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Danster
04-13-2003, 12:41 PM
Hi all, Do you guys have some routine you go through when you're trying to get your fingers to learn a new difficult chord? I've been practicing a couple of chords for a couple of weeks, and still find it difficult to finger them properly at the speed which would be necessary in a song. So is it just "practice makes perfect", or is there something else you do that helps you get it right?
Thanks,
Dan

Bizarro
04-13-2003, 05:58 PM
I think it just takes time, but you can speed up the process a bit. You'll need a good mental picture of where each finger needs to go, and you'll need the dexterity to put the fingers there.

You can practice the mental picture part without your guitar, which is what I usually do when learning something new. This helps me a great deal.

You should also incorporate the new chords into a song or chord progression so you get used to playing them in a musical setting. Once you figure out where to use a new chord, practice playing it in time with a metronome or drum machine. This will force you to grab the chord quickly and cleanly, and should point out any dexterity issues really fast!

Some chords are just really tough! I used to think that shredding was the *hard* part of playing guitar, but now I tend to think that playing rhythm is quite a bit harder. :eek: Just watch an accomplished jazz player and you'll see what I mean!

Danster
04-14-2003, 12:06 AM
Thanks for your reply Bizarro.


Originally posted by Bizarro
[B]You'll need a good mental picture of where each finger needs to go, and you'll need the dexterity to put the fingers there.

You can practice the mental picture part without your guitar, which is what I usually do when learning something new. This helps me a great deal.Hmmm.... I never considered doing that. I'll give it a try.


You should also incorporate the new chords into a song or chord progression so you get used to playing them in a musical setting. Once you figure out where to use a new chord, practice playing it in time with a metronome or drum machine. This will force you to grab the chord quickly and cleanly, and should point out any dexterity issues really fast!Alrighty, I'll try that too.


Some chords are just really tough! I used to think that shredding was the *hard* part of playing guitar, but now I tend to think that playing rhythm is quite a bit harder. :eek: Just watch an accomplished jazz player and you'll see what I mean! I've heard that sort of thing before. I was encourage to start working on rhythm more when Guni posted here a while back that rhythm guitarists are typically much harder to find than a lead guitarist.

Wyll_Watts
04-16-2003, 04:08 AM
As always, eveyone's method and limitations will vary but here are some general insights into learning new chord forms that I've put together over the years...

Chord technique can be broken down and analyzed in the same way that we tend to pick apart a shredding lick.. i.e. identify the difficulty, develope approaches or exercises to overcome the difficulty, play it in context etc.. So basically, my best advice is just to break it down and analyze what every finger is doing, especially in the context of chords that precede and follow...
Personally, I've identified four types of obstacles in new or difficult chord fingerings..
Stretching: the obvious one.. the chord shape covers more frets than one is used to or is played on the lower frets.. this is something I've found is best worked on over a long period of time.. forcing long stretches right away could lead to more injury than progess..
Density: ..I should have a better term for this.. but I'm just talking about cramming several fingers into a small area (gee.. that sounded dirty..) A simple example is the standard three finger open A chord that can be sort of strange for beginners.. the major difficulty in "dense" chords is getting all the fingers close to the fret to prevent buzzing and intonation problems..
Strength: the other obvious one, and is often closely related to the other problems.. barre chords are hard when you start off etc.. another issue that is resolved over time.. for intermediate players, the stength issue usually shows up again with some of the stranger drop 2 inversions used in modern jazz, or in cases where there are many difficult chords at high tempo stuck with alot of bravado, as in gypsy jazz... of course, action and string type and tension comes into play here..
Unusual Pattern/Fingering: this shows up when the chord invloves a fingering that may not be all the difficult in other aspects but the pattern is just not in the norm.. an example may be when one firsts learns the drop 2 diminished 7th forms.. this is where Bizzaro's advice on getting a good mental picture of the chord is so crucial..

Well, I'll stop my rambling now.. Good Luck in your chordal explorations.. :)

Best Wishes,
Wyll Watts

Bongo Boy
04-23-2003, 03:18 AM
That was helpful Wyll--nice way to break the problem down.

Is the use of lighter strings much help for beginners, for handling the barre chord & strength issues? I wonder if it's recommended much by instructors.

I'm currently using .012-0.050s or even heavier--and I find I tend to use inordinate thumb pressure to hold down barres long enought to clearly articulate them. But, I've also been fretting about mid-way between frets, too, because I didn't know any better.

potshot
04-23-2003, 11:34 AM
Wyll: I am one of the beginners you mention with the problem with the A chord. I can play it ok, though my index finger doesn't get very close to the fret.

What I have trouble with is the barred version of the A chord. I've been learning some songs with some Bb, B and C# chords in them, and I always find these the hardest. I find it hard to properly fret the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings.

One of my friends told me to barre the 2, 3, 4 strings with my ring finger. I have tried this a lot, but I find it very difficult. I either don't properly fret the 2nd string, or I get the 2nd string and end up muting the 1st, or even worse - fretting it too.

Another person showed me a way to mush my middle, ring and pinkie fingers together to get the three strings. I play pinkie on 2, middle on 3 and ring on 4. I can do this, though not too easily. The trouble is that it makes it a lot harder to change into this chord from others, it takes me quite some time.

Is there a "right" way to play this shape of chord? Any hints?

Wyll_Watts
04-23-2003, 02:21 PM
On the issue of strings.. bigger strings are a little harder to fret but I think most people, even beginners, can gain the strength required in a reasonable amount of time. As far as barre chords being hard to fret, especially the full 6 string one.. I recommend fretting all the notes except the barre first and then apply the barre. Also, I've seen alot of people have trouble with strings buzzing in barre chords even when applying a tremendous amount of pressure and it seems that the shape of some peoples fingers make the barres a little more difficult, especially around the 3rd and 2nd strings. In this case I recommend that you use more of the side of the barre finger than the pads.

On the open position A chord, both the one finger barre and the other fingering are exceptable ways to play that chord. For people who have trouble with those methods even after a long period of practice I recommend this fingering, ring finger on the 2nd string, index finger on the 3rd string and middle finger on the 4th since these fingers are usually a little stronger. If you like the feel of the barre A but keep hitting the E string try this voicing. Barre the 2nd,3rd, ad 4th strings at the 2nd fret using the index finger and fret the 1st string at the 5th fret with your pinkie. I use all of these methods depending on the situation and how my fingers are feeling that day.

I really like the barre form because you can fret the notes closer to the fret wire and have less intonation issues but it may be impracticle on some acoustics with high action.

Hope this helped some,
Wyll

Schooligo
04-25-2003, 10:55 AM
"I'm currently using .012-0.050s or even heavier--and I find I tend to use inordinate thumb pressure to hold down barres long enough to clearly articulate them."

Some things to consider as a guitarist:
String Guage
String guage especially for a beginner is a valid concern.
I know for many guitarist's (especially a beginner) it doesn't seem like if a guitarist changes from 10's to 11's it should be that much of a difference but any choice to decide to play with a thicker guage can be a Significant difference.

Action of the guitar
Also take into account the action of your Guitar, as the effort you have to exert to get a clean, desirable tone will be more challenging the higher the action.
ie. requires more force to get a desirable tone

&/or Type of guitar you are playing
for that matter the type of guitar you are playing should be a consideration as generally on a acoustic guitar you will have a thicker string guage than on an electric guitar &/or electric guitars allow lower action typically & use thinner guage strings.



As for chord fingerings
(besides all the great advice given :) )

It is important that the fingering be dictated by the chord progression & voicing of the individual chords.



:( HELP!!( ran into a snag, before I could finish my thoughts & advice

:confused: What resources or program do you use .bmp, .jpg?

as I would like to give an example of Chord fingerings by showing a chord diagram with LH fretboard fingerings, including open strings, muted strings, etc & then apply it to this thread,
could you please give any advice on how to do this in the threads

Schooligo
04-27-2003, 07:41 AM
A picture sometimes is worth a thousand words:

Want to do something like this,

e ---3--- fretting finger 3rd &/or ring
b ---0--- open string
g ---0--- open string
D ---0--- open string
A ---2--- fretting finger 1st &/or index
E ---3--- fretting finger 2nd &/or middle

going to a C chord that is fingered(with this voicing of the C chord) like this

e ---0--- open string
b ---1--- fretting finger (1st &/or index)
g ---0--- open string
D ---2--- fretting finger (2nd &/or middle)
A ---3--- fretting finger (3rd &/or ring)
E ---x--- not played

What resources or program do you use .bmp, .jpg?

Eric V, Guni, etc, what do you use to demonstrate this?

as the example above is just not as efficient as whatever you are using in some of your threads.

"as I would like to give an example of Chord fingerings
by showing a chord diagram with LH fretboard fingerings, including open strings, muted strings, etc."

could you please give any advice on how to do this in the threads

Thanks!

EricV
04-27-2003, 10:56 AM
Regarding file formats:
I make a TAB with Powertab, and then make a screenshot with Paint Shop Pro ( I am using V.7, have been using 4.12 for the longest time before that )
I usually save the TABs as jpegs or gifs, and upload them to my FTP to include them into a post, or simply attach it ( if itīs only one image ) to the post

Regarding string gauges:
Good point ! It really is a significant change. At least for me. Currently, I am using 009-042 on most of the guitars, and 009-046 on the red Vandy ( I am using Dropped-D tuning a lot on that guitar ).
But throughout the years, I have tried out a lot of gauges, i.e. 008-038 ( it was very easy to bend major thirds with those, and I hardly ever break strings anyway... ).
I might change back to 010-046 soon, since I feel that I have a bit more control with both the right and the left hand. To me, picking feels a bit easier on 010-046 than on 009-042
Eric