Tech Tip: Changing Between Chords


Question. I find it hard to change between chords and when I do it sounds bad. Because of this I can’t make my guitar sound good. What can I do?

close up acoustic guitar in musician handsAnswer. This is the most common problem for beginner guitarists. Don’t worry, nearly every professional guitarist has had your problem!

The best way to avoid this is to start with the easiest chord changes for your fingers. Also, there is a lot to be said for slowing down everything that you are trying to learn.

Before you try playing along with your favorite band, practice the chords and chord changes by yourself until they are flowing nicely. Play things slowly to get accuracy and once you have that you can start speeding up.

Playing things at full speed without first learning them properly will make your chord changes sound muddy and unclear. If you start slowly and build your chord changes progressively you will find that you can improve your playing and stay motivated.

Another helpful trick to learning chords changes is something called the ‘Pressing Technique’, which is an easy way to learn guitar chords fast.

Remember, like anything, learning guitar takes time and effort. You can’t expect to wake up and play like a pro. If you keep working on it you will improve your playing and achieve what you want on the guitar.


  1. kyl

    Another thing you can do is to look for easier variations of the chord you’re attempting. Most of the tab sites show one variation of any given chord, and they are not necessarily the easist. JamoRama’s downloadable Chord Book gives you three choices for the most commonly used chords, or you can buy any number of good chord books.

  2. Popz May

    Thanks so much for the encouragement. I have been having a terrible time with this issue but now I realize that I was just trying to do too much. Patience has never been my strong suit but at 69 years of age I’m starting to get a handle on it….

  3. Douglas

    How true this all is. Practice,practice and practice.I also find that fingure stretching very usefull. Ihave only been at for acouple of months now. It is also helpful to learn different finguering positions that may help to make chord changing easier.

  4. Stephanie

    I was doing well learning to plan, was even playing with a litlle band, Then I lost my ring finger on my left hand. I wanted to play so badly, now I’m leaning to play left-handed. I get very frustrated because I can’t play fast and sound right. I am glad for this article because I felt like I needed to push myself to go faster or I wasn’t doing any good. Maybe I can make it doing it left-handed. lol

  5. Grace

    thanks. will try and practice with that this week. thanks again.

  6. Dave

    Agree. As a tru begininer I have the smae frustration. It’s good to hear I’m not alone. I think we all imagine we wil pick up teh guitar and sound good right away. I’m learning that’s jsut not going to happen. What I have found is just getting one chord change right, one that sounds like the actual song even in a rudamentary way, is a huge milesstone to be celebrated. I’m trying to make the most of each success as I plow along to keep me going.

  7. RoseAnn

    Thanks for this! I’m copying it to give to my guitar club students! They get really frustrated because they can’t move from chord to chord as quickly as they want. I’ve tried to explain it, and this is the best, most concise way I’ve heard it described. I’m sure it will help my kids. Thanks again!

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