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Smooth Chord Changes

Welcome to the 4th installment of the "5 Biggest Beginner Guitar Challenges" series. This time we are going to talk about smooth chord transitions. This is that last of the big hurdles that one needs to overcome in order to play their favorite songs. Unfortunately, this can be a pretty difficult undertaking form most players.

In this video I'm going to show you the most effective tips for smoothing out your chord transitions. If you apply these to your daily practice, you will see progress with your chord changes. Below is the Smooth Chord Transition Checklist form the complimentary Guitar Foundations course. Let us know if you have any questions as you go through these tips.

Smooth Chord Transition Checklist

1 - Know the individual chord shapes first - If you can’t go directly to the individual chord shapes you are working with 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 the challenge again.

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 change.

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 just 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 get it down faster.

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