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I just started playing guitar 7 months ago. I know how to read music, and play a keyboard. I'll be sixty two soon and thought I'd like learning how to play a guitar. I know the chords, but these old hands are having problems switching from one chord to another fast enough. I would like to learn blues, but not sure if I'll master switching the chords fast enough. I can play melody of songs fine, but it's the chords switching that's driving me nuts.

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don't worry 'cause it's all about practice , practice, and more practice...........
but do yourself and your joints a favor, do some simple stretching of the hands and wrists prior to practice......
Yes I do that and follow a practice session with a hand soak in cold water. Thanks

I share your pain. (Not really, 'cause it's more fun than pain, but I too was in my sixties when I started on guitar.) There is another Forum topic called "Can an Old Guy Learn to Play?" posted by JStevens that might be fun to read even though you're obviously not an Old Guy. Also you might consider joining the Acoustic Newb group here. I've learned a lot from that group. Several guitar teachers are in it and they have offered many good tips on how to learn to change chords, among other things. Join and browse some of the discussions!

Thanks for the info.
Thank you, I'll do just that.
Connie, has anyone suggested a set-up for your guitar? Chord changes are easier and faster with a proper setup and will increase the length of time you can play without fatigue.

A setup involves adjusting neck relief, string height at the nut and the saddle. You might consider finding a good luthier and having the action adjusted on your instrument.

Practice will help,
I believe when I bought the guitar three months ago they set-up my guitar. My fingers on my left hand seem to be flailing all over, like my fingers have a mind of their own. I know the transition
from one chord to the next is important and I need to practice the transition more slowly so my brain and fingers are on the same track. How often do I need to have my guitar set-up?
Having started playing a year ago at 55, I have felt much the same way. Practice, as always, will improve things. However, when I was having the same problem, my instructor had some help. He broke chord pairs into 3 groups. The first group consisted of chord transitions like Am to E - they have the same shape, just on different strings. Those were just a matter of lifting the finger shape and moving them over. The second group had chords changes like G7 to Dm - there is a finger in common (first string, first fret) that you can use as a "pivot" to anchor to, and just move the other two fingers. The third group switched between chords like G to D - essentially nothing in common. Those you learn by just doing them over and over, back and forth, until they become comfortable - admittedly the hardest group. But I found a surprising number of transitions fell into the first two groups, and were easier to master.

I don't know if that helps or not. My learning style is one where just seeing patterns helps a lot. Good luck!
Thanks Scott, Yes that helps. I started back with the easier chords and noticing which fingers change and which finger stays in place. This method will definitely help. Thank you!
Overcoming the halting shift from one position to the next never stops. The transitions from one conventional chord shape get easier of course, but learning new pieces always involves managing the moves from one position to the next. It always amazes me how little time you seem to have to make the important moves at first; and after all that practice you wonder why you ever had a struggle. And I still remember thinking I will never EVER play F properly.

So I suppose Connie the point is, learning how to learn those shifts now will stand you in good stead later. I think the conceptual/physical problem of guitar playing (especially fingerstyle) is a great mental test. Have you dreamed your chord shapes yet? Good luck!


P.S. And you only need your guitar set up every so often when something has changed or you develop a preference for lower or higher string action.
James - you mean that eventually I WILL play F properly?? ^_^
James, I do close my eyes and visualize the finger positions and the finger changes needed for the next chord placement, and I've slowed down my finger movements and I can actually feel my fingers making a smoother chord change. As far as the F chord that will take time. I wish my fingers were longer and stronger, that would help. But I have to work with what God has given me and I ain't complainen. Connie


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