By entering the trade with price at the bottom of the Bollinger Bands on the faster chart, I have the best chance of getting my 80% (possibly more) of the coming oscillation. In this case there is also a narrowing of the Bollinger Bands, which often occurs just before a change in price direction.

I typically use three intra-day charts for most of the markets I trade. More often than not they will be as described: A primary intraday chart, a trade construction chart usually about ten times faster than the primary chart, and a very fast intraday chart about ten times faster than the trading chart.

Trading is a complex and challenging way to make money. All traders should build their trading method around their own special needs, particularly the time frame they use for their charts.

My personal experience is that trades that are viewed as favorable in all three of my intraday charts are generally better trades than those that are not favorable in one of the other time frames.

Our actual trading charts contain several technical indicators and support/resistance values (SRVs) that are a critical part in determining when to trade. These technical indicators and SRVs are not shown on the charts in this article.

One last note on time frames: They have to be changed from time to time. Just a few weeks ago I was using a 3000 ticks per bar for the primary intraday chart for the EURUSD pair. Remember to look at the chart and if you can’t see the music of the market, adjust the time frame of the chart until you can see tradable oscillations.

So what if you cannot see tradable oscillations? It is probably a good idea to stay out of that market at the time. A good trading method tells the trader when to trade – and just as importantly - when not to trade. When adjusting your charts time frame keep in mind that some of the very liquid markets, such as the E-Min S&P, may require a primary intraday chart with as many as 30,000 to 50,000 ticks per bar at times in my method of short term trading.

I find that my trading performance is enhanced by carefully selecting my trades using multiple time frames. Eliminating marginal trades most often increases bottom line profits.

I also use a proprietary method of adding support and resistance lines to my charts which are extremely helpful in seeing the music of the market - and in predicting the range of future price oscillations. A few selected technical indicators also help select the proper oscillation to trade and indicate the most likely entry and exit prices. My TBL trading chart for the EURUSD is shown in Figure 7.

forex strategy which time frames for trading TBL trading chart for the EURUSD

Phil Elrod
Author and Trader
Trading Between The Lines