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Improving chord changes, techniques, etc


(@stacktrayce)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 15
Topic starter  

I have been playing for a few months learning mostly from the internet and I've also played with a couple friends who have helped. I am working on the speeds of some chord changes and such and want to make sure I am not picking up bad habits. One of the things I have read about is to try to minimize extraneous motion as well as not "dribble" your fingers onto the strings. I definitely have a fair amount of that, mostly in terms of lifting my ring finger high up off the strings on A shape barre positions and some open chords. My switches between A shape and E shape could be quicker as well. My G (w/ little finger on high E string) to C and back are much slower than my others due to how I bring my little finger into my grip, I tend to put it down first on the high E and then get my other fingers from there. But if I try to change my technique I am much slower on most of these changes. Is this something I should concentrate on in terms of putting 1/4 of my practice towards it? Any particular tips or exercises anyone could recommend?


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(@clau20)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 351
 

I had the same problem with the G chords (with the pinky on the 3rd fret of the 1st string) when I had to change from C to G...

But I practice it to stop that bad habit (put the pinky before all other finger of the G chord...)

I don't have a magic advice, but I can tell you how I did it... PRACTICE..

In more details:

Change to G chord SLOWLY and concentrate on moving ALL your fingers at the same time. Watch closely. Your fingers have to get used to that movement and that will become automatic.

Don't know how you play your C chord, but if your pinky is up in the air while you play, you could place it just beside your ring finger. So that your pinky will not be ready to take place before the others. Your fingers are separated in two "groups"... You move your pinky and your ring finger together, and move at the same time your index and middle finger.

That's the way I became able to switch from C to G correctly :P

" First time I heard the music
I thought it was my own
I could feel it in my heartbeat
I could feel it in my bones
... Blame it on the love of Rock'n'Roll! "


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

soon, you will have down where the fingers go to form a chord. then you will be able to let go of the guitar, the strings will continue to ring and you will be able to place all your fingers on he next chord just when the next beat comes up.
it is true. it happened to me.
what I am saying is that try not to put the fingers down one at a time. just play a chord and while the strings are vibrating, remove all your fingers at once, letting them hover a hair away from the strings. then aim for the next chord. as soon as the fingers are in the right place strum it.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@jwmartin)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1437
 

Just keep practicing and it will get better. I used to do the same thing with raising my ring finger way off the string during a change. I can't say that I did anything consciously to change it, it just got better with time and now I don't do it.

Bass player for Undercover


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(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 833
 

One practice technique I have used and found successful is to change which finger moves first. Try doing the chord change with each of the fingers used in the chord getting a chance to be first. Slowly at first and then bring it up to tempo with the metronome. After you can do that making the chord change with all fingers at once is a lot easier.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


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 Ulfy
(@ulfy)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 8
 

Exactly. The same thing happened with barre chords for me. I struggled for 2 weeks with them, then all of sudden, I could play them. As if I woke up with the ability to play barre chords, which I was lacking just the night before. That's the power of practice, friend.

It's really funny how it happens.

Tell him the liberator who destroyed my property has realigned my perception.


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(@yournightmare)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 108
 

One practice technique I have used and found successful is to change which finger moves first. That worked for me when I was first learning chords.


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(@mmoncur)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 168
 

I agree with Hyperborea's advice. When I had trouble with G to C changes, my teacher told me to do it slowly and notice which finger hits its fret first. Then force yourself, for at least a few practice sessions, to move a different finger first. After I did this a couple of times over a few days, alternating fingers, my fingers started just knowing where to go all at once.

Note that this does make you slower, at least for a few days, but in the end it works. Being able to do it slowly, with a minimum of movement and with all fingers moving at once, is the key to doing it quickly.

Now if anyone has any tips to make a C to F (barre) transition quicker... :)


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

mmoncur,

If you want to do the C to F (barre) faster all you have to do is move your fingers quicker...Duh!

Sorry couldn't resist.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@unimogbert)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 174
 

I agree with Hyperborea's advice. When I had trouble with G to C changes, my teacher told me to do it slowly and notice which finger hits its fret first. Then force yourself, for at least a few practice sessions, to move a different finger first. After I did this a couple of times over a few days, alternating fingers, my fingers started just knowing where to go all at once.

Note that this does make you slower, at least for a few days, but in the end it works. Being able to do it slowly, with a minimum of movement and with all fingers moving at once, is the key to doing it quickly.

The magic of muscle memory training at work. I'm rediscovering this as I work on "Livin' on a Prayer" Paldnius style and "It Could have Been" by Borgershousen. At first pass these were incomprehensible and insurmountable. With muscle memory practice I'm about halfway there on both (meaning that I've reached "somewhat recognizable" :-)

Do the motions slowly and correctly for about 10 focused minutes perhaps twice a day.
After about the 3rd day the fingers seem to magically have learned how and the motion is greatly easier. Continued focused practice will bring further good results and eventually you'll wonder what the problem was.

Thing is that I can't seem to rush this process. More sessions per day don't help. Longer sessions seem to hurt progress. It just takes time to absorb what's needed.

Have faith in the process and do what you've been told will work.

It will.
(BTW- this kind of rehearsal & absorption learning has worked for motorcycling, flying, shooting, flycasting, touch-typing and a bunch of other stuff I've accomplished over the years. Exploit the hell out of it for your own gain!)

Unimogbert
(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Don't know if you ever saw the episode of Friends where Phobe was teaching Joey how to play guitar. She didn't let him touch the guitar at all, or tell him the names of chords, she simply showed him hand shapes like "the claw". :D

Truth is, that is not a bad way to teach chords. After awhile you have chords memorized as shapes and how they feel when your hand forms them. Pretty soon your hand just goes to that shape the moment you think of a particular chord.

For me, the best way to practice a new chord, or chord changes is just go very slow. Fret a chord, then pick all your fingers up and place them back down on the chord. Do this over and over. I would do this as many as 100 times. After awhile your hand and mind have the shape memorized. And it is the same with changes. Fret a C, then slowly switch to G and back again. Just do this over and over. Pick each string to make sure you are fretting properly.

And it doesn't take force to fret, if you are pressing down hard you are doing it wrong. Really, once you get it, it is a very light touch. Always be aware of using too much force and let up. Be aware of tension in your hands and body and relax.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@wrkngclsshero)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 57
 

This method may be frowned upon (I've read never play guitar while watching TV), but when I try to improve speed of a chord change, I will just keep a guitar handy while watching TV at night, and practice the chord change over and over (I don't strum just the left hand part). Only strum every once in a while, just to make sure you are getting all of the notes cleanly, but without all of the extra strummimg, you will get more actual chord changes in the same amount of time. I found I made dramatic improvements in short periods of time.

Good luck.

"A working class hero is something to be..." -J. Lennon


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