Playing A Guitar Chord Perfectly
Your first guitar is going to have a story. What's yours going to be?
It's not that you need to play every chord perfectly. Perfectionism is one of those things that some guitarists will tell you to leave for their accountants.
Fine. You can listen to those guitarists if you want. But there's no question you'll want to nail chords down well.
And, to be honest, after a few go-rounds with specific chords and chord changes, you'll have them perfect anyway.
You'll get down the clustering, the shared fingers and all the detailed jazz that goes along with chords. Won't even think about 'em, just play.
So, yeah, maybe "perfectly" is a bit much for us. But we care about you. We care about your guitar playing - so we're going to work toward perfect. And you'll find it along the way.
The Zen of Chords
Your first goal has nothing to do with your guitar. It has everything to do with sitting, though.
To play a chord perfectly, you'll need a sort of zen in your body. You'll need to sit straight up -- relax your shoulders. You can't be slouching to play a chord right.
For this, you'll want to put YouTube away. You'll have to tuck those iPhone videos of your favorite band rocking out in your pocket for now. Check out our StringNinja video on playing a chord right.
When you're starting, you'll want to learn in the perfect setting. Upright but still a bit loose.
That's how you gotta do it. Find that position that gives you support so you can rock for hours and not tire. And one more thing - don't lean over your guitar. Don't do it. Even if you play yourself silly, don't learn over. Sit back on the chair and keep that spine upright.
We've got the perfect picture to help you out.
Here's the right way to hold your guitar -- you can learn what to do with it by reading our Ebook!
You're asking how this helps and I'll tell you. Only with the right back position can you get the right position with your hand. So let's go there.
The Proper Hand Technique
So playing a chord perfectly begins in the everything-but-your-fingers. But let's be real, your fingers are the major players.
After you've settled in to a comfortable position with your shoulders and straightened your back, you can start working on your fingers.
Okay, so your fingers and hand techniques is going to be vital to your success at playing chords. And, as we know, playing chords is going to be vital to your success as a guitar player.
Now, I'll be honest here from the get-go. It's a lot harder to write about a proper hand technique than show you - just as if it'd be easier for you to see it than read about it.
So, to begin, check out our video on the proper hand technique. will show just how to perfect that claw of yours to bust out chords the right way.
Watch the video. Pause it a few times and practice getting your hand just like it. It may be uncomfortable at first, but if you keep coming back to this position you'll master it. There's really no better advice I can give you than this - Watch the video. Go back. Pause. Replicate.
Another thing to keep in mind: the perfect hand position, well it begins in the thumb. As most things go, that thicker guy at the end of your hand determines the course. Guitar is no different.
Your thumb is sometimes forgotten about when it comes to chords. Why? Because it doesn't play. But just because it doesn't play doesn't mean its not active. In fact, your thumb, pressing against the back of the neck, will always play a role in your chord-ing.
You'll want to press your thumb against the back of your neck. Cock your wrist around the front - but in a comfortable manner. You'll be keeping your wrist like this for a while, so be careful you don't twist it too far upward.
Press your fingers down lightly. Play the strings. Sounds good? Awesome. Continue!
Something not quite right? You might have a dead note. A dead note is a note that is either getting muffed, mixed, or not playing at all. This could be because another finger is preventing the string from vibrating.
Adjust your fingers. Make sure your fingers are ONLY on their right string - this may take an adjustment in your wrist - but it will keep you from producing dead notes and making the chord perfect.
Once you've gotten the chord down, take your finger off of it. Put it back on. Still perfect? If not, then keep trying this. You'll want to be able to find that perfect chord quickly. You won't always have much time when you're playing a song or along with someone.
As always, the more you practice the technique the better you'll get. Not to mention, the more you know about chords the faster you'll get to the pedestal of chord perfection. Watch the videos we're giving you. They're an excellent resource.
And when you're ready for the best resource of them all -- the guide to end all guides - check out our StringNinja program. It's the only guitar resource of its kind and it will take you from beginner to chord-playing superstar. It's the quickest way to the top of Chord mountain and from there all songs lay below!!
Video Guitar Tips
Alternate picking is essential to practice early! More info on String Ninja...