What is the EASIEST way to learn guitar chords fast?
As a beginner guitarist, one of the toughest things to conquer is quickly and smoothly changing between chords.
For example – we might learn the chords to one of our favorite tracks or a new chord shape.
But when it concerns making songs with these chords, the absence of muscle memory and dexterity really prevents us from stringing these chords together in a way that sounds like pleasant music.
This article covers some tips and tricks for guitarists of any skill level that are looking to improve the fluidity with which play their favorite chord progressions.
I strongly recommend newbie guitar players to utilize the Uberchord app (<- that link leads to a free download) for practicing chord progressions. It utilizes real-time feedback to enhance your skills.
Here’s a look at a very lame newbie guitarist frequently-made error. Whatever you want to do, you want to avoid practicing without a metronome!
This is especially important if you’re a beginner musician, someone who hasn’t had many years to develop a key sense of meter and time required for playing any instrument.
Get a metronome or use the Uberchord app's complimentary built-in metronome. Set the metronome to speeds as low as 40 BPM (or even slower if you need!).
Step 1-- Starting with a simple G chord, D chord, or really any major chord, play through a I-- IV-- V-- I progression, strumming just once on each beat of the metronome.
If playing to a metronome that slowly seems silly, you need to check yourself.
The most important thing when it comes to playing guitar, is time-feel.
If you’re having trouble getting each chord in the 1-4-5-1 progression to sound crystal clear, especially when you’re transitioning from one chord to another, then odds are you need to play the same thing over and over again at a slower pace.
Here’s another idea for learning exactly how to play guitar chords. Just choose one chord to start with. Nothing too enigmatic. If you're just starting I'll recommend you begin with a D chord.
What we’re going to do is exercise feeling the chord. You heard me correctly!
Do this by putting your fingers on the chord one by one individually, then take the fingers off.
This is a sort of a "trial run" to exercise where your fingers go when you play the chord.
Repeat this process 10 -15 times for each chord in your desired progression. Now finger the chord once more, but this time around, strum the chord. Check to see that all the notes are ringing out beautifully – no accidental mutes!.
Change up your fingering if required for some more elaborate or strength-intensive chords. Keep strumming and repeat working to obtain all the notes of the chord to sound without buzzing or making funny noises.
Another variation of this exercise:
Start by gripping the neck any type of chord you want, be sure to have your grip on the fretboard tight.
Now, relax the tension in your hand and put your fingers together so that there are no gaps between each one. Keep your fingertips close to the strings.
At this point, bring the tension back and place your fingers where they need to be on the fretboard.
The goal here is to educate your guitar students to move and also loosen up all fingers with each other (rather than individually).
Here’s a very important thing to remember when you're considering fretting hand technique.
Bring your fretting hand up and put your thumb on the back of the neck. Make sure you’re basically leaving your thumbprint squarely in the middle of the neck.
This is the perfect beginning placement to keep in mind as you find out how to effectively play your favorite chords.
Now, there’s a very concerning trend amongst newb guitarists that I’d like to chat about: kinking your wrist.
If you kink your wrist when you play, you can really hurt your joints eventually and also actually throw out your wrist.
The goal should always be to have your wrist straight.
This is generally a good stance to have when you're playing chords at any speed, whether performance or practice.
Here’s an example of a potentially tough chord and how to play it without kinking your wrist.
Make a small A minor 7 chord.
Put your first finger on the initial fret of the B string. You're most likely going to come down right behind the fret. You want to be right behind that fret. The farther back I go, the even more buzzy that note becomes, so you gotta ideally be behind that fret.
The other, poorer alternative for this is, if you don't come right down on the very tip of your finger, your index finger is going to accidentally touch a high E string and may silence that string. You don't want that!
You want to come right down on the very tip of your finger so it does not silence any of the neighboring strings.
Try to get 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, 30 minutes here, or 4 hours there. The amount of time really doesn’t matter so much as the frequency with which you pick up your guitar and play some chords.
Honestly, even 10 minutes every day will help you learn your favorite chords in no time. Playing 70 minutes a week is much better than playing for 70 minutes once a week.
This is something that scientific research has proven again and again – if you want to get better at something, the best move is to just do it!
Check out more Jam Addict articles to learn how to shred on your favorite instruments.
Ben Heckler is a multi-instrumentalist and musician from Portland, Oregon. Currently Ben lives in Barcelona where he teaches drum lessons, writes and records original music for his band Sea Fuzz as well as playing drums for one of the biggest Beatles tribute bands in Europe, The Flaming Shakers.
Ben is constantly creating and composing various types of music, video, and artwork for a multitude of projects that come his way. He hopes to use his platforms to share, help and inspire others to create in their own ways.