Thursday, May 03, 2007

Beginner Lesson: Changing Chords: How to

After making individual chords, changing chords is one of the first hurdles all beginning guitarists face. There are some good techniques, taught for hundreds of years, that can make your first transitions a little less "fretful." It also will make your first few chords "less forgetful."

Peter Vogl posts great free video guitar lessons on Youtube, and he teaches chord transitions in much the same manner as I do. I've posted Peter's video on changing chords below.

One "Easy Button" suggestion I'll make: If you are still finding individual chords a bit of a chore, try my alternate chord fingerings.


Each of these fingerings uses only your first and second fingers, elminating the need to keep track of that pesky ring finger! I also think these chords "sound better," but that's just an opinion.

One thing you will notice is the use of the thumb, on the D chord, to mute the E string. In classical guitar technique, this is a no-no. However, a lot of American rock guitar, jazz guitar, and folk guitar techniques are based on banjo* technique, believe it or not. And that's a whole different ballgame. Check out this banjo technique hypothesis regarding jazz guitar legend Freddie Green.

My fingering adds a new challenge: you have no guide finger to get you back to the G chord from D. But, you will notice, the G fingering and D fingering are now the "same." Fingers one and two, hold the same shape. Practice moving that shape as a unit, back and forth from G to D. Now you're on your way to more chord transitions. With or without what Peter calls "Pivots" and "guides."

Here's how Peter suggests playing the chords, with three fingers:

Here's Peter's helpful free guitar video:

You can check out more about this lesson HERE.

*If you think banjos sound funny, you should hear a diddley bow!

Professional, fun guitar lessons for the Washington, D.C. community.


Dusty Battles said...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, I am starting to play on guitar and everything is helpful for me.

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