Guitar Exercises for Changing Chords: How to Do It Effortlessly

One of the main turning points in guitar learning is often speeding up chord switching. Learning to play tunes is one of our biggest motivators, and without the ability to perform quick chord changes, playing songs just won't sound fluent.

As a guitar beginner, it's the hardest talent to perfect, which is why so many guitarists get frustrated with it to the point where they give up playing entirely. To help you pass this guitar player rite of passage as smoothly as possible, we'd like to offer you a few pointers on guitar exercises for changing chords.

The Foundations

The fundamentals of a guitar are the most essential guidelines or provisions that you should be equipped with for a wholesome playing experience.

Although anybody can play the guitar, not everyone is capable of playing it exceptionally well. Also, even if you’re completely incapable of playing it, you've certainly at least tried your hand at an air guitar at a certain time in your life.

We’re all familiar with how it’s handled and the main movements used to generate music with it. Nevertheless, there are certain elements that you cannot afford to neglect if you want to master the art of actual guitar playing. This statement is true regardless of whether you were self-taught.

When you're just starting on the guitar, it might not be easy to learn the instrument on your own since you can't benefit from the guidance that a teacher, either physical or online, can provide in the form of a road map that takes you through the full musical process.

Without a solid foundation in the fundamentals, mastering intermediate and expert guitar techniques will be a challenge.

We’ll look at these for a seamless smooth chord change on your guitar.

Focus on the Chords

If you have never played before, taking up a guitar for the first time might make it challenging to realize where to begin. When beginning to play the guitar, among the most crucial skills to acquire is familiarity with chords. Learn the fundamentals of all guitar chords, from beginner to advanced, before moving on to the next stage.

If you already know several chords, you ought to select a chord switch that’s difficult for you. Maybe it’s the open C Major to open G Major chord. Learn the different chord forms first. You’ll find it much more difficult to switch between those chords if you can't play the individual chord shapes. This, in turn, gives you a muscle memory of the two chords.

This kind of challenge division is an excellent method to tackle learning new abilities. Verify if you can play the chords fluently on your own.

Strumming the chord one note at a time will ensure that none of the notes sound dead or buzzing. It will be simple to switch chords if you can consistently play every note with clarity.

Prepare Your Next Move in Advance

Many guitarists hold off on shifting their fingers until the subsequent chord has to be played. You should be able to imagine your first finger's position when you move it from the C to the G position or vice versa. Picture the path, and think about how you can get there fast while exerting as little physical effort as possible. Never raise a finger until you’re certain of the location of the following chord.

Take Your Time Making Changes

Switch back and forth between the C and G chords now that you have built up your muscle memory for the chords. Finger the C chord, and then consider where you should be on the G chord. When you're ready, take your fingers off the fretboard and put them on the G chord without thinking about the pace. Continue alternating between C and G, pausing to visualize as necessary.

All these changes should be done slowly and relaxed to be accurate enough. Many beginner guitarists want to see results as quickly as possible. However, sometimes you must push yourself to slow down to attain the quickest outcomes. The goal is to build muscle memory.

Pivot Fingers

Since many chords use the same frets, switching chords doesn't require moving all of your fingers. Please keep your fingers on the fretboard so you may use them as a hinge to switch between chords.

guitar exercises guitar exercises

The above examples show that on the B string, the 3rd fret has been fretted for both of these chords. Make it your pivot finger, and you'll notice an immediate improvement in how smoothly you move between these chords.

Points to note:

  • Once you feel you can change the chords more effectively, practice while maintaining a steady rhythm for musicality.
  • While changing chord shapes, avoid lifting your fingers too far from the fretboard. It would help if you also keep your fingers as close as possible to each other. This ensures a timelier change of the chords
  • Have your fingers and body relaxed. Tense fingers and body lead to strenuous playing, whereas it should be at ease.

The Best Guitar Exercises for Changing Chords

We’ve laid the groundwork for enhancing your chord changes. Now, let's look at some exercises that will elevate us more.

Strumming Changes

This is a strumming exercise where you'll strum the first chord, G Major (you can use a chord that you want to work on) on the first beat, change to the next chord using the second and third beats as visualizers, and execute the change on the fourth beat to D Major. Repeat the process back to G and practice it back and forth, as shown below.


After you’re successful, proceed to strum on both the 2nd and 3rd beat that you initially sustained while alternating the two chords.

  1. STRUM(G) 2. STRUM(D) 3. STRUM(G) 4. STRUM(D)

When you get comfortable playing the above, you could add more chord progressions, each chord on its beat. This exercise will enable you to change the chords on different beats, which builds muscle memory. It will also help you maintain your rhythm while playing the guitar.

Using a Metronome

When performing on stage or jamming with other musicians, keeping time and rhythm is vital in the performance. Utilize a metronome to hone your ability to advance while maintaining proper timing. You can download a metronome app if you don’t own one or use Google’s browser metronome.

  • Set your metronome to a starting slow tempo of maybe 50 BPM.
  • To your preferential chord choice, practice chord changes alongside the metronome.
  • Upon self-satisfaction, increase the tempo by 5-10 BPM and repeat the whole process.
  • Above 120 BPM, you should be confident enough to play the practiced chord change.

As you go through this workout, the metronome will progressively increase the pace at which you change chords.

If you wish to play fast or intricate passages, you’ll often use this approach. It’s a fairly typical strategy that guitarists utilize to ramp up their technique.

The Function of a Rhythm Guitarist in a Band

The most important talent to master if you intend to perform in a band is the skill of playing rhythm guitar well. Most rhythm guitarists strive to produce a more powerful chordal and rhythmic sound.

If you put in the effort to practice these exercises, you’ll notice that your chord shifts become more fluid in a very short time. Always remember that the purpose of practicing exercises such as these is to develop fluid chord changes, allowing your playing to sound smooth and on time. After all, the rhythm guitarist is responsible for performing such duties.


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    My "day job" used to be teaching but I decided to give that up to play music full time. I have gigged all over the world playing in bands or as a solo act since then. I still have a passion for teaching others anything related to music. Writing content for gives me an opportunity to combine my love of music and education.

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