A common thing for new guitar players when learning chords is muting strings that should not be muted.
This happens when the fingers are not on their tips enough. This causes the fingers touch adjacent strings.
When the adjacent string is lightly being touched, that note will not ring out properly. This results in a bad sounding chord.
In order to fix this, you need to learn how to keep your fingers up on their tips. This guitar lesson will show you 3 exercises to help you get your fingers to do what you want them to do.
The first exercise will use two finger chords. All of the Major chords will use your middle finger on the A string, and your index finger on the D string. All of the minor chords will use your ring finger on the A string, and your index on the D string.
When you play this, keep both notes down that make the chord. The tab shows the notes being played one after the next. You want the notes to ring out together.
Playing the chords this way will allow you to hear if anything is being muted. If something is being muted, you can adjust your fingers until the notes are ringing clearly again.
Once you can comfortably play the above chord progression, it's time to add a third finger.
This next exercise will still be using Major and minor chords. Now, the Major chord will have your middle finger on the low E string, ring finger on the A string, and index finger on the D string.
For the minor chords, place your ring finger on the low E string, your pinky on the A string, and your index finger on the D string.
The last progression/exercise will have you stretching your hand a bit more.
You will start with a minor chord this time. Your pinky will be on the A string, your middle finger on the D string, and your index finger on the G string.
The Major chords will have your pinky on the A string, your ring finger on the D string, and your index finger on the G string. The only exception to this is the C chord played in the last bar/measure. You will go back to using your middle finger on the A string and index finger on the D string.
After you can play all three of these exercises/progressions your fingers should be primed and ready to play a lot more chords.
Please share in the comments if this worked for you, or anything else you've tried that's helped.
Check out this video for a demonstration of how to play this lesson:
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John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.