Real Guitar Adventure for Grownups

Learn Guitar Chords Fast – Step-By-Step System

in Guitar Chords | 8 comments

Guitar-chords-diagram (1)

Learning how to play guitar chords is not a mysterious skill that is only for a few chosen “talented” people.

It's a step-by-step process based on sound learning principles and our understanding of muscle memory.

It may not seems glamorous, but there's one thing I can promise you…

IT WORKS EVERY TIME!

Of course… IF you follow the system.

Here's how it goes…

 

Step #1 – Practice The Fingering of the First Chord

 

Okay… let's start the process of learning how to play guitar chords by choosing one chord to get started with.

No mystery here. If you're just getting going I'll suggest you start with the D chord.

You're going to practice fingering the chord.

Do this by placing your fingers on the chord one at a time, then take the fingers off. Don't strum the chord yet. This is kind of a “test run” to practice where the fingers go. Repeat this process 10 -15 times.

Now finger the chord again, but this time strum the chord. Check to see that all the notes are sounding properly.

Adjust your fingers if necessary. Strum again and repeat working to get all the notes of the chord to sound without buzzing or making funny sounds.

Don’t worry about getting it perfect. This was a mistake I made in the beginning – trying to get everything just right before moving on.

Trying to get it perfect will actually hold you back. Go for about 70 to 80%. You'll refine the chord as you practice changing from one chord to another over time.

Give yourself a time limit of about 10 seconds (you'll be doing it several times).  Then take your fingers off, shake your hand, and start again.

With a new chord you’ll repeat this process 10 -15 times each session.

 

Step #2 – Practice Fingering the Second Chord

Pick a second guitar chord that you want to learn how to play and that is commonly used with the first chord you chose. Later I’ll teach you how to play guitar chords that are commonly played together in the same song.

Repeat the same process from Step #1 of fingering the chord, shaking out your hand and starting over.

 

Step #3 - Practice Changing From One to the Other

a.  Practice changing from one chord to the other slowly without worrying about a beat or pulse.

b.  Once you can do this fairly comfortably begin practicing slowly with a steady pulse. I recommend starting with the four strums on one chord and then change to the next chord. The critical part is when you change chords. Go as slow as you need to to change chords without pausing or stopping. Then pick up the tempo little by little.

It’s important not to pause or stop when you change chords. This can become a habit over time and will only slow down your progress.

c.  After you’re comfortable changing chords every four strums try changing every two strums, starting at a slow tempo again and picking up little by little.

 

Step #4 - Add another Chord

Once your at about 80% changing between two chords smoothly add a third chord. Again it’s best to add a chord that is commonly used with the other two chords.

Start again at a slow tempo with four strums per chord and work your way up to where you can change smoothly from one chords to the other at a moderate tempo.

 

Sample Exercises:

Here’s some exercises you can use to practice.

how to play guitar chords exercises

 

 

 

Once you complete this lesson on "How To Play Guitar Chords With Confidence" the next logical step is my course titled Basic Guitar Chords And Songs where you’ll learn the forms and fingering for the 12 most important beginning guitar chords.

Click here for Basic Guitar Chords And Songs

Tell Us What You Think - Please Comment Below!

We would love to hear your comments and questions. Did this lesson help you move forward a little?  What specific things are you struggling with while learning guitar?

 

Tomas Michaud

Tomas Michaud

Author - Tomas Michaud at Real Guitar Success
Tomas Michaud is an American born guitarist and music educator with a French Canadian heritage. He first developed the Starland Guitar System in 1982 when his 9 year old daughter asked him to teach her guitar. Since then he’s founded the Starland School of Music in the SF Bay Area, and RealguitarSuccess.com.

When he's not making guitar instruction videos or creating more music to record (currently 7 CDs including Beauty and Fire) he's riding his bike along the beach with his dog Marco Polo or traveling to interesting places with his lovely wife Pui.
Tomas Michaud

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    8 Comments

  1. Just ended practicing all the chords. This was very helpful. I had a little confusion with fingering the second chord, but i think with practice it would cover up 🙂 Already playing guitar as my hobby.

    Alexis Wilson

    October 1, 2015

  2. Thank you for sharing, that is great guitar chords article. You are pro guitar player. I would like to order about 20~50 Guitar Chords Tip articles for my Guitar Blog http://bestbeginnerguitartoday.com/
    Can you help me write them for my blog.
    I would be happy if you contact again with me by email.
    My Email : [email protected]
    Thank you so much

    Hong Sang

    May 27, 2016

    • Hi Hong Sang, as I mentioned in my email I will not have time to provide articles for your guitar blog at this time. I wish you the best. -Tomas

      Tomas

      June 6, 2016

  3. Finally A Gentlemen that makes me NOT feel so dumb!! LOL! Long story sorta short. 54 yr d female, born in St. Pete FLA.. Started my First band as ten.(EASY) I’m “still” very small, 4’8″ My Dad bought me an acoustic, paid Joe Z. $8.00 for a lesson. My fingers, well, you know! So here I am 44 years later, learning to PLAY GUITAR! My buddy gave me a Mitchell MDJ-10/N, Translates to a Beautiful Fit! So my Happy Ending? Ive been at it since April 18th… The thousands of hours spent emersed in music, Every Day so far, I will pull off some”correct” chord progressions, right tempo, feel, notes, changes, PICKING! and what I like to call “the touch”. I Smile and laugh out LOUD! DAMN APE, if ONLY I had perused and not given up so fast (all of TEN minutes, wtf!) Lol! I would be a Monster now!! If it’s any indication of how I will be playing One Year from 4/18? FIRST THING on my mind the am is, “let’s fix that bridge in “I’m Sleepy”. Yes, I am writing my Own songs! Look this girls gots some skills!!! LOL! I have all of your directions and SIMPLY worded lessons at my Little Finger Tips!! YOUR AN ANGEL TOMAS!! THANK YOU! Ending with my favorite note. I don’t know what it is?. Simple E (strum 7x) to the E Third Finger to the G…(7x) repeat 2x to an F ascending, etc etc!!! Hey Tomas? What IS MY chord?? FB April Gay Wharton-Yerger Pop a Request if you’d like!! 😀

    April Gay

    June 15, 2016

    • Hi April Gay… wow, thank for your monumental post 🙂 I’m really happy to hear you are enjoying my lessons. I sometimes think “if only I had started younger” or “I wish I had practiced more”. Then I have a small flash of insight… I remember thinking when I was younger “I’m too old” as well as “I’ll practice more when I have more time”. Kinda makes me wonder when will be the right time? I hope it’s the right time for you April Gay. Take care, Tomas

      Tomas

      July 1, 2016

  4. Im 40 and I really start learning guitar from scratch 1 year ago, 1hour/week, with a guitar teacher. Im a working mom so it’s eally hectic here everyday. But I really want to be able playing guitar so i really fight for my 1hour /week lesson. But many Times u get frustated for not making progress as fast as I expect it. Fear that if im too slow, how can I make it then, since im too old already.
    So if I want to be good at guitar in next 3years, how many houra should I spend? And what basic exercise i have to focus for increasing my speed in practising each lesson? E.g.changing chords? Thank you so much for your tips.

    Irma

    August 23, 2016

  5. Thanks for the helpful tips and inspiration on playing guitar chords.

    Mark Valdez

    September 17, 2017

    • You’re welcome Mark. -Tomas

      Tomas Michaud

      September 20, 2017

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