Learning To Chord

When you’re at about 20 wpm, you might pick about 5 easy chords to learn from the starter words. These should be easy 2–4 key chords to familiarize yourself with the dance between chords and single character entry.

Here were @Lamb first chords.

that = th

who = wh

what = wha

these = thes

without = wt

4/5 of these chords either have TH or WH, two movements that are found in many important chords.

I hand-wrote these chords on a notepad on my desk as a reference.

You can practice them a few times in a text editor, but really, as you’re training on Lexical in LaunchPad (or wherever else), these common words will eventually show up. See if you can work them in. Don’t worry if at first it lowers your speed. You’re practicing.

Once you are comfortable, you can slowly add a few more chords to your list every few hours of practice.

⚙️ Tech: Two-Step Chords

Some chords are like rubbing your tummy in a circle while patting your head in a straight light simultaneously. The motions of some fingers seem to steer others the wrong direction.

With Spurring on (chord both pinkies down at the same time to toggle Spurring), I noticed I could much more easily do these chords in two swift motions than all at once. It provided stability to my hand and allowed me to group similar motions together.

An Alternative to Spurring

But, I found that if you max out your Press Tolerance you can simulate this while still in character entry mode.

Tolerances are set in the Generative Text Menu (GTM). Chord both pinkies up at the same time to access it anywhere that text can appear. Follow the instructions (Press S, P, then up 100+ times, etc). Just delete the text when you’re done.

Set the Press Tolerance to the max 150 allows for separating the chord into multiple motions as long as they are done quickly back-to-back and released together.

Upping the Release Tolerance to ~30 is also handy.

(Note: I believe tolerances currently are not saved if you unplug your device, and this may need to be checked and set again from time to time. Or maybe I need to update my firmware.)

With max tolerance, these tricky chords for beginners suddenly get super easy:

should = shou = sh + ou

between = btwe = bw + te

which = wh + i

around = ar + ou

I’m confident that over time I’ll bring my two step chords together.

As I continue to test this method, eventually I’ll make a video about two-step chording once I understand how it has impacted my learning.

Your first custom chords

As you embark, you should start to notice a few common words that could have easier chords. There are also similar words that should have similar chords.

should = shou

I suggest you add:

could = cou

would = wou

Another two that I found useful were:

with = w + dupe

have = hv

This also allows you to familiarize yourself with Chord Manager, and what it’s like to add a Chord and “commit” it to your device.

I also suggest you consider deleting these chords temporarily:

our = ou

that = th

I found that I frequently accidentally chorded ou and th while typing other words with the pressure sensitivity up high because I would type them so quickly.

I suggest you both DO make some custom chords even while you’re learning, but that you also DON’T go crazy and make chords for everything before you have the speed, coordination, and memory to need or use them.

For example, I thought anoh was impossible at ~Day 7. I could sit there pressing it all day and “another” never came out. By Day 14 of practice, it was as easy as any other basic chord. (Also, it turns out it is the same chord as “hand” but with an “o” added.)

So, maybe make a note of chords you think you’d like or want to change, but, assuming English is your language, stick to words in the starter pack first. They’re the most common, and creating custom variations of some of the trickier ones will serve you well.

⚙️ Tech: How to do a 3D Press (diagonal press) on the CharaChorder

The diagonal press is actually pushed into the base of the CharaChorder, like hitting L3 on a PlayStation controller, and slightly at a diagonal from the midpoint.

This crudely made video may help you:


Tip: Struggling with a Chord? Check your finger placement

I was having inexplicable problems with my ‘much’ chord (muh). I’d get something like umuh. Notice the extra u from a single press attempt on the chord. But if I did the chord slowly I’d get all the correct letters, which made this extra confusing.

With some experimentation, I found that my finger on U likes to go low on the key and press my U near the edge would sometimes trigger a double-tap when chording. If I position it more on the center… much much much much much much much much much much much much… no issue with the doubling Us.

So, if you’re pretty confident you’re chording correctly and it’s not working, try checking your fingertip placement.

Tip: Use Spurring Mode To Troubleshoot Chords

Spurring Mode

If you're struggling on a complex chord and you can't figure out what finger is missing the target, turn on Spurring Mode, then press each key one at a time and watch the result. In my case, on CHILDREN which has 5 letters, I was twisting the R too far into E territory.