Guitar chords can be difficult for the beginner, there seems to be so many chords to learn and how do you remember all of them? Anyone who has ever tried to learn the guitar will remember, endless difficult chord shapes, buzzing strings and unmusical sounds.
Try these four tips and you will be well on your way to overcoming the guitar chord blues.
Tip 1 - memory cards
The best way to recall chord names and associate the chord name with the correct chord shape is via data memory cards. Simply use a blank index card with the chord name on one side of the card and the correct chord shape on the other side of the card.
Use these data memory cards like question and answer cards, look at them each day adding new cards as you learn more chords. The concept is, you would have three piles of cards - a daily pile, weekly pile and monthly pile.
Once you get the answer correct place the card in a weekly pile, at the end of the week, test yourself with all the chords in the weekly pile, the data cards that you correctly answered from the weekly pile move to the monthly pile, the cards that were answered incorrectly go back to the daily pile.
You will be able to remember an enormous number of chords using this method.
Tip 2 - easy shapes
Most of the chord shapes presented in commercially available guitar “chord books" are too difficult for beginners. The generic chord shapes contained in these books are technically correct however highly impractical for the guitarist, even an experienced player.
The solution is to re-design the chord shapes in a way that only requires 2 or 3 fingers with minimum finger movement between chords. Modify any chord shape so that you are only playing the first 3 or 4 strings. this will give you a good sounding chord without all the unnecessary stretching.
Tip 3 - chord stamp
When you are changing chords take special note of how your fingers make up the chord shape.
The idea is to have all your fingers stamp down on the chord in one single movement, not two of three movements. Think of your fingers coming down on the strings like a rubber stamp.
Tip 4 - metronome
Once you know the chord shape you will need to develop speed and accuracy with your chord changes.
Use a metronome to monitor your progress. Start by setting the metronome to 60 beat per minute. Select a chord progression to practice, strum the chord on the first beat of the bar and listen to the metronome for the remaining three beats. The idea is to get the next chord change accurately on the first beat of the next bar, if the chord change isn't accurate, slow the metronome down.
We want to use the metronome to track our progress, don't set the metronome and try to reach the tempo, rather use the metronome to monitor our daily progress. Gradually increase the tempo over time.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to tap your foot and concentrate on developing your rhythm.
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