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Barr chords

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deanobeano
(@deanobeano)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 127
Topic starter  

im gonna start to learn barr chords. But before i do my teacher told me to place first finger across all six stringsd at the 5th fret and do that everytime i play until i can get clear notes from all the strings. i am finding this quite difficult any tips ?


   
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mattguitar
(@mattguitar_1567859575)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Deano

How's it going? Hope you are making progress.

i have the same problem but a few pointers.

1. Examine your finger placement. Sometimes a string can get in the groove where your finger bends - this will make it VERY difficult to get it to ring properly.
2. You don't have to get all your index finger sticking out above the low E string - just get enough of it to fret it
3. Try putting a slight bend in your finger by rotating it slightly.
4. Give time for the skin on your finger to firm up - practice is the only way.
5. Get the action of your guitar checked - if its too high, you will always struggle.
6. Try putting a capo on fret 2 - this might just lower the strings a fraction and make your life a little easier. Once you're good at it, take the capo off.

Hope this helps

All the best
Matt


   
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chuckie
(@chuckie)
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Don't mean to steal your thunder Deano, but I have another question about barres as well and I don't want to start another topic. When I play barres for an extended period of time, let's say 2x24 bar pieces, the muscle between the base of my thumb and my index finger (see pic for reference) tenses up and feels really sore.


Is that normal and will it go away with practice, or is it probably that my technique is wrong? Any tips on that?


   
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
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Is that normal and will it go away with practice, or is it probably that my technique is wrong?
Yes, and yes.

Some discomfort happens when you use muscles that aren't used for anything else - these particular ones are pretty weak, especially in the non-dominant (fretting) hand, and it'll get easier with practice.

And yes, technique is a part of it - try raising the headstock a bit more. If I have to play nothing but barre chords for a long period of time, I've got the neck at something like a 50 degree angle to the floor.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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chuckie
(@chuckie)
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Thanks NoteBoat!
I'll try raising my headstock and let you know how that works out for me.


   
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Rum Runner
(@rum-runner)
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Also make sure your guitar is properly set up, with the action as low as it can be without causing fret buzz. With a high action it will frustrate you imeasurably

Regards,

Mike

"Growing Older But Not UP!"


   
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SlowFingers
(@slowfingers)
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Let me add something here (even though I am a newbie and barely know what I am talking about). I was having the hardest time with barre chords and really wearing my hands out trying them (I could only go 5 to minutes before they needed a break). Turns out, my guitar needed a good setup. The local luthier did a full setup for me, adjusting the neck and bridge, and put on some lighter strings. Boom! Instant barre chord success. They always ring true now. :D I am still not too slick at moving into and out of them, but I am working on it. If you are having a really difficult time with barre chords, get a setup. And if you are new, there is no shame in going to a lighter string to help you out a bit. Sure, you give up tone, but gain a lot in trade.

OK, now that I have said that, I will tell you what I have done to make my barre chord practice at least a little better. I hate practicing things just for the sake of practicing them, so any time I can, I try to put whatever I am working on into context. So, I need practice playing barre chords, and moving into and out of barre chords. I don't want to just randomly hit and change chords, so here is a progression that will sound familiar to you (I hope). I intentionally insert barres where they are not absolutely necessary just to get the practice done. By the way, I normally do not worry about strumming patterns while doing this. If you know the song, feel free (as a bird) to go ahead and add whatever pattern you feel is appropriate (and give me a little name that tune shout out).

G (alternate playing open the first time through, and by barring the 3rd with an E shape the second time just to make it interesting)
D (if you were open on the G, then barre the 2nd and use the C shape, otherwise play it open)
Em - open
F - (barre first, use E shape)
C - open
D - (the opposite of how you played it above)

I just sit there and play this progression over and over working on getting into and out of barre chords effectively. It is really simple to do, and not too impressive to folks who can play, but it is sure helping me build confidence on those barre chords (I am seeing much improvement just over the last two days since the setup). I have not yet found one I like to do the A barre yet, nor do I really care to even try. I do have a few songs where I use the A minor shape barring the second to get a B minor out, but that is the extent of my barre chord usage for now.

Oh yeah, for any of you experienced / teacher types, if you care to correct me on this plan, please do. Recommend any additions, subtractions, or whatever that I need to make to this method. Thanks.

Seagull M6 Gloss


   
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waynegalloway
(@waynegalloway)
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Don't mean to steal your thunder Deano, but I have another question about barres as well and I don't want to start another topic. When I play barres for an extended period of time, let's say 2x24 bar pieces, the muscle between the base of my thumb and my index finger (see pic for reference) tenses up and feels really sore.


Is that normal and will it go away with practice, or is it probably that my technique is wrong? Any tips on that?

I get exactly the same thing. I have been playing for three years and can play reasonably well in most aspects of guitar but still struggle to do a whole song playing barre chords on an acoustic. I have tried everything (including playing through it) Had my guitar professionaly set up. Check my technique with2 tutors. Really frustrating!! (and painful)

Waz


   
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Nick Torres
(@nicktorres)
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practice playing barre chords without your thumb on the back of the neck.

Any pressure you exert on the non-string side of the neck is wasted.


   
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GoodVicHunting
(@goodvichunting)
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I find it works well when middle, ring and pinky are exerting all the pressure while the thumb and the index just sort of lay there.

Latest addition: Cover of "Don't Panic" by Coldplay
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reasonableman
(@reasonableman)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 71
 

My guitar teacher gave me this excercise: It helps lots of things so it's quite useful.


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You should get the idea then. Once you can do those you move the index finger down one fret for more stretch.

Also you can just move lower up the fret board to the frets that are wider spaced.

Oh and you can either strum or arpeggiate the fingerings. But you need to have them at the same time.


   
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