Quick Transitions Help

LittleGem

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I'm working on some holiday tunes for my own amusement and to play with my guitar-master dad. I've progressed from strumming rhythms to arpeggiated chords at least, which ends up being a nice balance to either noodle along with him or back up my solo vocals. On to the challenge...

In a version of "New Star Shining," there's a rapid transition near the end of the song that goes Am-Em-D7. Two beats apiece, so with perfect execution (strum chord downbeat, arpeggiate the chord eighth notes) arpeggios it sounds lovely -- but with my new tenor, I'm having a hell of a time hitting those three chords cleanly back to back.

I've already switched to the Hawaiian D7 which helps, and sounds just fine. Any thoughts on how to nail this? Or am I just hitting the proverbial plateau and need to rely purely on repetition/muscle memory?
 

necessaryrooster

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Make sure your posture and hand position is correct. I recently learned a tip about keeping your thumb behind your second finger on your fretting hand and it's really helped me with making sure I'm holding the neck correctly to help change chords faster.

I don't know of anything that will spark an immediate improvement but there are some exercises you can do that will help with chord changes in general.

Fly-aways:
.

Spider exercise - just an example. If you search for "spider exercise" you'll find tons of variations:

Finger independence exercises to do without an instrument:
 

Ms Bean

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I'm working on some holiday tunes for my own amusement and to play with my guitar-master dad. I've progressed from strumming rhythms to arpeggiated chords at least, which ends up being a nice balance to either noodle along with him or back up my solo vocals. On to the challenge...

In a version of "New Star Shining," there's a rapid transition near the end of the song that goes Am-Em-D7. Two beats apiece, so with perfect execution (strum chord downbeat, arpeggiate the chord eighth notes) arpeggios it sounds lovely -- but with my new tenor, I'm having a hell of a time hitting those three chords cleanly back to back.

I've already switched to the Hawaiian D7 which helps, and sounds just fine. Any thoughts on how to nail this? Or am I just hitting the proverbial plateau and need to rely purely on repetition/muscle memory?
I don't know the song, and you may not like the sound, but you could try Am (2000) -Em7 (0202) -D7 (2020 or 2223) instead. Repetition, repetition, repetition... and soon it will be an easy change :). Good luck!
 

LittleGem

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Make sure your posture and hand position is correct. I recently learned a tip about keeping your thumb behind your second finger on your fretting hand and it's really helped me with making sure I'm holding the neck correctly to help change chords faster.

I don't know of anything that will spark an immediate improvement but there are some exercises you can do that will help with chord changes in general.

Fly-aways:
.

Spider exercise - just an example. If you search for "spider exercise" you'll find tons of variations:

Finger independence exercises to do without an instrument:
These chording and nimble-finger exercises will be very helpful, thank you! Brings me back to my old piano days -- much as I dislike them, repetition practices do assist with foundational strength.

My current hand positioning keeps the thumb at the back of the neck, but relaxing/dropping my wrist is something I need to work on a bit more to feel like second nature.

Thanks for the tips!
 

LittleGem

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I don't know the song, and you may not like the sound, but you could try Am (2000) -Em7 (0202) -D7 (2020 or 2223) instead. Repetition, repetition, repetition... and soon it will be an easy change :). Good luck!
I might not like it, but you're right -- repetition is usually the answer. I'll test out the Em7 to see if it might work. It's used elsewhere in the song for a particular effect, so worth the test here as well. Thank you!
 

Bill1

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A suggestion for Am Em D7

Barre 2 - no need to move your fretting hand, just hold the barre. Can be fast changes.

Am 2453
Em 4432
D7 2223
 

LorenFL

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I'm a fan of exploring alternate fingerings and slightly altered chords to be able to play things easier, and as long as I like how it sounds, I'm happy.

So... what about:
Am 0000
Em7 7777
Dm7 5555 (or D6/9 4455, not quite as easy, but easy enough)

Idunno if it will fit your song or not, but it's a very easy transition and can sound very good.
 

ripock

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The key to moving quickly is trying to not move at all...or as little as possible.
Am 9987
Em7 7777
Abm7 8889 (tritone substitiution for Dm7)

The key to what I'm doing is never leaving the space between the 7th and 9th frets. You don't have to be lightning fast when all the notes are literally right beneath your fingertips.

By the way, there is a Dm7 in this area, 7979, but it is difficult.