Chord Changing Challenge - Beginner Guitar Lesson

In this beginner guitar lesson, we'll be clearing up an issue that almost all new guitar players struggle with. Changing between chords smoothly can be one of the most frustrating points in your beginning weeks and months of playing the guitar. We'll be going over an effective challenge that you can work on 5 minutes a day to get your chord changes to sound great.

Before getting into this challenge, there's an important tip that you'll need to know in order to master your chord changes. The key to changing between your chords smoothly is knowing your chord shapes. It sounds simple enough, but having the shapes completely committed to your muscle-memory will make your chord changes come a lot easier.

The Chords

For this challenge, we'll be using two common chord shapes. The G major and C major chords seem to give players the biggest problem, so we'll be focusing on those two shapes. We'll be using fingers 2, 3, & 4 for the G major shape. This shape is a lot easier for transitioning between chords, but if you'd like you can use fingers 1, 2, & 3 instead.

G Major and C Major Chords

Tip: You can use any two chords that you might be struggling with for this challenge. That includes both open chords and bar chords.

It's important to make your chords sound clean while you're doing this challenge as well. A great tip is to come down right behind the frets on your fretboard. This will stop your chords from buzzing. Also, bring your elbow into your body so your hand is in the best position possible. Finally, be sure to come down right on the tips of your fingers so you're not muting any adjacent strings.

The 5-Minute Chord Changing Challenge This challenge is broken down into five rounds that last for 60 seconds each. Try to go through each round back to back so that you get the most out of this challenge. Remember, you can choose any two chords you'd like to work on.

Round 1: Start off by spending 60 seconds going back and forth between the two shapes. Don't worry about a metronome or anything, just back and forth as cleanly as you can.

Round 2: Next, you'll need a metronome. If you don't have one, you can usually find one online by searching "Metronome" in your search engine. You'll set the metronome as slow as you need to. A good starting place is 70 BPM, but you may need to go slower. You'll be playing each chord and holding each one for four beats at a time for one whole minute.

Round 3: Here, we'll bump the metronome up 5 or 10 BPM. Make sure you're thinking ahead and focusing on making those changes as clean as possible.

Round 4: We're going to go ahead and bump the metronome up 5 or 10 BPM again. Focus on seeing the chord in your head ahead of time and making that change as smooth as possible. Do this for one minute.

Round 5: For the final round, we'll bump up the metronome another 5 to 10 BPM. The final tip is to think about the way the chords feel. As you approach the change while thinking about the way the shape feels, you'll find the changes get a lot easier.

That's it! Try incorporating this 5-minute challenge into your daily practice time. These short, focused sessions make a significant difference and you'll find a massive improvement in your chord changing in no time.