Learning Guitar Chords
I don’t know about you, but when I first started playing guitar, the chords were by far the most complicated thing for me to master.
Learning guitar chords can present a massive challenge. For starters, you’re using multiple fingers and playing multiple strings at the same time. The combinations and placement of fingers can appear very strange.
For me, I learned that I was making a major mistake. Two major mistakes actually. You see, I use to blame my lack of production and success on learning guitar chords based on my large hands and fingers. I figured that I just had these large hands that were unable to warp and play those frustrating chords. =)
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However, little did I know that most of my problem learning guitar chords had to do with my placement of my hands and fingers rather than the size of them. For example, the placement of the left hand (the one that plays the chords) is vital.
Are you struggling to learn guitar chords? Check the placement of your left thumb when you play the guitar. Where is it positioned? If the left thumb is high up on the back of the neck, your placement is wrong. The left thumb should actually sit on the lower portion of the back of the neck behind the second finger. While this may feel insanely uncomfortable at first, this is the correct finger posture for most guitar styles. (This is mostly a comfort thing though, and can vary person to person, depending on length of fingers, flexibility of the hands, etc.)
The important concept is not to forget this posture. Sure it’s easy to play a couple of notes or songs and then return to the old habit but that only encourages bad habits. Remember practicing good habits is vital.
Successfully learning guitar chords is heavily prevented by a lack of knowledge or support. When you see a five string chord and you’re struggling to learn it, you’re making two big mistakes:
- First off, if you are just learning to play a guitar, attempting to master a five string chord is foolish. Instead, focus on a two or three string chord. It’s much easier to learn. After you master some of the simple chords, then you can move on to learning the more difficult chords and formations.
- Secondly, correct finger placement is important. For example, it wasn’t until months later that I realized that I was attempting to play the chord all wrong. The video on GuitarTricks.com showed me the correct finger placement, which was much easier than the way I was trying to play the chord! It's the little things, ya know?
If you want to learn how to play guitar chords it’s important to learn the right way, which is tough to do without an expert, or at least some formal training. However, guitar lessons are not cheap (average of $16 per 30-minute lesson!).
Check out a resource like Guitar Tricks to learn many of the techniques, tricks, and lessons you would learn from a private instructor, but for WAY less money, at least to get you started...
Lessons + Practice = You'll be an awesome guitarist!
Make sure you take lessons no matter what form they come in. You’re not going to learn guitar chords without a rock solid lesson. Whether you have the time & money for private lessons or simply find a cool lesson online (Guitar Tricks offers 24 free lessons, by the way) is irrelevant. Just fine a great lesson, learn from it, and practice!
Practice is very important. I recommend that you set aside a half hour everyday for the guitar when you are first learning. This may seem like I’m not requiring enough time or dedication, but I have actually found that individuals who play the guitar longer than a half-hour each day become bored or pick up bad habits.
Instead, just set aside a half-hour each day that is not filled with any other distractions. Find a quiet room and pick a time of day where you have the most energy.
Spend fifteen minutes of that half-hour focused exclusively on learning guitar chords. Start with simple and basic chords. Within two weeks you’ll not only play these chords like a pro, but you’ll also switch back and forth between chords with ease...promise.
Successfully learning guitar chords is as much about patience and dedication as it is about knowledge and skill.
Make up your mind that you’re going to learn these chords! You can do this...Oh yeah, and remember that chords are the foundation for every song, so once you learn a bunch of them, you'll be able to play a TON of cool songs! So start by learning chords, then move onto songs, alright? (Man, I wish I would have done it that way!)
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Master dozens of guitar chords by watching FREE videos on GuitarTricks.com:
Good luck, and have fun learning guitar!