Learning how to form chords on your acoustic guitar is important. If you aren’t forming your chords correctly you may just be hampering your speed. I didn’t learn much when I first started playing but what I did learn was how to form a proper chord and how to change to the next efficiently.
The thing is I gave up after just a couple of months as I had no one to play guitar with and no one to help me with learning how to play with rhythm. Books were great for learning chords but didn’t do anything for my playing.
Many years later when I picked guitar up again and had access to friends who play and of course the Internet I still remembered the chords I had learned more than 25 years earlier and how to form those chords.
My new guitar playing friends had learned to play more than 30 years ago and knew hundreds of songs but when I started learning from them I realized I was getting faster or they were getting slower. They didn’t form their guitar chords the same way I do and it actually confused them.
I learned a more efficient method of chord fingering that tends to make my chord changes more efficient as well and that’s where the speed comes in .
Example: Let’s use a chord change between G and C. I will use images to show you rather than type out confusing words. They say a picture is worth a thousand words anyways.
To the left is a diagram showing my finger positions while forming a G chord. On the right is how my friends form their G chord. They both sound clear and clear but what happens when they have to change to chords from the G to a C, a G7 or a Gsus4.
Numbering your fingers starting on the left with your index finger through to your pinky are 1, 2, 3 and 4. So my finger positions when forming a G chord are as follows. I use fingers 2, 3 and 4, shown in the image about and to the left. My guitar buddies use fingers 1, 2 and 3 to form their G chord.
Now let’s switch to a C chord and see what happens to our fingers as we all use the same fingers to form the C chord.
I am able to move my fingers 2 and 3 from the E and A Strings to the A and D string with ease and just drop my index finger on the B string first fret.
My friends however have to remove all their fingers in order to reposition them correctly.
And if we look at the G7 and Gsus4 we use in a lot of songs it’s the same thing. I can keep my finger positions easier and just drop my index finger into place while the others have to reform the entire chord each time.
They have since learned the chord pattern I use for my G so they can switch much more efficiently but they still use the old G formation for all other songs. It gets hardwired into your brain and can easily cost you when it come to playing those really fast songs.
Take the time to learn how to form chords using the most efficient finger positioning and you will get faster and smoother.
Two excellent places to learn how to play guitar without leaving the comfort of your home are Jamorama or Jamplay or both. I am evaluation both at the moment and have found them both to be great places for starter or for those that wish to take their guitar playing to the next level, which is what I wanted to do.