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Old 09-16-2012, 09:50 AM   #1
chris_MH
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Barre Chords and guitar action

Hello everyone!

I am new to this forum and I think I have come to the right place for my situation..
I play acoustic mainly and barre chords are my achilles heel, I now avoid songs with barre chords.

My main problem with them is the sheer strength needed to make each note ring out clearly, which also makes my changing to barre chords slow and clumsy in order to get all the strings pressed down adequately.

I have tried and tried to improve this situation, but I still have trouble with them. I have come to one possible conclusion that my guitars action is simply to high for barre chords, as when i pick an electric up, they are a piece of cake!

has any one got any advice for me? are my fingers just too soft or can guitar action be a serious problem when playing barre chords?

cheers!

P.S, any tips or websites on how to quickly switch to a barre chord would be fantastic
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:30 AM   #2
Bikewer
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I've pointed this out many times. Barre chords are the bane of many a beginner, and often the difficulty is with the guitar itself. Many inexpensive instruments, and even some high-end ones, are intentionally shipped with the action rather high.
Picky musicians will either have the guitar set up to their liking or do it themselves.... The manufacturer knows they can't please everyone.
So, a good basic set-up will likely make life much easier for you. Past that, it's a matter of practice and refinement of your hand position.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:38 AM   #3
DonRoos
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You should have the action set up lower (as already mentioned) to make playing easier and also use lighter gauge strings. The action shold be set just high enough to prevent string buzz when you play. If you play hard then the action needs to be higher to compensate. Rather play softwe and set the action lower. As for strings, I use .009's as I play a lot of barre chords and prefer them.
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:12 PM   #4
chris_MH
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I just measured the 12th fret on high E and it is sitting at about 4.5mm, how does this compare to guitars with a 'good' action?

It may be a case of getting someone to lower it..somehow
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:27 AM   #5
tylerjenns
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My action in at 1.0mm lol
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:32 AM   #6
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I don't even have to measure mine to know that your action is high. Mine is at 2.5mm on 12th. My electric is at about 2mm. This also allows me to use a slide.

On an accoustic you have 3 adjustments. Most important is the truss rod. This is tightened to pull the neck back and bring the strings lower. Not too much or you have good action on the first frets and bad on the higher frets. There should be a slight bow on the neck to prevent fret buzz.

Then you can adjust the nut, either by removing it and sanding the whole thing down and replaceing it or by cutting the string slots down to improve first fret action. Then you have the bridge that you need to sand down to improve higher fret action.

But have it done by a professional. You can do serious damage to your guitar and mess up the action completely if you do it wrong. You can replace a nut or bridge if you mess them up but if you twist the neck you could kill the guitar.
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Ibanez Roadstar II pro 540R custom MIDI (1987)
Cort MR710 QB (2010)
VOX AD30VT-XL
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Shure SM58 mics
Phonic Impact II 16 mixer
Proel 1604 snake
2 x JBL EON 15 G2 Speakers
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