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Changing Chords : Accuracy and Speed (Guitar Lesson)


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Mark Lincoln

Changing Chords : Accuracy and Speed

Mark teaches some useful information on how to mix postures, "finger glue," and techniques to make your chord changes speedy and more effective.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 30:56Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (06:57) Introduction Review
Take a few moments to review and practice the following before moving on with this lesson:
- Warm-up the hands.
- Stretch the wrists.
- Play the major and minor open chords.
- Warm up your strumming muscles by relaxing the wrists and letting the pick flow over the strings.
- Play the E major chord in the "new" way and play the type 1 barre chords.
- Play the A major chord in the "new" way and play the type 2 barre chords.
- Practice the "slanting A" technique.
- Practice the type 1 minor barre chords.
- Practice the type 2 minor barre Chords.
- Play all of the type 1 mini-barre chords.
- Play all of the type 2 mini-barre chords.
- Review and practice quantitative and qualitative techniques.
- Review last week's exercises.
- Practice "wrist warming."

Ready?

After teaching one of my songs last week, I've decided (based on some great input from some of the great members we have here at JamPlay) to teach a lesson on playing with others. I'll play some rhythms, and you’ll have an opportunity to play along with me in the video. Since we used some basic chords in my song, I was thinking that we would start with those chords first. The chords were D, A, C, G, F and Am. If you need to review how these chords are formed, check out last week's lesson. I will also show you ways to "liquefy" these chords so that you won't be locked into playing these chords in their simplest forms. Here we go!!!

Exercise 1
Play the D, A, C, and G chords in the way indicated in the last lesson when we learned how to play "Shine Like the Sun." Use the strum "down, down-up-down," paying particular attention to playing from the wrist. Also make sure you are relaxing the wrist and allowing the pick to flow over the strings. I know you might get tired of hearing me remind you about this, but I want to make sure that you all are focusing on producing a quality sound from your guitar. Also, make sure that you are keeping time accurately. This can be achieved by playing along with a metronome as some of you have learned to do or by keeping time by tapping your foot along with the music. Remember that if you're using a metronome, the device should be set to accent a prominent beat in the rhythm, usually the first prominent beat. So in this particular rhythm, the first downstrum should coincide with the "click" of the metronome.
Chapter 2: (12:51) Making Accurate and Quick Chord Changes Making Accurate and Quick Chord Changes
In previous lessons, we've discussed some of the tricks that help smooth out chord changes. Making your changes while maintaining the integrity of the rhythm time is of the utmost importance as the rhythm is the backbone of the song. One way to do this is by recognizing the simple adjustments you can make to avoid having to reform each chord from scratch. For example, in Exercise 1 you were making the change from C to G, right? You may be accustomed to making a G-chord with your first three fingers, placing your first finger on the A-string, 2nd fret, your middle finger on the low E-string, 3rd fret, and your third finger on the high E-string 3rd fret. But if you simply use the second, third and pinky fingers in place of the aforementioned fingers, then your fingers will already be in the proper position from playing the previous chord in the series, the C-chord. I'll show you more about this phenomenon in the video and hopefully get you up to speed on the various "cheats" you can do to simplify your changes. In the next exercise, I want you to play D, A, C, and G. This time however, we’ll be using different voicings for these chords. The new voicings look like this:

D (10th fret)
E_10_
B_10_
G_11_
D_0_
A_x_
E_x_

A (9th fret)
E_0_
B_10_
G_9_
D_11_
A_0_
E_x_

C (8th fret)
E_8_
B_8_
G_9_
D_x_
A_x_
E_x_

G6 (7th fret)
E_0_
B_8_
G_7_
D_9_
A_x_
E_x_

If you haven't recognized by now the fact that the D and C chords are actually type 1 mini-barre chords, I'm hoping you do now. You could play these chords as full barre chords, but the narrowness of the frets, may make it more difficult for you. Also, the mini-barre chords have a slightly different sound which can help to vary your overall performance of the chords.

Exercise 2
Use the "new" versions of the D, A, C, and G chords and strum "down, down-up-down-up." Get used to the change between the two types of chords. Pay attention to how your fingers feel when changing chords. Can you see any obvious shortcuts you might be able to make when changing between the D and the A, and between the C and the G? Practice changing from D to A over and over until you get a good feel for what your hand must undergo to make that change. Watch me carefully in the video as I will hopefully give you the insight you need to make this type of change. Once you get comfortable with the D to A change, then practice changing from the C to the G. Then, put the whole thing together. Focus on making the changes accurately. Then, focus on making the changes accurately in time! I know this might be challenging to some, but this really is the ultimate goal when it comes to playing rhythm guitar effectively.
Chapter 3: (11:08) Close You Eyes Exercise 3
Once you feel you're comfortable with the elements in Exercise 2, close your eyes! See if you can use the finger glue technique to develop "muscle memory" and really get a good idea of what that chord "feels" like to your hand. Then, picture the chords as you play them. Focus on how the distance between your fingers feels in relation to the frets and how your fingers feel as you make the changes from D to A and from C to G. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes in this exercise! Playing with your eyes closed is something that requires great concentration, but it will help you to get a better feel for these types of chords and help you become more familiarity with the fretboard.

Mixing Positions
Most of you who know me by now know that I live and die by the concept of "liquid chords" or the idea of changing positions, voicings, adding and subtracting notes to chords, all to liven up and vary the sound of your playing. Using different positions of the same chords can be a great way to "liquefy" your chords and keep your playing as interesting as possible both for you as well as your listeners. In these next exercises, we’re going to use different combinations of the voicings that we’ve discussed today. We'll also add in some new voicings as well. Here it comes!

C (3rd fret)

E_3_
B_5_
G_5_
D_5_
A_3_
E_x_

G (3rd fret)

E_3_
B_3_
G_4_
D_5_
A_5_
E_3_

Re-familiarize yourself with these chords if you need to. Pay close attention to the changes your hand needs to make when going from the type 2 barre to the type 1 barre. Those of you who are still struggling with the slanting A technique will get a good workout from these next exercises.

Exercise 4
In this exercise, we're going to mix up some of the positions and combine different voicings of the D, A, C, and G chords. Play the D (10th fret) with the A (9th fret) and the C (3rd fret) with the G (3rd fret). Use the strum that we used to play "Shine Like the Sun,” which was "down, down, down-up" on the D and C chords and "up-up-down up-down," alternating strum patterns from chord to chord (just like we did in my song). Play this exercise in pieces. At first, get used to the change between playing on the higher frets and the lower frets. Once you have a better handle on that change, work on getting the alternating rhythm pattern down. Start out slowly! Then, speed up the tempo as you get more comfortable with the sequence.

Exercise 5
Alright, now for the coup-de-grace (French for "the final blow") we're going to mix all three positions together, chords on the 9th and 10th frets, barre chords, and open chords as well. Play D (10th fret), A (9th fret), C (3rd fret), and an open G chord. Use any of the rhythms that we’ve discussed today or come up with one of your own. Take your time with this one and break it into pieces at first if you need to. Also, play the whole thing at half speed and then speed it up as you become more proficient. I realize that this can be a difficult jump to make rhythmically and for your fingers as well, so give yourself plenty of room for mistakes. Changing positions while alternating rhythms can be very difficult, so relax and breathe while you’re going through this particular exercise!

Video, Video, Video
This particular lesson will be illustrated especially clearly in the video this week for two reasons:

1. We've had numerous requests to add play-along types of lessons.
2. The exercises that I'm teaching are becoming more difficult, and I want to be able to show you how I’m positioning my hands, body, arms and wrists. I also want to demonstrate how you might be able to make some shortcuts in your playing to simplify some of the more difficult changes. I can tell you in great detail how to position your hands, and how to do this and that, but the video will be an additional boon to both myself and you as I illustrate the subtleties of the changes.

Exercise 6
Mix up the chords and positions like we did in Exercise 5 but in a different manner. Try to use a combination of chords on the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th frets with barre chords and open chords.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


zigoslav97zigoslav97 replied on January 12th, 2012

Scene 1 on 11:13, he is holding different guitars :O :D

zigoslav97zigoslav97 replied on January 12th, 2012

Scene 2 i meant, missspelled it :D

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied on March 21st, 2010

Hey Mark, took me a few weeks to master this one especially the switch beween the 9th and 10 frets down to the type-2 barre C chord and type1 barre G chord. But this was really worth while. Thanks again for a great lesson. Now if I could just master this stuff with my eyes closed...

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on March 22nd, 2010

Yes Grasshopper you must now walk across the rice paper without tearing it...lol

marie115marie115 replied on September 29th, 2009

Great lesson Mark! I especially enjoyed the opportunity to play along with you. One of my main goals right now is to continue to improve my chord transitions. Thanks!!!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on October 1st, 2009

Thanks for the great feedback Marie and great to hear from you! Take care, Mark

Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Learning the basics of the guitar, the building blocks if you will, is an extremely important step in learning and mastering the guitar. This series is all about the basics.



Lesson 1

Guitar Basics

This lesson is all about the basics. Mark explains guitar parts, holding the guitar, and more.

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Tuning, Gear, and Chords

Mark begins by discussing equipment every guitarist should own. Then, he introduces chords and proper tuning methods.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Chords and Strumming

Mark finishes his discussion of the "open" chords. He applies these chords to basic rhythm and strumming concepts.

Length: 17:33 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Minor Chords and More

Mark reviews the major chords and introduces the minor chords. He also covers strumming techniques in greater depth.

Length: 25:48 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Expanding Chords

Mark introduces a few more minor chords. He also provides a monster chord exercise.

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Strumming Exercises

Mark Lincoln continues his discussion of chords and strumming. He introduces several new exercises in this lesson.

Length: 19:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Music Theory and Barre Chords

Mark covers several topics in this lesson. He explains scales and barre chords. He also demonstrates how to find notes on the fretboard.

Length: 21:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

E Shape Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln covers E shaped barre chords in greater depth. Mark refers to these chords as "Type 1" barre chords.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

A Shape Barre Chords

Mark covers the A Shape / Type 2 barre chords in greater depth.

Length: 17:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Minor Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords that utilize the shape of the "open" Em chord.

Length: 13:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

A Minor Shape Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords based on the shape of the "open" Am chord. He refers to these chords as "Type 2 Minor" barre chords.

Length: 12:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Mini Barre Chord

Mark demonstrates abbreviated versions of the "Type 1" and "Type 2" barre chords. He calls these "mini barre" chords.

Length: 17:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

A Shape Mini Barre

Mark teaches the "mini barre" version of the A major shaped barre chord. He also explains dissonance.

Length: 20:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Minor Mini Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln applies mini-barre chord concepts to minor chords.

Length: 12:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Guitar Technique

Mark Lincoln explains essential components of guitar technique.

Length: 15:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Guitar Dynamics

Mark Lincoln explains how dynamics can enhance your playing. He covers topics such as volume, tempo, rests, and more.

Length: 27:48 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Transistion Strums

Mark Lincoln explains more about guitar technique. This time around he introduces "transition strums" and continues his discussion of liquid chords.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Harmonic Technique

Mark Lincoln explains what harmonics are and how they are played.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Expanding Liquid Chords

Mark Lincoln expands on the concept of liquid chords. He explains new chord variations and how they can be changed in mid-strum.

Length: 16:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Spicing up Chords

Mark demonstrates how chord progressions can be spiced up by adding hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Chord Fingering

Mark explains how chord fingerings must be altered when applying "liquid chord" concepts. He also provides a few new "liquid chord" exercises.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Precision Strumming

Mark returns to the land of chords. This time around, he provides an exercise that contains four variations on the A chord.

Length: 14:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

D to D in Six Steps

Mark provides a chord progression that shifts from one D chord to another in six steps.

Length: 15:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Chord Voicings and Construction

Mark delves deeper into chord construction and alternate chord voicings.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Quantitative and Qualitative Changes

Mark tests your guitar knowledge with a pop quiz. Then, he discusses quantitative and qualitative changes.

Length: 22:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Quantitative and Qualitative Review

In the 26th installment of his basic guitar series, Mark reviews the quantitative and qualitative changes he presented in lesson 25.

Length: 17:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Rhythm and Guitar

Mark provides exercises designed to make you a better rhythm player.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Expanded Rhythm Exercise

Mark Lincoln expands on the rhythm exercise from lesson 27. This time around he incorporates several C based chords.

Length: 14:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Hand Structure

Mark discusses proper playing technique. He provides a few exercises that facilitate right hand mechanics.

Length: 17:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Cadd9 and Dsus2

Mark provides an exercise that features two new chords - Cadd9 and Dsus2.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

Finger Glue and Flexibility

In the 31st lesson, Mark discusses his "finger glue" technique. This technique improves speed and accuracy.

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Reviewing Chord Changes

Mark takes a step back in lesson 32 to explain how to make quick and accurate chord changes.

Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Sliding

Mark explains how to use the slide technique between chords.

Length: 19:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Keeping Time While Playing

Mark reviews qualitative and quantitative changes. He explains how to keep time while performing these changes.

Length: 21:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

A Minor Progression

Mark discusses qualitative and quantitative changes within an A minor progression.

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Chord Transistions

Mark Lincoln discusses several techniques that can be used when transitioning between chords.

Length: 21:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Chord Transistions Revisited

In this lesson, Mark once again covers the subject of chord transitions. This time around, he focuses on barre chords and includes several helpful exercises.

Length: 23:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Playing Individual Notes

In lesson 38, Mark discusses how playing single notes rather than chords can spice up your playing.

Length: 22:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Rocking Out

Lesson 39 is all about rocking out. Mark discusses some tips to take your playing to the next level.

Length: 18:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Slash Chords

Lesson 40 takes a deeper look at slash chords. Mark discusses why they're called slash chords, and how they are formed.

Length: 14:42 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 41

Strumming from the Wrist

In lesson 41, Mark reviews the warm-up section and provides new tips on playing adequately from the wrist.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Raising the Barre

Mark builds further on barre chord techniques and liquid chords.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 43

Building on Your Chord Knowledge

In lesson 43, Mark discusses additional skills related to learning and playing chords, specifically "liquification" of chords.

Length: 20:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 44

Experiment With Playing

Lesson 44 is all about trying new things. Mark discusses experimenting with your playing in order to take it to the next level.

Length: 17:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 45

Diversifying

In this lesson, Mark once again talks about changing up chord derivatives to create a more unique sound.

Length: 20:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 46

Shaping the Hands

In lesson 46, Mark explains how to maximize your options by maintaining chord shapes while playing.

Length: 21:44 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 47

Precision Strumming

Today, Mark takes in depth look at strumming.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 48

Shine Like the Sun

Mark Lincoln teaches an original song entitled "Shine Like the Sun."

Length: 18:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 49

Changing Chords : Accuracy and Speed

Mark teaches some useful information on how to mix postures, "finger glue," and techniques to make your chord changes speedy and more effective.

Length: 30:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings

In this lesson, Mark guides you through the world of alternate chord voicings. He teaches several shapes and shows how they can be used to enhance your playing.

Length: 23:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 51

Understanding Liquified Chords

Mark brings us a very appealing aspect to better understand the guitar. With his explanation of "liquified" chords, mark will explain how to move up and down the guitar to create different chord voicing.

Length: 25:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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