beginning chord changes

By now you should be rolling along nicely. Let's continue by getting your fingers maneuvering through some chord changes. Changing chords involves moving from one chord fingering to the next without missing a beat. Once you get the hang of some basic chord changes, you can move on to strumming, and playing actual songs on your guitar. This can often be very tedious for the beginner, so if you become frustrated, you can find solace in the fact that you are not alone. Bear in mind that once you can successfully navigate through one or two changes, it becomes much easier to tackle new ones. Remember, the first chords you learn are the hardest chords you will ever learn.

This is going to be a short lesson, because it is quite self-explanatory if you've been doing your homework. Here's what I want you to do. Remember your G and D chords? If not, go to  Lesson Three  and don't come back until you've internalized them! If you feel comfortable with them, read on. Play a G chord by placing your fingers on the appropriate notes, and check for clarity by picking one string at a time. When you are satisfied with what you hear, bring the pick downward through the strings with a smooth, fluid motion. If you are playing an electric guitar, your picking hand should be about halfway between the bridge (the part of the guitar body where the strings emerge from) and the neck. If you're playing an acoustic, your hand should hover over the sound hole. Count "one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand, four-one-thousand." Now, change to the D chord. Strum the D chord in the same manner as the G, making sure not to hit the 5th and 6th strings. A smooth, even motion will bring about the nicest tone. Count as you did on the G chord, then change back. The ultimate goal here is to get all of your fingers moving simultaneously. Getting your fingers to move in this fashion is not easy, but I often see people become quite good at this within one lesson. Perseverance combined with patience and focus always wins out eventually. This is what a basic rhythm guitar chart looks like. Each "/" is a strum.

Changing Between G & D

Here’s a video:

If you don't already have one, get a metronome to practice with. You can purchase a small digital metronome at any music store for about $20. Can't get to the music store? Click here. No excuses. Unfortunately I cannot be there to monitor your progress, so it is up to you to be very critical of your performance. Always listen to yourself very carefully! Set your metronome at 50 bpm (beats per minute). Your goal is to be able to change back and forth between the G and D chords without missing a beat. A great way to practice this is to eliminate the strumming hand from the equation. Just grab the G chord and hold it for four beats, then change to the D, and stay there for four beats before returning to the G. Continue this until you feel like you’ve got it wired, then reintroduce your strumming hand. Be sure and keep your metronome on at a slow tempo. Speed is not a concern right now. It will come with the muscle memory you will develop naturally though slow repetition. Good luck!