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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

Does anyone have any tips for a beginner who's trying to do chord progressions before playing any actual songs? I can do Em to E, but so far I've found that it's the only one I can do. My problem lies in the fact that, for example, if I want to do E to Am, even though it's just sliding the fingers down one string, I can't seem to get my fingering position right.

Also, any tips on how to do a G to C, or Bm to D? I think once I get these two progressions at least semi-easily done, the others will be even easier.

One last thing...would it be better if I just try some 3-chord songs for this? If so, any good recommendations for a beginner? I've been thinking 'bout doing SIlent Night, but I can't find any chords, just tabs (like A fret 10, etc...)


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(@jeffster1)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 231
 

There's no quick tips that I know of. Practice is the only thing that will help you. Believe me, it will come with time. Eventually you will develop the muscle memory that will let you make these chord changes quickly.

Edit: When I started playing guitar I used first second and third fingers to play the G chord. After a few years, someone suggested using second third and pinky. If you're not already doing this, I suggest you try it. It makes chord changes a lot easier in my opinion, expecially G to C or F.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

Hi Raevin,

Welcome to GN.

Really it is a question of practice, there are some tips but you need to practice each chord change slowly. Try to focus on a small set of chords and then increase it with new chords or voices. One of the most usual tips is that you must find an "anchor" a finger that doesn't change the position. For example, the E -> Em only implies one change, two fingers are fixed. Sometimes this is not possible. Try to do the movements very slow at the beginning, it is important a clean and good sound, the speed comes with the practice.

It is interesting that you also learn songs with those chords. It is funnier in that way ;)

Virtually (almost) each song could be played with three chords. The Silent Night is a very good example of three song chords. Search for another similar songs in the "Easy songs" forum and also in the "Songs for beginners" section in the main site.

You could try "Horse with no name", it is a two chords song!


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(@big-lar)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 165
 

Hello raevin,

I'm a newbie as well and I've been struggling though these same issues. I came upon this tip at justinguitar.com. Try this exercise for smoothing out chord changes:

Lets say you want to smooth out the G to C transition (my personal bane). Get a stopwatch or timer of some sort and play each chord, G then C then G then C, one downstroke each. Continue for 1 minute. Count out loud each time you change. Do this every day (or every time you pick up your guitar) and notice how the number keeps going up. Don't be discouraged if the number starts out really low, it will increase and smooth out in time.

You can do this for any chord change that is particularly problematic. It has really helped me.

Also, I think 2 and 3 chord songs are a great choice for practicing this. Look at the Easy Songs for Beginners here at guitarnoise for some inspiration. You can also google for a song title with "guitar chords" and usually find something. Easy songs also have the side benefit of helping with your strumming and rhythm. Don't be afraid to slow way down if you need to. Use a metronome if you can. If you don't have a hardware one, there are a ton of software ones available for free. Again, google is your friend here.

I have a few "Easy Guitar" chordbooks as well. These are great for providing variety. Be sure to pick songs you like. That will help with motivation. I hope this helps. I'm right there with you buddy.


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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

Thank you all for the tips. :D Ah, I'll be practicing them like crazy definiately.

@jeffster1: Actually, thinking 'bout it, the 2, 3, 4 combination would make more sense, given the stretch the 3rd finger would have to do otherwise. I'll play the G chord w/ 2,3,4 instead and see how that goes for me. ^.^

@Nuno: I've been trying to find others that have an anchor finger, such as Am to A, but most of them seem to not be that kind, lol. But, like you and all the others said, it's more just a matter of practice. :D I've been looking through the "Easy Songs" forum and "Songs for Beginners" section for the past couple of days, and I was going to attempt "Horse With No Name", but the chord change needed threw me off for the time being...so, I'll be working on that and go from there. :D

@Big Lar: I was reading that last night on his website, and tried it with the E->Em. Gonna try it with some other ones soon, too. The way I learn usually is by going slow and just going faster when I master the current speed...for example (maybe bad? lol), on Guitar Hero...I don't attempt songs on medium until I get 100% on easy...it's easier than gunning it too fast, haha. The problem with songs I like, are that they are a lil' too advanced...but, well, I saw a Greensleeves tab on here earlier, and I mgiht try that too...it is a good song, and seems easy enough. :D

Actually, I forgot I found this: http://www.8notes.com/school/lessons/guitar/guitar_lesson1/guitar_lesson1.asp

It's a 3-chord song, but it's not too bad...it starts off with D, then G and then A IIRC. After I do HWNN, I'm going to try the song at the link I posted and see what I can do.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

There are several open chords in which you can use the anchor: C <--> Am, Dm <--> G7, D <--> G (with four fingers), C <--> Fmaj7, E <--> Bm7, etc.

But, don't worry, it is very usual. Try to practice sets of chords. For example, with D, G and A you can play lots of three chord songs. Add the C and you will play the same song in another key (for example, with these chords you could play an easy version of Clapton's Wonderful tonight). The progression C - Am - Dm - G7 is the basis of lots of 60s songs (or G - Em - Am - D7).

Focus on a small set each week and when you play those chords perfectly add a couple of them.

The "Horse with no name" uses two very, very easy chords because you only use two fingers each time so you can put your emphasis on the other side: the strumming hand. ;)


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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

There are several open chords in which you can use the anchor: C <--> Am, Dm <--> G7, D <--> G (with four fingers), C <--> Fmaj7, E <--> Bm7, etc.

But, don't worry, it is very usual. Try to practice sets of chords. For example, with D, G and A you can play lots of three chord songs. Add the C and you will play the same song in another key (for example, with these chords you could play an easy version of Clapton's Wonderful tonight). The progression C - Am - Dm - G7 is the basis of lots of 60s songs (or G - Em - Am - D7).

Focus on a small set each week and when you play those chords perfectly add a couple of them.

The "Horse with no name" uses two very, very easy chords because you only use two fingers each time so you can put your emphasis on the other side: the strumming hand. ;)
Thanks! :) Right now I'm trying to play Horse with no name, and it is kind of tricky for me, but I'll be getting the hang of it soon. :D My main problem with it is going from B/G to e/D...but, it's not much different than E->Em.

After I get HWNN down, I'll work on the D, G, A chord progression.


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 pab
(@pab)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 103
 

for D to A, you should be able to anchor your first finger on the 3rd string (left over from the D chord), and move your 2nd finger to 4th string, and 3rd finger to 2nd string. Not only is this faster, but it also is easier (imo) to playing the A chord with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers all in a row, which is how it it traditionally explained.

pab


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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

for D to A, you should be able to anchor your first finger on the 3rd string (left over from the D chord), and move your 2nd finger to 4th string, and 3rd finger to 2nd string. Not only is this faster, but it also is easier (imo) to playing the A chord with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers all in a row, which is how it it traditionally explained.

pab
Thanks for this :) The A chord is very hard for me to get, but maybe this will help....question though. For the D chord, isn't finger 1 supposed to be on fret 3, and fingers 2 & 3 on fret 2...how does this make the change to A easier? Correct me if I'm wrong...I'm just going off of the chord diagrams I've seen.


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 pab
(@pab)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 103
 

1st and 2nd fingers are on the 2nd fret. 3rd finger is the 3rd fret. i think you're getting confused with strings and frets. the way you've described it, i don't think it is possible. your 2nd and 3rd finger would have to reach behind the first finger.

hope that helps.

pab


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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

1st and 2nd fingers are on the 2nd fret. 3rd finger is the 3rd fret. i think you're getting confused with strings and frets. the way you've described it, i don't think it is possible. your 2nd and 3rd finger would have to reach behind the first finger.

hope that helps.

pab
Ah, yeah...it helps tons! :) My mistake...I was looking at a chord diagram sheet I made, and wasn't smart enough to write down the finger positions, so that's why I kind of didn't make sense, lol. Doing that, it does seem a lot easier.

Thanks much! I'll work on that later and see how it goes.


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(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1029
 

I remember spending countless evenings in front of the TV with my guitar in hand or by my side...when ever a commercial would come on I'd pick it up and chord around.

At first I only practiced the different chords. I'd randomly choose one of the open chords mainly A-C-E-D-G. To keep things interesting I'd try different things with my picking hand, (at first I didn't use a pick), I'd strum them, finger pick em, appreggiate them. Then I'd try lil experiments like strum...then strum again this time lifting each finger on each successive strum.

Once I got comfortable with that I started doing chord changes, mainly two chords at first. Then progressively and slowly, again over many nights get to more and more till I could randomly play all the chords I knew. All the time I'd mix up what I was doing with my picking hand, experimenting with different rhythmics.

Oh yeah and I still tried to watch TV at the same time..(keep my eyes up) :)

BTW I still do this to some extent especially if I've been working on the road and away from my guitars for any length of time or as a quick warm up exercise.

I read someplace, from someone here...that practicing 15 minutes a night is better than an a few hours all on one day.
My first guitar teach always said.."Better to play it slow and correct, than fast and wrong."

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

:) Sounds like a pretty good idea. :)

I've decided to steer away from doing chords though, and just play songs. Yeah, I know they have chords too...but, it's easier for me to learn when I have what I need right in front of me, instead of having to figure it out all the time.

Example:
In this tab of "Silent Night" I got, near the end there's an A-chord you have to play. But, in the tab, it just shows 02220x I can recognize that as an A-chord, but if it just said to play the A-chord I'd have a hard time playing it.

Kinda like math...I can't figure out Physics (because of the story problems it always had), but I can do Calculus-style stuff in a snap of a finger.

Although doing the TV thing is still a good exercise for me. :D


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

Sorry, I disagree on practicing while your are watching TV. You are practicing and learning, you need some feedback and also see if you are making the movements and changes correctly. Practicing is an active task.

But it is just a point of view :)

Raevin, I don't understand the problem your problem with the A chord. Usually, when you wrote a chord in that way, the chord is written as x02220 - EADGBe. I don't know if it is part of the problem.


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(@raevin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

Raevin, I don't understand the problem your problem with the A chord. Usually, when you wrote a chord in that way, the chord is written as x02220 - EADGBe. I don't know if it is part of the problem.
Well, it was more of just an example, lol. Basically, I have trouble reading tab that is like this:

A E D A

I know what strings to hold down on what frets when I see it, but when I go to play it I have trouble actually doing it. But, instead, if it was written for example:

x---------------------
0---------------------
2---------------------
2---------------------
2---------------------
0---------------------

I can easily just place my fingers on the correct frets and such.

As for me writing down the tab for A wrong...hah, I wrote that post when I just woke up, so I got confused as to if it was x02220 or 02220x ^.^; Thanks for the correction, though, by the way! :)


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