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Old 06-23-2014, 11:15 AM   #1
LGuitarjsm
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Barre Chords

Hi Everyone,
I have just started learning barre chords and so far, more a less, I am able to barre the major, minor and 7ths on the electric.

With my acoustic on the upper part of the neck, C, C#, D I can't get a clean sound. Either a string is muted, or buzzing etc.

And on the 12 fret, I can't get a barre chord sound at all.

Is it possible to do barre chords on an acoustic on those upper fret board locations?

Thanks in advance,
Lguitarjsm
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:36 AM   #2
CorduroyEW
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One reason is harder to bar the farther up the neck you go because of the position of the instrument. Classical players and many Jazz players hold the guitar on their left leg with their left foot on a stool simply because it makes upper fret access much easier. You also see a lot of acoustic players that play with a strap put their arm around the bottom of the guitar (like Johnny Cash did) because it pushes the guitar farther left making upper fret access a bit more simple.

Depending on the neck design of your instrument, it may or may not be physically possible to play a clean bar chord on or above the 12th fret. On my Yamaha (the only acoustic guitar I own that I didn't build myself) I can only play a clean bar up to around fret 10 because the Martin(ish) shape of the necks heel makes hand placement very difficult. My other acoustics have a flatter wider heel and I can bar up to chord 13.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:46 PM   #3
Captaincranky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LGuitarjsm

With my acoustic on the upper part of the neck, C, C#, D I can't get a clean sound. Either a string is muted, or buzzing etc....[ ]...

You neglected to tell us whether or not your instrument has a cutaway.

Keep in mind, barre chords further up the neck are by their nature different than those at say, the 5th fret. Your fingers are being scrunched together, and in actuality, it causes to chord fingering to have a different geometry, than as it would on the lower part of the neck.

But on to cutaways. While they're never going to be as effective on an acoustic as those on a thin body electric, (acoustic bodies are simply too thick for that), they do help somewhat.

I'm not sure exactly what the allure or use would be playing a barre chord at the 15th fret, but I freely admit I'm a mediocre player at best. So for me, maybe it's simply a case of not needing them.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:41 AM   #4
Bikewer
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Barre chords give a lot of people a lot of trouble.... That first-position "F" is often a milestone for beginning players.
One thing that makes the technique easier overall is to have your action adjusted. A too-high action makes everything more difficult, but barre chords especially so.

Other than that, it's often a case of making very minor hand position adjustments. Play each note separately and see just which notes are going "thunk"....And try minor tweaks in position till it starts working.
Usually, there's a "eureka" moment when it all falls into place.
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:19 AM   #5
Garthman
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Practise,practise, practise.

As you move higher up the fretboard the space between the frets reduces so it's harder to fit in all the fingers. There's not much you can do about it - using the pad of the 3rd finger to barre the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings for a Bb type barre helps. And a lot of electric guitar players just use power chord triplets for the F and Fm barre shapes - this works on acoustics too
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:16 AM   #6
LGuitarjsm
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Thank you for all your responses.
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