How To Switch Between Chords Quickly & Easily

One of the hardest things to do in the beginning of learning guitar is how to form & switch between chords.  In todays lesson we are going to talk & learn about how to switch between chords easier & more efficiently.

I remember being there myself as a beginner.  I felt like I was never going to get it.  I had to practice a lot & unfortunately didn’t have the power of the internet back then.  What a difference that would have made LOL!!

Anyway, After many hours of practice I finally got it.  But it wasn’t easy.  I felt like” am I going to have to practice three to five hours a day to get this”? Is this going to take forever??  Is this above my abilities?

If you’ve ever felt like this, then please read on…

When you eventually get your chords down to where you can form them well (without cramps in your hands) and you can switch them fairy easily, that’s when the fun begins & it becomes a joy to play some of your favorite songs.

And it becomes a thrill to nail the transitions & take on the challenge of getting through them very much like a runner jumps over hurdles.  As you begin to accomplish this, you feel good about yourself and a smile creeps on your face because you know your moving forward with your guitar playing. And in doing so, keeps you coming back for more.

I’d like to share with you what I would say is one of the essential KEYS to switching chords quickly & easily.  It’s very simple & should not be over looked.  You just need to pick a couple chords to begin with and focus all your attention on switching between them.

For now at this time in your guitar learning journey you want to forget about all other chords, strumming or anything else & just focus on this one thing.  Focus is one of the most important skills to master in accomplishing anything in life.  Especially guitar and the more focused you are on small tasks such as this, the quicker results you’ll see.

Just take two of the easiest chords you can form.  Like E & Am or G & C (very popular in many songs) and focus mentally like a laser beam on switching between them.  Back and forth, back & forth.  Every time you do this it gets easier & easier because you build a link between your brain & your fingers.

Be sure to look where each finger is landing on the fretboard.  Which strings should they be on?  What frets should they be on?  By focusing on these fundamental aspects of changing chords, you’ll see very quickly that after awhile you’ll build “muscle memory” and your fingers will know where to go automatically.

Then once this is accomplished, move on to two more chords & so forth & so forth.  Continuously building your chord vocabulary.  You’ll see that your making massive progress at an unbelievably short period of time.

Once you get over the learning curve (which there is one in anything and I do mean ANYTHING new you learn) you’ll be able to start playing songs that you love hearing & you’ll be hooked on guitar just like all the other millions out there.

So take it slow, don’t get impatient & practice focusing on one little task at a time.  You will see quick results and you will know how to switch between chords quickly & more easily.  And in the process you will be building valuable skill sets.  Focus, concentration, muscle memory & well established motor skills.

Best of luck to you & if you have any questions feel free to let me know.  Thanks for reading and take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Improve Your Picking Technique

How to improve your picking technique is one of the most essential things to know in guitar playing. No matter if your playing rhythm guitar or lead guitar. No matter if your playing acoustic guitar or electric guitar. So paying attention to your picking technique & working at improving it will help your playing tremendously.

Here are 3 easy steps you can take today that will help you to improve your picking technique.

Step 1. Practice alternate picking:

This is picking up & down. Work on finger exercises across the fretboard in any way you choose and pick each string individually up & down. Up on the first note & down o the second & so forth & so forth.

Practice this slowly at first & focus on getting good tone. If your playing electric play on a clean channel so that you can really hear yourself & study your approach & really listen to yourself.

Step 2. Practice in front of a mirror:

Get the mirror to focus on your picking hand so that you can really see what your hand is doing & you’ll get insight to your playing that you didn’t already see.

A lot of times in life we don’t see certain things because of our point of view. This mirror technique will allow you to see things from a different point of view & show you things in your hand positioning that you didn’t see before & allow you to make changes.

Step 3. Practice strumming:

Strumming is a very common technique to master in any type of guitar playing. It involves the wrist & fingers working in unison together to get the right sound. This technique looks easy when you see people do it, but when you try it yourself it can be a bit tricky.

Strum down first & then once you get that figured out you can work at strumming upward. Then work at doing both together. It does take time & doesn’t happen over night, but if you give it an honest try it will help to improve your picking.

Focus on your hand. Focus on the way your holding the pick & focus on how your approaching the guitar. The more you do this the better your over all playing will become. It’s not going to always be easy, but if you keep trying you’ll see some positive results very quickly.

But you must put in the “string time” and it must be consistent. If you truly give it your best shot, I guarantee your picking will improve & your over all playing will improve & your feeling about yourself & your guitar playing will improve.

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The Best Way To Hold Your Guitar Pick

What is the best way to hold your guitar pick?  Is it better to play with the thumb & first finger, or the thumb & second finger?  Or is it best to use the fingers & pick together?

There are many different ways you can do it & it’s really up to you & how you approach the guitar & what style of music you choose to play.

Playing with your fingers and pick at the same time is called “hybrid picking”  and is a very common technique among guitarists who like to do both.  It’s hard to say what fingers it’s best to hold it between.  Everybody plays different and that is what makes learning guitar so cool.  You can plat it the way you choose.

Playing with a pick does produce a harder sound is can be useful for creating dynamics in your music.  Knowing which fingers to hod it with is another story all together.  My recommendation would be to experiment.

Learning how to pay guitar can be a life long study and practicing trying out different ideas your mind presents to you is always a good choice.  It will allow you to develop your own style of playing.  It’s good to look for guidance by watching other people.  It’ll give you ideas as well.

The thing you want to remember though is that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another.  So it’s best to try out different things in your approach.  Only then will you be able to figure it out for yourself what works best for you.

I myself don’t do a lot of finger style and I congratulate you on getting that style down.  Just keep progressing forward with your studies and follow the guidelines in this lesson and you’ll soon discover what works best for you.  Good luck with your learning and if you need some additional training that might help you out. Be sure to check out some of my other lessons here on my blog. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Facebook or shoot me an email here on my site.

Also, if you feel this lesson has helped you in some way, feel free to leave me a review

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

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What’s More Important, a Good Tutor Or Practice?

Tutor Or Practice?

What’s more important, a good tutor or practice? A good tutor can show you insights that will take time off your learning curve.  A good tutor can show you things that will reduce struggle and provide better enjoyment while trying to figure things out.

On the other hand, no matter how good a tutor you acquire, it really comes down to you.  How committed you are to getting better.  How dedicated you are to accomplishing the goal of being a well accomplished guitarist.  How much time and effort (practice) your willing to put in.

Self Discovery

The guitar or any other instrument for that matter is not a quick get the final result now kind of thing.  It’s something that will improve your life over time.  It’s something that will give you back exactly what you give it in return.  The guitar is an instrument that will allow you to build motor skills, better understanding & allow you to discover things about yourself that you never knew existed. 

But of course that’s only if you put in the practice.  So in answering your question if it’s one or the other, I’d say practice.  Even if your not sure what your doing, if you stick with it long enough you’ll get there.  A good tutor can just help you get there faster.  But it’s still up to you.

Your dedication.  Your commitment to your goals, & your practice schedule.  You must truly have a desire to want to learn the guitar.  Your goal will provide your destination, your plan will provide your action-steps  & your desire will provide your daily motivation.  But you must have all these in place to keep pushing forward along your journey.

Conclusion

You can do it!  But you must stay focused on the tasks at hand and persist through the obstacles.  I’d love to tell you it will be a walk in the park, but I wouldn’t want to lead you astray.  I will tell you this though, you find the right learning method or tutor & I guarantee you will have fun along the way.  With the right guidance, there will be no stopping you.

Best of luck to your learning & if you have any questions, feel free to reach out.  Shoot me an email, or contact me on Facebook.  And if you feel this lesson has helped answer your question feel free to leave me a review.

Until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

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10 Step Practice Routine For A Beginner Guitarist

One of the most important things for your journey of learning to be a great guitar player is to develop or discover a 10 step practice routine for beginner guitar players.

Look For The Answer

You won’t need to look for the answer of how to do this because it will be presented to you here in this post. It will show exactly what you need to practice, in what order & for how long.

A system like this will keep you focused, developing the proper skills & moving you forward toward your goal of becoming a great guitar player.  But first you must have a goal.  You do have that right?

Make sure to have a goal.

If not I would take some time to figure this out.  Ask yourself some questions. Like:

Why am I learning guitar?  What do I want to accomplish with the guitar?  How much time each day do I want to commit to learning the guitar?  Am I willing to do the work necessary?

If the answer is yes to these questions with a final destination & a definite WHY you will be ready for your 10 step practice routine for beginner guitar players.

Here it is!

10 Step Practice Schedule for Beginner Guitar Players

1.) Tuning your guitar  2-5 min

2.) Finger warm ups  5-10  min

3.) Notes review  5-10 min

4.) Chord shapes review  5-10 min

5.) Scale pattern review  5-10 min

6.) Riffs & songs review 5-10 min

7.) Reading the sheet music  5-10 min

8.) Hammer ons, bends, slides etc.  10-15 min

9.) Rhythm techniques  10-15 min

10.) Lead guitar soloing  10-15 min

** focus on these 10 things when practicing your guitar daily.  If there are some things you don’t know yet, practice what you do know & work on learning the rest. 

Try to learn something new everyday. That way you’ll accelerate your learning & reach your goals much faster.

But this will only happen if you do two things:

1.)  Don’t get discouraged by slow growth in certain areas causing you to quit

2.)  Work on these areas to get better at them so the growth & development is faster.

Lesson Conclusion

You only get better at doing something (anything) by continuously doing it over & over again. So get to work & before you know it you’ll start getting good & having fun in the process.

The beginning is the hardest in learning guitar (acoustic or electric) but if you develop good practice habits you’ll get over the hurdles & feel better about yourself because you will be getting closer to your destination.

Thanks for reading, give it a try & if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email or contact me on Facebook. And if you feel you learned something here at this lesson, feel free to leave me a review.  I’d really appreciate it.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

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HOW TO READ CHORD CHARTS IN 7 EASY STEPS

In this post you will learn how to read chord charts in 7 easy steps.  And in doing so you will add to your understanding of how to read music that is created by this wonderful instrument.

What are Guitar Chord Charts?

Guitar Chord Charts are diagrams of chords that relate to playing guitar.  They are usually found in standard notation music books. Their written a bit different than tabs and can be a little more difficult to understand.  So I will do my best to explain how to read them in this post.

Why are Chord Charts hard to  read?

Because of the way they are designed.  When viewing someone playing guitar, the fret board (where the chords are played) is horizontal.  When looking at chord charts, the guitar is facing vertical, as in the picture to the right.  This is confusing because this is not how the guitar is played.  When the guitar is facing upward, the horizontal lines represent the frets (where the chord is played) and the vertical lines represent the guitar strings.  This is opposite from reading guitar tabs.

Is reading chord charts necessary?

If your a serious player…..Yes!!  If you just want to mess around on the guitar than no.  Reading chord charts is important because it might appear in your favorite book of songs and if you don’t know how to read them, you won’t be able to play them.  If you do know how to read them, you can add that to your toolbox of guitar skills.  Which will separate you from the average self taught guitar player.

Guitar chord charts in more detail.

If you look at the chord charts above and you imagine that the guitar is facing upward (as in the picture) You will see a few different things.  The black dots (with the numbers inside) represent where the fingers are to be placed & what fingers to use. The white dots represent which strings are open (played but with no finger put down) & the X’s represent strings that are muted (notes not sounded out)

With this information in hand, we can clearly see that to form the E chord, we place our 2nd and 3rd finger on the 5th and 4th string on the 2nd fret & the first finger on the third string first fret.  For the A chord we simply put our 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings on the 2nd fret.  First and 5th strings are open and the 6th string is muted.  Can you figure out how to form the G, D or the C chord?  If you take a bit of time to think this through, it’ll come to you.  Here’s an other example of how it should look.

It takes a bit to get this figured out but like I said, if you work at it a little bit at time, you’ll soon see how it works and how it can benefit your learning & playing of guitar.

The more you know about reading sheet music specifically written for guitar, the better guitar player you’ll become.  The better you’ll understand the instrument & the quicker you’ll be able to learn your favorite songs.

 learning how to read sheet music for guitar is like a car mechanic learning how to use a tool that benefits his craft. You don’t need to learn how to read standard notation (regular sheet music) unless you want to, but I’d highly recommend you learn the basics of how to read guitar tabs and learn how to read guitar chord charts.

Now, here’s how to read guitar chord charts in 7 easy steps.

Step #1.   Remember, guitar fretboard is facing vertical, not horizontal (look at picture above)

Step #2.   Horizontal lines indicate the frets, Vertical lines indicate the strings (biggest to the left, smallest to the right)

Step #3.   Black dots indicate where to put your fingers (to form the chord)

Step #4.  White dots indicate strings that are open (not played)

Step #5.  X’s indicate strings that are not sounded (muted)

Step #6.  Chord chart covers only 5 frets at a time (look again at picture

above)

Step #7.  Numbers at the bottom of the chart indicated what fingers to use (this important to learn)

 Conclusion

So there you have it.  Seven easy steps to learn guitar chord charts.  If your serious about learning the guitar and playing it for a lifetime, I’d highly recommend you learn how to read them, and by following these 7 easy steps you’ll be able to do it very quickly.  You might even impress your friends. As always, thank you for reading, and your feedback and comments are highly appreciated.  Let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

And as always, if you feel you learned something here today & would like to leave me a review, I’d highly appreciate it.

Thanks again & until next time, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

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10 TIPS ON STAYING MOTIVATED TO PRACTICE DAILY

One of the hardest things to do when it comes to learning guitar is staying motivated to practice daily.  Practicing her and there is fine, but daily is the question.

One of the reasons is that today we have so many things to grab our attention.  Google, Youtube, cable television, friends, family, etc.  So we really need to focus & use all we can to stay motivated to practice daily on a consistent basis.

Here are 10 Tips For Staying Motivated To Practice Daily.

1.)  Get a new piece of gear.  This can spark some inspiration into your playing.

2.)  Listen to new songs you like & try to learn them.  Make them a bit harder then the last few songs you learned.

3.)  Play with others.  This can help create new ideas & ways of approaching the instrument.

4.)  Work on flexibility in your practice routine.  This can help you get out of a rut if your too scheduled.

5.)  Learn a new style of guitar playing.  If your into rock, learn some jazz or country.

6.)  Create a positive practice environment.  A place that welcomes you home.

7.)  Create a purpose.  Why is it your doing what your doing with the guitar?

8.)  Find like minded people. To bounce ideas off of and network.

9.)  Divide up your practice time. To get more done with more focus.

10.)  Hold yourself accountable.  You’ve got to be a self starter to get it done.  Only you can make your dreams come true.  So get after it & never look back.

If you practice even half of these things on your journey to getting better at playing guitar, you’ll come out way ahead of most.

Be sure to join my guitar club for more awesome “insider secrets” to improve your playing.

Dwayne.

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7 Tips On How To Make Yourself Play Guitar Everyday

Learning guitar is not always easy & can sometimes be harder than we thought.  So here are 7 tips on how to make yourself play guitar everyday.

1.) Set a Goal for what it is you want to accomplish with the guitar.

Most people don’t stick with it because they think it’s easier than it is and when they come across a hurdle they can’t get over they quit.  But if they had a crystal clear goal of WHY they’re doing it, they’d have reason to press on.  So make sure you follow this first step.  It can make all the difference.

2.) Write it down & put it in places you can see it.

Having it in your head is not enough.  You must write it down & look at it everyday to keep your mind primed on why your doing it.  If you don’t have a strong enough WHY, you won’t stick with it in the long run, especially when times get tough.

3.) Devise an action-plan to get you there.

Knowing what to practice on a daily basis has a huge impact on your ability to stay focused & motivated.  If your just learning stuff off of youtube you’ll get there.  Eventually!!  But you want to get there faster, you’ve got to know how to make yourself play guitar everyday.

4.) Put that plan into daily action at once.

Once you have your plan figured out you can then begin to implement it.  You can get focused on what’s needed to learn.  Start with just a few things.  Don’t take on too much you’ll get overwhelmed, just keep it simple.

5.) Design a productive practice space.

This can make a world of difference in your daily progression as well. If you have  solid place to practice & you can stay focused for say 20-30 minutes a day, you’ll do much better than if you try to practice in a place that has distractions.  Leave that for later when you get better.  For now keep it short & laser beam focused.

6.) Keep it fun.

Practicing guitar should not be a CHORE!! Like any other skill that we choose to develop we should want to do it.  we should want to get better because it’s fun.  But it’s up to us to make it that way.  When were doing exercises & warm ups, they can be kind of boring, but they’re so essential to your learning that you don’t want to overlook them.

7.) Stay Consistent.

This is by far the most important!  without it you will fail.  You must be consistent in any thing you do in order to get better.  Learning guitar is no different.  This where people get off track.  You know why?….  Because they didn’t do what is stated above.  They just winged it without any thought for clear & concise direction.

And eventually drop off or just play once in awhile but don’t get better..  You want to get better??  Get focused & stick with it until you do. When will you know??  Oh you’ll know,…. believe me, you put in the “string time” you’ll know.

And what’s really cool, is that through it all you will build confidence & self esteem.

Conclusion

Follow these 7 steps & I guarantee you can’t go wrong when it comes to getting better.  And if you do it diligently enough, you’ll amaze yourself.  If you have any questions just let me know.

Be sure to join my guitar club for more tips & tricks to improve your playing.

Also, like & connect with me on Facebook.

Dwayne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Play Natural Chords For Beginners

Learning to play natural chords for a beginner is one of the hardest things to accomplish when first starting out. You have to put your hands in weird positions & they tend to cramp in the process. Not a very fun experience in the beginning.

But I’m here to tell you, It gets better as time goes on.

The issue is your using muscles in your hands & fingers & bring to get them to do things they’ve never done before. So naturally they are going to ache during the process. one thing that can really help this is finger exercises.

It’s all part of the learning curve so as guitar players we have to go through it. But it doesn’t have to be a chore.

Here are some tips to help you learn your first natural chords.

Use these as a starting point for your natural chord vocabulary and keep building. As time goes on, you’ll see what I mean as you continue your development

There are literally thousands of chords you can play on the guitar.

Major, minor, diminished, augmented, harmonic,etc, etc, etc.

You don’t need to learn them all, just the most common ones.  And once you do, you’ll have set yourself up with a foundation for playing rhythm & creating all kinds of cool sounds with the guitar.

Never underestimate the power of playing rhythm.  It’s the foundation of all songs & a lot of them use these natural chords.  So take the time & discipline to learn how to play natural chords for beginners & you’ll be set.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me, or connect with me on Facebook.

Be sure to join my guitar club for more “insider secrets” to improve your guitar playing.

Dwayne.

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How To Create Your Weekly Guitar Workout

One of the things that keeps beginners from progressing in a timely manner is that they don’t have a guitar workout.  With the proper workout, you can progress faster & get to your destination much quicker.

But where do we start?  How do we get it all figured out?  Is it really necessary??

Yes it is!!  It can really make a world of difference.  Think about someone who’s trying to get in shape.  They have certain workout they do to get there.  As apposed to just exercising once in awhile.

Same goes with you and your learning.  You want to get on track, stay on track & keep going until you reach the finish line.  Which is your goal you set for yourself in the very beginning of your journey.

Now if by chance you haven’t done that, or need to review it (which is more than ok) you can grab my free action-plan on Goal Setting for your guitar playing.

Now.  How do we create our workout?  Well we need to decide a couple things.

1.) What’s going to be addressed in the workout?

2.) How long is it going to be

Well when it comes to guitar, their are quite a lot of things you can learn but you want to start with the fundamentals.  I know they are not always the most exciting (and can be boring sometimes) but they are essential to your learning & I recommend you DO NOT OVERLOOK THEM!!!

So lets say we start on 7 things to cover during the week.

Day 1.) Getting in tune & finger exercises.

Knowing how to get your guitar in tune & knowing how to keep it that way is vitally important to your success as a guitarist. Finger exercises & hand warm ups are vitally important as well.  So be sure to take some time to focus on these.

Day 2.) Forming & moving chords,

Knowing how to form & move chords is vitally important also.  Be sure to take some time to learn your different forms & shapes.  Majors, minors, etc.  This is the foundation of playing rhythm.

Day 3.) Picking & strumming 

After learning how to form chords, you want to work on developing your picking hand.  This will make a world of difference in your rhythm playing.  So be sure to take time to practice this.  As it will pay huge  dividends in the end.

Day 4.) Scales & soloing

If you like the lead guitar stuff.  This is what you want to study.  Scales, guitar licks & improvising.  This is a bit more advanced & requires much discipline.  You can do it.  You just have to get focused & dedicated.

Day 5.) Reading music

Being able to read sheet music for guitar can really be a huge asset to you as a guitar player.  You can just watch youtube videos which is ok, but if you learn to read the written word (at least the basics) you’ll discover things that you won’t find watching videos.  So be sure to spend some time on this one.

 Day 6.) Learning Songs

To me this is where the fun comes in.  After you’ve done all your finger exercises, formed & moved chords etc, etc, etc, you can now start learning your favorite songs by your favorite artists( like say Metallica) that inspired you to play in the first place.

Day 7.)  Crating your own sound

This is what it’s all about in the long run.  To be able to create your own sound, possibly music & just bring you & your personalty out through the instrument.  That’s what all the greats have done.  You will want to eventually do this too.  So study this as well.

Now that we know what to work on, how long is our workout going to be each day?  Well let’s say we work on each thing for just 20 minutes a day.  That would come out to 140 minutes.  Which is roughly about a two hour workout. If breaks are taken, maybe a bit longer.

Now that’s a long workout session for just starting out.  I’d wait till your fingers get conditioned (finger exercises) to try that long of a session.

But if you broke it down into a weekly schedule.  Then you could practice for 20 minutes a day & cover one topic each day.  That way all topics are covered & not too much practice is required.  What is required will be FOCUS!!

Lesson Conclusion:

The more focused you are on what your trying to accomplish & where your trying to get too is what’s going to get you through the learning curve (everything you learn, no matter what it is, has a learning curve) when things get tough & hurdles need a bit more work to get over.

Now we know how to create a weekly workout that’s not going to leave us exhausted practicing 10 hours a day.  If you want to, that’s fine.  But if your just starting out, you want to take it easy.  Don’t rush your hand & fingers development.  It will only disable you in the long run.

Do all this stated above & I guarantee you will see some leaps & bounds in your improvement.  But you must get focused, set your goals & keep at it until they are reached.  You can do it, you just have to believe in yourself.

If there is more I can do, be sure to email me or connect with me on Facebook.

Be sure to join my guitar club to be updated on “insider secrets” to improve your playing.

Dwayne Jenkins

 

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