musician26
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2012
40 IQ
#1
Hello, I am currently learning Barre Chords. I can't get any of them to sound clear. I've been practicing them now for a couple weeks and they still sound like crap, especially the F Barre Chord. I know these are one of the toughest chords to learn but does anyone have any tips? I am seeing a teacher. I also feel that I can't practice for long without my hand getting tired and sore. I am going to bring this up to my teacher next time we meet.
hatchet_job
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2013
40 IQ
#2
Biggest thing is: Don't get discouraged! Don't give up! It takes time, time, and more time. Once your muscles build strength you will be much better. And two weeks is nothing. If you can play more than one chord you are doing fine. Keep at it! I am terrible, but getting better.
I hated the 1st fret bar so bad I avoid it like the plague, even now years later I avoid it. Lazy I know.
Last edited by hatchet_job at Feb 10, 2013,
Bikewer
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
10 IQ
#3
This single thing tends to give beginners more trouble than any other.

I always make the same suggestion... Make sure your guitar is set up properly. A lot of acoustic guitars come with the action a bit on the high side, and a high action at the nut can make barre chords a real bear, especially at the first position.
Here's an easy way to test... Apply a capo. If it's suddenly easier to finger a first-position chord with the capo on, then you need an action adjustment.

Aside from that, analyze what's going wrong. Pick each note separately, and see which ones are not sounding clearly. Sometimes, just a slight change in position will cure things.
Knackworst1
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2012
80 IQ
#4
You can also try to just bar the high B and E string, then use your thumb to fret the first fret on the low E, and just use the middle and ring finger for the other notes... It's a more economic alternative to me in a way that my index finger won't get tired to quickly
GaryBillington
Last of a Dyin' Breed
Join date: Nov 2001
238 IQ
#5
Practice is the only answer here. Obviously take a break if your hand is getting sore, you don't want to overwork it and risk doing any damage, but only by practicing can you build your muscles up so you can keep going for longer.

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Battery Chicken
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Join date: Aug 2006
60 IQ
#6
Quote by Knackworst1
You can also try to just bar the high B and E string, then use your thumb to fret the first fret on the low E, and just use the middle and ring finger for the other notes... It's a more economic alternative to me in a way that my index finger won't get tired to quickly


This is a great technique to know. I never could as my fingers are too short to ever master it competently, so I just silently curse those who can and their stupid normal sized hands.

Another way to look at barre chords is that two frets and two strings up is an octave above your root. So you can still play an F using xx3211 as opposed to 133211, it's also a good way to mix it up if you want an F that's a little more delicate than the full barre.

Also don't get discouraged, the F barre is a prick of chord. Even after many years of playing my hand still hurts like a bitch if I'm playing a song that uses it a lot.
Monkeyleg
UG Fanatic
Join date: Apr 2012
190 IQ
#7
I've been playing for less than a year, so take that into account.

When I started months back, I really struggled with barre chords. Then they got easier, but there were still some that were a challenge. My fingers ached, and sometimes they would just give out.

When I learned the F chord, it was like going back to the beginning, but that only lasted a few days.

Just keep practicing. It will come in time.
bondmorkret
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2012
20 IQ
#8
Learning barre chords is tough, lots of my students hit a wall with this. But they always improve over a few weeks as long as they stick with it. Plough through the pain! Try getting a hand strengthening device too
gorsad
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2012
20 IQ
#10
Well, it seems that all the advice has already been given. But since I was in the F barre situation around 2 months ago, I have one thing to ask. How long are you practicing for, if it's above 30 minutes, you may want to cut it down a bit, that might be your problem. I learnt the chord much faster when I split mu practice into 3 x 5 minute sessions. It could also help with your sore hand.
Captaincranky
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2011
30 IQ
#11
Quote by musician26
Hello, I am currently learning Barre Chords. I can't get any of them to sound clear. I've been practicing them now for a couple weeks and they still sound like crap, especially the F Barre Chord. I know these are one of the toughest chords to learn but does anyone have any tips? I am seeing a teacher. I also feel that I can't practice for long without my hand getting tired and sore. I am going to bring this up to my teacher next time we meet.
Yeah. Hang on tight, and be prepared for some pain.

Nobody would give it a second thought if they couldn't go out to the track and run a four minute mile on the first try, would they?

So, the muscles and callouses you have to build up to play the guitar take time also.

The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Quote by Knackworst1
You can also try to just bar the high B and E string, then use your thumb to fret the first fret on the low E, and just use the middle and ring finger for the other notes... It's a more economic alternative to me in a way that my index finger won't get tired to quickly
I see we've re-imagined the "Hendrix Grip"....again.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Feb 17, 2013,
osocod
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2013
10 IQ
#12
I am in the process of learning just this. I have a few tips that have helped me a great deal.

1. Make sure that you learn on a set of strings no thicker than 0.11. My changing down from 0.12 made a world of difference.
2. If 133211 is hard, practise a bit down the neck, with a capo on 3rd fret for example.
3. Start with easier barre shapes. Bmin and F#m, for example, are both easier than F.
4. A good song for me to practise while learning is Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley. Why? Because it has a low tempo and the chords are picked. That way I can practice "good" chord switching and can also hear on which strings I go wrong. That song also incorporates F->G chord changes at two different speeds.

Good luck!
StuartBahn
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
20 IQ
#13
I agree with several of the previous posts. Fret 1 is the hardest place to bar so it's sensible to start higher up the fret board to develop the technique.

Something that is occasionally a source of problems is if you allow your thumb to point sideways as you try to bar. This must be avoided as it makes it very difficult to get the required pressure. The LH thumb should point more or less upwards (unless there is a very good reason) and act like a clamp with the fingers.

Using thinner strings is certainly a sensible option. Don't consider it cheating. The most important thing is that you keep morale high and progress.

All best,
Stuart Bahn
Professional Guitarist and Guitar Educator
www.StuartBahn.com
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fanapathy
B-Tuned
Join date: Jul 2010
1,802 IQ
#14
Quote by osocod
(...)1. Make sure that you learn on a set of strings no thicker than 0.11. My changing down from 0.12 made a world of difference.


I have 1 guitar with .14 and the other is .10

I almost only play on the .14 one. The fret 1 chord is really hard and in general everything is more difficult. But by practicing with this, the one with normal strings becomes super easy to play in comparison as the fingers become that much stronger

I'm in no way recommending this for someone just starting out but it can be a good thing too

Best of luck
superkeans
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2013
10 IQ
#15
Dear musician26

Your fingers need a muscle for movement control. Don't be in a hurry that much coz it needs time to develop..
socrfb
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2011
10 IQ
#16
It's just a matter of practice. It takes some people months before they really get it. Don't stop learning though. Keep on progressing, just make a note to practice that F chord until you've got it down, then keep on practicing it.
Last edited by socrfb at Feb 21, 2013,