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Old 01-13-2013, 12:16 PM   #1
angrycoast
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Barre Chord Fun

I've always kind of stayed away from doing a lot of barre chords but as I play more I realize I must learn them and be proficient with them. I just picked the guitar up after a long hiatus and am trying to force myself to practice barre chords. I am noticing with barre chords that my hand starts to get cramped after about three minutes of strumming barre chords so I've decided to push it a little bit everyday. My question is, should I try to practice barre chords by trying to play them as long as I can everyday or should I let my hand rest from that specific bar chord strain for a day before practicing them again?

Thanks
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:45 PM   #2
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You should play with proper technique. You are using your thumb to apply the pressure needed to fret the notes. You should be using your fingers. Your thumb is only there to support the neck, nothing more.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:57 PM   #3
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I am using my thumb. It's down at the base of my thumb that gets tense. I was just wondering because when i used to lift weights I wouldn't work the same groups of muscles everyday. I was just wondering if somehow that applies to the muscles I am building at the base of my thumb because it's harder to play barre chords now than yesterday when I tried to play them for as long as possible.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:39 PM   #4
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I think junior#1 is saying if you don't use your thumb your hand won't cramp up and there is some truth to that. I think the first thing that you need to do it practice not using your thumb to apply pressure but use your arm instead. A really great way to practice it is to practice barre chords without having your thumb on the neck at all. This should help decrease your pain.

You may still experience some pain simply because barre chords are an unnatural finger position. I don't think that you need to wait a day, just come back the next day or even later that day and work on it more. You will find that the more you do this barre chords will become much easier and you won't feel any strain
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:12 PM   #5
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Classical guitar players always use thumb for applying pressure to the barre. I use it as well, as I find it more practical than using just fingers.
It's all your choice and depends on your playing style.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:13 PM   #6
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You should learn how to do them 'properly' with your fingers. But that being said,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior#1
You should play with proper technique. You are using your thumb to apply the pressure needed to fret the notes. You should be using your fingers. Your thumb is only there to support the neck, nothing more.


Is completely wrong. Your thumb can be just as useful as any of your other fingers. Just watch Hendrix play.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8board3r
You should learn how to do them 'properly' with your fingers. But that being said,



Is completely wrong. Your thumb can be just as useful as any of your other fingers. Just watch Hendrix play.

But Hendrix didn't have much choice with the size of his abnormally large hands.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:15 PM   #8
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Small nod back to the original question, highly recommend working in rest as part of your practice, yes
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8board3r
You should learn how to do them 'properly' with your fingers. But that being said,



Is completely wrong. Your thumb can be just as useful as any of your other fingers. Just watch Hendrix play.

1. Don't use Hendrix as an example. His hands were freakishly large.
2. I was speaking in terms of barre chords only. Obviously, your thumb can be used, but when it comes to barre chords, its only role is neck support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by angrycoast
I am using my thumb. It's down at the base of my thumb that gets tense. I was just wondering because when i used to lift weights I wouldn't work the same groups of muscles everyday. I was just wondering if somehow that applies to the muscles I am building at the base of my thumb because it's harder to play barre chords now than yesterday when I tried to play them for as long as possible.

You shouldn't really need to build muscles in the base of your thumb. Playing guitar desn't require a lot of muscle. Learn to use your thumb less for barre chords. You don't need to put that much strain on it.
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Originally Posted by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.

Last edited by Junior#1 : 01-13-2013 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:20 PM   #10
angrycoast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyatSNB
Small nod back to the original question, highly recommend working in rest as part of your practice, yes


Thanks kind of needed to here that because I haven't really put the guitar down since I got laid off. I really don't want to get burnt out on it but I can't stop now I'm using my rest time to study music theory and it's pretty sweet. I hope I can train myself to stay a noob and not think I know it all or know enough so I can keep learning. You guys are awesome this is the most social interaction I've had in a week!
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