Bar Chord Problems

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Blueline
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by Blueline » May 27th, 2008, 1:18 pm

Wattsiepoops wrote:So thumb position is important.

At the moment for open chords my thum is nearly always hanging somewhere near to overhanging the fretboard or just underneath the top of the neck. Is this bad and should i practice to keep my thumb at the 'hitchiking position' behind the neck for all chords?

Will that make it any easier for me.
Yes. It will make it easier. But that is something that requires alot of discipline. And even after practicing this technique, you may find that you tend to hang your thumb over a bit. That's OK too. I do it. Many, many other guitarists do it. You have to be comfortable in the way you a playing. If you can manage to play the open chords in this way, great. Sometimes I have to switch and play with my thumb in the 'hitchiking position' based on the next chord. So, the answer is, yes, this is the correct way but you may not HAVE to do it that way as you progress. I would highly suggest learning to do it this way though.
Wattsiepoops wrote: And no one seems to have adressed the problem i having from changing from open to barre chords? Will accuracy just improve as my barre technique improves and speed will improve from introducing songs with barre chords in them?...
Yep. You bet. However, don't try to put a time limit on it. For me, it took a long time to get the hang of switching from barre chords to open chords. Even longer to go from barre chords to plaing single notes as fills and then back to barre chords. This is something I'm still working on. Like anything, it just takes time and practice.
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TwistedLefty
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by TwistedLefty » May 27th, 2008, 3:08 pm

i found early on that avoiding bars altogether improved my playing. :lol:
#4491....

Chris C
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by Chris C » May 27th, 2008, 3:30 pm

Hi,

As the others said above, it just takes time - and plenty of it.

One thing that the books also usually forget to mention is that you usually don't need to play all the strings. The classic newbie approach is to grab the neck in a stranglehold and try and push your thumb clean through the wood, in a vain attempt to get the index finger pressing evenly across the entire fret. But it's more about touch and placement than about sheer pressure, and it comes with practice.

You can also play a full triad with only 3 strings so a bit of basic theory is handy when learning bars. In most situations a partial bar (as in Wes' photo) is quite enough for the job and you can just strum the minimum number of strings that you need, and avoid the ones you're having difficulty getting clean. It also helps to check out how far across the neck your index finger is because, depending on the chord, you can usually 'hide' the problem knuckle (the one that causes all the nasty buzzes) 'behind' a finger that's pressing a string further along the neck. So the bar usually only needs to be effectively pressing one or two strings down.

Don't sweat too much on it, just add a bit of practice on it each day without fussing too much about how slowly it's going, and one day you'll realise that it's working well at last.

Chris

markthechuck
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by markthechuck » May 29th, 2008, 2:15 am

As hard and fustrating as it is, practise, not everyone plays the same so you'll get your own method, what works for one may not work for another, Sam as anything i suppose..rock on! 8)
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Wes Inman
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by Wes Inman » May 29th, 2008, 6:04 pm

To try to answer your question about switching chords, a technique I have always used is simply work on the fretting hand. So what I will do is finger the chord. I do not even worry about my strumming hand, although once I grab the chord I will pick the individual strings just to make sure I am playing the chord cleanly. Then I will pick all my fretting fingers up and then place them back down on the chord again, paying attention to how my hand feels (form). I will do this over and over again, just fretting the new chord, picking my fingers up, fretting the chord again....

And I do the same with chord changes whether they be open chords, barre chords, whatever... If I want to switch from a full barred F Major chord at the first fret changing to a D Major open chord, I will fret the F and check to make sure I am playing it cleanly. Then I will slowly switch to the D chord. Speed is not the issue whatsoever, correct form is the issue. I will check to make sure I am playing the D chord correctly. Then I will switch back and forth between the two chords over and over again. Once I get used to switching slowly between these two chords I will speed it up.

For me, that is how I have always done it, and it works for me. :D
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spides
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by spides » May 29th, 2008, 6:21 pm

on the thumb thing, i mostly agree with all of those suggestions. At the end of the day everybody is different but there is a lot to be gained from milking the experiences of others. When i do barres i do have the hitch hiking thumb so i can well and truly endorse that idea.

In so far as changing from open to barre(and vv) i found when i was learning it all came down to how i was fingering the open chords with my left. A lot of people learn to play A and E chords with their first fingers a part of the fingering. I tried to limit using my first finger where possible on these two chords as when you move to an A or E shaped Barre, all you have to do is move the fingers up and chuck the index in a barre behind them. as for other chords like C and D. D is always going to be a little bit of a bitch to move into a barre from, you just kinda gotta practice, and eventually you'll be able to do it without thinking about it. C is easier, the index finger is already in the position behind the other fingers needed for a barre, so again you only really need to mess about with the other fingers.

Hope that helps.
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The Dali
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by The Dali » June 4th, 2008, 9:11 am

Practice, practice, practice. I don't practice enough and it is evident. Getting good at changing between chords just takes practice. I agree with everyone's comments on chord form and technique. If you practice the proposer technique enough you will get proficient, it is as simple as that.
-=- Steve

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Ande
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by Ande » June 5th, 2008, 8:52 am

thumb question- and as others here have talked alot about thumb position, this seems to be the place.

I have what I'm told is a bad habit, that on some chords my thumb is basically wrapped over the top of the neck- For certain chords (open G, E, and A) it always seems to be there. When I play barres or run scales, though, it seems to sort of magically move down behind the neck, angled towards the headstock as described here. This is also true when I run leads higher up the neck, except on my heavier stuff which has some brutal bends in it- when bending far, the thumb comes up and grabs the neck, sort of for support. Strumming chords close to the body I actually sometimes reach around and fret or sometimes mute the E string with my thumb- this looks really awkward if I stop and look at it, but feels fine if I don't look at it, which is usually.

Is this normal? I'm really not conscious of thumb position 90% of the time, but when I look at it, it really moves all over the place. Any problems in this that I'm not seeing?


Best,
Ande

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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by jackss565 » June 5th, 2008, 8:59 am

I also have simillar situation to ande, my thumb moves alot when playing. If it isn't uncomfortable and, so far, hasn't effected my playing is this a problem?

Jack

spides
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by spides » June 6th, 2008, 12:23 am

Nah man. It's all good as long as you can play. Everybody is different and whatever works best for you probably is best for you. I have a really wierd strumming action with my right hand that lots of people tend to notice, but it still sounds good, and I stand out. As long as youre not killing notes (or humans for that matter, don't do that) you should be fine.
Don't sweat it dude, just play!

jackss565
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by jackss565 » June 6th, 2008, 1:43 am

Thanks Spides, i won't waste time trying to make it stay still then.

Jack

corbind
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by corbind » June 7th, 2008, 11:43 pm

I may have faulty memory, but I belive Nick said long ago that he doesn't hit all 5 or 6 strings to play a chord. I was struck by that in that it messed up my mind in, well, that it seemed weird.

Nevertheless, I think his approach is solid. As others have said in this post, you need only to hit 3 strings to play a chord/triad. Heck, I even believe our beloved David Hodge does the same at times.

Barre chords are HARD! They need quite a bit of pressure, but you need to focus on what notes you want to hear. As an aside, barre chords are what got my fretting hand tendonitis in just 6 years. Your mileage will vary.
"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

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GM
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by GM » June 10th, 2008, 7:02 am

David Hodge just posted "Help!" which gives practice of switching back and forth from barre chords. I improved my barre chords with an earlier lesson of his. I would play "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" and switch to barre chords for the chorus. I did a bass then strum which gave me a little bit of time to get the rest of my hand where I needed it. The other nice part about it was that I sounded so awful when I began that it would drive me crazy but when half the song sounded nice, I practiced more....

Just my two cents about what worked for me.

Wes Inman
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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by Wes Inman » June 11th, 2008, 7:45 am

Barre chords are HARD! They need quite a bit of pressure, but you need to focus on what notes you want to hear. As an aside, barre chords are what got my fretting hand tendonitis in just 6 years. Your mileage will vary.
Hey Dennis, good to hear from you, it's been awhile! :D

If barre chords are giving you so much trouble, something is wrong. It really does not take that much pressure at all, it is more technique than pressure. The "hitchhiking thumb" position is very important. For me, I actually have the spot of the first joint of your thumb pressing against the center of the neck. And as was mentioned earlier, the thumb points up the neck toward the headstock, not up toward the ceiling. Wearing the guitar too low can make this difficult, so one thing you might do is experiment with wearing your guitar a little higher.

And one thing that hasn't been mentioned is setting up your guitar properly. I always take great care to set up all my guitars to my liking. Some folks are afraid of this, but it is not difficult, and the only way you learn is by trying it for yourself. For me, I love super-low action. I will make the action as low as possible without string buzz. First, I usually tighten the truss rod. I try to straighten out the neck as much as possible. This will bring the strings down very low. This will throw off your intonation, so then I carefully adjust the saddles so that a fretted note at the 12th fret perfectly matches the open string. Another nice thing about low action is that the notes are not caused to go sharp as they will do with high action. Then I will slowly lower the saddles and play up and down the neck on a string with normal picking force and listen for string buzz. When I finally hear a trace of buzz I will raise the string just enough to eliminate the buzz. I go through each string like this.

When I am finished I have super-low action without fret buzz whatsoever. I can easily play barres up high above the 12th fret without hardly any force whatsoever. It is so easy I almost just place my fingers on the strings.

Now this is me, some folks do not like super low action like this. But I love it and it absolutely makes playing barre chords much simpler and easier.

I would encourage anyone to learn how to set up their own guitar like this, but if not, take it to your local shop for a good setup. Makes a world of difference.
If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis

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Re: Bar Chord Problems

Post by Ghost Rider » June 11th, 2008, 9:50 pm

DylanBarrett wrote:Ditto, but practice, practice, practice and I'm told it does get better... :roll:

It's very satisfying when you eventually get a clean sounding barre. What I have noticed though, is that quite a few people use their thumb on the E (and probably A as well) and barre the lower B and E then use the rest of the fingers to form the chord - pretty complicated although it's like most things - don't knock it 'till you've tried it.
D 8)
Using your thumb on the low E string sometimes also makes it easier to do double pull offs, and other things.etc as your index finger is available for immediate use.

Just a thought.

GR
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