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Beginners often have trouble making transitions between chords and these difficulties get many times more discouraging when they start playing barre chords. There are, however, ways to make the learning curve a whole lot easier and reduce the time it takes your fingers to get accustomed to the changes – as well as tweaking the the physical aspect of the changes to ensure minimum effort. Read on!
Speedy guitar chord transition requires a combination of manual dexterity (to co-ordinate finger movements), psychological readiness (a clear visualization in your head of the current chord and the chord you’re moving to – as well as the most economical way to make the change), and well trained muscle memory. All these things are developed over time as you practice but here are some guidelines to follow that should make it easier.
(1) Visualize – Like I mentioned before, get a clear mental image of what your fingers need to do to get to the next chord.
(2) Execute – And don’t worry about doing it too fast at first. Just get your fingers from one shape, to the other, in an efficient way. This simply means that you minimize wasted movements (this should come intuitively) as you make the change. Then, keep switching back and forth between your chosen chords and I PROMISE that over the course of a few practice sessions you WILL see noticeable improvement! Diligent practice is the secret to effortless guitar chord transition and it doesn’t take nearly as much time as you might think before you’ll be wondering how you got so good!
(3) Lighten Up – Finally, release all that tension you probably have in your fingers. Particularly when playing barre chords, your fingers might exhibit a tendency to rigidly vice-grip the guitar neck. The is NOT what you want to do. Tension directly inhibits smooth chord transitions by effectively locking down the muscles in your fingers. Just relax and make the changes as slow as you need to until you find yourself speeding up – and you will!
It also helps to stretch your fingers before, and after, you practice – and also ensure that your practice sessions aren’t disturbed more than you can avoid. Distractions are the enemy!
P.S. Don’t worry, once you smooth out your chord transitions you’ll find lots more tortures awaiting you as you plod away towards becoming a good guitarist! Isn’t that motivational?!
I’m kidding. You’ll be fine. Plus it’s all worth it in the end!
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