I would consider myself to be a decent guitarist, being able to play Classical Gas is a huge milestone for me and I can play that perfectly. Since I've moved on to Tommy Emmanuel songs and have been learning Miyazaki's dream. I was completely fine until something appeared.

A barre chord appeared.

I am perfectly fine with the E-shape barre chords than would occassionally appear in classical gas, and I'm fine with A-Minor shape barre chords too, but as soon as I change from E-Major shape to E-Minor shape, the 3rd string is muted.

Same goes for the E7 shapes, the 4th string would get muted. Typically my A-Major shape chords are also equally screwed, except it's the high E string.

I roll my index finger to the side, I have my thumb anchored below the fret after the one my index is on, oh, and it doesn't take long for pretty intense pain to develop in my hand.

Before when I practiced barre chords, I focused on just E-major shape barre chords and had trouble with it, but got there in the end. I foolishly assumed my minor shapes were fine as I was just strumming them, not hearing the muted note. Now with these fingerstyle songs I'm learning, I can clearly hear the muted notes and it's so annoying that the only thing stopping me from learning the songs are these "beginner" techniques.

Any help? The words "practice practice practice" may make my arm fall off, as I don't know "how" to practice getting these notes to ring clearly.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I'm also playing on an Acoustic Steel-string guitar. I know people are going to tell me to try electric or something like that, but wouldn't I be practicing with less pressure, therefore keeping it hard on my acoustic?
Last edited by Eggmaster2029 at Sep 30, 2012,
I just recently had this problem, I wrote a very simple part but I just kept muting one string and I was getting really angry. I eventually got the part recorded, but the next day I was just jamming a little bit and I start talking to a friend about it and I could seem to mute that string at all this time.
I came to the conclusion that it was just the angle I was holding the guitar at, because I did it seamlessly the next day. I don't know if this helps much, but maybe just try adjusting the angle of your arm/elbow or try standing vs. sitting if possible. Thinner strings might also make it easier.
Focus on thumb, it should be middle of the neck. Make sure your wrist is nice and low beneath the guitar neck, so that your fingers will lie very vertically across the neck.

I think you are doing all that anyway cuz you can play the barre chord like you say. If so, then it's just down to strength, and sorry to say.... practice.
As with everything, develop your own style of playing while practising. I'm not great with barre chords either but I can comfortably do them now.

Its like when you're a beginner and playing almost anything made your fingers hurt. After a while you grow callouses and your finger get stronger.

Your fingers will soon be as tight as a capo

For me the only thing that is in my way with barre chords is the bones in my hands hurt hehe.
My trouble is revolving more around these muted strings. How can I get around them?

I've tried MetalMaster063's suggestion, didn't exactly change a lot. I roll my finger to the side, and have it close to the fret, I power down but there's still a muted string. :/
Try playing this problem barre chord higher up the neck, around the 10th fret. Just move the shape around and get a feel for it. If you can't do it there, then don't worry.

Barre chords are hard.
Last edited by mdc at Sep 30, 2012,
I get this problem a lot. I have very skinny fingers, so they go in right where the 3rd string sits in an Em barre chord, and I've never been able to fix that, no matter how hard I try. It really is just the shape of my hand. However, I just started playing barre chords with my thumb over the top (playing the root on the low E string), then my index finger just has to bar the top three strings, and it can do that fine. Try that maybe?