Visualization is all too often underused as a way to learn your instrument. If you are learning a new chord, scale, or musical passage, you don’t always have to have the guitar on your lap to make that happen. All you need is a clear picture in your mind and a halfway decent imagination.
Here’s one example of how you can exploit this technique: let’s say you’re a beginner and want to master a chord you’ve never played before; let’s say a B7 open position chord shape, for example. Your first step is to study the chord diagram and place your fingers on the right notes, then strum to make sure your technique is solid.
The next step is to stare at your fingers, and as you do, you’ll want to make a mental note of where each finger is located: first finger is on the fourth string, first fret; second finger is on the fifth string, second fret, etc. Once you’ve taken the time needed to memorize your finger placement, remove your hand from the fretboard. Then visualize where your fingers will be placed for that chord while looking at your fretboard. Do not place them down yet. Only imagine what the chord should look like and where each finger should go. Then once it’s clear in your mind, quickly place all your fingers down on the fretboard, making a B7 chord in the process.
Your next step is to repeat this same process several more times.
Then later, while at work, in class, or during commercial breaks on TV, take a few moments to visualize the B7 chord. First, see the guitar neck in your mind. Second, place your fingers on the imaginary fretboard. And the more often you do this, the better you’ll get at it.
Then the next time you go to practice, you will know the chord much better than if you just tried it a few times during practice. Now your fingers will still need to build strength in order to execute the chord, but you’ll know it, and you’ll find learning new chords and changing between chords much easier to do.