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Where to Look When Changing Chord

Question by Anon


Well, I'm a beginner and so far I have learned the A, D and E chords but I have a problem.

When I strum each chord and move to the other do I look at the strings to strum because the A, D requires specific strings to be strummed or do I look at the fretboard to make sure the position of the chord is right or do I need to switch my eyes between strumming and chord making with each chord to get it right?


If you are to look at the guitar while playing (which let's face it, most players do), it's good to get into the habit of looking at the fretboard as opposed to your pick hand.

This is because your fret hand will be making more varied movements than your pick hand.

So I would begin by making sure your pick hand can move accurately between strings, almost as second nature. Get this out of the way first, then you can focus 99% on your fret hand, which will be doing a lot more work as far as muscle memory is concerned. It shouldn't take long using the below process...

Start by playing any chord that uses all six strings of the guitar. From what you have learned, this can be the E chord.

For the moment, we're not going to change from this chord, so just get your fingers comfortable with playing this chord on its own.

Once you're comfortable with fingering the chord, focus on your pick hand and do the following...

Strum all six strings from low E to high E.

Then, position your pick so you start the chord on the A string and strum the chord from there.

Change between the A and E strings like this, making sure you're cleanly separating the two with your pick hand.

Make sure you're not moving your pick more than required to move between the strings. Picking economy is important when you start speeding up.

Next, play the chord from the D string and move between the E, A and D strings with your pick hand.

Do this exercise for 10 or so minutes when you pick up the guitar and soon you won't have to look at your pick hand for chord changes.

It's all about getting your pick hand used to the distance between strings. It shouldn't take long.

All your attention can then be on your chord fingering, which will require more work.

Hope this helps!

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