#1
I broke my wrist 6 months ago and it is now impossible for me to make an 'e' shape barre chord at the top of the neck due to the lack of flexibility in my wrist. I believe the only way to one day be able to get this back is to continually exercise the scar tissue by gradually pushing it into the correct position on a daily basis. I can form something resembling the 'e' shape barre chord in the middle of the neck with a lot of effort. What I would like to do is to practise a song based on barre chords that move around the neck (preferably mostly around the middle). That way I can practise what is achievable now, and gradually push my wrist further and further up the neck as my scar tissue increases in its ability to adapt to this shape. Hope someone can recommend some (preferably straightforward) tunes based on barre chords. Thanks for reading.
Last edited by Lord of the Pie at Mar 16, 2015,
#2
Why not just go to the TABs, pick a 'chordy' song or two that you like and play them with only barre chords?
#3
Just to check, have you seen a physiotherapist about this? I know this sounds reasonable on the face of it but you really want to make sure that this isn't going to make things worse in the long run.
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#4
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Just to check, have you seen a physiotherapist about this? I know this sounds reasonable on the face of it but you really want to make sure that this isn't going to make things worse in the long run.


Yes I have been seeing a physio regularly and have made progress in everything except the wrist rotation required for playing barre chords. This is because there is no exercise except playing barre chords that will stretch the scar tissue in that way. My physio says this would be good therapy, but dont really know a good song candidate that I would be able to play in my condition. Like I say something that is based around an E barre chord in the middle of the neck would be an excellent starting point for me.
#5
Quote by Lord of the Pie
Yes I have been seeing a physio regularly and have made progress in everything except the wrist rotation required for playing barre chords. This is because there is no exercise except playing barre chords that will stretch the scar tissue in that way. My physio says this would be good therapy, but dont really know a good song candidate that I would be able to play in my condition. Like I say something that is based around an E barre chord in the middle of the neck would be an excellent starting point for me.


Cool cool, just making sure, all too often people ask here with health things without consulting any kind of professional who actually knows what they're talking about.
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#6
I'm not sure about your condition and what part of the barre you can't hold/need to practise, but 'No excuses' by Alice in Chains uses the E barre chord shape on the EAD and G strings all throughout while keeping the B and e strings open. It's mainly Aadd9, Badd9 with G6 and E major added in the chorus so it's not quite a barre chord song but it might be worth practising fretting those notes without worrying about barring the last two notes to complete the major chord.
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#7
Try playing the chords giving you trouble by not using the index finger to barre all the strings for a while to start getting the wrist in shape. That's what I had to do when I severed a tendon in my left ring finger and had to basically start over. It was about 3 years before I could finally do full barre chords, and for a good while I could only do them a little and revert back to using part of the chord, without barring with the index finger. I still can't play the A shape chords, like D on 5th fret or E on 7th, I have to use my pinkie instead of ring finger, use the ring finger for backup to get enough pressure to fret the notes. Been that way since 1968...some chords I can't play at all.

I finally got around the injury, but it took years. Lots of practice, at first no more than 20 minutes a day a lot of the time, it would start hurting in the wrist. even simple open chords were not fun the first 6 months...try anything that makes me stretch and it still hurts sometimes.

Work slow, I overdid it a few times and couldn't play for a week. I started working with barre chords by playing them the same way I did a 1st fret F, not barring with my index finger. Doing that you have to watch it, some of the chords in the 5th to 8th fret range, where you're most commonly working, don't like that open A string...

Slow and easy is the key, but if you're working with a therapist, you probably already know that.
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#8
Thanks to everyone who offered advice on this. I think I will try 'Sweet Jane' by the Velvet Underground and 'All Along the Watchtower' by JH (though I don't actually like either song), and maybe look at the Alice in Chains tune too. I entirely agree that slow and easy to start and then build from there is the way to go. I will also try doing the barre chord partially at first, although I am a little disconcerted that Pete is still having problems from 1968! I guess there are limits to how the body can recover from certain injuries :-(
#9
Take any song with basic major triads and just play them all with the barre shape.

e.g. If you see an x02220, play a 577655 instead.
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#10
jimi's all around the watchtower is heavy on e barres
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#11
I think the problem with my tendons is when they put things back together, they connected the severed tendon in the ring finger to the one going to the middle finger. Not sure about that and the doctor didn't say, but he did say I Might not be able to ever play guitar again...YIKES...

I started 2 weeks later, against his orders to not touch a guitar till the cast came off. Cast was to keep me from stretching the tendons and pulling it apart again. Thing is, those 2 fingers have always had to at least partially work together. If I lay my left hand flat on a table, I can barely lift the ring finger off the table while my right can lift over an inch. Left hand can't hold up two fingers in a peace sign, middle finger drops to about half mast and won't go any further. If I try to play piano, I can only use thumb, middle and pinkie, sometimes index finger of left hand. Playing guitar I can do most anything I want to do except for some chords.

If you want to play a barre E at the 7th fret, you barre all 6 strings with the index finger, and the bottom 4 with ring finger. I've seen people who can also keep the ring finger off the 1st string so the note barred by the ring finger sounds. If I play it that way it hurts from the last section of the ring finger where it connects to the hand, all the way to past the wrist. I have to use my pinkie and support it with the ring finger.

Play an open D. Now use the pinkie to fret the 1st string at the 5th fret. Index finger 3rd string 2nd fret, middle finger 2nd string 3rd fret. That hurt for years. I can do it now, and use that chord a lot, but when I first tried, because I needed it for some song or other it was painful. Just remembered the song, Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle". Also Cat Stevens' "Moonshadow". Both use that chord, as well as the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood". Probably took me 2 years to get it where I could play that chord and not hurt every time.

Other chords just won't work or take me too long to place my fingers to be able to actually use them. If you start with 4th string 7th fret using the pinkie, 3rd string 6th fret with ring finger, 2nd string 5th fret with middle, and 1st string 4th fret with index finger. Some sort of A chord. I can do it but it's a stretch, no way I Can do it fast enough to use that chord in a song, I've tried for 30 years. That kind of stretch just won't happen fast, but finally it doesn't hurt any more.

A combination of things cause this I think. Those tendons tied together means everything is shortened slightly, and scar tissue won't stretch in addition to limited use of both ring and middle fingers and both having to do a lot of normal motions together. I think the past 15 years of working on computers and typing a hell of a lot has helped some, I started out hunt and peck, 3 words a minute. Now I can do 30 words a minute, more if I don't have to go back and correct a dozen mistakes, like the 3 in this sentence where I hit 2 keys at a time.

I don't do too bad these days, I don't think I've posted this here in a long time, but I have a few things I've recorded uploaded to my Bandmix account. A couple are originals, a coupe are cover tunes. Silhouette of A Daydream is an original I wrote in about 2005, in open G. Last Train is one I wrote in about 2009 or 2010, needs to be redone, and it's just guitars and vocals, didn't have instruments to finish it. I can play them, just don't have them available. (I also play bass, drums, keys, flute and sax) Desperately Electric Tea was written in the mid 80's, I uploaded it to show a couple of guys o that site what can be done with nothing but a $10 computer mic. While We Cry is a cover tune, originally by Kenny Wayne Sheppard, I played everything but drums, that was a keyboard drum machine. Recorded it by the "ping pong" method. Record onto my old reel to reel, patch that into a CD recorder and record it and the next track, rewire and record back onto the reel to reel with the next track and so forth. 2 guitars, organ, bass and drums. Took around 6 or 7 hours, we finally called it a night around 3 AM...fun though

http://www.bandmix.com/paleopete/

Nothing fancy there, I can play faster and more complicated stuff than any of that, none of it needed any fast and fancy...but it might give you an idea what you can do if you take your time, work through the pain and frustration, and occasional depression, and deal with an injury or handicap.

Here's a more recent video, done about 4 years ago, with the guys I'm in a band with now. This is pretty rough, first time we had even seen each other in 15 years, decided to record this for fun. One time through with my acoustic to get the song in our heads and off we went. Vocals are rough, I didn't warm up my voice enough, some of the high notes suck and one of us hit a sour note in the 1st chorus where we all 3 first start to sing harmonies. I did all the 2 part harmony in the verses myself, all 3 of us in the rest, and we did those twice to add some depth and get the feel of a choir doing it. Also added a 4th harmony part at that time. We're working on some others, but so far something we don't like about all the later recordings, so nothing online yet. Working on Doobie Brothers "Ukiah", maybe "South City Midnight Lady", Eagles "Life in the Fast Lane" and a couple of others. I also did a Phil Collins tune at home by myself, still not sure if I want to put it online, I messed up the guitar part in the intro a little. Everything else is fine, it's so tough to do I haven't tried to do it over again. Timing is really off the wall in places, makes it really tough to do unless 2 people take some time to work on it.

Keep in mind I'm not happy with the vocals here at all...we were tired of reworking it after about 9 hours...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKnqSKQCIs4
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Last edited by Paleo Pete at Mar 26, 2015,
#12
Like other people have said, you can play ANY song with E shape barre chords.
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