24 February, 2010

How to switch between chords smoothly

A question was recently asked by someone on how to switch between chords smoothly. At first, I thought I had already answered the question on one of my older posts called "HOW TO change chords first" Part 1 and Part 2. In those posts, I talked about looking out for ways to change faster between each chord like looking for shortcuts and of course, practicing.

However, I realised I misread what this person was asking. In essence, he was asking about how to connect the strumming pattern between chords so that it sounds smooth when changing from one chord to another.

To answer this, we will have to take a look at the strumming patterns that I have previously posted in my post regarding strumming patterns. They are:

4/4 Songs
            1 2 3 4
Pattern 1 : D,D,D,D,DU

          1 2     3 4
Pattern 2 : D,D,DU  D,D,DU

          1 2  3   4
Pattern 3 : D,D,UDU,DD,DU

          1 2   3     4
Pattern 4 : D,UDUD,UDUD,DU

          1 2 3 4
Pattern 5 : D,DU,UDU
3/4 Songs
           1 2 3
Pattern 1: D,D,D,DU
6 /8 Songs
           12 3 45 6
Pattern 1: D,UDUD,UDU

What I failed to explain is that you should take note of how each strumming pattern ends with a "DU". This is in fact the connecting strum to the next chord. So, what I usually tell people is that at the last "DU" that you see, you can start changing to the next chord. Your right hand will just be strumming the DU while your left hand is changing to the next chord. So, you would have changed to the next chord by the time you start your strumming pattern again. This is how you achieve the smooth and connected sound when changing between chords.

So, don't wait till you finish the whole strumming pattern, then change to the next chord. Instead, begin to change at the DU. Also, you do not have to upstroke all 6 strings. In general, all the upstrokes should only hit the first few strings eg. 1st and 2nd string.

Hope this has answered your question.


Something Clever said...

hello Daniel, I just wanted to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to teach us fellow beginners. I really appreciate it. My question though is, on the last DU, while switching chords, do you play open strings?


daniel said...

hi Philip, i would say it's really up to you whether you want to play open strings while changing to the next chord. For myself, it depends on the feel of the song. If i am playing the strumming pattern while palm muting, i would mute the strings while doing the last DU. If i am strumming the song freely, i would just play open strings. Don't be afraid to mix and match

Vanessa said...

are there times where you have to switch chords in the middle of your strum? some songs seem to be written that way? it feels kind of tricky!

daniel said...

Hi Vanessa, yes, there are times when you have to switch to the next chord in the middle of the strumming pattern. It can be a little tricky at first, but with enough practice, you'll get the hang of it.

One example I can think of is the song "Here I Am To Worship". You can watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5asy72V7uAU

Also, remember to watch the instructional video attached to it too. The instructional video will explain when to change to the next chord within the strumming pattern.

Hope it helps!

Vanessa said...

thanks, I'll give it a try. Your help is a HUGE blessing!

Greg said...

Hey Daniel (and everyone else),

For those fellow beginner guitarists who like to break things down mathematically, I offer the following advice. For songs in 4/4 time (four beats per bar), songs can be broken down into quarter notes (one strum per beat), eighth notes (two strums per beat), and sixteenth notes (4 strums per beat). Very rarely would Christian songs require anything faster than sixteenth notes.

In essence then, songs will not be strummed faster than DUDU DUDU DUDU DUDU (Each bolded D represents the first beat of the bar).

Once you get the hang of that, then all the differnt strumming patterns are variations of the above where you just select different D's and U's to play.


$@nT@N|_| said...

Thanks. It helped me a lot...

Anonymous said...

A word of advice that will work. On the last up strum play it open and only hit the two top high strings while you are switching to the next chord. This works very well and avoids unwanted sounds from open strings that may not fit with the song.
Hope this helps.