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How To Change Guitar Chords

Jun 2, 2008
When you are learning how to play the guitar, changing chords will be something you need to do all of the time. When you first start it is quite bewildering and most beginners think they will never be able to change chords because they cannot even manage the simple ones. Well, don't despair! At the end of the day the simple chords are not given this name because they are easy to play. You are quite right to feel that many of them require complex movements of the fingers to get it just right.

Of course, practice is required to enable you to change chords smoothly but there are a few other things you can do to help yourself along. First of all, make sure you relax. If you fail to do this and your shoulders and arms are tense you will be gripping the guitar so tightly, changing chords will be practically impossible to do smoothly and with speed.

This added tension makes the fingers press against each other and the space which is needed between the fingers in non existent. When this happens, each finger cannot be moved individually and placed on the required string to create the necessary sound of the chord. Even worse than this, the tense and tightly curled hand becomes sweaty and this does not help your guitar playing at all.

In particular, take care to relax your left hand as much as you possibly can when placing it on the neck of the guitar. The fingers, although curled, should be relaxed and loose, separated from each other with space between the fingers and the guitar, especially when changing from G to C chords, which you will find is one of the more difficult moves to make.

Try not to lead with your strong index finger. When playing the C chord, put your second finger on the 4th string first of all, and whilst keeping your hand outwards, place your third finger next and then last of all put your index finger on the 2nd string, first fret. If you allow enough space between your index finger and the guitar to fit a pencil through, you will not go far wrong.

Start slowly when you begin practicing chords. The world as you know it is not going to finish if you have not reached perfection within a couple of days. So sit down with your guitar and practice your chord changing in a relaxed manner and it will not be long before it all becomes clear and your have this skill off to perfection.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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