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How to move between Chords.

One of the hardest things to do for new students is to move between chords. Often they take all their fingers of the strings and then try and make the new chord. This does not work. Using the techniques below makes the movement between chords easier and smoother. The examples below are simple 3 note chords but they can be applied to much larger chords.

When moving between chords I find that there are 2 main methods which give smooth transitions:-

1) Look for fingers that appear in both chords. Use these as a physical reference for any fingers you need to add or move. The added benefit of this is that you lift your hand off the fret-board and therefore the fingers will only move a short distance to the next position.

Try to avoid lifting the whole hand when moving between chords in the same position. This is only necessary when you moving up and down the fret-board. Start with an easy movement such as the C major triad to A minor triad below, with chords like these you add a finger to change the chord.

C Major

A Minor

The opposite is going from C major to E minor where you take a finger off to change chord. The most difficult moves involve changing fingers that are already being used.

C Major

To go from D minor to F major you have to change two fingers from where they are, for D minor, to their positions for the F major chord. I find that if you move finger 1 to its new position and then remove finger 3 this is more comfortable and quicker. You have also maintained the D minor shape right until the last minute.

F Major


2) When there are no fingers that appear in both chords return to the finger sequence for making chords - Finger 1 (the finger next to the thumb), Finger 2, Finger 2, Finger 4. Remember that it is better move one finger at a time rather than lifting the whole hand and then replacing it. By removing the whole hand the chord changes will sound jumpy and will not flow well.

Ideally you should be able to move from any chord, you know, to any other chord you know. If you find a particular chord move difficult, then practice it until it is smooth or it will always let you down.

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