Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
dschwartz

Help please - new and can't reach chords

Recommended Posts

I've only just begun playing a few weeks ago and am working on finger strength and building up pads, etc. but the lesson program I'm working with is introducing C and G chords and I just can't seem to reach them?

Is this common with beginners or am I digit-challenged?

David.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely common. Just stay with it and keep changing back and forth between them. They will eventually "snap" into place. Practicing trouble motions is ALWAYS they key to overcoming anything on the guitar.

 

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah man, its harder than it looks, but it get's a lot easier.

 

Do you have a teacher? Your hand could be in slightly the wrong place around the neck which will make it difficult to reach.

 

I've got little girly hands, so when I started playing I used Em-Am to practice the basics, not as much of a finger stretch. Once you get Am under control its only a little change to get the C chord.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely common... I struggled with barre chords when I started playing the guitar. The F Major and Bb major chords were killers.. : )

 

Don;t worry too much, your fingers will need time to adjust themselves to the new skill you are picking up.

 

If you need some tips, here are some in which helped me overcome holding chords when I started playing the guitar.

 

Learning Open Guitar Chords

 

Learning Barre Chords

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After you learn your C and G chords, the next big step will be learning to switch between them instantly. Here's a cut-and-paste bit of advice for that step.

 

 

 

Try the "ghost chord practice technique".


The concept is that in order to switch chords quickly enough to be useful, you need to be able to plant all your fingers down
simultaneously
on each new chord you move to.


In practice, form your hand into the chord shape in the air right above the strings without touching the strings at all. A 'ghost chord'. Get it as close as possible - maybe one millimeter away. Hold it in that shape for about 5 seconds, then lay all your fingers on the strings simultaneously. Without making any adjustments, play the strings one at a time and listen to determine if the chord is cleanly fingered. If not, make adjustments.


Sometimes, depending on your finger skill and the difficulty of the chord, it will be too difficult at first to make the 'ghost chord' shape and hold it right above the strings. If this is the case, then go ahead actually play the chord, then barely lift your fingers off the strings while still holding the chord shape. Hold them there for 5 seconds then plant them simultaneously back on the strings and make sure the chord is still clean.


After you've done this on seperate chords for a while, then apply it to a chord progression. Do the 'ghost chord' thing before each chord change in the progression.


This method of practice is very slow, and requires patience, but it did wonders for my chord changing abilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

basically, don't even strum. Just practice. And its not about speed. Don't go for speed. Accuracy. But make sure you know before you move where each finger goes.

 

Memorizing the C position is especially important, as it is useful later when learning basic bar chords

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Accuracy, then speed, yes. How does the army train soldiers to do things 'by instinct'? It isn't by having them do the same thing over and over as quickly as possible in the sloppiest manner possible. It is by slowly increasing their reflexes so that reaction is intuitive by almost rote (from repetitious experience) in the training process. And by the gradual accumulation of experience one learns from one's mistakes and improves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone - glad to hear I'm not just guitar-challenged right out of the gates. That ghost chord practice sounds interesting, I'll give it a try.

David.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi David,

 

How is your guitar set-up? If you are new to this maybe you are not quite sure what I am talking about. Sorry for that. Basically it is how easy does it play?

 

I often found that the most discouraging thing new guitar students face is a guitar that plays hard (strings are high and hard to press down to the frets) and or the set up of the string on the nut and saddle are off.

 

I don't believe you said what type of guitar you are playing such as electric, acousting, classical either.

 

Also strings can make a big difference in how you can form chords. Try to play an "F" bar chord with heavy strings once you have played it with lights for instance.

 

Bottom line, the easier you can make your guitar play that suites your style, the easier those chords are to reach and sound great.

 

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ultimate, I have an Epiphone AJ-100 Acoustic/electric. it still has the factory strings which, I'm assuming, are medium? The setup seems pretty good, from what I've read - the strings are fairly close to the fret board so I'm not having to push overly hard (less than 1/4" - probably less than 1/8" actually). Other than that, the neck is straight with no bowing in any direction....

 

I'm trying to focus learning on 'medium' strings so that I do not get spoiled with light strings and then have to adjust everything for mediums down the road.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David,

 

Here are some measuring guidelines you may want to look at. It can vary depending on your playing style and type of guitar. These measurements are taken at the fret that joins the body of the guitar. Typically the 12th or 14th for acoustic and classicals. The measurements are from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string.

 

Acoustic Guitars - Factory standards (which are typically slightly high) 1st string: 3/32" .093" 6th string: 4/32" .125"

 

Classical Guitars - Factory standards (which are typically slightly high) 1st string: 4/64" .0625" 6th string: 5/32" .156"

 

Electric Guitars can vary all over the place, buy are typically slightly lower than the acoustic guitar listed above.

 

Medium strings is a good middle of the road choice. Also check your string height at the nut as this can make playing very difficult too.

 

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...