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Playing and Changing Chords

Playing Chords

Once you have got understanding of scales and can play tune (notes, lead) of few songs at different places on the fretboard, its time to start playing chords. Start with the simplest open chords and focus on playing them correctly and changing at faster pace before jumping to barre chords. You may also use capo if you have big hands or thick fingers.

How to play chords:

  • Make sure your fingernails are short. If you have long nails then tip of the fingertip will not press the strings with right pressure. Also your fingertips will not be perpendicular to the fretboard and may interfere with other strings
  • The finger tip should be perpendicular to the fretboard and tip should press the string in the middle of the fret. Yes in the begining it will not be easy, it will pain and you might even get blisters if the distance between string and fretboard is not optimal. With time the tips will get hardened.
  • The thumb should be at the back of the neck. This will give you fingers support and also help keeping fingers from interfering with other strings.
  • Try playing simple chords like Em, A. Feel yourself the guitar and adjust in a way you find comfortable. There is no universal rule.

Changing Chords:

Everyone without exception has gone through the stage of frustration when changing chords, so don´t worry. With practice you WILL get better.

  • Don´t expect to make progress fast. Start with the simplest chords, lets say C, Am, G
  • Play very slowly but maintain the same tempo. Lets say in the beginning you can play one chord every three seconds. Try playing chords accurately slowly. At this stage accuracy is the most important thing.
  • Slowly increase the speed. Don´t go faster if you not able to maintain accuracy
  • Move to chords which are farther away and repear the above steps. Slowly your fingers will start to remember the patterns and move in unision to occupy the fret.

Once you take step towards Barre chords, changing becomes faster since the pattern remains the same, you only move your hand up or down. Discipline is very important, and you should be playing everyday, even if for 30 minutes:

  • Practice daily with shorter sessions rather than a long one once a week
  • Find somebody to play with even if the other person plays some other instrument
  • Set time aside for each part. Spend time on melody (playing tune, lead, notes or tabs), harmony and rhythm. Also in the begining start playing different scales, songs every two week. You will start understanding basic patterns. You ear and comprehension will also increase
  • .....