Guide and Pivot Fingers

Guide and Pivot Fingers is a free video lesson for beginning guitarists by Peter Vogl. The following two techniques are the two of the most important chord changing techniques you will ever learn. A guide finger refers to a finger in a chord shape that stays on the same string as the first chord but is played at a different fret in the second chord. A pivot finger remains in the same position for both chords. Below you wil find the video, chord charts, and more explanations for this lesson. To learn about a more advanced concept called moveable chords, check out our Lesson 12: Chord Planing premium download.

Start by learning the chords G, Em, Am, and D7. Use the fingerings as shown. Once you can make these chords easily, start working on changing the chords using these two techniques-pivots and guides.

guide finger chord chart

The pivot finger is a finger that can stay in the same place when changing chords. From Em to Am, the 2nd finger can remain where it is. This is a pivot finger. This technique cuts down on mistakes and allows notes to ring during the chord change. From Am to D7, the 1st finger may remain where it is, again a pivot finger.

The guide finger is a finger that slides along the string from one chord to another. In this case, when changing from D7 to G, the 3rd finger is a guide finger. Leave it on the 1st string and slide up to the 3rd fret, then make the rest of the G chord. From G back to Em there is another pivot finger. The 1st finger pivots form G to Em.

Pivot and Guide fingers will smooth out your playing and cut down on mistakes. Always look for and use both these techniques whenever possible. Not all chord changes will have a pivot or guide finger, but many do.

Featured Product

moveable chordsLesson 12: Chord Planing by Peter Vogl will teach you moveable chord shapes for the guitar. For example, you can take the standard open E chord shape and move it up the neck to different frets to create new chords with cool sounds. Peter will teach you three chord shapes that can be used for this "planing" concept. You will learn how to use these chords and also some new strum patterns. The download includes a Quicktime video and a .pdf of the tabs and chord charts. $4.99

Watch a Preview