Hello people,

i don't have much trouble with bar chords, but i've been wondering if something i do is a bad habit. When fingering the typical major chord with root on the 5th string (the movable barred version of the open A chord), the suggested fingering is always barring with the index finger (obv...), middle finger on the 4th, ring finger on the 3rd and pinky on the 2nd.

However, i find it much easier and quicker to do it like this: i bar normally with my index finger, and bar the 4th, 3rd and 2nd strings with the last "bone/phalanx" of my ring finger. The pinky stays free. I especially find this to be a very comfortable grip on the higher narrower frets.

I would take a picture but i'm at work.

Any pros and cons to this (bad) habit?
ALOT of people do this and it's not a bad habit as long as you can play it "correctly" when you have to.
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I do that too. Pro's for me were it quickly built muscle in that finger as you gotta barr it pretty hard that way or you'll get damp notes.. cons.. i guess i could be harder to switch to that fingering but nothing a bit of practice can't deal with. Another pro is i guess it leaves your pinky free to play around with the High e string.
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After 45 years I still do it and I defy anyone to mix these chords faster than I can. But clarity has to be there or its a bad habit.
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Thanks for the replies, i'm amazed that it is a much more common practice than i expected...

I don't have any trouble pressing those strings with my ring finger, no damp notes., and i'm definitely faster than with the "sugguested" fingering when strumming normal chord changes.

The only con i see is that you can't do a pull-off or hammer-on with one of the single fingers. (Sometimes i hammer-on the 4th string when playing that chord shape with an alternating bass on the 4th and 5th strings, for a country sound).

I'll try to get used to both for different purposes.
That's the only way I ever learned it, but my hands are so large doing it the no barred way is rather difficult and impractical.
If it works for you, go ahead. I can't play it like that. I always end up muting the 1st string.
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I always play this barre shape with my pinky "flatted" out rather than my ring finger. It's a bad habit. I can use my ring finger just as easily and well but the pinky method is so imbedded in my brain that I really have to concentrate to get my ring finger down instead of pinky.
Like Junior#1, I can't barre the three strings without also muting the 1st, but I also have trouble stretching to get three fingers down and the index as well. I could probably do with more practise here.

What I usually end up doing is substituting for an open chord, or another chord altogether, or just muting the first string but adding in the V on the 6th string with my index finger instead.
I do that same thing. Only problem is, like Junior#1 said, is that I always mute the 1st string. But that's not really a huge problem for me, since I don't play much music that requires doubling that many notes in a major chord- 2 roots, 1 third and 1 fifth is enough for me .
This is also the way i was taught to play it and as far as im aware very common if not more common than the other way, everyone i know plays the chord this way most of the time either with the ring or pinky, i tend to use my ring finger most of the time, easy to add the 6th this way but as mentioned very hard not to mute the e-string but it isnt really needed to get the main sound of the chord as its a doubled note.
there is a 3rd way of gripping this chord, and its something i use quite often when playing certain songs.

instead of using your index finger to fret the root note on the A string and barring across the other strings with your ring, just barre across the 4th, 3rd and 2nd string with your index finger-and mute the low E with your thumb wrapped around the neck.

The pro for this way, is you can add embellishments and flourishes to your chords a la Jimi Hendrix. The con is that you'll have to sacrifice the root/bass note of the chord.
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Last edited by flea's trumpet at Dec 2, 2009,