chord frustration

Let’s talk about a super frustrating part of guitar playing.

There is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t get an email or social media comment on this one specific topic.

This is the thing that causes more frustration, self-doubt, and even physical as well as emotional pain for more guitarists than anything.


It is the issue of chords.

The problem comes in two parts:


1 – Buzzing chords – Sometimes it is the issue of playing chords so they sound ‘clean’ and so there are no accidental dead notes, strings buzzing, or unwanted noise.


2 – Slow chord changes – Sometimes it is the issue of snail-paced slow chord changes that feel like they are taking an eternity to change between.


If you struggle with either of these issues, first, rest assured you are not alone.

We all will go through this or have gone through this at some point.

The fact is, playing chords cleanly can be tough for beginners.


Fast and precise chord changes take a lot of time to develop.

…But once you get your chords and chord changes nailed…

The world is your oyster on the guitar.

You will unlock a brand-new door to having more fun with your playing.


It does bug me though, how most people who teach guitar just hammer “chords, chords, chords” to their beginner students.

Trying to master a whole range of chords when you’re a beginner is a recipe for building bad habits and making slow progress.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, I’m glad you asked.


The other day I mentioned how it’s almost the 10-year anniversary since I quit my old job and started teaching guitar full-time.

Well, tomorrow is that date.

So, tomorrow, I’ll be sharing with you something incredibly cool.

It’s something I’ve never done before, so do check your emails tomorrow (it relates to this below).


For now, though, I want to say there are two options when it comes to chords:


1 – Obvious advice – Keep working on your chords – you will need them for the long term, but don’t try to learn more than two chords at once. Master two chords, then add another, and then another. Focus on good technique and precision and that will serve you for the long term. 

2 – Not so obvious advice – Play things that do not use chords at all. Fun riffs, melodies, and single-note tunes. Even absolute beginners can play famous tunes on the guitar early on. Whereas it can take months to play chords cleanly, you can play simple melodies very quickly.


…And on that note, tomorrow I’ll be sharing something with you that uses melodies without the need for tricky chords, BUT still sounds rich and full, and almost a little like there are two guitars being played at once.

I.e., it features the best of both worlds.


For now, if you do want help with your chords, then check out this video below.

It’s a “reel” (aka a free super short mini lesson) on my unique ‘Elbow/Shoulder Axis’ lesson.

This has been one of the most popular videos I’ve released on social media (at least on Instagram, despite having a very new channel and almost zero promotion of it).

Anyway, you can click your favourite social media link below and get taken to the video directly.

Watch the short and simple ‘Elbow/Shoulder Axis’ video below:


The above video is, of course, not the only one on my social media pages.

There are dozens more inspiring and super helpful videos.

Please do be sure to like the videos and my channels and give them a comment (I love the comments).

If there’s more traction on my social media channels with these videos, I’ll be sure to keep posting more free videos.


Have a great day of practice!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. Stay tuned for the big announcement tomorrow.


P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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