How to Move Past Changing Chords One Finger at a Time

Hi there! I’m about 6-7 weeks into learning guitar and I’m currently on Beginner Grade 1 Module 5. I’m wondering if there’s any advice on how to change chords with my fingers moving all at once rather than sliding/moving one finger at a time.

My OMC numbers are decent, north of 40 for all of them so far. I guess I am getting faster at sliding or pivoting around my anchor finger. But, those numbers are not translating to song practice, especially for some of the faster tempo songs.

Is it expected at this stage to be changing/building chords one finger at a time? How can I work on being able to make the chord shapes with all fingers moving simultaneously for faster, neater changes?


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All I can tell you is that eventually, with enough playing, it just starts to happen. And yes, at 6-7 weeks, that’s quite normal.

It’s covered in module 7, so don’t worry about if for now :grinning:


Welcome. I’m just a few weeks ahead of you and had wondered the same thing.

As mentioned abov it is normal, expected, and discussed in Module 7. It’s a long road to getting proficient so don’t worry too much, it will all come with time (someone told me 6 months to a year)

If you are struggling with the song tempo you can slow it down in either the app or by changing the video playback speed. I do that for the first week or 2 of practicing a song and speed it up as I improve.


Besides the Air Changes lesson Ian recommended you can do one minute changes with one chord.
Fret a chord any chord strum lift your fingers off the fretboard but don’t move your hand. Place your fingers back down all at once. When this becomes easy do the same thing but move your hand then fret the chord again placing all fingers down at once, repeat until this becomes easy. Then do the same thing but touch your knee then replace your hand to play the chord all fingers down at once.
Just remember to make it fun.


Hello Jordan.
Welcome to JustinGuitar & congrats on working through the first few modules and looking to play songs right away) and welcome to the Community.

Try this to see if it helps.
This exercise is designed to improve the ability to place all fingers on a chord simultaneously by actually doing the opposite – placing them one at a time, but in varying sequences. This will build finger independence which is essential for finger cooperation.

  • Place each finger sequentially on to the strings to form the chosen chord in the orders 1, 2, 3 then 2, 3, 1 then 3, 2, 1.
  • Do four repeats for each combination.
  • Repeat but with the sequential placing reversed, now following the orders: 3, 2, 1 then 2, 1, 3 then 1, 3, 2.
  • Finish by making four attempts to place all fingers simultaneously.

Perform this exercise with just one of the chords you have learned so far (say D major) to begin. It will take a couple of minutes of your practice routine. After several days you should be seeing and feeling some improvement. When you do, incorporate another chord and build up steadily one chord at a time.

I hope that helps.
Please let us know if you try it and if it works for you.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Moderator, Guide & Approved Teacher


Welcome Jordan and well done for your progress so far! Plenty of advice given already that I won’t add to, but will reassure you this all sounds very normal and that everything will develop the more you practice and play. Kudos to you for identifying this as something to work on, that self awareness / development will stand you in really good stead as you progress more.
:+1: :guitar:

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I did just what Richard recommends in the post two above. It still took a bit of time and a surprising amount of concentration, but it helped immensely.

Pay attention to how you land your fingers now, which is likely the easiest sequence for you, then purposefully and slowly practice initiating with different fingers. Make sure to practice using every sequence you can think of.

Couple this with Stitch’s advice of lifting the cord shape and putting back down and also trying to arraign your fingers before putting them down together and you have a large variety of helpful tools.

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I’m going to add this to my practice routine. Thanks!

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I’ve seen this on another YouTube video and incorporated it a bit into my chord perfect exercises. I’ll make a separate exercise on it for my practice routine!

Besides, nothing like the good laugh I got at myself while trying to land a barre cord with the middle finger first. It is like a whole alien hand thing. :rofl: