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Oh them barre chords

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geoo
 geoo
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I havent been playing like I should.. but recently I have really gotten back into my guitar. Cleared out some space in the new house for a studio.. and I am enjoying it again.

I am learning a song that is pretty simple. The chord progression goes from C - C/B - Am7 - F pretty repeatedly. The C, C/B, and Am7 sound beautiful and ring out prettily. However that F sounds so different. It sounds dull compared to the other chords. I tried a half barre F and it didnt sound any better. I couldnt make it without muting some of the strings that shouldnt be.

I know, I know its practice.. and barres.. but I had to vent..

Back to practice. :(

PS.. Dont know the name of the song.. or who its by.. just happened across it and needed the practice on my barre chords.

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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Minotaur
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If you're not already doing it, push your wrist forward so you have a gap between the bottom of the neck and your palm; make sure your fingers touch the strings at a 90* angle; don't turn the neck towards you watching, the fretboard; pick each string separately and adjust your fingers to find the right positions to make the strings ring; try rolling your index finger towards the headstock. And just keep practicing them.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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geoo
 geoo
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Aye, thanks for the reminder on the palm. I have developed a REALLY bad habit of griping the guitar like a baseball bat.. I'll add that into my practice of this song.. bad habits are HARD to break, no?

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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Nuno
 Nuno
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I read the bad habits are the worst in guitar (instruments in general) because you must forget them and learn the correct way.


   
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rparker
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Some I can play and some I cannot. The chords that are "A" shapped gives me fits. They sound like heck and lower my abillity to play a fully barred song in it's entirety. I can play the Am and E shaped ones much better both in sound and duration. So, the F chord is OK for me as long as I don't have to play it and other barre chords contantly for a 4 minute song. Never could to begin with, but some sleep issues this Spring lead to a sleep pressurepoint issue in my left thumb of all places.

I can't do a mini-barred F worth a hoot. Sometimes I'll play that little cheating F (X-X-3-2-1-X), but most cases the barred version sounds way much gooderficated to me. (I invented the word myself just now)

edited to correct spelling errors

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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Minotaur
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Some I can play and some I cannot. The chords that are "A" shapped gives me fits. They sound like heck and lower my abikity to play a fukky barred song in it's entirety. I can play the Am and E shaped ones much better both in sound and duration.

My teacher said not to worry about sounding the high E string with your index finger, if you tend to sound it at your ring finger like I do. I just can't keep from sounding it.

He said just sound the 4 strings... the A, D, G, B at their respective frets for the particular chord and mute the high E. For example Bmaj... mute the high E and don't worry about the F# since there's an F# already.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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rparker
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That's pretty much how I do it now. Kind of bites when I'm moving right along in some song and then a B or Bb comes along. I can hit it in time, it just sounds wretched. It's OK If I'm doing Dire Straits' "Sultan Of Swing". all of those A-shaped barres are kind of power chord-like in sound anyhow. In that case, back to the case of being able to play about 1/2 the song before thumb issues force me to rest. Some other songs that have a lot of barres give me no problems. Songs like Melissa (B,Bm,C#,F#m,G#m) I can play all day long...with bad sounding B chords, of course.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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Minotaur
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I hear you. You Don't Mess Around With Jim has an A and B in the pre-chorus, but the verses are E and A shuffles. And then A, B, E, E shuffle, B7, then back to E and A shuffles for the next verse. Rinse and repeat.
A shuffle
Well he's big and dumb as a man can come
But he's stronger than a country hoss
B A
And when the bad folks all get together at night
B A E (shuffle)
You know they all call Big Jim "boss". Just because... They say...ooh don't know...

CHORUS:
A E A E
You don't tug on Superman's cape; you don't spit into the wind
A
You don't pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger
B E (shuffle) B7
And you don't mess around with Jim (Ba-doo-da-doo-doo doo-doo-doo-doo doot)

They can be played as "5" chords, but I like the sound of the major chords better.
A (shuffle)
Well he's big and dumb as a man can come
But he's stronger than a country hoss
B5 A5
And when the bad folks all get together at night
B5 A5 E (shuffle)
You know they all call Big Jim "boss". Just because... They say...ooh don't know...

CHORUS:
A5 E5 A5 E5
You don't tug on Superman's cape; you don't spit into the wind
A5
You don't pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger
B5 E (shuffle) B7
And you don't mess around with Jim (Ba-doo-da-doo-doo doo-doo-doo-doo doot)

Point being, they are fast changes between completely different formations. Kind of like changing between open and barre chords in Instant Karma. So I play it as barres as much as possible, even the G in the opening. It's almost impossible for me at this point to do an F#m and open A.
Intro: Emaj Gmaj 1 downstroke each, let ring

(Verse 1)
A F#m
Instant karma's gonna get you
A F#m
Gonna knock you right in the head
A F#m
You better get yourself together,
F G A
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead
D Bm
What in the world you thinking of?
D Bm
Laughing in the face of love
C Am
What on earth you tryin' to do?
D
It's up to you
E7
Yeah you

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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rparker
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The chord's voicing and where I am right before and after it are what does it for me. Some things you just have to do barred to sound right. The opposite holds true too. I bet it's all pretty personal. I have to play a barred F on a Keith Richards' solo song called "Hate It When You Leave" to have it sound right. The barred Am right afterwards doesn't do it for me. I have to do it and the rest of the song open. "Sultans Of Swing" doesn't do it for me with open chords. Especially the F.

I was having problems doing an obscure one from the 70's called Lido Shuffle by Boz Skaggs. I found a video on You Tube last night. He's doing exactly what you're talking about. Power chords. He did have a very full band behind him though, so he didn't have to do the whole chord probably. Still, I'm going to try that out. (He had 1 drummer, 1 bass, 1 more guitarist, two on keys, two man-horn section and two back up singers.)

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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Minotaur
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The chord's voicing and where I am right before and after it are what does it for me. Some things you just have to do barred to sound right. The opposite holds true too. I bet it's all pretty personal. ...

Sometimes I can't decide how I want to play something, and I get confused with what I like. :roll:
I was having problems doing an obscure one from the 70's called Lido Shuffle by Boz Skaggs. I found a video on You Tube last night. He's doing exactly what you're talking about. Power chords. He did have a very full band behind him though, so he didn't have to do the whole chord probably. Still, I'm going to try that out. (He had 1 drummer, 1 bass, 1 more guitarist, two on keys, two man-horn section and two back up singers.)

I remember the song well. Boz Scaggs and Steve Miller were school friends. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boz_Scaggs

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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notes_norton
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I learned the barre chords first, and the open chords (cowboy chords as a good friend of mind and an excellent guitarist calls them) frustrate me. The barre chords are so much easier. Learn 3-5 hand shapes for the same chord in all the keys. (The F chord is exactly like the F#, G, G#, A, etc.)

I find that pressing the strings too hard is also a problem. When I started I really gripped the neck. Later I found that accurate finger positions and a lighter touch is much better. They ring out clear and your thumb muscle doesn't get a major cramp.

I'll play open chords if the song requires that, but if not, I'd rather play barre chords. I think once you get over the learning curve, and you get them "under your fingers" you will find them easy.

Insights and incites by Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


   
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gnease
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the first fret F chord (barre E form) is one of the more difficult because it requires greater downward force due to proximity to the nut (it's geometry). moreover, this is even worse -- and sometimes nigh impossible -- if the nut is not properly slotted and the strings are too high. it may not be ALL your fault: maybe your guitar's nut needs some attention.

-=tension & release=-


   
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lue42
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The F chord has been a thorn in my side for the last week ... a song I am working on uses it extensively.

Last night I tried tuning my guitar down a step and then capo'ing the first fret. It made a world of difference.

I don't think my guitar is set up bad at all... but the extra fraction of a millimeter his made forming the chord so much easier.

Is this an okay way to do it for now? Does it mean I need some setup on my guitar, or just more strength/practice forming the barre chord?

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


   
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notes_norton
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<...>Is this an okay way to do it for now? Does it mean I need some setup on my guitar, or just more strength/practice forming the barre chord?

There isn't a wrong way to play the guitar, and if you don't plan on playing with other musicians, this would be fine.

However, I don't advise it.

When I was very young and in my very first band, we covered a song that was done in F. The guitar and bass player had difficulty with the song so they tuned their guitars up a half step and played it in E. Later on that caused big problems with songs we covered in the key of E as they had to play them in Eb.

And it is true, the F barre chord is the trickiest. But with practice, patience and perseverance you will eventually get it. In the meantime if you get a "thuddy" instead of a clear note, don't worry about it, jut work on making it better next time.

At least that is my personal opinion - YMMV

Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


   
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lue42
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Thanks for the recommendations!

Since I am capo'ing it on the first fret, I am still playing in E.

Most of the songs I am working on right now are in the first 5 frets, so I am not relying on the dot markers on the fretboard, so having it capoed shouldn't cause problems later in that way.

I can do a full F barre on my classical fairly easily... so I think I will try leaving the capo on the acoustic for a couple of weeks and once I get the position and quick changes down (and strength, etc) I will try pulling it off again.

Thanks

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


   
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