Updated: Nov 28, 2019
A lot of beginners to intermediate guitar players make common mistakes that slow down the speed at which they can improve their chord playing. .
One of the mistakes is to look at playing chords as a whole process of changing with one hand, while playing with the other, while keeping everything on time with the music.
Trying to master all these elements together causes you to not be satisfied with your chord playing, even after hours of practice, and eventually makes you want to quit.
I myself have faced these issues during my initial guitar playing days, and I know how frustrating it can be to sit with your guitar, knowing a bunch of chords, but never being able to play them the way you want...
But all this changed, the moment I identified the mistakes I was making in the way I approach playing chords, and the speed at which I master chord changes zoomed.
These techniques have also helped my beginner guitar students to quickly improve their chord playing, without wasting hours of practice time.
Follow these step by step process, to quickly improve the speed at which you learn chords on guitar...
Incorporate these changes to your chord practice, and post here about the difference you notice in the speed at which you can learn new chord changes...
Every professional sportsman performs extremely basic drills before starting an actual practice session.
As a guitar player you need to get into the right physical and mental frame of mind before your actual practice. Chord playing is demanding for your fingers, especially during the early days of learning. It’s important that you get your fingers ready to handle this challenge during every practice session.
Squeeze-Release The Chord
Just forming the chord somehow on the guitar is not good enough.You need to be able to look at the chord as a whole, and land all the notes together, on time.
For this to happen consistently, your fingers need to remember the whole chord shape as one, instead of thinking of it as individual motions by different fingers.
Here’s an easier and effective way to train your brain to do this, using a squeeze-release sequence.
For any chord that you are having difficulty playing, Form the chord shape on the fret-board and squeeze down on the strings as hard as possible.
Hold this position for around 4 beats, and for the next 4 beats, try to release the pressure applied without breaking the chord shape.
Once you get comfortable doing this, try to move your fingers away from the guitar fret-board, WITHOUT BREAKING THE SHAPE.
This will train your fretting hand to remember the chord shapes as one unit, and also help you remember shapes better and faster.
Rapid Fire Changes
To nail any chord change, you need to be able to switch the chord in your fretting hand smoothly and on time.
During the initial days, if you combine this with the added effort of strumming simultaneously, it will slow down the speed at which you can master the change.
Turn on a metronome or drum beat and try switching the chords only with your fretting hand. Start doing it every 4 beats, then 2 beats then 1 beat.
Begin with an extremely slow speed, and gradually increase the speed.
Test your switching skills by going through a series of chord changes, while progressively increasing the speed on the Metronome
Strumming Hand Independence
Now that you have a grip on how your fretting hand in working, it’s time to put together the second most important piece of the puzzle.
You need to focus on some isolated training for the strumming hand independence, so that it does not stop every time you have a chord change that you are not comfortable with.
Create a series of chord changes, or pickup the changes that you are working on, and then go through the changes without ever stopping the strumming hand. Irrespective of whether you can change the chord on time in your fretting hand or not.
Strumming will not stop for the fretting hand.
Tracking Your Progress
I can’t stress enough on the benefit of doing this. You may choose to ignore this information, if you are not here to make some serious progress in your chord playing in a short time.
But if you are really looking for fast results, then this step will put it all together for you.
Track the speed at which you can play through the chord changes using a Metronome, and log the progress on a weekly basis. If you apply the above 4 steps, you’ll find that your chord playing will improve tremendously within a few weeks.
5 simple and easy to apply steps to make you progress faster in your chord playing. Try it out for a few weeks and share your progress. Write down in the comments section if you have any specific questions.
If you are struggling with your chord playing, and want to improve faster through easier methods, Book A Trial Session and find out how you too can play chords on guitar smoothly.