Chord Building Exercise
This used to be called the “Lift-Off Exercise” but I think “Chord Building” sounds much more classy, don’t you?
The way your fingers remember chord shapes is called muscle memory. A great way to improve this memory is to do what I call a lift-off exercise. Once you have fretted your chord shape strum down and make sure all of the notes are ringing clearly–if everything is perfect than you are ready for this exercise.
Start by lifting your fingers off the strings (a millimeter or more) and see if you can keep them in the chord shape as they hover over the fretboard. If any fingers stray from the shape or if the chord collapses completely then you know what you have to work on. The goal is to hold your chord shape midair. If things look mostly good then go to step #2.
If everything looks good midair then see if you can get every finger to come back down quickly and evenly as you refret the chord. Strum your chord to check if every string is ringing clearly or if something doesn’t line up. Take note of what needs adjusting and keep practicing. The goal is to have your fingers remember these chord shapes perfectly, but this will take time. Do this exercise on one chord at a time, isolating it and repeating this exercise until things feel good and every string rings clearly. Once you are comfortable with this then you are ready to start changing between chords.
Do this at least ten times per chord, per practice session and you will see your dexterity increase. A lot.
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