Hi everyone, Heather here from Michigan, USA

Welcome to the community, Heather. :slight_smile:

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Hello Heather welcome to the community.
The C chord changes will come with time. Slow and steady
and speed will come

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Stitch, thank you! That’s sure what I’m hoping, but it feels like I’m making the same motion with my fingers every time I move to C and I’m afraid that I’m somehow solidifying a bad habit…if that makes sense :grimacing:

Welcome Heather. Make sure to toss some beginner songs in your practice routine. That is one sure fire way to stay motivated while you master to pieces of Grade 1.


Welcome Heather! A couple of suggestions - You might try the Justin Guitar App - it has a lot of songs that you can play along with in a “karaoke” style. Songs can be filtered by chords, so you can narrow down the list of songs to only the ones that include the chords that you’ve learned so far. The tempo can also be slowed down, which really helps as you’re working to improve your playing. Also, the Practice Assistant “One Minute Changes” exercises helps to track your progress and see your improvement in making chord changes.

I hope this helps!


Hi Tom! Thank you! I do subscribe to the app and I love the features including the songs to play with and the ability to slow the tempo. I recently noticed the chord filter, which was immensely useful!

Currently, I’m working on Brown Eyed Girl, slowed to something just under 100 bpm, which still gives me an ouch with the C chord. It’s just discouraging after a whole week of it that I can’t land the C chord on beat, it always seems to be the second down strum in the 4 beats, as I adjust, that I hit it clearly, and I’m afraid I might be making that 2nd strum adjustment a permanent habit. Is that a legitimate concern, or should I plod on?

I also have a few others that I play every day that are fairly comfortable, but not ones with the C chord :disappointed:

Hi Heather, glad to have you here. C is a bit more spread across the fretboard comparing to all cramped up A D and E so patience and you will get there! All the best :slight_smile:

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Welcome to the Community, Heather. Sounds like you are making excellent progress.

As others have said, C will come in time. Have you tried the exercise where you fret the chord, lift your fingers just off the strings but still keeping the shape, and then fret the chord again. Progressively lift the fingers further from the guitar as you progress until you fret the chord, touch your knee, fret the chord.

To keep engaged in consolidation, I suggest recording yourself playing songs. Pick songs as suggested by Justin, choosing a song for each step taken in the Grade ie start with eg Born in the USA which uses A and D, then one with A D E etc. You can record yourself playing along with the app. A few people have posted recordings with the App inserted in the video which was fun.

Then share those recordings in AVOYP, you can post the first few here. In my experience sharing recordings was one of the best things I did when I started up with Justin’s Lessons. You’ll get feedback and tips, loads of encouragement, and feel-good on your progress.

Enjoy the adventure!

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Welcome Heather :smiley:

Keep chipping away and before you know it, you’ll surprise yourself that when you look back at things you thought were hard, they are now easy.

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Thank you David! I have actually spent much time on the chord perfect exercise each day, and in that way I can seem to form the shape and hit it without a problem…when I check each string they ring out clear. But in the midst of a song, even when I lift off a previous chord on the ‘and’ of the previous bar, I can’t seem to nail the chord shape for the C by the 1 beat of the next bar. I’m always off just enough to mute most of them and have a dead (1-&) first part of the next bar. All other chords I can hit.

I will think on making recordings as you suggest. I am extremely introverted and shy, and ugly to boot, so that seems a task :joy: but I do gather the value you describe, so I’ll think on on it, maybe it would help with the wall I seem to have hit.

Hi Heather, stick to JG course, once you get over C chord, there is another milestone which is F, then you can play the beautiful song “Heather” by Conan Gray :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Heather - my suggestion would be to slow the tempo down even further - way down - until you can change to the C chord cleanly. Once you can do that, then slowly start to increase the tempo. Your concern about making the 2nd strum adjustment a permanent habit is correct - you don’t want to keep repeating a mistake. Slow down until you can do it without having to make this adjustment.

I was writing another suggestion, but @DavidP beat me to it…

Hang in there Heather - you’ll get it.

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Thank you both! I will keep those suggestions in mind! I’ll continue the chord perfect going on the C, and slow down my Brown Eyed Girl practice song tempo.
Thanks again!

Just a matter of practice practice practice and it will come, Heather. Good idea to slow down until you find a tempo that you can make the change.

And also keep working at your One Minute Changes (I assume Justin still uses the OMC drill in the revamped Grade 1). Just spend some time every session doing C - Am changes and C - G. Be patient and with time and practice you’ll get faster and faster.

Just keep doing it, know that G - C is a challenge for everybody getting started.

Oh dear, my heart aches to read that “ugly” … even though I don’t believe you!

If it will make it easier and achievable, then make audio-only recordings or position the phone (assuming making a video with a phone) in such a way that all we can see is your guitar, the whole guitar.

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Hello and welcome to the community Heather.
Try to spend as much time having fun on the guitar as practice.
And for the recordings, its good to do just for yourself to check your progress and when you are ready, take the next step and share with the community. This is where you get the much needed encouragement and advice.

Hi Heather and a very warm welcome to the community.
You have already been given so much good advice.
I went looking for the Grade 1 Module 5 C chord lesson to post some advice there and tag you - but it hasn’t been linked yet so I’ve noted that for our web dev person.

In which case I will add some more comment in here, cluttering up your Intro topic a little more … :slight_smile:

This takes the idea you have already met and stretches it out a little to address the chord formation in songs when you need to be able to change to and from it.

To improve the C chord formation, try this:

  • Hold your fingers near to but not touching the strings.
  • Touch the fingers where the chord is but do not press.
  • Once you have all three touching at the correct place then press them down.
  • Do not strum - this is a fretting hand exercise only.
  • Release the pressure after a few seconds but keep touching the strings.
  • Then move your hand away from the strings by a small amount. All fingers away.
  • Repeat the process.

Then, to improve changes to and from the C major chord and other commonly grouped chords, repeat the above process with one alteration. After the final step of lifting all fingers away, the next cycle would be over the chord that you are changing to. Once that chord has been done and fingers are lifted away, go back to the first chord of the pair.

Wash, rinse, repeat.
Make this exercise last about five minutes.

1 minute - C alone
1 minute - C & Am
1 minute - C and G
1 minute - C and D
1 minute - C alone

Practice daily and within a week you will be smashing it! :slight_smile:


Hello Heather and welcome to the Community, good to have you here.

So much good advice given so far I have nothing to add but to enjoy your journey and take your time. Oh and keep asking about anything if you are unsure.



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Hi Heather nice to meet you. I’ve took my time and spent a full year on grade 1. I haven’t got that much experience but my advice would echo all of the above comments. Try not to push yourself too hard. When i first started the C chord I had to use my right hand to physically put my fingers in position. From there it went really slowly, following the practice routines and after a couple of months I got to around 40 changes per minute between C and G. Go slowly and follow your practice schedule and you’ll get there :slightly_smiling_face:


Wow! Thanks everybody! Such helpful folks!

I will implement those practice tips right away!

Thank you Tim for that encouragement, it’s actually nice to hear that a year working where I am is not unreasonable. I was feeling like I should be able to move on soon and it was making me anxious, but I actually would like to be really comfortable with this grade so I suppose I should relax.

Thank you all so much for the warm welcome! You’re very inspiring!

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hi and welcome to the Community!

Don’t forget to be patient with yourself and keep the fun in.
Big chunk of the fun is gettign better at the songs you like but also knowing which songs are your level (or a bit above it)

Yes, getting to some smooth playing takes time but your muscle memory will develop.

Most people have a least favourite/hardest open chord. For me that was G…I didn’t understand why it felt so much harder to do. no worries, stick around and ask for info on this wonderful Community :wink: