Keeping Chord Changes Fast: Tricks and Techniques for Shaking Off Chord Progression Rust

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The F and C Chord Change

My original method of going from a C chord to an F chord.

MATCHING CHORD VOICINGS

A much more functional voicing pair where my fingers can curl in the same shape for both chords.

The C and G Chord Change

The open G chord should be easy to move to and from. Flickr Commons image via Kmeron
Two common voicings of the open G and open C chords.
  • The two voicings require different fingers to play the bass note of each chord
  • Both chords incorporate a number of non-critical intervals into the pattern
  • Voicings don’t accommodate a fluid or smooth chord change

WHAT ARE NON-CRITICAL INTERVALS?

MINIMIZING MOVEMENT AND INTERVALS BETWEEN THE CHORD CHANGE

Minimized versions of the G and C major chords in quarter notes.
Whole note versions of the minimized G and C chords.

ADDING THE OPEN D MAJOR TO THE PROGRESSION

Chords in the key of G major. Image via Guitar-Chords.org.uk
D, C and G chord progression.
If you can find a common note between multiple chords, it’ll often make the change between those chords much easier.

Arpeggiated G to C Chord Change for More Clarity

Arpeggiated G to C chord change with open voicings and quarter notes.
Adding the D major arpeggio for a full chord progression in the key of G major.

The E, A and B Chord Progression and Changes

Most common voicings of the E, A and B chords, shown in a whole note progression.
  • Matched chords with voicings that are more functional and easier to change between
  • Reduced the amount of movement necessary between chords
  • Limited our use of non-critical intervals in our chord voicings
It’s a small change, but the open E and B strings provide a lot of sustain and connectivity in the progression, allowing you to focus on moving the more critical intervals.
The high E and B strings, played open, help to streamline the chord changes.
Sliding up through the intervals on the fourth string helps make the chord changes smoother and more efficient.
Omitting the root notes in each chord for a brighter and cleaner progression.
You can see how proper instrument roles can create a much smoother and better sounding progression, especially when you’re not just strumming directly through each chord change.
Simplified, non-arpeggio version of the minified E, A and B chord progression.

ABOUT SLIDING AND CHORD CHANGES

  • Origin Chord: First chord in a change
  • Destination Chord: Second chord in a change

Dealing with More Chord Complexity: F Sharp Minor Example

Three necessary components for an F sharp minor chord.
Minimized chord shapes with an F sharp root note, fifth and minor third interval.
Barred F sharp minor chord.
We can put together a full F sharp minor chord without having to use a full barred pattern.

E, F SHARP MINOR AND B

E, F sharp minor and B progression with inverted F sharp minor chord.
Arpeggiated version of the E, F sharp minor and B chord progression, broken up into quarter notes within each measure.

A, F SHARP MINOR, D AND A

The A, F sharp minor, D and A chord progression.
An arpeggiated version of the A, F sharp minor, D and A chord progression.

Common Mistakes and Easy Fixes

  • Buzzing Notes
  • “Dead” space between chords (silence)
  • Dead notes that aren’t being played
  • Unwanted scraping or pick noise
  • Unwanted muted or un-muted strings

Improving Lateral Fretboard Movement

Each bar contains a simple chord shape that we’ll work with in this exercise.
Simple power chord pattern.
Since our fingers stay on the same two strings, we can slide into each destination chord from our original third fret position.
  • Make sure your fingers don’t leave the strings
  • Slide upward into second chord
  • Build up speed as long as you’re able to maintain accuracy
A more complex power chord run starting and ending at the third fret.

SECOND PATTERN

Second pattern.
Second pattern.

THIRD PATTERN

Third pattern
Third pattern.

FOURTH PATTERN

Fourth pattern.
Fourth pattern.
  • Tempo
  • Starting fret
  • Ending fret
  • Interval spacing

Improving Vertical (String-to-String) Movement

ANALYZING STRING-TO-STRING CHORD CHANGES

The D to G chord change incorporates lateral and vertical movement.
The G to D power chord change also incorporates lateral and vertical movement.
In this version of the C to G chord change, your middle finger replaces your ring finger in the bass of the chord.

EXERCISE #1

Our first string-to-string fretboard exercise modeled after the C to G chord change at the third and 10th fret positions.
Finger positioning for the shortened chord forms.
A more complex variation of a chord change with the same structural components.

EXERCISE #2

Adding a third triadic chord shape to the beginning of the pattern.

EXERCISE #3

Adding a fourth chord shape to the beginning of the pattern.

EXERCISE #4

Triadic power/barre chord string-to-string exercise.
Moving up the fretboard.

Conclusion

Questions

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