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  • Secret in changing chords without looking

    Posted by leftyruss on February 17, 2024 at 12:11 pm

    I know Chords G, C, D, Am and Em, but cannot figure out the secret to place my fingers in the right position without looking.

    Kim-Fitz replied 3 months, 1 week ago 6 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Ddtediejm

    February 17, 2024 at 12:28 pm

    Sir, that will come the more and more you play them. Like anything else, muscle memory will come into play the more you use them. The chords you listed, I can easily hit them without looking now, but it took me some years to get there. Now I am working on being able to do that with barre chords like Bm, Fm, etc. Just keep working it, and it will come. If you want to exercise it, Tony has what he called the “Quick draw” if I remember it correctly from the beginning course, where you try to hit the chord as quick as you can for a time period. Justin Guitar had a similar technique. You put a minute on a timer, and go between G and C as quick as you can…it works. Good luck in your guitar journey.

  • Carol-3M-Stillhand

    February 17, 2024 at 12:54 pm

    @leftyruss that’s an awesome group of chords to work from!! They are all in the key of G-Major after all!! (The G-Major chords are G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em and Fdim) but hardly anyone plays diminished chords, haha!

    Besides the obvious answer (practice), I’d say the best way to obtain smooth chord transitions is to look at the chord diagrams for each chord and see if any of them have strings/frets in common with each other. Like the C Major and the A minor. For the C-Major chord, most people use ring finger to fret the 5th string 3rd fret, middle finger to fret the 4th string 2nd fret, and index finger to fret the 2nd string 1st fret. Switching from C Major to A minor, you can just leave your index and middle finger as those are the same for the A minor chord. All you need to do is pick up your middle finger off the 5th string and place it on the 3rd string 2nd fret. Give that a try and go back and forth from C to Am.

    Always look at where you are coming from compared to where you are going next. Any notes/strings/frets that are the same are called “anchor notes” and you can leave your fingers fretted, using them as spatial reference points to move the other fingers that do need to change. A classic example of this is in the key of G, if you make your G-chord like Tony, the bluegrass way (with your ring finger on the 2nd string 3rd fret), this can become your anchor note for all 3 of the major chords.


    Pinky 1st string 3rd fret

    Ring 2nd string 3rd fret

    Index 5th string 2nd fret

    Middle 6th string 3rd fret

    Practice making this G-chord with good tone, then after you strum, leave your ring finger where it is but practice just lifting the other 3 fingers and then re-fretting the entire G-chord. Keep doing these “take-offs and landings” within the same chord until you can do it with your eyes closed.

    G to Dmajor:

    Start with the Gmajor chord above. To change easily to a Dmajor:

    Leave Ring finger on 2nd string 3rd fret (This is your anchor note)

    Pick up the other 3 fingers from their G-Positions and place

    Middle finger on 1st string 2nd fret

    Index finger on 3rd string 2nd fret

    Practice holding your ring finger down while switching back and forth between Gmajor and Dmajor.

    G to Cmajor:

    Start with the Gmajor chord above. To change easily to a Cmajor:

    Leave ring finger on the 2nd string 3rd fret (This is still your anchor note)

    Pick up middle and index fingers from their G-Positions and move

    Middle finger to 5th string 3rd fret

    Index finger to 4th string 2nd fret.

    Technically this is a C-add9 chord but it should sound OK wherever a C-major chord is called for.

    Give this a try and see if it works for you. Just keep your ring finger down as your anchor note and switch around from G to C to G to D to C to G etc….

    Also Tony has a bunch of lessons on chord transitions over in the menus on the left side of the home screen πŸ™‚

    Best wishes, Carol

  • Moose408

    February 17, 2024 at 12:55 pm

    It takes time. Basically you want to move the finger positioning routine from your conscious to your subconscious mind or what some people call muscle memory.

    There are practice steps you can do to accelerate the process. The brain creates these routines based upon the amount of the attention you apply when learning and the how often you repeat the process.

    The secret for me is to do dedicated, isolated practice for 10 mins every day, for a little over a month.

    My steps are

    – position my fingers and pick each string, if I have a muted string then slightly reposition the offending finger and repeat the above until every string rings out clearly.

    – keeping my hand positioned I will then press down hard on the strings and then release the pressure, but keep contact with the string. Repeat this 20 times

    – I then lift the fingers off the strings and 1/4” and repeat step 1.

    – once I am consistent with that I will place one finger at a time, starting with my index finger, then middle, then ring. Do that 10 times, then start with the middle finger, then index, then ring. The start with ring finger, middle, index. I go through all permutations of first and 2nd and 3rd finger down. Then I move to trying to place 2 fingers at once and then adding the 3rd. Go through all of those permutations. Then go for all fingers at once.

    You should notice slight improvement each week and then one day suddenly all your fingers will go to the right position. It takes me a month of this daily practice to get where the chord is automatic.

    • Theedman22

      March 1, 2024 at 8:07 pm


      • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Theedman22.
  • Theedman22

    March 1, 2024 at 8:08 pm

    I agree with you, Moose408. Muscle memory, moving the finger movements from conscious to unconscious, less thinking ( which is what I’m working on). I like all of the ideas, here, thanks for all of your inputs (I’m taking notes lol). I’m also using a metronome at 40bpm (slow) and starting out that way moving from chord to chord over and over, and after I get a little comfortable, NOT LOOKING. Then when I’m comfortable move it to may 50bpm, and so on.

  • Kim-Fitz

    March 2, 2024 at 11:06 am

    I agree with everyone’s suggestions. The only thing I would add is to start learning songs if you haven’t yet. Lots of songs out there with the chords you mentioned. Your muscle memory will start to kick in pretty fast. You will also be practicing rhythm, and strumming patterns at the same time. It’s a lot more fun than just practicing drills alone.

    Good luck, Kim

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