Updated: Oct 14, 2021
As far as I can tell, this is the first time this subject has been covered to the depth discussed below. Start making your toughest chord changes easy today with this simple method!
Solving the mystery!
Changing chords on guitar seems to be one of those things you either "get", or you don't. I got it, but it took a long while, much longer than it needed to have taken. However, I've met many who didn't get it, for as long as 40 years of playing guitar!
It wasn't until an early student of mine kept asking some very good questions, that I was forced to break things down enough in my own mind to actually work out what I'd fortuitously stumbled into somewhere down the line without realising it. Some years on, I logged this knowledge in my 2008 Youtube video series How I Learned to Play Guitar in 6 Weeks. The link takes you to video 4 in the series which contains the relevant discussion.
Ten years after
Nearly ten years later, I've made a more in-depth video covering what is a vital but too often overlooked topic in guitar teaching. I'm still to meet a student of any level that had this understanding of chord changes when we met, and am yet to meet one that didn't benefit when it was shared with them! Click below to watch. If the first section's too easy for you, then once you've got the gist, 7:45 until the end should offer a more challenging view of the same subject!
What they Never Told You about Chord Changes!
(click to play)
Yes it's tough ... that's why it makes you better!
Practising chords in this way is not especially musical, but is without doubt the quickest way to improve at them, which leads to more musicality in your playing! Of course, even then, the practice has to be good, or it's possible to put in many hours with no improvement. That's why I emphasise measuring your progress, which gives you feedback as to what's working, and what's not.
Grade Your Own Chord Change Skills!
Here's a rough guide as to how I'd say you measure up at the two chord change challenges/exercises shown in the video. You can see that the tougher of the two is graded very differently!
Top grading box - the "easy" one - G to D change
Bottom grading box - the "hard" one - Amaj9 to E9
Join the party - Measure your improvement!
You can make up your own sheet to monitor your progress, or grab your free download "BPM", which includes progress sheets for the examples I show in the above video. Subscribe (at the bottom of this page) and you'll receive the link to download it now. Set yourself a target to double the speed of the chord changes shown here, and when you get there, you'll have a very different view of things!
Applying this knowledge elsewhere
With chord change mechanics defined in this strict fashion, we can start to look for their involvement in more complex musical situations, and address them most efficiently out of context. The more you look to find them, the more ways you'll see to isolate relevant patterns in small exercises/tests, giving intense focus on the most awkward parts of the music you're working on. Again, this sort of practice is some way removed from anything musical as we zoom in on pure mechanics, but it works, and better than any other way. When you're doing it right, you'll feel satisfaction as you become fully immersed in the problem solving aspect of things and see the progress it offers.
This blog is dedicated to undercovered and overlooked subjects on guitar like this one. Subscribe below to be kept up to date and to receive your free copy of "BPM" containing progress sheets for the chord challenges in the above video.
Any thoughts on this article? Let me know in the comments section below.
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