Guitar Chord Conversion Crash Course – Part 2

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More on Guitar Chord Switching

In Jam Session #38, we continued our Chord Conversion Crash Course from the previous week.

First, we recapped what we learned last week…

Common string = your finger presses the same string along a track

Common shape = program the chord shape by itself first and do it top-down (but move all fingers!)

Common frets = program “top down”

Common finger = the finger remains in place

Programming Guitar Chord Switches

Steve gave us these tips for programming new chord switches:

  • Focus on one hand at a time!  Don’t strum as you practice your chord switching!  Focus only on your fretting hand!
  • Next, add simple strumming: DDDD or DDDDU (feels more musical)
  • Pay attention to the “switching stroke” – usually the last stroke of the bar in a measure.  Start the chord switch before the next chord.
  • “No man’s land” – the listener will not notice this small gap so it’s irrelevant and doesn’t matter.  What’s crucial is that you must land the target chord on the 1st beat.
  • “The Mask” – playing a DU to cover up any switching issue
  • “Super Mario” – switching chords between strokes (used on DDDD pattern)
  • “Build as you go”
  • “Hovering” – hover your finger over where it’s need next

Other considerations:

  • Thumbs-up / Thumbs-down (thumb hidden)
  • Nails-up vs Nails-down (pointing at you)
  • Keep guitar angle up

Resources for this lesson

We received PDFs of all the chord switching examples. – web resource that allows you to search for songs by chord

Video Challenge

This week’s challenge was to choose a challenging chord switch and explain the switching strategy.  Demonstrate it and then reverse it.

I really like putting into practice what I learn from the jam sessions right away.  My favorite way to do that is to pick a song I want to learn, perhaps something from the list of Top 100 Easy Guitar Songs, and use these tips and tactics as I learn it.  That’s what we refer to as using real songs as vehicles to advance your guitar journey.

To get access to the video recording of this Jam Session as well as all the other ones to date and new LIVE trainings each week, join The Band here.


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