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(@theredd)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

Ive been at it for about 9 months I guess . . . and I still cant do very simple things properly.

-I just spent an hour trying to play an A chord followed by a D chord, and would you believe I cant play both without at least one muted string involved? I just cannot get my fingers to hit only the string I want them to hit. :(

-I cant find a comfortable way to hold my guitar that doesnt aggravate my tendonitis :?

-I still cant find a human instructor, and the couple of people I know who play guitar are so far advanced that they cant at all relate to my problems :roll:

I dont really expect anyone to have any perfect solution to my problems, but at least this is a good place to vent. . . .


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2717
 

Hey, those are not exactly the easiest chords to finger when playing.
For the A chord, I use my pinky, ring finger, and middle finger . . . because they fit better . . . and I have skinny fingers.
I can't imagine how someone with fat fingers can play an A chord.

I've been playing 17 months now and I'm just getting to the point where I've built up finger strength to make the chord changes in a comfortable manner . . . in fact it feels good to just finger chords and strum while I'm looking for a neat sounding chord progression . . . and then I have to force myself to get back to practicin'.

Once you get to the point where you build up your finger strength, things start to flow more smoothly.

And the D chord is hard to get the fingers placed quickly . . . at first.

But you know the mantra . . . practice, practice, practice.
And there's not much you can do to rush the process . . .
just like body building, it takes time for you to see or feel the effects . . .
And then you can start having some fun.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Hi TheRedd,

You're more than welcome to vent. I'm with mr. kenrogers2. The A and D chords can be a challenge. I've got the fat fingers that he was talking about. I do not like the A chord all that much, but it's used so much that I can't avoid it. Sometimes it sounds good, but other times I feel like I'm messing a string up or worse, pressing so hard that I accidently do a little bend and pull it out of tune.

The D chord never bothered me though. I have no idea why. The D chord has gotten so many people so angry around here and caused more than it's share of rants. Nope. mine is the A, and every stinking A-shaped barre chord up and down the neck.

Actually, before I go further and start rambling, how do you finger each of the chords?

So, what I've done with some chords that have given me trouble either doing.....period, or switching to on a timely basis is not avoid them. I play the songs that they're in and do the chords the best themselves. A while ago I was having major problems going from any chord to a Bm (full barre on the 2nd fret followed by an Am shape on the 3rd and 4th fret) with any kind of timing. I'm getting there. Not perfect yet, but I'm getting there. Sometimes it's actually in rhythm perfectly. Point is, I worked on it some, but I still kept on practicing the songs with them in there and over the past few months it's gotten much better.

Doing the same with the B chord. Ugh! I can't make it wound worth a hoot. Speaking of sounding worth a hoot, I had the hardest time making a D7 sound good for a while. Fingering was easy. It just sounded like heck. Then one day it stopped. It was like a Forrest Gump moment. ("....an then the rain stopped.....")

So, my suggestion is to go ahead and try a few songs with those chords in it. Allow yourself the fact that it's gonna suck at first, but continue to work on them. They will get better and better as time goes on. I promise. Do you know any songs with them? I can suggest some if not. Mind you, I'm old and will end yup sending classic rock your way. :lol:

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@alangreen)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

I presume your tendonitis is in your fretting hand from what you're saying.

It's really important that you spend some time warming up before you try working chord changes that are complicated for you - say by spending ten minutes slowly playing single note runs or simple melodies.

The change from A to D and back again is complicated because you need to move all three fingers into a completely different shape. Assuming you're using the 3rd finger on the 1st string when you're laying D and the 3rd finger on the 2nd string when playing A then you should position that finger first as you make the change, the others should line up quite nicely once you've done that.

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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And wait til you play "Stairway to Heaven".
That requires you to do a pulloff with your pinky on the high e string . . . while you're holding the D chord.

I never thought I would have a callous on my pinky . . . and it's still sore . . . several months later.

And then there's David Hodge's version of "Amazing Grace" . . . he has you doing hammer-ons with the index finger and middle finger . . . simultaneously :shock: . . . with the D chord to give it a "bag pipe" sound . . . still working on that . . . ouch . . . who thinks of these things?

Not to frustrate you further but . . . it can get harder . . . just put your head down and work your way through it.

KR2

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@johnryan)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 6
 

I feel your pain. Sounds like we're in the same boat. I've been "playing" since June last year and cannot do chord changes. I'm been managing the frustration by continually revising downward my expectations. I no longer think of playing the guitar as an attempt to make music, but rather as a sort of zen-like exercise in attempting to do something well for its own sake, in this case changing chords smoothly and cleanly. It seems to work - I can lose my self in practice and feel the joy when occasionally I can manage to switch back and forth mistake-free for several changes. That said - I am a long way from anything like fast enough or accurate enough to play an actual song. As far as a human instructor goes, I'm about to drop my second - neither has been able to offer any more substantive help re. chord changes other than "keep practicing". Certainly true, but not worth $50 an hour.


   
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(@acousticfish)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 37
 

Whatever you do don't give up. I've been noodlin' with the guitar for about a year and taking lessons since September and now finally my chord changes have progressed enough to play songs that are recognizable by the human ear. It would be helpful if you could find an instructor to show you some techniques to help you out but this site is a great place to start. Also I would recommend going to (and I hope I don't get in trouble for plugging another site) http://www.justinguitar.com he is super helpful and he has videos. For chord changes what I did is picked 2 chords, say your A & D and I would just strum once on the A, change to D strum again and then go back to A. I would do this for a minute straight. You'll eventually work up the number of changes you can do in a minute and I would also say to keep your thumb stationary during the changes, I keep mine at second fret, that little bit of information from my instructor helped tons with my chord changes. The hardest part of learning guitar I think is the beginning so stick with it and practice lots. :D


   
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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1089
 

Whatever you do don't give up. I've been noodlin' with the guitar for about a year and taking lessons since September and now finally my chord changes have progressed enough to play songs that are recognizable by the human ear.

Agreed!

I can now make the E to B7 to E to A to D to E chord changes in Sundown (btw, those chord changes are the whole song :D ). 'Twernt easy before. But now it actually sounds like the song, whether on 6 string or 12 string the way he wrote it.

It comes! :D

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@theredd)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

Ive been using Justinguitar.com as my main instruction source, mainly because there are lots of videos so I can actually see how things are done. The song Im trying to learn is one from his beginner songs collection - "Wild Thing" by the Troggs. Cant get much simpler then that, eh?

Up until now, Ive messed around with playing songs that are "one note at a time"; the Star Spangled Banner, Amazing Grace, and a bunch of Christmas carols. Not really my cup of tea, but at least I can get the feeling that Im actually PLAYING the guitar. :lol:

In any case, I knew that eventually I would have to learn to play songs involving chords if I ever want to play any music I actually enjoy . . . and here I am, feeling like a frustrated total newbie again :shock:


   
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(@theredd)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

I presume your tendonitis is in your fretting hand from what you're saying.

It's really important that you spend some time warming up before you try working chord changes that are complicated for you - say by spending ten minutes slowly playing single note runs or simple melodies.

I warm up religiously before ever practice session and wear a wrist brace too.
The change from A to D and back again is complicated because you need to move all three fingers into a completely different shape. Assuming you're using the 3rd finger on the 1st string when you're laying D and the 3rd finger on the 2nd string when playing A then you should position that finger first as you make the change, the others should line up quite nicely once you've done that.
A :-)

Third finger on the first string? Assuming you mean high E, I have my second finger on it in D.


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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D chord:
Index finger (1st finger) on 3rd (G) string at second fret = A
Middle finger (2nd finger) on 1st (high E) string at second fret = F# = Gb
Ring finger (3rd finger) on 2nd (B) string at third fret = D

Correct me if I'm wrong

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@acousticfish)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 37
 

If you already know about justinguitar thats great try this http://www.justinguitar.com/en/BC-021-ChordChanges.php
Up until now, Ive messed around with playing songs that are "one note at a time"; the Star Spangled Banner, Amazing Grace, and a bunch of Christmas carols. Not really my cup of tea, but at least I can get the feeling that Im actually PLAYING the guitar. :lol:
I think that is a great starting point that's how I started and knowing your notes in the first position will help you understand chord construction. Stick with it.!!


   
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(@jeffster1)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 231
 

On an interesting note, I have a friend who isn't by any means a virtuoso, he's an intermediate level player, and can play a perfect open A chord with one barred finger (without muting the high E), it's one of the coolest/weirdest things I've ever seen a guitarist do. I'm envious.


   
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(@adrianjmartin)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 76
 

My guitar tutor can do that too...but hes been playing for 20 years+

At one point in his life he broke his little finger, sometimes that makes watching him play a bit odd - as he doesent move the finger quite how we would! ( and no he didn't break it so he could reach some frets) :lol:


   
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(@tldavis92)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 34
 

Keep practicing the changes. Believe me, they will come eventually. Devote some time to slowly changing between the chords. Don't rush it, make sure you are fingering them correctly before you speed up. Good luck!


   
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