Try out different strumming patterns and rhythms. Once you're able to produce a good sounding chord, try strumming it at different tempos and rhythms. Rhythm is based on your strumming pattern, and how long you're holding your notes. Try a basic 1-2-3-4 beat, otherwise known as a 4/4. The number on the top represents how many beats there are in the measure. Try strumming up and down in different progressions to create a different sound for your rhythm. Once you get a basic rhythm down, you can start to incorporate quicker or slower strumming.
Of course, this top-down lecturing is all very abstract without examples. Let me give you the worst case scenario. My school talent show, 2008. Two friends of mine performED an ambitious but utterly inappropriate Metallica cover in front of the other students, their parents and the faculty. It was excruciating. Although the solos (presumably the only thing they had bothered to practice) were technically flawless, the whole song was undone by their terrible rhythm. The timing of the song became displaced, the chords were so badly fingered that it was difficult to hear the riff and consequently the whole performance fell apart. They looked like morons. They had sacrificed learning basic rhythm and paid the price. Make sure you don’t do the same.
Wow! This post really seems to have helped a lot of folks get started with the guitar. It has been read by – I kid you not – millions of aspiring guitarists. Thank you! As many of you have noted in the comments below, no, I’m not selling anything here related to playing the guitar. My motivation to write this post was that musicians, and especially guitar teachers, can often make learning the guitar sound way too hard. It’s actually easy.
The simplest answer and the one that no student that ever wants to hear is practice. Changing chords is the process where many beginners fail, and quit. But after that, the rewards will be simply impressive. There are a few tricks to get a chord transition to happen faster. Use a metronome: Set it on four beats and set it as fast or as slow as you want. Then get a chord in your mind, say D. When the metronome reaches its last beat, press down the strings. When it happens again, strum it and let it free. Then again. Do this 10 to 20 minutes a day and in less than a week, the chord progression will begin to sound much better.
ANYBODY, OF EVERY ABILITY, CAN PLAY – Designed for every type of learner, ChordBuddy includes modifications that allow individuals of every ability to successfully learn a new instrument. Perfect for use in the music therapy, home, or school setting, ChordBuddy can help individuals learn to play the guitar flat or with two people at a time, making for what is an all-around therapeutic experience.