3 Steps to Hack Chord Changes for Beginners

Updated: Jul 27


Do you want quick results for speeding up your chord changes?


Learning new shapes on guitar can feel like an uphill battle for beginners, especially when moving seamlessly through them at a fast pace. If you don’t master the right techniques at the beginning you can develop bad habits which can make it harder to progress.



This guitar lesson from SGMusic based in Salford, will walk you through the required steps to get your chord changes moving seamlessly.


These steps will:


  1. Improve your finger placement so you can change chords quickly.

  2. Provide you with an easy exercise to improve your finger strength.

  3. Give you the confidence to push yourself without worrying about messing up.


Step 1

Which Finger Should Go Down First


The best way to move from chord to chord is:

  • Create a chord shape in your hand without touching the strings

  • Place all your fingers on the fretboard at the same time




This technique will develop naturally over time, so the best way for beginners to utilise finger placement is to place the finger that is closest to the sound hole down first.


For example, to play the D chord you would put your ring finger down first as its closest to the sound hole, then the other fingers follow.


This technique will give a more natural feeling because it allows the remaining fingers to rest in a more comfortable position.




Step 2

Push Up Exercise




Just like doing push-ups, this exercise will strengthen key muscles in your hand and arm.


The way it works is,

  1. Choose a chord

  2. Place your fingers on the strings without pressing down

  3. Then you want to:

a) Press down

b) Strum once

c) Return to not pressing down (remember to keep your fingers on

the shape!)

d) Repeat.


You should treat this similarly to doing push ups in the morning, 10 push ups is a start, 20 push ups is good, 50 push ups is great!


Not only is this an exercise, it’s a technique in Gypsey jazz ‘La Pomp’. It’s demonstrated brilliantly here by Youtuber 'TrueFire', check it out!




Step 3

Push Yourself


Pushing yourself to your limit regularly is probably the best way you're going to progress quickly.


If you play outside your comfort zone all the time, soon enough difficult techniques will become your comfort zone. Once you’ve mastered each skill you can now move the goal post.





This is the most rewarding step which will give you the quickest results.

  • Pick two chords you are struggling with

  • Set the metronome to a pulse that you can play but not comfortably.

  • Strum one chord once, then move to the other.

  • Do this twice then stop for 2 seconds. Rest is just as important as the exercise as you want to avoid straining yourself.



Repetition, Repetition and Repetition!


As with everything when starting out on guitar repetition is key, the more you put in the more you get out!

Mastering these 3 steps will set you up for success and you should continue to use them through all levels.

Which one of these steps most works for you?


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Salford, UK

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