Cannot replicate the learnings in songs

I have learnt the chord shapes and can play them while practising the chord perfect exercises and 1- minute changes for majority of the chords ( except G and Dm, where I am still working), I manage to do chord changes while practising with a metronome but I cannot replicate the same while paying a song with the app , I sound bad and changes are sometimes not on time, and it gets messy, please advise

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Practise! It gets easier. Welcome to the forum!


You could try working on one thing at a time.

Focus on getting chord changes on time, don’t worry about sloppy chords, bad notes.

Slow it right down and focus on getting clean chord changes.

Mute the strings with fretting hand and just strum out the rhythm.

It all comes together eventually, and once you start to get one bit, the rest seems to come a bit easier.


@liaty mentioned “slow it down”. The app allows you to slow tempo down in steps to 50%. Get that speed down and then gradually increase it back up. I don’t think anyone at your (our) stage can manage 100% speed first time through.


Hey Teg,

@liaty makes an important point here

As you say, you can do the chord changes OK - it seems the timing, tempo, groove etc is the element to focus on. Slow it down and work on that, then introduce the chords, and eventually they will come together as one.

All the best.
Cheers, Shane

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you might want to try changing chords on a slow and simple drum track and doing only downward strums on counts 1,2,3,4.
A slow drum backing track is somewhere in between a metronome and a song.
Perhaps that’s a transition that works better?

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You have had plenty advice from those more knowledgeable than me. I am still on Grade 1 and had similar issues, I chose songs I knew and liked, it is then down to practice, practice, practice. Slowing the song down is sensible but rather bizarrely I found it more difficult so persevered at the full bpm with 4 down strums. I do slow it down when I am working on a new strumming pattern.
Keep at it you will get there.:notes::guitar::+1:


Lots of good advice unthread.

The only thing I would add is to try to just strum each chord on the 1 - once per measure - at first. Keep your strumming hand moving, but take as long as you need on the 2, 3, 4 beats to get your fretting fingers on the strings for the next chord. Then play it on the 1.

The goal is relaxation, and nailing every strum on the 1. If you feel rushed, you are going too fast.

Set the metronome (or App tempo) as slow as you need to until you can do this consistently - 30 - 40 BPM might be a good start, but slower is fine.

Then, slowly speed up the tempo, start adding strums, etc.

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Yes, this.

Also, once you have binary changes (swapping betwen two chords) working you can use Chord Perfect and OMC with the chord progression from a song (e.g. for a song that has the progression G->C->D instead of practising C<–>D and G<–>C; practice G->C->D->G->C->D->…)

And yes, practice. Start slow, and get things right before adding speed.

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Thannk you so much everyone for all the wonderful tips and help, I will surely try the suggestions.


Welcome, @tejp95!

I just wanted to post a note of encouragement and solidarity. I’m right there with you! We’re at similar stages in learning the guitar. I’m finding that I can switch chords alright until I have an audience or am on camera! (LOL) Then it’s like I’ve never picked up a guitar before. :smile:

The advice above is excellent.

Also, this may or may not help you, but this is what has helped me:

  1. As mentioned above, setting the song in the app at 70% tempo (or whatever beginning tempo I can manage) and increasing it only once I’m ready. Before I know it, I’m up to 90%.

  2. Practicing the A, D, and E chord switches using the “chord switching game” demonstrated in the video below. (It’s not really a game.)

  1. Practicing several of the methods from the 2-part series below on getting better at chord changing:

I’m certain we’ll get there! It really does take a little bit for our hands to learn how to automatically go into the chord shapes we want. Keep us posted on your progress! Blessings!

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@zys Glad you linked the GoodGuitarist videos. I’ve had good (heh!) results using his techniques when I plateau with Justin’s exercises.

In addition, I found this video very useful.

He shows a variation of the Spider exercise that really helped my finger dexterity. And, also a Knee Slap exercise for chord changes (though I found it better to just slap the strings with my fretting fingers).

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@Tbushell, great addition to the topic. :+1: Ever since I first saw this video, I’ve been practicing this exercise.