Ukulele Chord Changes

How To Speed Up Chord Changes

Do you ever get to that point where you’ve been playing through the first part of a song and then suddenly you hit a sticking point? Your timing has been bang on but you just can’t make the next chord change in time. It happens to everyone. Here’s the quickest way to speed up your chord changes…

60 seconds is all it takes

All we need is a little focus. Whilst 60 seconds doesn’t sound realistic, it really is. It’s all about maximizing those 60 seconds so we’ve got total focus on the problem.

Let’s say that you’re struggling to get a quick switch from an F to an Em. No matter what you try, you’re always around half a second too slow and as a result, the whole rhythm of the song you’re playing has just fallen apart. You try again but the same thing happens. Here’s what you do…

  1. Set a timer to 60 seconds
  2. Fret the first chord with your fretting hand (left hand if you’re right-handed)
  3. Play a single down strum
  4. Switch to the chord that is causing you problems
  5. Play a single down strum
  6. Switch back to your initial chord and repeat this process
  7. Count how many changes you can make in 60 seconds

Concentrate on really good chord quality. If you’ve got dead notes in there, don’t count it. Be strict about this. It’s actually not a race, the more you push it the worse your chords will sound. Repeat this process every day, or even a few times every day until you can make 60 chord changes in 60 seconds. Aim to beat your previous score but let this happen naturally rather than forcing it.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly you get your chord changes up to speed. Just 60 seconds of pure focus on a tricky chord is so useful. I still use this method now, all that’s changed is I use it on more complex chord shapes these days. Try and drop this into your daily practice schedule. Ordinarily, I use 5 minutes a day on this alone.

I hope this helps you as much as it helps me!

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9 thoughts on “How To Speed Up Chord Changes

  1. I’ve just started on the ukelele, bought one last week! I love it!!!
    This is just what I need to do now to get going. It’s getting to G that I need to do. I’m just going to set my timer now !
    Many thanks

  2. This has helped me so much! Chord change from Am to the dreaded E has sped up from 28 changes in 60 seconds to 56 in three days! Thank you!

    1. Saundra, are you using a strap to hold your uke?
      That has made a huge difference for me.
      I’m not very coordinated (I had a stroke a few years back)
      and using my left hand (or elbow) while making chord changes
      seems to be beyond my ability.

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