Learn to Play Guitar Chords Without Hurting Yourself Or Your Guitar
      When you are watching a guitarist accompany a singer sometimes you marvel at how fast his or her fingers move to accommodate chord changes. Sometimes a guitar player's hand even moves at lightning speed from one end of the fretboard to another while at the same time rearranging his fingers into another chord shape. Sadly, new guitar students often try to imitate what they see experienced guitar players doing, and it doesn't work.

      Whether you are have had some experience changing chords or not, you remember what it's like learning your first chords. You see the C major chord in a guitar tutor so painstakingly place those three fingers on the strings. Then you find that not only are your fingers not pressing hard enough to make a clean sound, but they are also muffling the open strings. You make some adjustments and, with some breath holding and some eye watering, you manage to make a more or less clean-sounding C chord. Then you look at the F chord and it's "Oh my Lord, do I REALLY want to do this?"
      And quite often people do give up on chord changes after a few attempts. The apparent simplicity in chord changes that we see when we watch guitar players at work masks the complexity of the muscular actions that take place when we change chords. So when we try to play chords we need to remember to try and be aware of the number of small actions we are performing instead of trying to gloss over them.
      The way to be aware of what our fingers, hands, wrists and arms are doing is to try and relax as you take each chord shape. Remember there is nothing wrong with you. You are not abnormal because you can't do fast chord changes with no practice. Every single guitar player you have ever seen, even grunge and metal guitarists, have had to go through months of practice to get their chord changes working.
      The more you relax, the more slowly and deliberately you work on letting go of one chord shape and taking the next one, one finger at a time, the faster, cleaner and nonstressful your chord changes will be. If you start with open chords A D and E and work for about ten minutes on changing between A and D and then the same on going from D to E and then A to E, that's your work on chord changes for the day. Select a different set of chords for each day with ten minutes per day for revision.
      So, work on changing chords as above, and after a month your changes between open chords should be coming along nicely. Remember YOU are not doing the chord changes, your muscle memory is. Just relax and let it happen. Relaxed hands and arms move faster than tense ones.
      One way to help you relax into changing guitar chords is to set your metronome on a very slow speed, strum a chord for four beats, strum the open guitar strings for four beats while you are moving into the next chord shape, then four beats on the next chord. But while you are still a beginner, you can do plenty of practice changing chords without the metronome until relaxing your muscles while you practice becomes second nature.
      Another aspect of chord changes that should become second nature is visualizing each chord as you are taking it. This too should be done slowly. It's not that you necessarily "see" the placement of your fingers in your mind's eye but as long as you are confident that you are aware of where and how you are placing your fingers. Your visualization and execution of the chord change will eventually start happening at the same time - IF YOU DON'T RUSH!
      Do you want to learn to play the guitar? Learn How To Play A Guitar For Free is a constantly updated blog which contains all the resources you need for: learning to play solo guitar, how to learn guitar chords, how to learn to read and play easy acoustic guitar tabs, finding a free online guitar tuner, looking for free guitar lessons online, and how to learn guitar scales.