the heart of this tip is that by doing this, all of your fingers will move together, instead of one at a time. 

Build Finger Strength

This second tip is all about building finger strength. And what you want to do is build finger strength one at a time. This may sound counterintuitive to what was talked about in the first tip, but this is more about finding the fingers that are slower than the other and focusing on that one. For example, if you are switching from D major to E major open chords, which only require three fingers, the 1, 2, and 3rd fingers, but perhaps your 3rd finger is a little slow to transition, then you need to focus on that 3rd finger. 

You can call these fingers anchor fingers because they anchor the other fingers in place. So if you’re moving from D major to E major, you can make sure to move that 3rd finger into place first. And you can do this with the hovering tip as well. There will always be at least one finger that isn’t quite moving as fast as you want it to, and that’s the finger you want to move into position first. 

Drop Chords and Repeat

The third tip is fairly simple and precisely adds on top of the first two chord changing tips. One you’re able to move your fingers into position above the fretboard, and are able to correct your slower fingers by focusing on their movements first, you must then drop the chord into place. When you’re able to create the chord shape, simply drop them onto the fretboard and then strum. Then lift off and then drop your fingers back down while holding that chord shape again, and then strum. Do this over and over again. This is to get your fingers comfortable and used to feeling the chords. 

There are other tips too, like how to practice chord changes by timing yourself, and focusing on rhythm over everything else. Learn about these tips and more in the full lesson with Gary Heimbauer. 

 

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