I've been playing guitar for a few months now, and I've hit a road block.
I just can't get barre chords right.

I'm always sure to roll my finger to the side, and I think everything else is right, but my ADG strings, and sometimes my B string always sound muted.

Anyone have some tips? I'm getting incredibly frustrated. They never come out sounding right.


You probably just need a bit more practice.
I'd suggest putting your finger across 4 strings to start with, and practice some D chords to get used to it, then put your finger across 5 strings and try some A chords until you feel you've got it, etc.
That's what I did.
This is the part where you are supposed to be amazed by the awesomeness of my sig.
This pops up all the time among new guitarists. They assume somethings wrong, or that they're doing something wrong... but that's rarely the case. Practice is the answer. 99% of the time the problem is that your hands are still too weak. Just keep playing them, even if they don't sound good, and one day you'll be playing and realize that you're getting all the strings to ring out. That's what happened to me. One day I said to myself "Holy crap. I've been playing barre chords clearly for a week now... when did that happen?" And the fact is, you just slowly get more strength in your hands until one day, before you know it, you're playing them just fine.

A few songs you can do to practice and build hand strength are: Under the Bridge, Creep (barre chord version) and some beatles songs (that combine open and barre chords).

Just keep at it, you'll get it.
Last edited by fngrstylgtr at Jun 30, 2010,
You need to improve your fundamentals more.

Practice barre chords between the 6th and 10th fret so it's a little bit easier on your hand.

Next, when you practice them, do this.

1. Metronome set to about 45 BPM.
2. On the first click, place all of your fingers EXCEPT your barring index finger where they need to be.
3. On the second click, place your index finger in the barre position.
4. On the third click, strum the chord.
5. On the fourth click, mute the chord by letting your fingers relax. They shouldn't leave the strings entirely, but they should stop fretting the notes.

Do this for awhile, should help you out big time.
i used to have the exact same problem, the B string was always muted and my thumb used to hurt like hell after practicing. well there's nothing much you can do but PRACTICE and pretty soon you'll be able to strum them with your eyes closed. Here's a few things i did that helped me:
start with an A major barre cord(5th fret) pick each single string alone and adjust your fingers. at first you will apply alot of unnecessary pressure on your thumb, whenever you feel pain simply stop and return later. after you perfect the Amajor barre cord, start shifting it to different positions and keep practicing till you get them all right (most important ones are from 1 to 8; F to C). I advised you to start on the 5th fret because that was (in my opinion) the easiest one to strum perfectly. make sure your fingers arent touching any wrong strings or itll buzz. anyway to sum up: the only way to get them right is through practice.
also: another good bit to practice barre chords is stairway to heaven post solo. a clean electric guitar plays barre chords with muting. you should check it out.
Thanks so much for the great advice everyone, I'll keep working on it.
Awesome tips
Thanks to everyone for the advice !!! I know that 99% of the time the "Answer" is practice, practice, practice !!! I've been taking lessons for a month now and just started barre chords last week... It occured to me real quick that I need to strengthen "MUSCLE" to do this right !!! LOL !!! After 3 minutes of practicing my hand and forearm was on fire !!! Anyone out there have any specific exercises for building these muscles while not practicing ????

I work out quite a bit and I havn't really realized any connection between my workouts and my hand strength on the guitar. Although my forearm was never a problem with barre chords, more just the muscles in my hands.. Wrist curls, those grip things you squeeze, just about any exercise that requires you to use your hands will strengthen your forearms.

It also depends what you're playing on where. For me the 3rd fret and the 7th..or 8th I think were the easiest for me. But generally the lower you go on the neck the less tension on the strings, so you're not having to use as much strength. If you're using an acoustic expect it to take longer to build up the strength (but well worth it in the end)