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Old 12-02-2012, 09:46 PM   #1
musician26
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Barre Chords

Hello. I just started learning about barre chords (which are a bitch by the way). When playing the barre chords, it really hurts my hand. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to ease the pain or is it just a matter of perfecting technique and practice?
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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Is there any hand exercises you guys would recommend?
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:50 PM   #3
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Where is the pain specifically? That will probably change the answer.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:59 PM   #4
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Hey mate,

If you just feel "muscular pain" when doing the barre chord for a long time, then it is totally normal. My hand still hurts after songs that are all barre chords, even though I've had the technic down for two years now...

My advice, which I'm sure you will not like, is to practice barre chord until you build more strength. That is, assuming you've got the right technic.
Just think about it as just the same thing you'd experience after doing 50 push-up, your muscles are getting soar. The good news is that it's totally normal that you think it's painful.
There are some devices you can buy to develop finger strength, but I'm not sure it's that useful, I never tried any so I can't really talk about it.

On the other hand, if you feel something else that normal muscular pain, then ignore what I just said.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:23 PM   #5
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A couple things...
1)Pain is normal at first, as others have stated
2)Stretch your wrist/warm up before playing
3)Make sure your thumb is directly behind your 1st finger on the neck. Think of it like you're "pinching" the neck with your thumb and 1st finger. I find that when I teach someone barre chords, a lot of times their thumb is off centered, pointing towards the tuning keys which causes them to have to press harder with the rest of their hand.

Also if you are playing on acoustic guitar, it will be significantly harder than electric, which will actually be good in the long run because your hand will be stronger. Keep it up and don't stop trying.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:55 PM   #6
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As Zaphod said, we need more specifics. Different pains mean different things.

Pain is not really normal. Maybe a bit of pain in your fingertips while building up calluses, but other than that, if you're feeling pain, there's a good chance you are doing something wrong.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:58 PM   #7
musician26
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I guess pain is the correct way to define it. It is more so just uncomfortable. Definitely can't keep the hand in place for too long. My guitar teacher did teach me about he pinching technique which I have been trying to be mindful of. He also did tell me that since I am playing on acoustic, it will be harder. I guess I will have to just keep on practicing and working with him on perfecting my hand position. Thanks for the input.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musician26
I guess pain is the correct way to define it. It is more so just uncomfortable. Definitely can't keep the hand in place for too long. My guitar teacher did teach me about he pinching technique which I have been trying to be mindful of. He also did tell me that since I am playing on acoustic, it will be harder. I guess I will have to just keep on practicing and working with him on perfecting my hand position. Thanks for the input.
best advice I got was here regarding this and it really helped me master these chords and my playing has taken off since. Start with a full 6 string F chord. Put your fingers on the strings, make sure your form is perfect, but dont add any tension to the strings. Completely relax there. Then apply pressure, but work on the minimum to make the strings ring and quickly relax your grip, but leaving your fingers in place. Add and remove tension. Work on this while strumming and picking. Keep your hand in the same place and essentially add tension (think of doing pushups with your hand) and remove tension. Get the feel. DONT hold down the tension for more than a second or two, as baring down will cramp you up fast. After F move up to F#, then G, etc

Do this for 8-10 minutes a day and your barre chords will be killer pretty fast. I saw immediate improvement (like 3-4 weeks) but after about 5-6 months of that they became the chord Im actually most comfortable with.

My guitars of choice are both electric, but I play acoustic all the time. I leave them around the house so I can pick them up and play a bit here and there all the time.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #9
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I would personally advise that you start higher on the neck to be honest, it takes less force to fret up there than it does at the F position.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I would personally advise that you start higher on the neck to be honest, it takes less force to fret up there than it does at the F position.

This absolutely, advising people to start with F is plain bonkers.

I'd always say start arount the 5th or7th fret, it's easier on the fingers but still before the frets start getting too close together.
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