Beginner Guitar Lessons: Changing chords

You know how to play a few chords, but what's next? TG's beginner guitar lessons are here to walk you through the essentials. Here we look at changing chords.

Anticipating chord changes

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Anticipating the change involves thinking about the next chord while you're playing the chord before it, rather than waiting until you've finished playing one chord and looking at what follows it.

Tip: On the third strum of each chord, look at the next chord and start to imagine your fingers holding down the chord. This will make you more prepared for the change when the time comes.

Economise motion

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Inexperienced players often completely remove their hand from the guitar's neck before they put their fingers - one by one - onto the next chord. This wastes time. Rather than 'resetting' your hand each time by taking it off the neck, try looking for common notes or small movements within a chord change that will speed up the changes.

Tip: Notice that your first and second fingers don't move at all in this chord change, making it one of the easiest chord combinations there is.

Drill the changes

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Drilling chord changes will also help you change chords more fluently. Rather than practising a set of chords with strumming (where you only practise the change four times in 20 seconds of music), repeatedly change between the chords you find difficult - like G to C - to maximise the time you spend working on actually changing between chords.

Tip: Practise this example very slowly. All you're trying to do is get more familiar with the change - there are no prizes for fast but sloppy changes.