How to Improve Chord Changes on Guitar

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Learning guitar chords might seem a little too challenging the first few times, but it’s worth the effort. Some fingerings are very difficult to play, making smooth chord changes feel like an insurmountable task. But the good news is you do still retain many of the skills your hands and fine motor skills are capable of with practice. With a little guidance and some effective exercises you can improve your chord changes dramatically.

Tips to Help with Chord Changes

Check out the tips below that can help you write better copy. While some of these are specific to chord changes. Several things can be applied to guitar playing there are many different approaches in order to learn how sounds work while playing.

1. Reduce Tension in Your Hands

Simply, tension makes things more difficult. It’s a part of life, but there are ways to get through it.

Relaxed hands and arms can really help music transition smoothly into chords. Freeing up your hands allows you to move them at will on the fretboard. Make sure to release any tension you might be feeling in your body by paying attention to what’s going on with your posture. If your hands are tensing up, try shaking them, taking a deep breath, then picking up the guitar again.

2. Proper Chord Fingering Technique

Writing effective song chords is important if you want your playing to stay sharp and your song ideas to sound good. If you find yourself struggling with transitions, it might be because you’re not playing around the same chords.

Fingering chords should be done with the tips of your fingers. Playing barre chords is a common way of playing music, which usually means plucking multiple strings to create various notes- requiring you to quickly flatten one of your fingers. For everything else, you can just type in the notes by using your fingertips. Each note should ring cleanly without any dampening from fingers touching the strings.

3. Take it Slow

“Sometimes, everyone needs to remind themselves to just slow down and enjoy the ride.” A song doesn’t need to be played perfectly, especially if you’re in a hurry. (This person is playing this song for a band thing and will not be entirely focused on the playing). As a beginner, playing slowly is an important part of making sure your body gets used to the game and can anticipate what’s coming next. This will help you make fewer mistakes while playing more quickly as you get better. This tip is crucial if you want to get the most out of the next one.

4. Repetition = Muscle Memory = Smooth Chord Changes

When it comes to improving your chord transitions, repetition is king. Practicing chord changes over and over will help create the muscle memory you need in order to transition between chords fluidly without thinking about it.

The process of writing scales and chords can be quite difficult and frustrating. Your hands will adapt faster when you mix up the fingering and play them with a more varied progression.

5. Pivot Finger

There are many online tools that can help you figure out the notes to your favorite songs. One of which is a pivot finger that says the same note across multiple chords. Instead of dripping every finger when changing chords, you can use the pivot finger to stay in place, and pivot between chords. It’s easier to learn a new plectrum because you don’t have to reset your hand position between chords.

Here are some chords you’ll be working on for this guitar tutorial: D – A – D – G – Bb.

6. Simplify Chord Fingerings

Playing guitar takes some skill and a certain degree of flexibility, coordination and strength. Depending on where you are as a player, certain chords may be difficult to play because of how the fingers are positioned. Barre chords can be difficult for beginner guitar players.

Usually, there are some alternatives you can use – in the case of these particular chords, the open G chord might instead be used. 3-note chords are useful in these bass lines because they’re easy to follow and can be followed for days. So many guitar players use these chord variations to make switching between chords easier. This simplifies the process and allows for faster progression playing.

It is important to remember that while this will have a short-term impact on your ability to switch chords, it is recommended that you don’t entirely avoid playing full chords altogether. When you switch from chords to power chords, you can start playing more power tracks. It helps your playing and improves the overall quality of your music.

7. Learn Songs

When starting out on guitar, learn as many beginner songs as you can. Learning new songs helps keep you motivated and exposes you to a lot of new chords. This is what you need to improve your coordination.

Just keep the tip from above in mind. It’s important to slowly play the chords properly.

Guitar Chord Changing Exercises

This article gives you some advice on the exercises below that can help you to improve your transition between chords. The key is to practice slowly and use proper techniques. Play each chord smoothly and punctually. If you want to play more slowly, you may want to slow down.

Exercise 1: Fine-tune chord fingering

In this lesson, we’ll start with a drill that will help you learn how to finger new chords. Playing guitar with hand coordination can be quite difficult when you start out, but a writing assistant can help you level up fast!

Which chord are you having a hard time playing? The first example we’ll use is the open D major chord. When all the notes ring clearly, hold it in that position for 3 seconds and then release it. After three seconds, release the chord and relax your hand. Every 3 seconds, you need to wait and re-tap the chord. Once you have found your spot, hold for 3 seconds and release. Repeat this 10 times.

This exercise is designed to get you used to find the position of a chord on the guitar. Sustaining a position for an extended period of time doesn’t really help with the learning process. It’s good to move around in your office – standing up, walking around, or taking a break from the computer. This exercise is great for anyone who’s having difficulty fingering chords.

Make sure to establish one finger as a reference that your other fingers can then follow. For the D major chord, you might want to place your ring finger on the 3rd string of G. Place your forefinger on the note first, then finger the other notes.

Eventually, you may want to be able to simultaneously finger all of the notes. This can start with a preliminary overview over all the notes and building up your coordination as you go along.

Exercise 2: Chord transitions with the pivot finger

In this exercise, you’ll be learning how to use a pivot finger and two-chord progressions. Here are two strum pattern options for each progression.

A simple downstroke strum is the easiest way to get started with chord transitions.

The second strumming pattern is for those who are ready to build more fluidity in their chord changes.

Progression 1: D – Cadd9

In the first progression, we’ve going to change chords from the open D major chord to the Cadd9 chord.

The ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string will act as the pivot finger. It shares D with both chords and is in orange marker in the diagram below.

This finger will stay in place as you move to the Cadd9.

Learning how to do HSPU’s comes with a lot of benefits. First, it will strengthen your arms. Second, you’ll get more flexible quickly through the practice building up tension and releasing it before it builds up and makes you feel uncomfortable. Just remember to release the tension before performing.

If you’re just getting started with chord changes, start with pattern one then progress to pattern two. If you’re comfortable with pattern two, go ahead and start with that one.

For all examples, use a tempo that makes sense to you and allows you to practice without making mistakes.

Progression 2: C – Am

In Part 2, we are going to change chords from C major to Am using the index finger as the pivot finger. When playing guitar, always keep the index finger in place against the fretboard.

Progression 3: D – Cadd9 – G

We’re moving back to D to Cadd9 and adding G major as well.

This time, the ring finger will be the pivot finger on every chord. With these chords, we’ll play two different progressions:

Exercise 3: Simplify chord fingerings

Many full chords can be simplified by removing notes to avoid barring and/or reducing the chord to its basic structure of a triad. This is a solution that helps transition between chords, making the voicing sound a bit different.

Removing the barre

It’s possible to skim over barre chords and make them easier to play. The progressions are going to be C – F.

In the first part, you need to use your index finger on the first fret. We can simplify this by omitting the F note on the 6th string and using your index finger to only play the notes on strings 1 and 2.

You can use your index finger as a pivot and it doesn’t matter what note you’re playing on. Just grab the F, 1st string with your finger up. It’s also important to know that the ring finger acts as a pivot in this chord change.

You can omit the C note on the 5th string further.

Using triads

For the second example, we’ll take full chords and reduce them to triads to make them easier to play. We’ll stick with this chord progression using the A form C chord with the root on the 3rd fret of the 5th string, and then moving on to a D form F chord with the root on the 3rd fret of a 4th string.

A series of triad chord shapes:

  • For the C major, we can use our index finger to barre across the three notes on strings 2, 3, and 4.
  • The traditional F major on strings 1, 2, and 3 uses the D chord fingering.

Fortunately, the upside of these chords is that they generally sound less full than other chord voicings. But eventually, you can work back up to whole note and chord transitions once your overall coordination has improved.


Some great ideas for transitioning or combining guitar chords! The good news is that it gets easier to learn, but the bad news is you will always have to practice with new songs out there.

It is even normal to take time to learn new tunes after having mastered songs before. Practice makes perfect! Don’t be afraid to spend your time on these chord transitions so you can sound great.

Switching between fingers and picking chords takes time to master, and is often difficult for beginners. Learning chord fingerings can be tricky, but it’s a learning curve that you’ll get through. To help yourself out, try asking a friend to play you a basic progression and listen to where the chords go from there! It’s all about practicing and incorporating the suggested tips for muscle memory. It will improve exponentially.

FAQ for Improve Chord Changes on Guitar

What does the term “chord change” mean in the context of the guitar?

The term “chord change” is used in the context of guitar to describe the process of changing a chord.

The first step to understanding what a chord change is, you should know how to play a chord on the guitar. A chord is made up of two or more notes that are played simultaneously. The most common chords are major and minor chords.

What are the different types of chord changes?

Chords are one of the most important aspects of music. They make up the harmonic foundation of a song and are used to create melody, harmony, and rhythm.

There are three main types of chords in Western music: major, minor, and diminished. There is also a fourth type called augmented that is used less often than the other three.

How can change the chords on a guitar for a song?

Changing the chords on a guitar for a song is not that difficult, but it requires some skill to do it correctly.

To change the chords on a guitar, you need to know how to play the chord in question. This can be done by playing it by ear or by looking at the chord chart. If you want to be able to change any chord on your guitar, you will need to learn how to play them all.

How do I know if I’m playing the right chords?

The first step is to get your fingers in the right position. You should have your index finger on the third string, your middle finger on the fourth string, and your ring finger on the fifth string.

If you’re playing single notes, you’ll want to play them with a light touch. If you’re playing chords, you’ll want to press harder and let the strings ring out.

What is a chord diagram on a guitar?

A chord diagram is a graphical representation of the notes of a chord. It is used to show how the notes in a chord are related to each other.

A chord diagram on a guitar shows which strings are played when using different chords. It can also show how these chords are played on different frets, or what keys they can be played in.

Chord diagrams are commonly used by guitar players as an aid in learning new chords and song progressions.

How does an open D chord differ from an open G chord?

The open D chord is the same as the open G chord but with a D in the bass.

What are the best chord changes to learn and practice?

The question of what are the best chord changes to learn and practice is often asked. There are a lot of chord progressions out there, but not all of them are worth learning.

The following chords have been proven to be some of the most useful for beginners:

  • C Major
  • C Minor
  • D Major
  • D Minor

How can I learn guitar chords in a short amount of time?

There are hundreds of ways to learn guitar chords in a short amount of time. The most common ways are through Youtube videos, books, and apps.

The best way to learn guitar chords is by using an app like Guitar Tricks. It’s a free app that can teach you how to play over 100 songs on the guitar in just 10 minutes or less.

What are some beginner guitar chord songs to play?

Some beginner guitar chord songs to play are

  • Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple
  • Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix
  • Lose Yourself by Eminem
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