It happens to everyone… getting your fingers to do what the chord chart is telling you to do. Sometimes it’s the stretch, sometimes it’s the placement/order of your fingers. Regardless, getting our fingers to play that chord we’re working on can be tricky. Here are some tips.
1) Play Chord – Take Off Your Fingers – Play Chord Again – Repeat
So I like to think of this one as my “Chord Bootcamp”. This is great especially for beginners. The gist of it is in the title… play a chord, take off your fingers then do that over and over. I generally advise to give yourself a set number of times, say 10 times, for the chord/chords you’re working on. Make sure you stretch your fingers in between so that you have to “reset” that chord every time. This is all about the muscle memory we develop through this technique. When we think of a chord the last thing we want to do spend longer than needed to either fret the chord because our fingers aren’t familiar with where they’re suppose to go or worse… think about what that chord even is!
2) Analyze which fingers should go first for each chord
The first time I ever bring this up to students is for the barre chord. If you think of it we almost have two halves of the 6th string barre chord: the first finger barre and the rest of the chord (second, third and fourth fingers). Which half is the easiest to set down first? Experiment as it’s different for everyone. Same goes for all the other chords out there. Spending that extra couple of minutes figuring which fingers want to be down first can save you some time going forward.
This tends to work for just about any skill level, any chord. So all those weird chords you think could spice up your playing are now within reach!