Skip to content
Transition to barre...
Clear all

Transition to barre chords...

8 Posts
8 Users
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 150
Topic starter  

I've been playing for about 7 months... I can quickly change between all the open chords in the first position. Now, I'm making the transition to barre chords and finding that I speed through the open chords and come to a barre chord and find that I have a big pause before getting it...

I'm starting with Bm. I can always get the chords to ring correctly, but it takes time - guess I have the hard part down and the speed will just come as it did with the open chords...

My question: Anybody have tips in speeding up barre chord changes? Specifically with Bm? I know I should put all fingers down at once to minimize finger movement, but for now I start with my middle finger then place 4th and pinky fingers, then lay down my index finger to form the barre...


I'll only be down there (in the basement practicing) for a couple of minutes or so...
My SoundClick Page:

New Member
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0

I am at the 6 month mark and I have been working on barre chords for the last 2 months. I have the same problem if I am doing strumming patterns other than DDDD. What I have been doing is working with the E-Shaped Barres and I will pick one open chord per day and switch back and forth between the 2 chords. I have a tendency to mute the low E string when doing a barre F chord so that's what I concentrate on. I also pick my worse open chord (the dredded D CHORD :twisted: ) and switch between the two. It's slowly coming. I do this for 20 minutes per practice...even if I practice more than once per day. I'll do the same thing wit hthe other barre shapes as I need them. Right now most of the songs I want to play use E-Shaped barres.

Reputable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 138

If you can get the barre chord to ring properly when you take your time, you're halfway there. Eventually you'll be able to switch from an open chord to a barre chord just as (or almost) as easily as to another open chord. Speed and hand strength will come after enough slow, careful repetition to a metro. Painfully boring (and sometimes just painful) but it works. Keep your muscles relaxed.

At first you probably won't be able to put all fingers down at once, don't worry about it. Eventually, your fingers will intuitively know where to go, more or less all at once. A way to help with this is to not press down on the chord until all the fingers are in place.

Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 23

Just my 2 cents... Try to form as many three finger chords in the first position with only your middle, ring and pinky fingers as you can, this will make it easier to change to barre chords

Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 441

Give this a try

Form the Bm chord strum once, the lift your fingers slightly off the fretboard, maintain the shape, and press back down, strum once. Keep doing this until you can lift your fingers more than an inch. Then take the song you are working on and practice changes from the previous chord to the Bm, you don't need to strum. Do it slowly and fight the urge to move fingers seperately. Spend an hour doing these exercises and I bet you will improve your time drastically.

One other tidbit that I learned the hard way, don't press too hard, it is not necessary. Correct index finger position will mean that you will not have to exert any more force than with other chords.



Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1120

Agree with Smiller4597
- try to get familiar with the m,r,p fingering of the chord form:
- e.g. form an am chord with your middle, ring and pinky and slide it up two frets - if you add index finger on the 1st string you have a workable Bm - if this is ok the only note missing is the B on the 5th string.
- do the same with E major - form it with m on the Gstring, p on the D string and r on the A string. Slide it up (3 frets up gives a G6) see if you get all notes to ring and add your index-
- A major chord with your r finger only (or mri)...

If you manage to get am, A, and E to ring without using your index finger - you're getting there i'd say.

Good luck - in a few months you will wonder what the trouble was

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348

try not to reinvent finger positioning each time you change chords.

barre chords have the same finger position, for the most part. by maintaining you finger positions and just relaxing your grip you can slide/change to the next barre without replacing fingers one at a time.

in time, with practice, this will become easier.

thumb position is important. alot of times it is better to have it pointing towards the the tuners. and sometimes it will be ointing up.
chords towards the nut ware easier with the thumb pointinmg to the tuners pararell to the neck.

Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 375

Just my 2 cents... Try to form as many three finger chords in the first position with only your middle, ring and pinky fingers as you can, this will make it easier to change to barre chords

This sounds like a great idea! It's my pinky that needs the work!

Bob Jessie