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  #1  
Old 09-25-2009, 01:39 PM
TaylorGirl2008 TaylorGirl2008 is offline
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Default Changing chords

As a reminder, I am a newbie to guitar in my advanced age.

I've been working on chord changes while using a metronome and that is going well. I think the next step is to change chords while doing some exercises (I'm trying to learn fingerstyle). When I try, I'm all thumbs. My next guitar lesson isn't until Oct. 5 so I'll talk to my teacher then about a good way to go about this, but if anyone has any ideas, advice, etc. I'd appreciate it. I'm sure there is a way to go about this, recommended approaches, etc. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2009, 02:31 PM
patrickgm60 patrickgm60 is offline
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A few pointers come to mind:

1) Practice often for short periods of time (if you can.) In my newby days (high school), I was determined to get past the chord change pause as quickly as possible. I would grab my git every time I had a minute or two - when waking up, back from school, in front of the TV, etc., sometimes focusing on one specific chord change (e.g. first position A to D). I seemed to get most of the changes down within a reasonably short period of time.

2) Pay attention to fingering. Most finger charts and teachers follow the some guidelines, but there are some bad info, also. E.G. First position G chord should be with your pinky on first string, middle on 5th, and ring on 6th.

3) You don't have to have the chord completely formed to start strumming or fingerpicking it. A common newby habit is to wrestle with the fretting hand, until to chord is locked in, then starting to strum/pick. Particularly with fingerstyle, you often have fractions of a second to form the individual notes of the chord before you pluck that string.

I agree with your use of a metronome or drum loops. Keep it up!
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:31 PM
wcap wcap is offline
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Maybe someone else will have something more useful to say, but I suspect that as long as you are not doing something crazy with your hand positions, this probably just comes down to doing this slowly, over and over and over and over ............... and over and over..........and over again. I mean, really a lot.

Personally, I have always found doing this sort of thing in the context of learning a piece I really want to be able to play much more rewarding. As you get better and better you start having tantalizing bits of the piece start coming together, and this is what makes me determined to keep at it and to stubbornly persevere.

When first learning banjo when I was a teenager some decades ago I played Cripple Creek and Foggy Mountain Breakdown MANY MANY times over and over again, really badly, for a year before things really started to come together well. But things did come together (after a few years), and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride all the way along.

This might sound discouraging (that it could take so long to start to feel you can play things really really well), but as I said, each step along the was was great fun!

Some of what I wrote above might make this sound like drudgery, but I have never seen it that way. I call it sitting down to play guitar, something I never have enough time for, and something that I would possibly do all day long if I had times (and if my hands held out!).

I have worked many many many hours on learning guitar pieces, and previously banjo, and sometimes it has been exhausting (especially when learning a new complicated piece), but I have never thought of it as practicing, and have never called it that. I just call it playing guitar - something I almost always look forward to.

I think I'm a pretty competent player now, but I'm not a professional, and not a guitar teacher, so this may or may not be the most useful advice.

Last edited by wcap; 09-25-2009 at 02:45 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-25-2009, 02:42 PM
wcap wcap is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickgm60 View Post
A few pointers come to mind:

1) Practice often for short periods of time (if you can.) In my newby days (high school), I was determined to get past the chord change pause as quickly as possible. I would grab my git every time I had a minute or two - when waking up, back from school, in front of the TV, etc., sometimes focusing on one specific chord change (e.g. first position A to D). I seemed to get most of the changes down within a reasonably short period of time.

2) Pay attention to fingering. Most finger charts and teachers follow the some guidelines, but there are some bad info, also. E.G. First position G chord should be with your pinky on first string, middle on 5th, and ring on 6th.

3) You don't have to have the chord completely formed to start strumming or fingerpicking it. A common newby habit is to wrestle with the fretting hand, until to chord is locked in, then starting to strum/pick. Particularly with fingerstyle, you often have fractions of a second to form the individual notes of the chord before you pluck that string.

I agree with your use of a metronome or drum loops. Keep it up!
As I said, maybe others would have more useful suggestions. Good suggestions here (posted seconds before me)!
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Old 09-25-2009, 03:49 PM
Hankak Hankak is offline
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Before making the change visualize the finger pattern as a group and try to recall the pattern required in the change. Changing from G using the middle, ring and pinky is a matter of sliding over dropping the pinky and adding the index. Try to get in the habit of making sure you get the root first as that's the first string you'll be strumming and if you get screwed up like I did you'll lose a precious few milliseconds.
Practice a 5 or so minutes 5 to 10 times over a whole day is better than an hour once a day.
The metronome could be a distraction and interfere with getting the changes done. Once you get good at changing then add the metro and you may not need it because you tap your foot.
Good luck
Hank
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Old 09-25-2009, 04:01 PM
Coke_zero Coke_zero is offline
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I wish I could go back and learn to play the guitar all over again. I taught myself and cheated on the basic fundamentals. You are in a good position to learn from scratch, take your time and learn the basics perectly is all I can say.
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2009, 11:48 PM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaylorGirl2008 View Post
...I've been working on chord changes while using a metronome and that is going well. I think the next step is to change chords while doing some exercises (I'm trying to learn fingerstyle). When I try, I'm all thumbs. My next guitar lesson isn't until Oct. 5 so I'll talk to my teacher then about a good way to go about this, but if anyone has any ideas, advice, etc. I'd appreciate it. I'm sure there is a way to go about this, recommended approaches, etc. Thanks!
Hi TG...
An exercise I assign with beginners is in 4/4 time to play/strum a pair of chords back and forth till it's second nature before moving on to a different chord combination. If you focus on only two chords back-n-forth, and work them into the brain, you will remember them better.

The exercise itself is to play each chord as two quarter notes then a half note, and to switch to the new chord during the half note (borrow the time from the half note to switch)...so it falls into a steady rhythm of:
Strum, Strum, Strum-switch, Strum, Strum, Strum-switch, etc... It's important to keep the beat - which the metronome will help you with so you don't cheat the length of the half note (2 full counts).

As you become more proficient and efficient with the changes, you can stretch the length of time you hold the chord on the half note before switching to keep it in time with the music.

Hope this helps...

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Old 09-26-2009, 08:31 AM
Oatmeal Oatmeal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickgm60 View Post
A few pointers come to mind:

2) Pay attention to fingering. Most finger charts and teachers follow the some guidelines, but there are some bad info, also. E.G. First position G chord should be with your pinky on first string, middle on 5th, and ring on 6th.
A little confused here. Are you saying the open G should be fingered this way, or that this is bad info that many teachers follow?
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:58 AM
patrickgm60 patrickgm60 is offline
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Quote:
A little confused here. Are you saying the open G should be fingered this way, or that this is bad info that many teachers follow?
Good catch, Oatmeal; sorry for the ambiguity. Meant to state that the fingering listed is the preferred/"correct" fingering.
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  #10  
Old 09-27-2009, 03:02 PM
Alpione Alpione is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickgm60 View Post
Good catch, Oatmeal; sorry for the ambiguity. Meant to state that the fingering listed is the preferred/"correct" fingering.
Depends completely on what you're doing and what sound you're looking for in the voicing....
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