E Chord Anchors & Tricks

Difficulty: White

Now that you’ve got three solid chords under your belt, we’re going to focus on switching between them. To help with this, we'll use your 1st finger ‘anchor’ to help you move between your chords smoothly and easily, just as we did with the transition from A to D.

The Anchor To Guide Your Way

Keeping your 1st finger on the 3rd string (G) will help guide all of your other fingers into the next position when you change chords. You don’t necessarily need to keep the pressure down for now, but just be sure to leave it in contact with the string at all times.

E to A

Start with your fingers in place for an E chord.

  1. While leaving your 1st finger in place, lift your 2nd and 3rd fingers.
  2. Slide the 1st finger forward one fret, from the 1st fret to the 2nd.
  3. Place your 2nd and 3rd fingers down in the correct positions to form your A chord.

After a few times changing between the two chords, I’m sure you’ll find that using that 1st finger as an anchor really helps to make it easier.

E to D

Changing between the E and D chord the 1st finger will move between the 1st and 2nd frets again, just like it does when going from E to A - the process is more or less identical.

  1. While leaving your 1st finger in place, lift your 2nd and 3rd fingers.
  2. Slide the 1st finger forward one fret, from the 1st fret to the 2nd.
  3. Place your 2nd and 3rd fingers down in the correct positions to form your D chord.

Keep In Mind…

You should aim to make any changes between the A, D, and E chords while keeping that 1st finger in contact with the string. It should NOT be pressing hard, but don’t let it lift from the string. When going from D to A, you can keep your finger down if you want, since it’s basically staying in the same place but it will help avoid finger pain if you release the finger pressure but keep it in place.

At this point in your practice, I still recommend trying to get your fingers down one at time when forming your chords, usually in finger ordering, starting with your 1st finger, then 2nd, then 3rd. I would suggest doing it this way for consistency, but if you’re more comfortable laying them down 1st, 3rd, 2nd, that’s fine, too. It’s really just to help you get the fingers in the right positions and to develop a sequence that happens without thinking about it much, longer-term you'll want to be placing all you fingers down at once.

The concept of anchoring can be used any time a finger needs to stay on a string. Of course, it only works with certain chord changes, but it’s good to have in your back pocket to use where you can.

Try and maintain your accuracy as best you can while doing this stuff. The next thing we’re going to look at is developing your speed between these chord changes using our old friend One Minute Changes. While we’ll be less focused on accuracy for that, it’s good to start building up good habits as early as you can!

Remember, too, that at the start, you’re bound to make little mistakes. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey. Little mistakes will get corrected with time and practice, so don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t mastered your guitar in the first week. It will take some time! Allow for that.

Practice

As I always say, the key to getting good and comfortable with your playing is through repetition – there’s no way around that! Practice each chord change several times slowly to get used to the feeling of going from one to the other. Eventually, you’ll start working on getting them as fast as you can with my imfamous One Minute Changes exercise! :) There's a whole lesson on what to practice and for how long coming up!

Beginner Guitar Lesson 2

- LESSON STEPS -

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