How To Switch Between Chords Fast | Five Tricks To Master This Fundamental Skill


"That's part of the policy: To keep switching gears." — Ridley Scott

In a previous lesson, we learned how to play the Major and Minor Barre Chords. These are the next fundamental chords to know, after the Open Chords.

Barre Chords are difficult to nail as a beginner, especially the dreaded F major chord.

Open Chords are a bit easier. A little.

However, one problem most guitarists have is mastering how to switch between those chords quickly and, surely enough, accurately. Yes, I did have the same problem, which took time to get down.

Yeah, I'm not a machine, I'm a man!

In this lesson, I'm going to show you 5 tricks you can use for switching between chords faster and accurately.

(Video lesson coming soon!)

1) Moving the hand

The first thing we should be able to do when switching chords is, of course, moving the hand to the new position in the neck.

Don't underestimate the time it takes to do that. You can easily miss an entire beat.

You can't just move your hand as you please. You need to move it while keeping your fingers close to the strings, otherwise you'll still waste time placing your fingers on each string.

The first way you can practice this is very simple: just move your hand and play the root note. Yes, just one string.

Can you do it on time, not missing any beats?

Once you can do that, try playing the power chord of that root note. This will help you start moving a simple shape which most chords still retain (most chords still play the perfect 5th and an octave).

If you can do this well, great! Otherwise, practice it.

When you can play the power chord on time, it's time to move on and try playing the full chord.

Watch out: you'll soon learn that moving your hand too fast can easily make you overshoot and miss the fret!

2) Stiff-pressing your fingers

This trick is very useful when transferring the same shape up and down the fretboard.

Did you notice that if you keep your fingers open and separate, it's much more difficult to keep them still?

What happens when you place your finger together and press them against each other?

You got it, it gets much easier to leave them steady in a position, because they all rest against each other, making a rigid connection.

You can use this to help you transfer a same chord shape anywhere on the fretboard.

3) Pre-moving your hand (pre-twisting)

Most guitar players don't play the Open Chords the same as when they play the Barre Chords.

The usual is that open chords are played with the thumb peeking over the side of the neck, while barre chords are played with the thumb behind the neck.

If you are not a freak of Nature not to follow this trend, you'll notice that when you want to change from, say a C open chord to an F barre chord, your thumb position will have to move quite a bit, like so:

If you were to switch from that C to F chord, you would have to not only change the position of your fingers, but also turn your hand at the same time, which is difficult to do as it carries your fingers with it.

The solution? Turn your hand before the switch, while still playing the C chord, like this:

That's it! You've eliminated one movement so that your switch will be easier and faster.

4) Progressive finger placement

When you have to play 6 or 5 strings, usually the position requires you to use all your fingers to play the chord, and because of that, it takes you longer than a chord with only two fingers.

However, it's also true that most of the times you don't hit