4 Tips on How to Change Chords Faster in Acoustic Blues

All right, so you’ve mastered your acoustic blues guitar chords – well, perhaps not all of them just yet, but you’re at least fairly able to identify those most often used. FYI, it’s perfectly fine to get what is commonly called “brain cramp blues” in acoustic guitar player speak, i.e. failing to identify the proper chords right away, as an absolute beginner. Once you move past that point, however, you will likely feel an ever increasingly acute need to learn how to change chords faster in acoustic blues. This is also something a lot of blues learners struggle with at first. The good news is that you can improve this, by practicing the right exercises and/or with the right tools. And, no, ghost strums are not recommended, as most seasoned players will look upon this as cheating. If you want to be able to play acoustic blues songs in the tempo they were meant to be played in, read on for our tips and tricks.

Try ‘forced chords’

Several beginner players suggest you effectively force yourself to change chords faster in acoustic blues. This is the most basic of tips for those determined to improve the speed of their playing. Start out by strumming a song whose chords you’ve already got memorized at the tempo that comes naturally to you. Practice at this, while ever so slightly trying to catch speed with each play. You won’t get the chords right every time, but sooner or later the hand you use for fingering will ‘catch up’ if you’ve forced it to for long enough.

Metronome practice can help you change chords faster in acoustic blues

A similar way of approaching this issue is by using a metronome. Pick out the most difficult song you know at your learning level and make it your goal to get its tempo right. If you don’t feel confident enough in your acoustic blues guitar prowess to take on a whole song just yet, you can simply select a chord progression that’s complicated enough to give you a run for your money. Set up a metronome at half the song’s actual tempo. Each week speed up the metronome a notch, until you feel you’ve mastered your goal.

Use certain fingers as a pivotchange-chords-faster-in-acoustic-blues

In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed when trying to change chords faster in acoustic blues, you can try identifying a position and shape of your fingers that doesn’t alter that much while changing chords. It may sound counter-intuitive when you read this, but what it does is allow you to build off some stability. For instance, C to D7 will have your index finger positioned on the B string’s first fret. When changing to a G chord, your index and middle fingers will hold the same relative position to one another. Meanwhile, your third finger can slide up one fret, to the third fret of the E string. In fact, learning how to change chords faster is all about seeing patterns such as this one.

Use an app

Since the motto of the year seems to be “there’s an app for that!”, of course there’s also an app for learning how to change chords faster in acoustic blues. The TempoAdvance iPhone app will incrementally increase the tempo of a metronome. The app is fully customizable, in the sense that you can configure how many measures it will spend on a certain tempo, as well as the BPM by which it will increase the tempo during the next set of measures. Work your way up in small steps. When you start feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to stop for the day and resume the next time. A word of advice: don’t stop, even if you get one or several chords wrong. Practice makes perfect, don’t ‘cha know?

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