Chord Exercises

Many guitarists neglect to practice chords, whether it be learning new chords, or changing chords or progressions.

Here's a simple exercise to start players assessing not only their chord changing abilities but also their knowledge of the 5th (Dominant) chord in relation to the Root (Tonic) chord. Here I have the chords starting out in open position, but there are many variations such as higher positions, mixing positions, or only allowing certain chord 'shapes'- only using E and A shapes for example.

The important thing is to play to a metronome, and gradually speed up. Start playing each chord change on every 4th beat at 120 BPM. The idea is to get through all the changes without missing a beat, and with each chord sounding perfectly clean. Try to memorise each chord pairing.

  1. Play an open position C Major chord 
  2. Play an open position G7 chord (5th of C)
  3. Play an open position G Major chord
  4. Play an open position D7 chord (5th of G)
  5. Continue with D to A7, A to E7 etc, until you have gone though the whole circle of 5ths
There are countless other chordal exercises. Why not try to invent your own chord building exercises that helps both playing ability and musical knowledge? Just 5-10 minutes on these types of exercises at each practice session can make a huge difference.