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I'm newbie in the guitar world and I have some problems. One of them is the simultaneous movement of my fingers, for example I'm trying to play a simple sequence of chords: G - D - E - C. Well, when I have to change from G to D or from C to G I have to slow down, move one finger at time and then I can continue. In particular way I can't move ring when I'm moving the other two fingers.

Are there any exercises to learn how to move all fingers together? Thanks!

PS: I'm learning guitar by myself, at the moment I have no teacher.

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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

One "offline" (without guitar) exercise I got from my teacher is like this:

Put your hand on the table. Lift fingers two or three at a time; if you are like me, combinations 1+3, 2+4, 1+2+4 and 1+3+4 will feel weird; you should try to make them comfortable.

This is for both hands (you only need your left hand improved, but it cannot hurt if you train your right hand too).

Other than that, practice. Try a progression with one or only a few hard changes (I played some variation of G-C-Am-C-D with simplified "power" versions of C and Am) so your brain has time to rest between the hard changes. If a progression with lots of easy changes becomes too boring, cut easy stuff from the middle (I always end up playing G-D-G-D like crazy).

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Thank you for the advice; the combinations you gave are really weird! The 2+4 is breaking my brain :) –  Max Markson Feb 6 at 7:22
    
Yes, I really like this approach too, and get pupils to do similar exercises away from the instrument. (For younger pupils I suggest they do them in boring school lessons! I jest of course...) Even simply trying to make the shape of a chord "in-the-air" can help you to move all fingers to a chord shape simultaneously, rather than one at a time. Also, I suggest pupils practise moving their hand to a chord from some distance away, their knee if sitting down, for instance. This encourages them to "get-to-the-shape" rather than thinking about what each finger is doing in each chord change. –  Bob Broadley Feb 6 at 21:31
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Hammering-on incorporates quickly stabbing a finger onto the fretboard. Hold it down once a note sounds.Do it not too gently - it is called hammer.When you're happy making one note with this technique, try two and three fingers, in the shape of the chord you're weak on. It will help all the fingers for that chord arrive on the fretboard together, which is what you need to train them to do. Open E and A are the easiest, but then move to G, C and D. Don't worry about the open strings - you didn't need to finger those anyway.On electric, maybe you can turn the volume up initially, but when you get good, try with little or no volume. Bass guitarists have been known to play whole gigs in this way, using the other hand for their pint.

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I am too newbie for hammer on, pull off, bending etc. :) –  Max Markson Feb 6 at 10:39
    
I teach those techniques within a couple of months. They are all part and parcel of being a guitarist, so get cracking ! –  Tim Feb 6 at 11:27
    
So, in your opinion, I should try these techniques even if I can't play some simple chords; right? –  Max Markson Feb 6 at 13:34
    
Absolutely ! Start as you mean to go on. It's all new stuff, and hammers and pulls can be sorted quite soon. Good luck ! –  Tim Feb 6 at 14:00
    
Thank you so much for the advices :) –  Max Markson Feb 6 at 15:46
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I had a similar problem and I tried to solve it by just playing some basic chord progressions and paying attention to switching between chords. It helped for particular chord progressions, but it didn't improve my finger coordination in general. By doing that I simply developed muscle memory for particular movements that didn't work for new chords and new positions on the fretboard.

A thing that works for me is the warm up exercise from John Petrucci`s Rock Discipline DVD.

It was designed for stretching, but it helped me a lot to solve the problem of coordination of simultaneous finger movements.

I guess it helps because it involves all fingers in all positions. But more important, it involves pairs of fingers (not all combinations of them, but you can get the idea and improve the exercise). Try to warm up every day with it and you should notice some improvement after a couple of weeks; but remember to do it slowly and concentrate on finger coordination and muscle relaxation instead of stretching.

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Thank you so much :) –  Max Markson Feb 7 at 14:37
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I think this is one of the hurdles we all have to jump when learning guitar - or even when you can already play some but are just learning a new chord shape.

The G chord was a tricky one for me so I cheated. I play G with 1st finger on the high E or sometimes both E and B, at the 3rd fret. Then use thumb to fret the E string at 3rd fret, and damp the A with it too.

When I was starting out (yeeeears ago) this got me though that "having to slop down" thing. It also allows me to move gtom G to D quite quickly because the relevant fingers are in the right area aldreay. I've later found that it also leaves a couple of finger free for playing riffs etc.

I can play a "normal" G (a string at 2nd fret) now because I've practiced but frankly I hardly ever do. Purists will probably throw their hands up in horror at this but I say : If we all obeyed the (precieved) rules, we wouldn't have Hendrix.

There are other ways to play chords - eg C : traditionally with open G string (ooer missus) or you can barre it by moving the A shape up 3 frets.

I'd suggest experimenting with chord shapes and find the best that suit you to gain the quickest change- but view it as a way to get things changing quickly, not necessarily as the "Final" way you're going to do things. It;ll enable you to get a flow going and that's where things get really fun :-D

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Thank you for the advice –  Max Markson Feb 6 at 15:46
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