I have been playing around (not playing) guitar for about 10 years off and on.

I can play A G C2 D E and Eminor pretty well, C a little, No way F works, a version of Bforget what it really is called.

Take too long to switch between chords.

I know the answer is practice more.

Here is the issue. Our smaller church suddenly is going to find itself without musicians. Have about 2 months.

We sing everything from hymns to some modern stuff (?) like Amazing grace my chains are gone.

I have been looking into open tuning where you can barre every major chord, and minor is only 2 fingers.

Which is really easy with 4 strings, sound ok too.

Maybe a little harder to play things like G/B but could just play the B.

Even looking at only using 43-5 strings, cigar box guitars use 3 or 4 and read about some using 5 as they find it easier to barre.

Any thoughts or help greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Get a teacher. Practice more. You'd be surprised at what you can get done in 2 months. The greatest motivator for increasing skill is to have a target such as being the leader in 2 months.

The open tuning thing you mention can be tricky and possibly harder than you think - it actually requires more knowledge to use correctly. You need more than just major chords and minor chords. And it's really a way to avoid the inevitable - you need to gain some skill and fast.

The good news is that "two months" is an awesome amount of time to have to prepare.  Yes practice practice, and always more practice is good, and inevitable to becoming more proficient. But as I see it you seem to have nearly enough knowledge to play in at least one key, so my suggestion would be for you to use a capo so that for now you can play the chords you are comfortable with, while at the same time having the flexibility to move the capo so that the song can be played in the key you want it in.  Use your two months at first by learning the simpler songs that you are more able to play well and as you learn to do those songs well you can begin to add in other songs that you would like to use for your service.  There's a difference between making a mistake on your instrument during a service and a situation where it is obvious you are struggling with the arrangement.  Better to do a simple heart felt song than to try to do one that is complex and beyond your immediate ability to do well.  And ask questions.  Ask for help. Large question or small there are more than enough skilled people on this site who would be willing to help.

Practice.  Ten - minutes - per - day.  Focus as much on what your right hand is doing (rhythm) as you left.

Other tips:

1) To get a clean sound, the finger holding the string down must be, as much as possible, at right angles to the neck at the point of contact (i.e. pressing straight down).

2) Barre chords do take a bit more practice.  In the short term, consider the following substitutions:

Bminor (this is really Bm11)

0
3
2
0
2
x

or (this is Bm7)

2
0
2
0
2
x

F#m (this is really F#m11)

0
0
2
2
0
2

3) Use a capo.  If you do this, you can probably avoid playing an F chord ever.

4) Chords you will need (to begin with) are: G, D, A, E, C, Am, Em, Bm, F#m.  Consider learning what Dsus4, Asus4 are as well.

Thanks for the replies. 

Simpler songs it is, my wife has a great ear and sings and can really help with putting easier chords on songs.

Capo till I learn F, I have also learnt an F version that goes

XX3213, not a true F and was told should not use it if the song is in the key of F

Could I play Cj2 or Cadd9 instead of C when it it the key of the saong, or do I really need to play C in that case?

x
3
2
0
3
0

How do you not play the bottom strings? The high one in the Bm7 above? I can mute it with my finger on the above string but it sounds weird.

They key of C has C F & G  where should I capo and play?

They Key of F has F Bflat & C where should I capo and play?

Really appreciate the help!

PLay C in open position and you can capo 1 for F.  Be careful about using a capo too high.  In addition its really helpful to learn how scales produce the chords you are playing.  It takes a couple of hours of study to figure it out and it unlocks alot of the mystery.  After that it's mostly just technique.

In key of C, if you want to avoid the F chord, there are two options:

Capo 3 (left hand side original chord, right hand side new chord that you play)

C -> A

F -> D

G -> E

or, Capo 5 (my preferred option)

C -> G

F -> C

G -> D

Am -> Em

Dm -> Am

Em -> Bm (use the alternatives above)

******

Key of F, use capo 3

F -> D

Bb -> G

C -> A

Dm -> Bm

Gm -> Em

Am -> F#m (alternatives above)

For the C chord, I really would recommend just practicing until you can play the standard one:

0
1
0
2
3
x

Practice chord changes until it feels natural, so play G - C - G - C -G - C repeatedly until you can change quickly.  Muscle memory is what is required here.

For C2, you can play:

3
3
0
2
3
x

But that works best for songs in key of G.

It is difficult to avoid playing the high strings - muting is probably the only option.  It's easier to avoid the lower strings, for some reason. 

Thanks for the help and replies really appreciate it.

Like you said, practise more.

You could also try a new set of strings (if your strings are ten years old they probably sound very dead and, even before this, they have probably lost the zing which makes things sound right when you get your fingers in the right place) and perhaps a slightly lighter gauge (for easier fretting - just remember not to hit them too hard!).

Oh, and practise more.... ;-)

I have always used the extra light, and did just put a new set on and they do sound better.

Been practicing and it is getting better.

The big question is - did you get started yet? Time's a waisting. Four days since this thread got started - and counting...

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