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Power cord trouble

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New Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Hey everyone. I just started playing and i have been having trouble with my power cords. I am trying to play a song but i am having a bit of trouble. I am able to hold down all 6 strings with my index finger, but when i try to stretch my other finger to the fret 2 places down i feel like i am doing the finger splits, and i am having trouble holding the strings down. Is this normal for a begginer guitar or are my fingers just challenged? I actually have pretty big hands so i dunno what my issue is lol. Maybe bad form? Any pointers would be appreciated

Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 827

Ok, from the title I thought you might be having a problem with your amp. :P

From your description it sounds like your are attempting barre chords (or sometimes bar chords). It also sounds like you are trying the A-shaped barre chord (barre across a fret and then barre two frets higher on strings 2 to 4), right? Which fingers are you using? Normally people use the first (index) finger for the main barre and the third (ring) finger for the barre two frets higher. Is that what you are doing? If so, then give it time - barre chords are hard and your finger reach will stretch over time.

Maybe spend 5 to 10 minutes every day working on them. They can be tiring for a beginner so maybe do it at the end of your practice session. For a while it may not seem like you are making progress but you will very gradually get better at it.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348

yeah. as a new player you are going to have all kinds of pain in your fingers.
your finger tips will hate you for a month or so.
hang in there. everything is difficult and doesn't
don't try to strangle the guitar neck. yo8u don't have to push down very hard on the string to get them to work.
remember, fret behind the fret wire. you can get pretty far behind it and still get the string to sound clean. find your spot.
POWER CHORDS use three to four strings only!!!!
that's what I heard anyway. so you should have to form a barre with your index finger.
unless times have changed.

welcome to the forum. woof.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264

Power can actually get away with using two strings, for the most part you'll just be using the root and fifth of the chord. Examples....

02xxxx - an E5 powerchord.
13xxxx - an F5 powerchord.
x02xxx - an A5 powerchord.
x13xxx - a Bb5 powerchord....etc, etc.

You use a lot of palm muting on these chords as a rule, and a lot of distortion!

Barre chords are when you move an A-shaped chord or an E-shaped chord down the neck - it can be done with C D and G shapes as well, but these are far less prevalent.

An A-shaped barre chord would look like this:

x35553 - a C chord with the barre across the third fret. The bottom string's muted in this example so that the C note (the root) is the lowest note of the chord, although, if your barre's all the way across the fretboard, I wouldn't worry about playing the G note at the third fret of the bottom E string - there's a G note (it's the fifth in the scale of C) in a C chord anyway, so you aren't playing anything that shouldn't be there.

Some people prefer to play these A-shaped barre chords by barring at the lower fret (the third fret, in the C chord example;) others like to play the D G and B strings by fretting them individually, a finger to each. I wouldn't worry about the stretch - it'll come in time, you're still developing muscle memory. The advice given above is sound - 5-10 mins per day at first, don't overdo it!

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

New Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Wow thanks for all the quick replies. But yeah sorry my guitar lingo isnt the greatest right now. But yeah you guys were dead on. Seems kinda tricky to get enough pressure on the strings to get a clean sounding strum but i guess with some practice i can get that down.

Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 125

from what I understood of 'finger splits', you were using your index, and middle fingers? you may want to try your ring finger instead of your middle. That should make it a bit easier.

I play the guitar, I taught myself how to play the guitar, which was a bad decision... because I didn't know how to play it, so I was a sh***y teacher. I would never have went to me. -Mitch Hedberg