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Bar Chord Problems

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Combs
(@combs)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 30
 

I have been trying to play for just over a year now. I know a couple of songs and have some fun. The first real song I learned had an Em form bar chord on F# root and I tried to avoid it. I was having enough issues trying to get the open chords and changes down. I didn't give up and try to simplify it, but perservered with the proper form of the bar. Even now I muck them up, but I stay in rythm and keep going. They are getting better though, which is the important thing.

Now that I look at it though, I find all the other songs I play have at least one bar chord. Some have two. They all seem to be in a part of the song requiring quick transitions.

A while ago I got pretty hung up about this, as I knew I was not changing quickly enough or playing them perfectly. So I went scouring through the internet and found lots of resources to help. After a couple of weeks of trying to get my bar chords better, I couldn't play any of my songs anymore.

So now I just play the things. The thing is, a year ago I had issues going from one open chord to another. Now I can slice and dice them pretty well. I expect the same will just happen in the future with bar chords.

One of my latest songs is Bridge Over Troubled Water. The whole thing is F to C and vice versa. I am lousy at it, but I keep working through it and eventually it will come. What is incredible is after playing for an hour, when I come back to this one, suddenly a lot more of the F's just seem to work.

As a lot of the others have said with a lot more experience than me, it has to be the technique and not the strength that gets them.

P.S. Everyone's hands are different. My thumb is probably nearer the low E than the centre, and is at around 45deg, but it moves around to suit the chord shape and fret position.


   
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corbind
(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1735
 

Yea, barre chords have been my burden. I have my guitar pretty high (based on my GN icon) compared to many people. Still, after 6 years of playing, they still hurt.

"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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spides
(@spides)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 157
 

eventually you will find you use less and less barre chords as your chord knowlege increases. i hate the things, i can play them, but think they sound to messy and chunky, too many voices, i like 3 or 4 voice chords, but you need to learn evrything in stages so they are important.

Just be careful, I get really bad carpal tunnel if i'm playing with lots of barre chords for any decent length of time. The body is not supposed to do the things us musicians make it do, and as such we tend to get things like RSI, CTS, rheumatism and arthritis much earlier than non-musicians. I have teachers who used to be celebrated concert pianists who can now only play for about 10-15 minutes without being forced to stop due to the agony.

i dont mean to scare you, keep practising your barre chords, you will be fine, your hands aren't gonna drop off, I'm just saying its normal to get a bit of wrist pain from playing as it is not a natural thing for our hands to be doing.

I dunno, ignore me im drunk.

Don't sweat it dude, just play!


   
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corbind
(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1735
 

I hear ya. Eventually I'll have to do modified barre chords to incorporate just the neculeus notes from the chord. God I wish I had a teacher to have impressed that upon me earlier. :evil: I believe our moderator Nick does that. We'll see as time goes on...

"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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Combs
(@combs)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 30
 

I had a bit of a Eureka moment last night. I normally have to take a peek at the fretboard when I play a bar to ensure all my pinkies are in the right place. Last night my fingers went to the right spot without me looking and suddenly the chord sounded sweet and I had hardly any pressure on the fingers.

I think it is probably something to do with angles, but it was repeatable. Someone said earlier in this thread that if you did it properly it did not require excessive pressure and I suggest they are right.

I will see if I can repeat it tonight, but if not, at least I know I can do it.

It was a F chord by the way.

Good luck


   
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