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  #1  
Old 09-03-2018, 12:36 PM
raduray raduray is offline
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Default Beginner chord changes: how fast?

Learning ADE and GCD chords. How many clean changes per minute should I aspire to before I move along?
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Old 09-03-2018, 12:45 PM
The Growler The Growler is offline
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Originally Posted by raduray View Post
Learning ADE and GCD chords. How many clean changes per minute should I aspire to before I move along?
I'd say that depends on the tempo of the music you're playing and some margin you want to add to that.

I'm not a huge fan of metronomes, but this is a good use for one. Start at a slow tempo and after you are good and solid on your changes, then slowly try a faster tempo and work on it until you are smooth. Then repeat the speed up process progressing slowly until you get to the tempo you want to be proficient at.

Have fun and good luck.
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Old 09-03-2018, 12:50 PM
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Rev Roy Rev Roy is offline
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Slowly build yourself up to 60 changes per minute...then move on. Go slow enough to make clean chords. Speed is secondary and will come naturally as you progress.
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Old 09-03-2018, 01:13 PM
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Three changes per second would be a good speed goal, but you don't have to achieve that before "moving along".
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:51 AM
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Slowly build yourself up to 60 changes per minute...then move on. Go slow enough to make clean chords. Speed is secondary and will come naturally as you progress.
Amen! Listen to the Rev
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:58 PM
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Usually (with some exceptions) you won't be cycling through a series rapid chord changes. Something like that would be mainly for practice.
You frequently will need to be making single chord changes of course. So say you will be playing a C chord for a full measure and starting the
next measure you will be playing a F chord. That's where you may need to make a quick chord change even though the over all tempo of the
tune may not be that fast.
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:34 PM
Pura Vida Pura Vida is offline
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I encourage beginners to check out the Justin Guitar videos on YouTube. Here's one he made on chord changes.

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Old 09-05-2018, 12:37 PM
jwing jwing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raduray View Post
Learning ADE and GCD chords. How many clean changes per minute should I aspire to before I move along?
If you stick with guitar playing, you will find that even within the confines of G-C-D, there are six two-chord combinations: G to C, G to D, C to G, C to D, D to G, and D to C. It is doable to run through those six while keeping time with a metronome. You can get them all with the following sequence: G, C, G, D, C, D, G. However, should you?

Keep this in mind for the rest of your guitar-playing days: For each of those chords, there are multiple ways to finger the frets. The best way varies in accordance with the situation. So, you have to keep your hands and mind agile. Later you will want to add ornamentation which requires even more finger agility. In my experience, practicing a sequence of chord changes out of context can put me into a deep rut that is difficult to not fall into, even if it takes me the wrong way.

IMO, there is a better way. Learn how to play a song. Practice the chord changes as they occur in the song. Use a metronome set at a tempo that is slow enough so that you can make all the changes in the tempo. If a particular change is giving you difficulty, slow the metronome, and then play that tricky part in loop until you get it. Then, add a few beats before and after the tricky spot and loop that. Once you have that down, play the whole song at the slow speed. When you can consistently play the song mistake-free, speed up the tempo a bit and go through the process again.
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:44 PM
RedJoker RedJoker is offline
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^^^ I totally agree with the idea of changing as part of a song for two reasons.

1) The slower songs tend to be sadder, sweeter, more soulful, etc that will really shine with clean chords. Up tempo songs are more forgiving and can hide bad technique.
2) You learn that you can actually start a chord change earlier than you might think so that you can hit that chord on the beat. This surprised me a little thinking I had to make the chord shape immediately on the beat. If I'm strumming half notes, I might be able to lift my fingers on beat three to get them fretting for that next beat.

Bonus 3) since the goal is to make music, it's easier for me to work on a technique in that context.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:29 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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How fast? Wrong question.

On the beat.
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Old 09-05-2018, 02:44 PM
beninma beninma is offline
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I wouldn't let this Justin guitar exercise prevent you from playing actual music.

Use the metronome for learning to try and stay on the beat.

If it's really hard at the beginning start with just setting up the metronome really slow (like 60bpm) and just strum on the 1 and count out 2-3-4. As was previously mentioned start trying that with slow songs.

Not a fan of his beginner stuff.. I wasted a lot of my time doing exercises that weren't particularly musical.
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Old 09-05-2018, 02:51 PM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raduray View Post
Learning ADE and GCD chords. How many clean changes per minute should I aspire to before I move along?
There is no clear-cut answer. I agree with what others have already said: You need to be able to switch fast enough (or slow enough) to make whatever you play sound like music. That's the important part, not some arbitrary "switches per minute" number. I wouldn't be so focused on speed. Accuracy and clean tone are much more important. Much of it depends on the type of music you play. If you wanted to play bluegrass, for example, you'd have to be able to switch very fast between those chords, depending on the song, and even more importantly, you'd have to be able to hit a clean-sounding bass note of each chord exactly on the beat. So, let's say you wanted to play a fiddle tune like Whiskey Before Breakfast at a decent clip, you should be able to make a clean switch between each chord about every second.

If on the other hand, you wanted to strum along to a slow ballad, you could take more time and the switches wouldn't have to be nearly as quick and clean.

In my opinion, it would be silly to spend the time you'll need until you're able to switch chords fast and cleanly before moving on to everything else, because you'd be doing nothing but chord-switching for months, possibly years.

Rather than focusing on some arbitrary switching speed, my advice would be to focus on playing music. You will develop speed and accuracy on your own, but it will take time, so you have to be patient.

If someone had told me when I started learning to play guitar that someday, I'd be able to hang with any bluegrass jam, regardless of how fast the tune is, and play the rhythm chords along, I would have replied, "yeah, right, no way!" I never focused on that aspect and instead focused on learning songs and making music. Naturally, the songs I gravitated to in the beginning were slower songs, but gradually I found myself playing faster and faster songs, and now I really enjoy "rippin'" a tune. But that happens gradually, over a long time, and is more a by-product of just playing music as much as you possibly can, rather than making it a defined goal with some arbitrary metrics like chord switches per minute.

Hope that makes a little bit of sense.
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Last edited by DesertTwang; 09-05-2018 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:46 PM
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I really don't feel this is the best way to learn chords. It's a good way to learn how to move your hand from one tense shape to another, but that's about it.

Beginners should ideally get to work on finger independence straight away. Learn to have control of each finger while keeping all the others relaxed. Of course, learn some chords and have some fun, but I really wouldn't bother with reaching a speed goal. Speed comes automatically when your technique is good.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:40 PM
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120 beats per minute, 4 beats per measure (4 chord changes per measure) is a good pace to aspire to, but like everyone has pointed out, start slow and go for accuracy then the speed comes by itself. When it comes to music, quality wins over quantity every time.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:04 AM
beninma beninma is offline
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A couple other pitfalls that I ran into:

- When doing exercises like the JG quick changes and pushing yourself I ended up developing some bad habits about strumming harder and harder as I tried to go faster.

- I also developed some bad habits in terms of clamping my left hand down harder as I stressed out trying to go faster

I think it can be real important to practice some of this stuff slow, make sure you are not strumming too hard, and concentrate on relaxing that left hand as much as possible.

All of these online/book methods seem to miss the boat in terms of getting you to realize when you can leave a finger down because that note is shared between the two chords you're changing between. That is something to really concentrate on.. pick chords at first where there are common notes, pick fingerings of those chords where you can use the same finger for that note in both chords, and learn to move the other fingers while leaving that note fretted.
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