Guitar Chord Playing
This article discusses the main challenges in guitar chord playing. The road to becoming a guitarist is paved with slow, careful chord change practice, but there are one or two decisions you will need to know about in order to establish what kind of a guitarist you want to be.
Learning guitar chord playing is not going to be easy. But it will be a relatively short-term ordeal with great rewards at the end. There are some questions that learner guitar chord players are faced with that should be mentioned right at the start so you can get some understanding of the physical problems involved with guitar playing.
One question that confronts guitar students is where to place your left thumb when playing chords. Some guitar styles call for the sixth string to be fretted with the thumb. This adds a certain amount of versatility to your guitar playing but at the same time, there are some chords that are most easily played using the so-called "classical" position with the thumb placed at the center of the back of the guitar neck.
The classical position is really the only one you can use with the wider neck of the nylon string guitar. Steel string acoustics and electric guitars have thin necks that accommodate hooking the thumb over the neck. You can, of course, use both ways of chord playing but if you feel that you must use one method exclusively, the classical position will be the better one to go for.
The other big challenge for learning guitar chord playing students is barre chords. You will be learning open chords in the first position when you first learn to play the guitar. Open chords are fingered by between one and four left-hand fingers used to fret separate strings and leaving some chords sounding without being stopped by the fingers. Barre chords use the index finger placed across two, three or all sic strings with the second, third and pinky fingers fingering other frets.
Learning to apply the correct amount of pressure to play chords cleanly is the first part of learning to play both open and barre chords, then you must practice slowly and methodically so that you can change chords smoothly. This requires a great deal of daily practice. You need to practice the chord changes in your favorite songs to start with. This will give you something to aim for and the song will give you a rhythmic structure to relate your chord changes to.
If you are feeling that you now have a long sentence of boring and uncomfortable work ahead of you, you are only partially correct. The length of time you will need in order to learn guitar chord playing will be in proportion to the care you take in learning economy of movement when changing chords. Every time you give in to the urge to rush your chord changes you are making the learning process longer.
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