Guitar/Quick Chord Change

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Quick Chord Change


In some songs you have to change the chord within a bar. You can recognize this in songs with notes by the fact that there is more than one chord between two bar lines.


Even if you can't (yet) read notes, it is also advisable to buy songbooks with sheet music. You can always use the bar lines as a guide. You can see from the bar lines how long a chord has to be played and where the "1" for the next beat (or bar) begins. You can recognize rests that beginners like to skip, or you can see, as in the example above, that the G and C are changed within one bar in the first and third bar.

This lesson is about how to play two chords in one bar without losing the steady rhythm or having to switch to a different beat pattern (e.g. western beat).

Note: With the "campfire beat" you don't change exactly in the middle of the bar, i.e. not on the "three", as you would normally do with the "railroad beat", the "western beat" or the "4/4 beat"; instead you change an eighth note earlier, i.e. on the "and" at the upbeat.


  • Count " 1, 2 " ... - and change the chord before the next upbeat follows.
  • On the next "and" immediately after the "2", the new chord is already sounding.

Practice the "fast fingering change" very slowly at first. The "fast" only refers to the number of chord changes during a bar, not to the speed of the bar itself. Just because you change faster[1], you don't have to get faster in tempo.

Only increase the tempo gradually.

And don't forget to count!

Count loudly and clearly:

"One ___ two and ___ and four ___"!

Or count as follows:

1 _ 2 "change" and 4 _
1 _ 2 "change" and 4 _

Exercise 1




Exercise 2




Exercise 3




Exercise 4




Chord progression G-Em-C-D with quick chord change


Once you have mastered the preliminary exercises, play exercises 1 and 3 one after the other. You already know the chord progression from the last lesson.


Audio example with the 4 individual exercises and then in combination, including a few more or less familiar melody fragments...

Interesting side note


The Latin American rhythm "Quintillo" (5-beat) is derived from the "Tresillo" (3-beat).





This is also an important rhythm from Latin American music. The three beats of the tresillo can also be found at the top of the campfire beat (quintillo). These beats are actually emphasized more strongly, but it's not worth paying special attention to them at the moment. Chord changes usually take place on one of these 3 beats, which means that we don't change exactly on the 3 in this rhythm. The 8 beats of the eighth-note feeling (including the air beats) have a quasi 3-3-2 division, which you will encounter more often as you get deeper into the subject of "rhythm".

Tips for practicing


The brackets show you that the two chords are changed within a bar. Without brackets, the chords are played for one bar (or until the next chord change). Brackets are rather unusual and are only used here as a first learning aid. Feel free to draw such brackets in your own songbook if you have to change chords within a bar. If possible, start by practicing songs with the familiar, constant chord progression G Em C D. Only then should you move on to the other songs. Some examples only partly contain bars with a quick change of fingering and sections with chord progressions that are not so regular, which is a real challenge when practicing for the first time. Hold up such examples to later repetitions after you no longer have any fundamental problems with the "quick chord change".


Song Examples:

Two chords in one bar

Songs that have a chord progression other than G Em C D are only intended for repetition later. So don't practise them today in this lesson.

  1. I like the flowers (!!!)
  2. Guantanamera
  3. Kumbayah my Lord
  4. La Bamba
  5. YT   Breakfast at Tiffanys (deep blue something) Strophe //: D (G A) :// D Refrain //:D (A G):// und vielleicht noch ein D für die Pausen
  6. YT   (Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame (Elvis Presley) (G Em) 7x C D ...
  7. YT   Stay (just a little bit longer) // (G Em) (C D) // C D
  8. YT   Twist and Shout (Beatles) //: D (G A) ://
  9. YT   When you say nothing at all (Ronan Keating) (G D)(C D) 4x C D (G D)(C D) D
    Ref: (G D)(C D)2x (G D) C D - - (C D) C D (G D)(C D)
  10. YT   All Summer Long (Kid Rock) (D C) G
  11. YT   Sweet Home Alabama (D C) G
  12. YT   Hang on Sloopy (The McCoys) (G C) (D C)
  13. YT   Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival) //:G (D C) G G ://


Put together a small medley of songs in G major and always play "Stay (just a little bit longer)" in between. For each "one more song" in the medley, the first verse and the chorus are enough.

G Em C D
Campfire Diploma  
(5) Quick Chord Change

  1. Correctly, you don't change faster, but more often per bar. But you can't derive a useful name for the heading from this