A chord death grip


SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

First, I found a whole section of beginner lessons by Christopher that I didn't know about and I'm not even sure how I got there! But the lessons are great! I am definitely backtracking and getting the basics down.

I have been working on the chord group A, D, E. I notice the shape of the A is causing me to have a death grip on the neck and I can't seem to keep my thumb in a comfortable position. I try it with the thumb just on the back/side like Christopher has his but I end up muting the high E string. I usually have my thumb just behind the neck but it just doesn't seem to work well with this A chord.

Any tips for the A chord and how to relax? As with everything, it's probably just a matter of more practice on finding that sweet spot for he correct pressure. Thanks in advance.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 1
William MG
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Joined: 03/08/19
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Hi Susan,

there are a few ways to play the A and am not sure what lesson you are referencing but I am going to guess that what Christopher is showing is good starter position, but I also think I am safe in saying that once you progress, you may find different ways to play the A chord and it will most likely be song specific.

The chord progression you have is the chord progression for "Wild Thing" and when I learned to play it, I learned a method that kept my index finger on the 3rd string - 2cnd fret the whole time as I transitioned between the chords. I also wrap my thumb around the neck to mute the low E string - but you may not be at that stage yet and this may not be possible if you have a small hand and fat neck guitar.

On some songs like "Breaking the Law" all that is required is a simple bar across the 2cnd fret to make the A chord and this works well because it is a fast tempo high gain song so you don't need to be all that clean to play the song.

In terms of pressure, this is definately a time in thing. The more you play the more accustomed you will become at using less pressure. It just happens on its own, so I wouldn't try to force it, just keep practicing.

Good luck

See edit below...


# 2
SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

Thanks for the info.

This is the lesson I'm working on.

https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=11091&s_id=442

I also found some helpful drills here.

https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=18620&s_id=1437


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 3
ddiddler
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Posts: 327

Anders gives another way for the A which I have seen elsewhere.

Make a D

1st finger stays on 3rd string a touch back in the fret, 2nd finger can reach over to 4th string at front of fret and pinky or 3rd plonks on to the 2nd string.


# 4
ddiddler
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you sometimes find other lessons after a search or if you hit the channel tab as your looking around. Sometimes if you look at Styles in the learning progression


# 5
William MG
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Small edit here Susan. I just checked my work. In the Wild Thing example the index finger does slide up to the 1st fret to make the E.


# 6
faith83
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Just chiming in to say I'm always fascinated with which chords different people find difficult. The A chord is my go-to easy-peasy chord, but I cannot even with Dm...which I've not heard anyone else bitch about, LOL.


"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

# 7
SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

Ha, yes! I'm finding I'm starting to have "favorite chords" that are easy for me. A week ago I couldn't do a G for the life of me but I'm finally better at that and can do it a few different ways. Now it's a matter of chord changes.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 8
faith83
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It will come. One thing that helps me is to always keep my guitar within reach. If I sit down to watch a video or do a phone call, I mute the strings and just practice the chord changes with my left hand over and over again. Building muscle memory.


"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

# 9
SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

Great idea on the muting. I have done that with strumming patterns but not chords. I have a little mini practice guitar neck that I can curl up with on the couch and just practice chords on there too. Sometimes I take it with me on travels, too.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 10
faith83
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Does the practice neck actually work? Can you share which brand you use? I looked into them, but the reviews seemed really bad so i shied away. But I love the idea!


"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

# 11
SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

This is the exact one I have. My boyfriend gave it to me.

https://www.amazon.com/Practice-Portable-Beginner-Rotatable-AUPHY/dp/B089PRCT24/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=solo+pocket+guitar&qid=1602342394&sr=8-1

I don't really use the digital much but might start. Many chords I already have memorized. You are right though, the reviews are pretty bad! But it is nice to have a little fretboard right in your bag when you travel.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 12
snojones
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I would highly encourage you to follow Faith's tip about practicing placing your fingers on an silent guitar. Learning the required muscle memory to make fast chord changes is imperitive. Learning how to land on the fretboard with the chord fully formed (all the fingers in the right place, at once) is how you do that. When I learned chords, I used to practice that by grabbing chord forms without the guitar. This allowed me to practice anywhere. Using a guitar, as Hope suggests is even better. Eventually, you will be grabbing all your chords, fully formed, in the air and ready to land on the fretboard, in one smooth maneuver. That is the goal.

You are on the right track, hang in there, you will be soaring soon enough.

*********************************************************************************************

LATE ENTRY....

I just posted the above message and then saw your lattest entry about your practice neck. As to your question about having a fretboard in your purse.... They make something like that, no electronics, but you can take it anywhere. It is called a Fretty. They are not very long, so they are mostly suited for cowboy chords. But as i understand it, those are the chords you are now learning. Although I just looked at the trainer you listed and it seems very cool also.

I repeat you are on the right track!!


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# 13
SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

Thank you!

I have learned (thanks to the lessons on how to practice) that breaks are a good thing, too. I'm always a little better after a break.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 14
mjgodin
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Hi Susan,

Have you tried playing any songs? Try some of the "Made Easy" ones. Some of these are just two or three chords in very repetitive sequence so you get your practice in making the chord changes, but with the added fun of playing music. You got it keep it fun. Thats what keeps you motivated to continue. Doing constant exercises and drills will burn you out quickly. Keep going on with your lessons, but every now and then check out the song library and search on the "Made Easy " or Beginner level songs that have the chords you've learned. Caren Anderson is great at teaching them as not only does she teach the song, but gives advice on different ways of making the chord shapes to make it easier for beginners to transition between them.

One trick I learned on the A chord was to use my last three fingers instead of first three. Provided you've got some strength and dexterity in your pinky. It's a little easier to cram those three in that second fret.

Good Luck,

Moe


# 15
SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

Thanks for that reminder Moe,

I do have a few songs ready to go and that I try. There is a nice section of 3 chord Christmas songs on here that I like by Lisa, chords G, C, and D. So that's one area that I'm working on. It is a really good collection of songs. :)


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 16
mjgodin
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Joined: 11/23/19
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There ya go. You'll be the life of the holiday parties. :)


# 17
john of MT
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Originally Posted by: faith83

Just chiming in to say I'm always fascinated with which chords different people find difficult. The A chord is my go-to easy-peasy chord, but I cannot even with Dm...which I've not heard anyone else bitch about, LOL.

Deep back into the last century, my nemesis was open D7.

As for open A... I rarely see the chord formed the way I was taught. Fingers on the second fret; middle on D string, ring on G string, pinky on B string.


"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins
# 18
snojones
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My nemisis was an A form barr chord played with my pointer and my ring finger. That one to a very long time until I could make a clean sound out of it.


Captcha is a total pain in the........

# 19
faith83
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I second what Moe says. That's my other Big Tip -- play along with recordings of songs that you LOVE and really connect with. And if you can -- and I think this is key even though maybe it sounds a bit silly -- play the LIVE/in concert versions rather than the studio versions, and do so while doing a bit of fantasizing that you're onstage with your idol.

Like I said, it might sound silly, but it sure makes it more fun and it tricks the brain into upping its game. After all, you have 30,000 fans screaming for more! ;-)

John of MT -- that's how I've always played the A. I like having my index finger free to reach for the E or down to the D. So you are not alone!

Snojones -- I'm still struggling with quickly reaching for the 5th string Am barre chord form, because I learned Am with the index, middle and ring fingers, and my muscle memory is not happy with changing that over... sigh...

I love this forum.


"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

# 20