How to get Faster at Chord Changes

How to get Faster at Chord Changes

In my post about How To Improve Your Chord Changes I discussed how using two types of practice – Perfect Practice and Rhythm Practice – could help improve your general rhythm guitar playing, especially when using open chords. This post aims to give you a bit more detail to apply when working on your “Perfect Practice Routine“.


Changing chords quickly is often the most frustrating part of learning the guitar for beginners – but help is at hand! Analysing and practicing chord changes both in isolation and in the context of songs, is the key to accelerated learning.

One aspect of a Perfect Practice routine is to treat it as thoughtful practice, that is you are thinking about what you are doing, analysing problems and coming up with solutions.

Tip: When learning a chord change e.g. E to Am – make sure that you practice the change both ways – that is E to Am and also Am to E – for some reason this seems to help.



Start by looking at each chord change individually.


  1. Look for common shapes – E and Am use the same shape on different string sets.

Chord Grids

2. Look at fingerings to see if there are any common notes that you can hold down – for instance Am – C with the given fingerings, requires moving only one finger.

3. Consider using pivot points – this is where a finger is used as an anchor for moving the rest of the necessary fingers. The pivot is not sounded – it is an intermediary step

4. Concentrate on the finger that has to move furthest – for instance the second finger in the chord change G – D

G pivot chord shapes

5. Consider which fingers will be along for the ride! For instance when changing from D to G – by correct placement of the first finger when forming the G chord, we find that the second finger has come along for the ride and is ideally placed to sit on the 3rd fret of the low E string to form the root note of the G chord.


  • These strategies are a starting point – there are more! However these ideals will help you make sense of chord changes, but of course physical practice is still required.
  • Please also see my previous post on Learning Chord Shapes.


As usual if you have any questions or would like guitar lessons in Bristol, Backwell, Nailsea or Keynsham then send me a message!





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