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Barre chords

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Eminent Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 14
Topic starter  

So I finally started my journey in learning barre chords and was wondering if I'm learnin the best way. I've been practicing making the Emaj , Em, and Am shapes with my 234 fingers. Is it best to get those fingerlings down first then work in the barre? And also does it take forearm strength for them? Cause my forearm gets tired not long after tryin them

Honorable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 646

Yes, that's a good start. Practice moving those shapes here and there. You'll find they sound good at various places around the neck. Hint: what notes sound good with the open E, B, e (and perhaps G)?

Don't forget the A shape. Both with the 234 fingers, and more commonly, with only the 3 (ring) finger as a mini barre. Even if you accidentally finger the high e string with the BGD strings that just gives you a 6th chord which sounds fine under most circumstances.

Also practice making the barre without the 234 fingers. Keep the index finger fairly directly opposite the thumb and roll it slightly outwards (10-20°?) so the nail side is slightly more towards the nut. The side of the finger is straighter and less fleshy than the palm side.

Forearm strength and endurance will improve with practice. The trick is to use the minimum of force necessary to maintain the chord and relax between strokes if the song will let you. Relaxing fully between strokes will dampen the chord of course and is pretty much required in ska and reggae, often possible elsewhere.

Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com

Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1497

You will soon learn placement of fingers is more important than force - and your hand will thank you for it.

When I use the A shape, I just use my smallest finger as a mini bar, that way I can go from a root chord to a four chord by lifting two and bending one finger. But my finger is just the right size for that.


Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats >^. .^< >^. .^<

Eminent Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 34

Here's a great video on YouTube for Beginning Barre Chords.