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> Chord Problems, Still kind of new at it but
RobM
post Jul 27 2007, 07:18 AM
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I've been practicing like a mad man (several hours a day) since Fathers day and the one thing I'm having trouble with is chords, specifically changing from chord to chord. So far i've learned the C, G, EM, D7, G7, D and Am chords. But getting every string to sound out and ring true when I change from chord to chord, especially when I'm using the Metronome is frustrating, especially for me considering I'm such a prefectionist.

When playing chords I still have the MM set very low (like 54 BPM) when changing from chord to chord. I notice there always seems to be one dead string that is being dampened by a lazy finger. I can get them all to sound out OK when I bend my wrist and finger to the point they get tired within 5 minutes, so I'm not sure if that is the correct way to do it and my hand/wrist just needs to build up strength or by bending it that way I'm going to hurt myself? I already have an index finger on my left hand that hurts quite a bit some times in the middle joint. A little ice or heat usually take care of it.

I'm not sure if I'm warming up correctly or not? I usally wash my hands in very warm water before i start, then I start by doing some slow scales, and then go into my chord word. I'm really new so I don't have a bad of tricks built up yet so I just go from chaords to scales to doing beginner songs from my 1st learning book which is very basic.

My wife tells me all the time to relax and enjoy the time playing while you get there and stop rushing, lol. It's hard though, i want to be a really good player and I'm willing to put the practice time in.

If anyone knows a good way for me to warm up and/or have some good ways to stretch out my hand and fingers, I'd appreciate it.


BTW: I'm just now starting the barre Chord lessons here on GMS.


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JVM
post Jul 27 2007, 07:42 AM
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For starters, awesome that you have all that time to practice! You'll progress rapidly. Now lets see..

About "bending" your hand and fingers, I've come to the conclusion that it's really kind of hard to bend your hands/fingers in a bad way when doing chords, you almost have to be trying to. Just make sure that you're using the tips of your fingers (as in, not having your fingers kind of overlap to the next string, make sure they're coming straight down on the notes), and that you keep your thumb in the middle of the neck, but "wrapping" your thumb when doing chords is usually an okay thing as well, most people including a lot of instructors at GMC here do. Judging from the fact that you're just beginning on barre chords, your hands probably just aren't used to it, and you'll get used to it quickly.

If you think you're hurting your hands, stop playing. It's very important to be careful with your hands, but don't let that stop you from stretching them out or you won't get anywhere. Just be cautious smile.gif

Your warmups are probably fine, I warm up with chords a lot. Just remember not to push yourself during warmups, just do whatever feels natural and comfortable until you get kind of a warm feeling in your hand tongue.gif Scales are an excellent way to warm up!

Lastly, your wife probably has the best advice of all tongue.gif RELAX! I mean, literally, do you best to keep your muscles relaxed. Overcoming muscle tension is a huge step to becoming a good guitar player, but it takes a lot of time and willpower. Your perfectionist attitude is a really good asset to your playing I think, just remember that you can play absolutely anything out there if you do it slowly enough, worry first about accuracy and only then move onto speed.

Good luck!

[edit] Here's some lessons that might help you, if you haven't already seen them:

Guitar Chords Lesson by Dave.

Advanced Chords by Pavel.

Dave's Chord Inversion lesson.

Gabe's Blues - Get That Shuffle! lesson.

Also one thing you can try is forming the chord, and then picking (remember to always use alternate picking, up down up down) each fretted note, one at a time play the note, lift it and play it open, for each note. It helps your fingers move more independently and you'll have less problems with for example, your pinky and ring fingers always following each other around.

This post has been edited by JVM: Jul 27 2007, 07:52 AM


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Muris Varajic
post Jul 27 2007, 10:48 AM
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I had same problems at the beginning.
My first acoustic guitar had really high action of the strings,maybe yours too?


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 27 2007, 12:40 PM
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Just guessing but from the list I'd assume that you are playing all of those in first position (some/most fingering at the first fret). Fretting chords in first can take a while to get used to as you are pushing the strings down at a point where they are as close to the nut as possible. Just take it nice and slow and don't strain your left hand. Speed will come with practice.

Also one way of getting used to chords and timing down and used to changes is to play a lot of rythm funk guitar. A bit more advanced so something to think about for the future.

BTW JVM is absolutely right about the thumb. Vast majority of players often rap their thumb around though personally I only do that if I'm also using it for fretting a specific note on the 6th string. Else I keep it where JVM says - middle of the neck - as I find its the only way that I can make some otherwise difficult stretches that you can come across in jazz chord progressions and in piano voiced chords.

Anyone able to play these chords with their thumb wrapped round is a better person than me biggrin.gif :

-----------10-------- --------- ----5----
-----------8--------- or -----5--- or -----7----
-----------5--------- -----4--- -----9----
-----------9--------- -----7--- -----5----
--------------------- -----3--- -----5----
--------------------- --------- -----5----

The next hurdles for chordal work are barres/partial barres, then maybe long stretches and two handed chords but that's another story.

Main thing is take it slow and practice. I doubt that there is a guitar player living (or dead) that didn't have problems nailing chord playing when they started out..

Cheers,
Tony


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RobM
post Jul 27 2007, 06:05 PM
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QUOTE (JVM @ Jul 27 2007, 02:42 AM) *
For starters, awesome that you have all that time to practice! You'll progress rapidly. Now lets see..

About "bending" your hand and fingers, I've come to the conclusion that it's really kind of hard to bend your hands/fingers in a bad way when doing chords, you almost have to be trying to. Just make sure that you're using the tips of your fingers (as in, not having your fingers kind of overlap to the next string, make sure they're coming straight down on the notes), and that you keep your thumb in the middle of the neck, but "wrapping" your thumb when doing chords is usually an okay thing as well, most people including a lot of instructors at GMC here do. Judging from the fact that you're just beginning on barre chords, your hands probably just aren't used to it, and you'll get used to it quickly.

If you think you're hurting your hands, stop playing. It's very important to be careful with your hands, but don't let that stop you from stretching them out or you won't get anywhere. Just be cautious smile.gif

Your warmups are probably fine, I warm up with chords a lot. Just remember not to push yourself during warmups, just do whatever feels natural and comfortable until you get kind of a warm feeling in your hand tongue.gif Scales are an excellent way to warm up!

Lastly, your wife probably has the best advice of all tongue.gif RELAX! I mean, literally, do you best to keep your muscles relaxed. Overcoming muscle tension is a huge step to becoming a good guitar player, but it takes a lot of time and willpower. Your perfectionist attitude is a really good asset to your playing I think, just remember that you can play absolutely anything out there if you do it slowly enough, worry first about accuracy and only then move onto speed.

Good luck!

[edit] Here's some lessons that might help you, if you haven't already seen them:

Guitar Chords Lesson by Dave.

Advanced Chords by Pavel.

Dave's Chord Inversion lesson.

Gabe's Blues - Get That Shuffle! lesson.

Also one thing you can try is forming the chord, and then picking (remember to always use alternate picking, up down up down) each fretted note, one at a time play the note, lift it and play it open, for each note. It helps your fingers move more independently and you'll have less problems with for example, your pinky and ring fingers always following each other around.


WOW, great advice, thanks a million, I appreciate it. SO what your saying is "TRY" to keep my thumb in the middle of the neck, but if I can play the chords with my thumb higher or wrapped then it's ok, whatever works for me? I especially like the last part about picking up and putting down my fingers and playing the different chord notes.


QUOTE (muris @ Jul 27 2007, 05:48 AM) *
I had same problems at the beginning.
My first acoustic guitar had really high action of the strings,maybe yours too?



Yes I think they are as I get a lot of buzzing some times even when I have my finger down in the middle of the fret. I just finally got up the nerve to change from the original strings to some that I bought years ago when i first bought the guitar. They were still new and in the little plastic pouch so i put them on. It made things easier but I know the strings are still too high.

I'm getting a new guitar within the next few weeks and when I do I'll have the guitar shop set it up so i won't have that problem any more. Right now while learning this is probably a good problem to have as when I get a good guitar my hands will be a lot stronger? Just a guess on my part though?

QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jul 27 2007, 07:40 AM) *
Just guessing but from the list I'd assume that you are playing all of those in first position (some/most fingering at the first fret). Fretting chords in first can take a while to get used to as you are pushing the strings down at a point where they are as close to the nut as possible. Just take it nice and slow and don't strain your left hand. Speed will come with practice.

Also one way of getting used to chords and timing down and used to changes is to play a lot of rythm funk guitar. A bit more advanced so something to think about for the future.

BTW JVM is absolutely right about the thumb. Vast majority of players often rap their thumb around though personally I only do that if I'm also using it for fretting a specific note on the 6th string. Else I keep it where JVM says - middle of the neck - as I find its the only way that I can make some otherwise difficult stretches that you can come across in jazz chord progressions and in piano voiced chords.

Anyone able to play these chords with their thumb wrapped round is a better person than me biggrin.gif :

-----------10-------- --------- ----5----
-----------8--------- or -----5--- or -----7----
-----------5--------- -----4--- -----9----
-----------9--------- -----7--- -----5----
--------------------- -----3--- -----5----
--------------------- --------- -----5----

The next hurdles for chordal work are barres/partial barres, then maybe long stretches and two handed chords but that's another story.

Main thing is take it slow and practice. I doubt that there is a guitar player living (or dead) that didn't have problems nailing chord playing when they started out..

Cheers,
Tony


Yup, 1st position as in the G is played at 1st and 3rd fret. I can play them all really clean it's just when changing to and from the "G" and "D" chords where I have the most problems.

Thanks again to everyone who answered me, I really appreciate it. As soon as I have something worth while I'll upload it. hehe


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Jeff
post Jul 27 2007, 06:36 PM
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QUOTE (RobM @ Jul 27 2007, 12:05 PM) *
Yup, 1st position as in the G is played at 1st and 3rd fret. I can play them all really clean it's just when changing to and from the "G" and "D" chords where I have the most problems.

Thanks again to everyone who answered me, I really appreciate it. As soon as I have something worth while I'll upload it. hehe


When you are playing the G chord, are you using your pinky on the first string 3rd fret or are you using your ring finger? For me I use the pinky. There are two options (at least for me, others may have different ways). I play a G (maj) open chord with the pinky on the 3rd fret 1st string, ring finger on the 3rd fret 6th string, and the middle finger on the 2nd fret 5th string.

The other way is to use the ring finger on the 3rd fret first string, middle finger 3rd fret 6th string, and index finer on the 2nd fret 5th string. Perhaps one position would suit you better when switching between G and D.

I use the first method because it's easier to switch from a G maj to G7 by lifting the pinky and fingering the first fret 1st string with my index finger vs changing position of all of my fingers with the second method.

Hope this makes sense? huh.gif smile.gif
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RobM
post Jul 28 2007, 03:53 AM
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QUOTE (jeff @ Jul 27 2007, 01:36 PM) *
When you are playing the G chord, are you using your pinky on the first string 3rd fret or are you using your ring finger? For me I use the pinky. There are two options (at least for me, others may have different ways). I play a G (maj) open chord with the pinky on the 3rd fret 1st string, ring finger on the 3rd fret 6th string, and the middle finger on the 2nd fret 5th string.

The other way is to use the ring finger on the 3rd fret first string, middle finger 3rd fret 6th string, and index finer on the 2nd fret 5th string. Perhaps one position would suit you better when switching between G and D.

I use the first method because it's easier to switch from a G maj to G7 by lifting the pinky and fingering the first fret 1st string with my index finger vs changing position of all of my fingers with the second method.

Hope this makes sense? huh.gif smile.gif



Sure it amkes sense, I play it the same way as you, I started out the other way but, my guitar teacher told me to play it using my middle, ring and little fingers because it would be easier to play other chords later on so I listened to him and it was weird at first but I got it. I'm taking today off as a day of rest because my left hand needed it. I've been averaging 3 or more hrs a day for practice, some days I'd practice for 3 or 4 hours put the guitar down then practice another 3 - 4 hours later on in the day. I find that it relaxes me to play. I'm disabled with a bad back so I have a ton of time on my hands during the day. It's one of the things I find I can do without aggrivating my back too much.


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