Switching Chords

Hello, I’m and older beginner and I’m doing well with the lessons, except for switching between chords. I always have to stop, look at the fretboard, and then get my fingers into position. Does anyone have particular advice to overcome this problem or is the answer simply continuing to practice? It seems like I’m not improving much. Thanks.

Hello Wendy and welcome to our community. :slight_smile:

How long have you been practicing for? It does take quite a while to be able to land your chords changes without looking and I’m just talking about your basic chords here. It is all about training your muscle memory. So it really is a case of just continuing your practice and eventually it will come.

Why don’t you pop on over here and introduce yourself.

Perfectly normal. Just keep doing the one minute changes, and don’t be disheartened that the progress is slow, especially at the beginning of your guitar journey.

Thank you, SgtColon. I’ve been practicing for about three months, but not every day. That could be the reason my progress seems slow. During the work week my practice sessions are shorter. I tend to be able to spend more time on the weekends. I’ll keep plugging away. :grinning:

Thanks, Fast-Eddie. I’m relieved to hear that this issue is a normal part of the journey. I’ll keep practicing!

Welcome to the forum Wendy
Training your fingers to do what you want them to can be a challenge try this little exercise for a few minutes every day.

Fret the chord you want to practice, strum it to make sure the strings all ringing out. Then just lift your fingers off the fret board(don’t move your hand just the fingers) then place them down again and strum the chord. When this becomes easy repeat the exercise but this time take your hand off the fret board (not to far) the repeat the chord. When that is easy repeat the exercise but this time remove your hand and touch your knee and return to the chord.

It’s like doing OMC but with only 1 chord. This will help your hand and brain get together to play chords.


A way I found really useful was to concentrate on one thing. You have new motor skills to learn so I
a. Concentrated on moving my fingers into position …
Then …add strum…
Then conentrate on how it sounds.

When I was a beginner,I often did the one minute changes without playing. I think the most important thing is placing your fingers accurately and reasonably quickly. Sometimes,its easy to become frustrated when neither fretting,speed of changes and sound are not what you want them to be.

1 Like

stitch, thank you. That’s a great idea. I’m going to try it!


Peter it’d, thanks for the tip. I did wonder if simply focusing on my fretting fingers for a bit, without strumming, would help. I’m going to try it.

Once you have trained your brain with the new motor skills ,you will be able to play the chord changes without looking. Just easy steps-one chord, then two. Dont increase anything until you have it perfect. Moving accurately between three chords is a HUGE step for a guitarist.
Practice makes permament…as Justin says.

Im 58,so it was a whole new world for me.

1 Like

As others have said, keep plugging away! I read on another guitar site that 15 second sequences repeated 50-75 times 3x a week help develop new motor skills/muscle memory and embed learning. This was said by neuroscientist Andrew Huberman. I have been trying this approach this week and it’s helped me to get to grips with a couple of chord changes that were unfamiliar. One was Cmaj7 on 8th fret (which I can do without thinking) to Bflat7 flat 5 on 6th fret (my fingers kept hitting the wrong notes). Anyway it’s helped me. The two chords begin Silent Night which I hope to play for family at Christmas in chord melody style.

Hi Wendy

I find it just takes time for the muscle memory to kick in. Repeating the chord fingering or the changes over and over works for me but time and practice along with some patience was what I found is working for me.

1 Like

Hello it s just about letting a slow learner (your brain) making the new neurones connexion.
Being regular in practice , like 15/30 mins per day in better than a long session as your brain gets tired. go slow, and learn two chords shift, not3 not 4 at the time. Yes it will take time, I know the frustration.
for chord learning, stat very sloy and decompose the chord movement step by step ( fingers mouve) and repeat each step? Theen chain the staeps slowy to perform the chord change? then speed will come…on day !

1 Like

I’m 78 and just started a year ago. I too have problems changing chords accurately. I spend a lot of time practicing switching between 2 chords until I get it reasonable well. I’m determined as you probably are to become a decent player. Hopefully before my time is up. Try to get your fingers in position for the next chord halfway to the next chord. Justin has a lesson on this. He calls it changing chords in the air.

1 Like

Wendy, are you doing both the One Minute Changes (OMC) and the Perfect Chord Changes (PCC) exercise every time you practice?

It’s important to do both - not just one or the other.

I’ve also had good results with exercises similar to the one that Stitch described.

1 Like

That’s fantastic to hear! It’s inspiring to see someone like yourself, at 78, embarking on a journey to learn and master the guitar. Your dedication and determination are commendable, and it’s clear that you’re passionate about becoming a skilled player.

1 Like