One Simple Tip to Master Chord Changes on Guitar

Nearly every guitar beginner struggles with chord transitions, but mastering your changes might be easier than you think.

Here's the tip every guitar player you know forgot to tell you.

A decent rhythm guitarist can play clean notes, hold a solid rhythm and transition chords smoothly.  Many beginners get comfortable with the first two skills, but crash and burn on the third.  The issue is usually that they are trying to change between strums.  This is virtually impossible and forces the player to step out of the rhythm to make the change.

Changing chords smoothly isn't about speed. It's about rhythm.

In the video below, I'll show you when to start your transition so you naturally arrive with the next chord at the right time.  Follow this tip and there is no need to rush.  Once you've got the idea, I've suggested some simple acoustic song lessons that will help you master the technique.

Get Practicing

Whenever you learn a new technique you should attempt it in its easiet form first.  I've selected these song lessons from our "Four Chords And The Truth" collection for you to practice with.  Choose one section from the song and take it nice and slow.  Don't even worry about landing properly yet.  Play to a metronome and practice lifting your left hand on the correct beat.  Once this feels natural, take it up a notch and try landing the following chord.  If you aren't an esteemed Worship Artistry member yet, you can sign up for a free account here to learn more songs with us.


Tempo: Up

Song Key: B

You Never Let Go

Artist: Matt Redman

A simple strummer with some essential lead

Simple pocket grooves.

An easy groover.

Love this anthem!


Tempo: Medium

Song Key: C

The Lord Our God

Artist: Kristian Stanfill


Tempo: Medium

Song Key: B

The Same Love

Artist: Paul Baloche

Would Paul Baloche steer you wrong? No. No he wouldn't.


Tempo: Medium

Song Key: D♭

How Great Is Our God

Artist: Chris Tomlin

Easy strummer with some cool chord variation.

Simple tune to learn!!

Great bass line that is reminiscent of Delirious.

Four chords and a B3

If you've got any tips that have helped you make your transitions, please share them in the comments section below.  We're all here helping each other become better musicians so join the conversation.

Jason Houtsma is the co-founder and guitar teacher at Worship Artistry, where he is helping musicians of every level answer the call to worship with passion and confidence. Jason has been leading worship and writing music since he was 15 years old and currently serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA. He is husband to Alli and father to Bjorn and Asher.

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Is there any way you can explain the 'key' thing again. I have some worship music that is written in different keys.....G,A,B,D, etc and the notes are different when looking from one chart to the other...I don't get it.

Could you explain?


Hi Brad

I could write a really long explanation but your best bet would be checking out our "Transpose Like A Pro" 101 Video Lesson collection. They are all 101's so are available with a Free Account. After watching those I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have. Once you understand the concept be sure to check out the "Transpose This" posts in The Greenroom to get practice doing it yourself.

Chord Changes

Great tip! I am getting back into guitar after many years off so I am SLOW and have been struggling with chord changes. What a great tip! I'll be incorporating this lesson into my practice time. Thank you and God Bless You for the work you do! I hope to play in public on street corners bringing some light into the dark world we live in and hopefully gaining some converts.

That's awesome.

Be patient. Smooth changes will come.