Simple Shortcuts for Switching Between Chords

chord changes

Written by Ivan Rivera from


Switching Between Chords

Chords are usually the first thing we learn on guitar and they build the foundation for a lot of what we do. I remember the first time I strummed a chord all the way through and it rang through my room and all the strings sounded clean. It’s a great and proud feeling that instills a feeling a progress and I see that in my students. It’s a great feeling every single time. But getting these chords to ring out nicely without any muted strings is only the first step in the journey of guitar and rhythm playing.

The next step for chords is learning and practicing how to switch. It’s usually the first thing that comes up with my students after learning most of the basic chords. It’s a logical progression and it’s essential for playing songs. While a lot of it has to do with muscle memory and getting the chords under your fingers, I have a found a few ways to switch between some basic chords that are common in some of the first songs you learn.

The concept is based on finding common fingers that stay the same between the chord you’re currently playing and the chord you want to switch to. This accomplishes two very important things:

1.Efficiency and economy of movement: The less fingers you have to move, the faster and more efficiently you’ll be able to get to the next chord. Also, your hands are less likely to get tired since you’re moving less.

2.Keeping your hands closer to the fret board: A very common thing I notice in all my students in the beginning is that when they’re done with a chord, they take they’re hand completely off the fret board and have to reposition all they’re fingers for the new chord they’re going to. Having to keep common fingers pressed and in place while you’re switching prevents you from doing this since you always have to keep your hand on the fret board.

About My YouTube Video

Today we’ll be working with the chords C major, A minor, E minor, G major, D major and finally F major. These are usually the first chords you learn and are found in so many songs so these moves and tips are definitely practical. We’ll also be looking at another set of chords that are a bit less common but incredibly fun to do.

The last thing we’ll be looking at is switching between A minor and E major. This will be less common of a progression but it’s still a very fun one and it still displays the concept we’re discussing, just in a different way. These two chords contain the same shape, it’s just they’re a string set up or down depending which you’re switching to. Very useful if you’re into Spanish songs or Flamenco though!

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