how to improve chord changes on guitar

Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including the importance of protecting your ears, how to improve chord changes on guitar, and more.


Here we go…


#1 – Too many chord changes


I get a lot of questions about how to improve chord changes on guitar. This is understandable, as they are super frustrating.

The other day a member of the DTAA emailed to keep me updated on his progress.

He said he was currently working on about 10 different chord changes!

These included ones such as C-G, G-D, G-Em, A-E, D-E, C-F, etc.



That is a lot to work on.

Of course, it is important to eventually get all of them smoothed out.

Although it is okay to work on a few, I recommend students spend most of their chord changing practice time, working on just one change.


Choose one, focus on it, practise the change with good technique, build up positive muscle memory, perfect it, and then move on to the next one.

You simply cannot perfect a chord change overnight…

Yet with real focus, working on the one that holds you back the most (like in a song you are learning), you will make better progress than trying to master them all.

Right next one.



#2 – “Careless Whistler”


I woke up yesterday, thinking some alarm was going off in a nearby house.

I was even dreaming of someone being burgled.

It turns out the noise was coming from my left ear.


It was a piercing, whistling high pitched noise that changed frequency, and then eventually stopped.


I joked it sounded like George Michael belting out a high note.

A “Careless Whistler” maybe?


This was a reminder that it is key to look after our ears.

As guitarists, along with our hands, our ears are our number one tools.

I say this as I was blasting some music in the car a little too loudly the evening before, which possibly caused this.


Some guitarists I have taught over the years would love to blast their amps and crank the dial all the way up to 11.

Some would just strum their acoustics very loudly.

Both are fun when it suits the music, but remember too much volume for extended periods ain’t good for the old lugholes.



#3 – Your guitar doesn’t matter until it does


Lately, I’ve been reading emails and seeing videos from folk downplaying the importance of your guitar.

Some were saying, who cares what guitar you have.

Some were comparing 10-grand guitars to 100-dollar guitars.


The overall vibe was that your guitar doesn’t matter.

Well, it doesn’t… not until it does.

By that I mean, if your guitar is holding you back, is uncomfortable to play, or leaves you feeling uninspired…

It sure as hell does matter what guitar you play.


My advice is always get a guitar that feels nice to play and inspires you to want to pick it up.

When in a shop, if a guitar makes me want to jam and improvise when I hold it, I know it’s probably one for me.

If your guitar is holding you back, either get it set up better or look for a new one.

Many inspiring, quality guitars are not expensive, and that’s coming from a guy who has some pricey ones but also a £50 Aria, which I still love.


Now, for some news about my Fingerstyle 101 book.

I now have a publisher in the U.S. who is distributing it. This means if you live in the U.S. you can get the paperback with free delivery, for a limited time.

This is unfortunately only for U.S. folks (international shipping is really expensive).


If you are not from the U.S. though, the paperback is out on Amazon so you can get it from there.

All the links to get either the PDF or the paperback are on the page below…


Fingerstyle 101 – a step-by-step guide to beautiful fingerpicking guitar playing


I hope you enjoy it if you get it and have a great Monday!


Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


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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