Hi all! Changing chords smoothly is one of the biggest hurdles for newer players and even those who've been at it for a while. That's why I wanted to create this little guide for getting past this issue. The Guitar Foundations course goes over this topic in this lesson.
The Smooth Chord Transition Checklist sums everything up nicely, but the #1 thing that hurts people and keeps them from overcoming this is not knowing the individual chord shapes first before trying to change between them. We need to be able to go right to the individual chord shapes with no hesitation. If you can do that, switching between chords will be much easier. If you can't do it, changing between those chords smoothly will be an exercise in frustration, or at least more difficult than it should be. Here is the Smooth Chord Transition Checklist for you to go through. Give it a read and let us know about any questions that come up or book a 1-on-1 lesson with me.
1 - Know the individual chord shapes first. - If you can’t go
directly to the individual chord shapes on their own first, you will
have a much harder time trying to switch between chords. Dividing
up the challenge like this is a great way to attack new skills.
2 - Only work on two chords at a time. - If you try to work on
changing chords with a progression that uses four or five chords,
you are going to make things much harder on yourself than if you
work on only two chords at a time. This comes back to dividing up
3 - Practice awareness. - Try to be aware of what chord is coming
up next, so you don’t get taken by surprise. A big part of this is
studying and knowing the chord progression you are playing.
4 - Visualize what the next chord looks like. - A great way to
practice awareness and make a clean chord change is to visualize
the next chord that is coming up before you have to make the
5 - Think about how the next chord feels. - Another effective way
to practice awareness is to think about how the chord you are
changing to feels before you have to actually make the switch.
6 - D to A then A to D - When you are working on a specific chord
change, try starting with the first chord and moving to the second
for a while. Once you feel comfortable with that, you can switch it
up. Start with the second chord and move to the first one. It may
not sound like a big difference, but it sure feels different. This is
kind of like cross-training, and it’s very effective.
7 - Practice often. - The biggest key to getting smooth chord
transitions down is consistent practice. Try to fit in multiple shorter
practice sessions every day. Forcing your brain and body to recall
all of this more often will help you master it quickly.