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Are Barre Chords Easier To Play On Good Guitars?

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daza152
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Hi I read or heard somewhere that a good quality acoustic guitar is easier to play barre chords than a cheap acoustic guitar as the action is too high and lower on good quality ones? I do find it hard to do barre chords and wondered if this is why? I understand how to make a barre chord and it just rings flat all the time.... :( I have thought of going into a music shop and trying out a really nice acoustic and see if my budget guitar is holding me back? Thanks

Daza.


   
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hbriem
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Well, barre chords are much easier to play on an electric than an acoustic, easier on a nylon-string acoustic than a steel-string, easier with a thin(nish) neck than a wide one, easier with a low(ish) action than a high one and easier with thin strings (ie 9 or 10) than thick ones (11-12).

By all means try out other guitars, including electrics, in music stores, etc.

Everyone finds barre chords hard to start with, then suddenly they're easy and you can't figure out why you had trouble.

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dogbite
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I have played many beginner acoustics. now that I have a really nice Martin I would agree that any type of playing is easier on a well built guitar.

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Ricochet
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It's really more about the guitar being well set up than the price or name on the guitar. It's normally harder to get a clean barre chord on an acoustic than on an electric because the acoustic will usually have heavier, tighter strings and probably a slightly higher action. Measure the height of your strings above the 12th fret. (The fret wire itself, not the fretboard.) About 1/8" or 3mm clearance is good, having a little more on the bass strings than the treble. If there's much more, it will be helpful for slide playing but not for your barre chords. May need adjustment of the saddle height and/or neck curvature.

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gnease
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also, barre chords are easier further from the nut due to neck/string geometry. often, the first barre chords beginners try are F and Bb at the 1st fret -- these are among the toughest of the basic barre chords, as they require the most force. G and C at the third are much easier … A and D ( at fifth) even easier.

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hbriem
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Yes, barre chords are generally easier in the "middle" of the neck, say from fret 3 to 8 or so. After that they get harder again because there's so little space between the frets for the fingers. My hands are medium, I'd say and I'm OK, albeit crampled, with the simplest barre chords around fret 12-14, but above that they get really hard.

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mrodgers
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The problem I saw with barre chords.

I have a really cheap acoustic. I never did F and Bm. I wanted to play something that was G and C barred at the 3rd fret. I struggled playing a barre with the acoustic for quite some time. I could not get all the strings to ring out.

Christmas came and Wifey bought me my electric. Immediately I was playing a barre all over the place (not including knowing what chord it was or anything, just being able to play E shape, Em shape, and D shape barre chords.) Getting the strings to ring out with the barre was a piece of cake the moment I picked up the electric after struggling with near all strings muted on the acoustic.

I think since it was much easier to hold the barre down, concentration was spent on the chords themselves rather than getting the barre to sound. I now pick up my acoustic that I couldn't barre worth a darn before Christmas and can now play them no problem.

Starting out on the acoustic I think is a matter of a combination of both the strength it takes to do it on an acoustic and the technique to be able to play a barre. The electric takes no effort in strength to hold, so you are only needing to grasp the technique. Once the technique is there for the electric, it transfers over to the acoustic and makes it much easier to utilize the heavier strength you need with the heavier stringed acoustic.


   
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daza152
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The problem I saw with barre chords.

I have a really cheap acoustic. I never did F and Bm. I wanted to play something that was G and C barred at the 3rd fret. I struggled playing a barre with the acoustic for quite some time. I could not get all the strings to ring out.

The electric takes no effort in strength to hold, so you are only needing to grasp the technique. Once the technique is there for the electric, it transfers over to the acoustic and makes it much easier to utilize the heavier strength you need with the heavier stringed acoustic.

I think you maybe on to something there I have an electric guitar as well and remember trying a barre chord and it did ring out.....I try that again cause your right once you have the technique down you should be able to transfer that to the acoustic just with a little more strength :D

Thanks Daza.


   
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BobRock
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of course they are easier on electrics or nice acoustic guitars, but you can get used to playing them almost on any guitar with enough time and proper practice.


   
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Blue Jay
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I feel like I must say 'yes', only because you indicated that you are having some difficulty.

Of course, a guitar with nice medium-to-low action, or an electric guitar, generally, are easier to play.

Scale length could be an issue. Shorter scales or string lengths on some Epiphones and on the Seagull S6 could help.

http://www.seagullguitars.com/productoriginal.htm If you have smaller hands, they make an S6 Cedar Slim, thinner neck. I actually just bought an original Model 6, used, haven't talked about it, but the lower tension 24 3/4" scale is interesting, and would cost much, much more on a Gibson J45 or 50 from the same era. I mean, these shorter scales are comfortable on the fingers as opposed to 25 1/2" long scale guitars. Although scale & tuning determine tension, not size.
I hope that spec is somewhere, they may call it a 24 7/8" scale. I wrote them about it, mine's a 1992, last yr."Model 6". Anyhow, the newer S6 is IMO a great guitar worth looking into; very reasonable and pretty darn good sounding - WOW!

However, once you have developed your skills and strength, you can take it to that level on nearly any functional guitar.

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Freya
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Yes definately. Like you said, the low action makes a lot of difference on the more exspensive guitars. When I was just learning normal open position chords, I used my dad's old 1980s dreadnought acoustic guitar. It was this old cowboy style thing, with really high action. I was OK with it for about 2 years, but when I began learning barre chords, I couldn't bear it. When I had finally managed to save up the money, I bought an Ovation-style roundback and now I absolutely adore it! :) Its well worth buying a guitar with low action, or if not, you should certainly get the action lowered. Since buying my new roundback,I have played my guitar nearly every day and love it to bits!


   
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Freya
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Oh and also, make sure the action isnt too low. The first roundback was sent back to the factory because the intonation and action were really bad and action was low. So low that it made a sitar-sounding noise and horrible buzzing. Make it low but not too low.


   
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bjourne
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Is there no saving grace in playing on a guitar with high action? It must be easier to go from a hard-to-play guitar to one that it easier to play. Besides, if the guitar is difficult you must be more skilled to play on it so you learn faster... Maybe.


   
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SGinCYQX
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Is there no saving grace in playing on a guitar with high action? It must be easier to go from a hard-to-play guitar to one that it easier to play. Besides, if the guitar is difficult you must be more skilled to play on it so you learn faster... Maybe.

Action is actually more based on preference. A lower one will make barre chords easier, yes, but quite a few people I know and quite a few bigtime players prefer higher action, even on their "shred" guitars.

For me, it's average on the acoustic, dropped pretty good on the SG, and a little high on my Casino.

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Anonymous
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i don't like super low action on my electrics because you can't really grip the strings to bend them if the action's too low. my fingers tend to slip over top instead of get a nice spot to push sideways. so low enough to play easy, but high enough to grip for bends and vibrato.
i played one guy's guitar who could really tear up the blues and hendrix and that sort of thing, and his high e string was set abnormally high, i'm guessing for the same reason.


   
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