I have been learning to play guitar for 2 years (for 1 year a bit more) now and I am getting faster and faster in changing from chord to chord.

Nevertheless, I realize that I don't grab those chords THAT correct as I wish to, and so I have made a step back to learn to change those chords slow, but in a "correct, beautiful way" (like grabbing the B-Barré-Chord with a - more or less - straight Barré-finger and the other fingers "beautifully" near the next fret), and then going slow steps forward.

And it's really hard to change from chord to (Barré-) chord in a "correct and beautiful" but also fast way - if you know what I mean. When trying to do it correct and beautifully I am doing VERY slow steps in getting faster at changing chords.

What would you recommend me to do? Going the way from slow to fast in very slow steps, so with grabbing the (Barré-)chords "beautifully and correct" or just trying to get as fast as possible (But without hearing a strange-string-sound of course because it doesn't get pressed correct)?

  • 4
    Who is your intended audience and what impact would you like to have on them? Also note that two years is a very short amount of time on any instrument and you'll get much better in the next three years. After about five years most musicians have pretty good skills on their instrument. After ten they are usually excellent. Mar 21, 2018 at 15:00
  • I am playing the guitar now an then (nearly every day for 1-2 h) for fun, so not professionally. Mostly I am accompanying someone (or a group) singing so that would be my audience. (If this is a correct english sentence)
    – watchme
    Mar 21, 2018 at 15:02
  • I don't grab those chords THAT correct as I wish to - Do you mean they don't sound quite how you'd like, or do you simply sense a problem with your technique because it doesn't fit what the books say it should be?
    – Stinkfoot
    Mar 21, 2018 at 18:09
  • I don't know how to put it differently than it's "not beautiful". So the shape is more like "at least I am in the shape and it works" rather then "The barré-finger is perfectly lying over the strings and presses every string perfectly, even if the string is pressed down by another finger, and every finger used is near the next fret"
    – watchme
    Mar 21, 2018 at 18:17
  • 2
    "The barré-finger is perfectly lying over the strings and presses every string perfectly, even if the string is pressed down by another finger" -- that is almost never the right way to use a barre. This wastes energy and adds unnecessary hand strain. Watch good players use barre chords and notice that the finger is usually curved and rolled a bit to the side so that only the strings that need it are depressed.
    – user39614
    Mar 21, 2018 at 18:26

4 Answers 4


If you're accompanying a singer then the most important thing for the singer is to hear the bass notes at the right times. So I suggest you focus on getting the finger that is playing the bass note in the right position at the right time and don't worry as much about making the rest of the chord perfect.

When you are practicing without the singer, slow down and take the time to practice perfect finger placement. Eventually the practice on perfect placement will start to make your finger placement during accompaniment better and everything will start to sound good all the time.


What I get students to do, even after a couple of lessons, is to hammer on any chord shape they are learning. Easier with some than others, but as practice just as individual chord shapes. Hammer on and hold down.

It ensures all fingers arrive together and sound clear. Eventually each chord will sound clear and each change crisp and in time. Even when changing shape and fret.

  • So you mean one should not just change a chord but also try to place all fingers at the same time?
    – watchme
    Mar 21, 2018 at 17:34
  • 2
    Of course! When a chord is played/ strummed all strings need to be ready together, otherwise it's a veerry slow strum!
    – Tim
    Mar 21, 2018 at 17:46
  • 1
    Because I just tried to get as fast as possible to the new chord shape, with fingers being in the right position sooner than other fingers.
    – watchme
    Mar 21, 2018 at 17:49
  • Last comment is not making sense.
    – Tim
    Mar 21, 2018 at 17:50
  • Good idea for 1) learning to get the fingering right in a definitive manner, 2) requiring strong technique to support the force of hammering on, and 3) mnemonic reinforcement of the form.
    – Epanoui
    Mar 21, 2018 at 21:08

Put your fingers in the right place then play the chord. You've seen enough good players to know that's possible. And you've seen enough not-so-good ones to realise it's worth working at! After 2 years you're just beginning to realise how far you've got to go! Perfectly normal. Get a good teacher and listen to him. This isn't something you can work out for yourself.


One thing I did when teaching is to practice songs with lots of chord changes. Christmas carols are great for this.

Another thing with fast & numerous chord changes is to not play all 6 strings. Simple 2/3/4 note voicings can work well. Remember there is more than one way to play a certain chord.

Happy playing.

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