#1
Hello all. This question has undoubtedly been asked many times, but my problem is slightly different...

I have been playing acoustic guitar for about 4 years and, like all aspiring beginners, was faced with the infamous F Major barre chord. Through much chagrin, I was eventually able to play barred chords. However, I always noticed the G string would ring out, no matter how I placed my index finger. I just chocked it up to my fingers not having enough strength. Since I rarely played a barred open G, or barred chords to begin with, it was easy for me to not notice the slight setback.

After not really playing barre chord for a while, I still notice the G string ringing out. My index finger is used to the pressure, but even if I contort/rotate my index finger to every possible shape, there is still a slight ring. Even on the flattest surface of my index finger, the middle part (middle phalanx?) doesn’t have enough girth to press down on the strings. I can strum/pluck partial barres with no problem, however just trying to strum all open barred strings results in the G string either partially ringing, or not ringing at all. Will this problem go away with time (practice), or is this kind of problem a physical disability to guitar playing? If it is a disability, are there any ways to, “fix,” this issue?
#2
I haven't seen your hands, but the answer, in all likelihood, is that you need even more strength, and also rotating your finger helps. Rotated so that you're kind of pushing down with the outside of your finger. there are no creases, and not much soft tissue there. The skin will toughen up, and you can get more strength. Doesn't need to be in the fingers necessarily, but also in how the arm pushes, or I guess pulls into the strings kind of thing.

A couple of things I do, is playing m7 chords, with only the index finger, and fingerpicking the low E and top 4 strings. Also, there are 3 frets in the major scale, (and all modes therefore), where the fretted note on all the strings is in the scale. That would be at the ii, and the iii, and also the vi, which can also all be m7 chords. So, you can barre at each of those frets, with your index finger, and then with your other fingers play the scale all the way through in those positions. You will get pretty good strength from accomplishing that, and also a super awesome skill that you can use all the time. Jimi hendrix kind of did that, and a lot of the voicings you hear him doing, are playing some notes higher up the neck, while also playing some of the ones he is still holding down in his barre. He also played his power chords with the thumb a lot, which I think is good sometimes, but really a strong barre position, like how Joe Pass plays I find is far superior. You are more free to do more, but I still use both.
#3
Often this problem isn't that you're not fretting that note cleanly or with enough force. Rather, it may be interference from another finger. Can you tell which?
Charvel DX-1 FR / DS-1 ST / DC-1 FR / Custom Strat / La Patrie Hybrid CW / Vypyr 30 / VK100 / 1960A
#4
Yep rolling your index finger slightly towards the nut/headstock helps a lot. Also try to make sure your thumb is on the center of the neck. This seems to give a lot more even leverage across all 6 strings.

Barre chords generally just take a lot of practice though. Most people say it takes them months of practicing them to really feel comfortable switching between them.

With barre chords it's not JUST the muscle memory either, but also your muscles themselves aren't used to performing that shape. Much like at the gym you wouldn't expect to be bench pressing 300 pounds on your very first day. As they say "if you don't use it you lose it". Your finger will also harden up a little bit over time too which helps a bit.

Also, the F major barre chord is pretty much the hardest one to start with because it's on the first fret, so it requires more force to to correctly barre all the strings. Try starting with major barre chords further up the neck.
Last edited by bptrav at Sep 22, 2014,
#5
It's really a matter of practice. However, since hurting my hand a few years back I try to avoid large bar chords whenever possible - a good tip is to try the Hendrix voicing ( thumb on low E string, don't play the fifth on the A string, and voice the upper chord notes with your third, second and first finger - the first finger does a partial bar on the first fret high E and B strings) - I find it much more comfortable in most scenerios. I normally avoid playing the high E string and simply play the root with my thumb, the F on the D string with my third finger, the A on the G string with my second finger and the C on the B string with my first finger - and mute the high E and A strings)- it's a much more comfortable F voicing and works well for most situations.