Page 1 of 2
#1
Ever since I started self teaching myself guitar last December, everything was going smoothly. Every open chord I teach myself seems hard at first, but within one week of heavy practicing, I eventually get it. But ever since I tried that F chord, I just can't get it. I've been trying this barre chord for THREE MONTHS and do HOURS of practice EVERYDAY, but I still can't get it. I can't switch to the F chord smoothly and quick enough, I can only get a clean sound 40% of the time, the muscle on my hand aches when I hold the F chord for too long, and my finger still hurts from the barring.

This is crazy. I've been extremely patient trying to learn this damn chord but I'm getting no where. What is wrong with me? It should not take over three months just to become half decent at this.
#2
Yes it does. Keep practicing. Once you learn barre chords, you pretty much know every single major chord.
If Rock is a life-style, then Metal's an addiction

Yelloooow!


Of The


UG Challenge

#3
The F chord (1st fret) always sucks and I have been playing for over 40 years. Pretty much no reason to ever play it fully barred so just play the open position or use any other position that suits you.

I played three sets this weekend with a young group of talented musicians and the keys player/lead singer chose the keys and prepared lead sheets for us. Yep, a bunch of them in F and Eb. If there was a horn section I could understand but alas... no horns and still we got Chinese water torture keys for guitarists. Such is life.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#5
I suck at barre chords. I always feel like I'm applying way too much pressure, but no matter how I position my hand I can't get a clean sound without pressure. Whether I move it up/down or rotate it to the side.

It's fine for for the odd chord, but songs that feature barre chords heavily leave me with a very tired and aching hand - which leads me to believe I'm not doing it right.

In that video above for example; I cannot get my finger to barre all the strings and have them all ring. I guess my fingers are too skinny. No matter how I place my finger at least one string is dead.
Last edited by gweddle.nz at Mar 24, 2015,
#8
You will get it in the end.I learned it on an acoustic classical guitar so when i moved to electric it was easy.Just takes alot of practice and moving your hand and wrist position slightly until you find that sweet spot where you make all the strings ring out and then learning to hit it every time.You gotta finger it slowly at first and in time you'll speed up.
#9
proper guitar set up helps ALOT..

things to consider: nut adjustment..to string gauge..some strings just sit in the groove NOT fully set deep in the nut..file nut to accommodate string size..(you may want a tech to do this for you)

change string gauge..to thinner strings

adjust string action

adjust neck

the pressure required to play an F barre chord should be the same amount of pressure to play any barre chord..

also try this with barre chords..form an E chord shape with fingers 2 3 & 4.. don't take you fingers off the strings..just apply ENOUGH pressure to make the chord "sound" then release/relax pressure..again don't take you finger off the strings..now..slide the chord form one fret higher..do the same exercise..now barre the chord..and do the "pressure/relax" thing..slide up one fret at a time with this as high as you frets will allow...then do it in reverse..now go lower one fret at a time..."pressure/relax"

note your thumb position in forming barre chords..use it behind the neck for additional pressure application..helps ALOT

hope this helps
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Mar 24, 2015,
#10
are you learning the E position barre chord? if so the make an E chord with your 2nd, 3rd finger and pinkey. practice that for a bit. then slide that down and drop your first finger across the first frets boom F chord. barre chords take a while to get but once you do they will seem easy. most guys have the vulcan death grip going when they first start which cramps you fingers and kills you hand.
#11
Quote by Macabre_Turtle


It could also be possible that your action is too high.



True. A high action in the nut (in most mass produced cheap guitars this is a common flaw) will certainly make doing a barre at at the 1st fret a pain in the ass, especially for a beginner.

ESP LTD F-50 + Tonezone
Cort EVL-Z4 + X2N
Cort EVL-K47B

Marshall Valvestate 8100
Randall RG1503
Bugera 333
Peavey Rockmaster preamp

Line6 Pod X3
#12
Barre chords take a ton of practice to transition smoothly in and out of. I was playing relatively complicated lead lines before I was able to play decent barre chords.
#13
I thought I replied to this earlier...

OK Anyway I learned on an old Silvertone acoustic with whatever Black Diamond extra heavy strings were available in the 60's. Barre chords were really tough. I started by learning the F chord only barring the 1st two strings, by the time I started learning barre chords I had been playing several years and had fingers that were strong enough to handle it.

I would suggest working mostly with just the 1st two strings barred, try barring all 6 now and then and keep working at it till you build up finger strength. Low action does help. Don't try to wrap your thumb around the neck to barre all 6 strings, use it placed in the middle of the back of the neck to give your fingers some support. I never even think about it so I had to pick up my guitar and see, I wrap my thumb when playing with only the 1st two strings barred, and use it for support in the middle of the neck for barre chords.

Since I have trouble with my wrist and tendons I often switch those 2 chord structures onstage, again without even thinking about it. At home for practicing it makes a little difference in sound, but onstage with a bass player you'll never notice it.

Something I did years ago, I got one of the spring loaded hand exerciser thingies with two handles and a spring in between. Don't know what they're called. I used it daily for several years when I was really having trouble with left hand getting tired easy when playing a lot, to build up strength in that hand. It eventually helped, I lost it years ago and never bothered to get another one. Haven't had trouble with it in a long time though even if I take a break and don't play for a couple o months. Might be worthwhile to look for one of those.

This is the type I used

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Hand-Grip-Fitness-Exercise-Wrist-Arm-Strength-Builder-2-Pieces-New-/171610030836

you can also get this type, might be good for guitar players.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gripmaster-PRO-Black-9-lbs-Heavy-Tension-Hand-Exerciser-/181204783828
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#14
maybe record yourself here so people can have a look at what you're doing

https://www.youtube.com/my_webcam

i think strength helps a lot in holding correct form. but you need to have rest/recovery periods in order for strength to develop. i make sure that i don't allow any particular finger to ache too much during practice, and i have rest days to allow recovery (muscle growth).

to improve my F chord i will play F->another chord->F for like an hour straight (or less). but i think it is my strength from gym that allows me to do this and with appropriate positioning and strength. if you are strong then you have a far greater degree of control over your body under difficult circumstances

^ noob
Last edited by percydw at Mar 24, 2015,
#15
Quote by percydw
maybe record yourself here so people can have a look at what you're doing

https://www.youtube.com/my_webcam

i think strength helps a lot in holding correct form. but you need to have rest/recovery periods in order for strength to develop. i make sure that i don't allow any particular finger to ache too much during practice, and i have rest days to allow recovery (muscle growth).

to improve my F chord i will play F->another chord->F for like an hour straight. but i think it is my strength from gym that allows me to do this and with appropriate positioning and strength. if you are strong then you have a far greater degree of control over your body under difficult circumstances

^ noob

strength has nothing to do with this. i know it seems that way when you start but i can make an f barre without even putting my thumb on the neck at all (and i don't have really low action) . keeping your fingers loose is the way to go and you'll find after the initial problems that once you get it that you don't need nor should use strenght to hold it down. believe me it will come just takes time.
#16
strength in this context means muscle , which allows you to control your body and position your fingers correctly without much "effort".

like , a very strong/muscular person can move his arms very quickly and accurately compared to someone who doesn't have muscle. he can also apply a lot of force onto objects, but that's not necessarily the same thing

make sense?
#17
Same boat, F' the F chord. I just don't play the the high E. Makes switchin from Am or C super easy, sounds fine. Proper? meh F it. 99% of people won't notice.
#18
Quote by percydw
strength in this context means muscle , which allows you to control your body and position your fingers correctly without much "effort".

like , a very strong/muscular person can move his arms very quickly and accurately compared to someone who doesn't have muscle. he can also apply a lot of force onto objects, but that's not necessarily the same thing

make sense?


umm.... no. fretting chords takes some coordination but that just plain isn't about strength. sorry. ever look at most guitar players. scrawny bunch of guys. i've seen broom handles that were bigger than johnny winter's arms.
#19
Quote by percydw
strength in this context means muscle , which allows you to control your body and position your fingers correctly without much "effort".

like , a very strong/muscular person can move his arms very quickly and accurately compared to someone who doesn't have muscle. he can also apply a lot of force onto objects, but that's not necessarily the same thing

make sense?


What a load of bollocks. Tell this to Guthrie Govan.
#20
jumbo frets also help a lot, you may switch your guitar if you feel its lower quality, i switched from a 50$ plywood acoustic to a better one and its much easier to play now
#21
Quote by vayne92
What a load of bollocks. Tell this to Guthrie Govan.


? presumably he has very strong fingers

my comment about "arms" was just to describe muscle in a general way (nothing to do with guitarists arms) . superior muscle gives you superior control of your body. superior control of your fingers means you can implement better technique
Last edited by percydw at Mar 25, 2015,
#22
In all honesty you're just expecting too much too soon, 3 months may seem a lot but in reality it's nothing. I didn't even attempt barre chords until around 3 months in, and of course I was t able to play them particulary well until quite a while later, never mind the F chord.

One thing you learn very early is that wanting to do something on the guitar is never enough, sheer force of will doesn't get you anywhere. You will have to put a lot of work and time into it, and especially early on things can be very difficult. Playing the guitar is a very un-natural set of actions for your body to get used to. At 3 months you're still likely going to be a very clumsy,awkward guitar player and that only compounds the issue especially what trying anything other than the absolute basics. And whilst they're certainly an important, fundamental concept barre chords aren't particularly easy.

It's true that things like a proper set-up and newer strings tend to help but it's most likely just a matter of time. Just bear in mind that you don't get to decide the time frame for achieving things with the guitar - things simply take as long as they take.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#23
Quote by percydw
? presumably he has very strong fingers

my comment about "arms" was just to describe muscle in a general way (nothing to do with guitarists arms) . superior muscle gives you superior control of your body. superior control of your fingers means you can implement better technique



Strength has nothing to do with size, especially finger strength and applying pressure to the fretboard.
#24
try playing the E chord as if you were going to play an f chord maybe. also if you have damaged frets your life becomes a lot harde then it needs to be.
Quote by joshua garcia
I was incredibly drunk and only really remember writing a fanfic where ESP was getting porked by a pony.

Quote by guitar0player
I'd honestly fap to anything with a set of genitals as long as I find it aesthetically appealing.
#25
Quote by steven seagull
In all honesty you're just expecting too much too soon, 3 months may seem a lot but in reality it's nothing. I didn't even attempt barre chords until around 3 months in, and of course I was t able to play them particulary well until quite a while later, never mind the F chord.

One thing you learn very early is that wanting to do something on the guitar is never enough, sheer force of will doesn't get you anywhere. You will have to put a lot of work and time into it, and especially early on things can be very difficult. Playing the guitar is a very un-natural set of actions for your body to get used to. At 3 months you're still likely going to be a very clumsy,awkward guitar player and that only compounds the issue especially what trying anything other than the absolute basics. And whilst they're certainly an important, fundamental concept barre chords aren't particularly easy.

It's true that things like a proper set-up and newer strings tend to help but it's most likely just a matter of time. Just bear in mind that you don't get to decide the time frame for achieving things with the guitar - things simply take as long as they take.


Thanks. That makes me feel more at ease. It's now about a month later since I started this thread and the barre chord still is very difficult for me. The muscle memory and the coordination just won't kick in as fast as it did when I started learning the open chords. My body and mind is very stubborn with this, but I will get this eventually. I know I can do this...
Last edited by GuitarDude85 at Apr 18, 2015,
#26
Yeah the f chord is a tough one sometimes I can do it sometimes I can,
There is an easy f chord its D,G,B just strumm these 3 strings and when u get this down
U can try barring the e string and do the real f chord hope this helps
#27
As other people have said it's just something that takes time and a lot of practice. I've spent more time learning barre chords than all open chords combined, and they still aren't perfect all the time, even after about 5 months of practicing them. You will just gradually get better and better at them, but it won't happen overnight.

Using the right technique (rolling your finger slightly onto it's side for example, and also putting the barre as close to the actual fret as possible) helps a bit, but even then it will just take awhile to learn them. Also it might help to try playing the same shape barre chord further up the neck (5th fret would be an A barre chord for example). Eventually you'll want to be able to play them everywhere of course, but when you are still learning them F is the hardest one by far.

They unlock a whole new dimension of playing once you do learn them though, so stick with it! You can move them all over the fretboard so you will basically be able to play 100 new chords once you get good at them.
#28
I don't even bother with Barre chords - I just look for an easier alternative, Why put yourself through all that hassle.
#29
Wow. This just goes to show that something is seriously wrong with me. I was finally getting it. The last two days, I was finally starting to switch to the F chord smoothly. But today, I'm completely out of it. I'm not switching smoothly at all today. Weird, ain't it??
#30
Quote by GuitarDude85
The muscle memory and the coordination just won't kick in as fast as it did when I started learning the open chords.


That is completely normal. I used to get all worked up that I wasn't learning them fast enough either and I ended up giving myself a bad injury. Take your time and make sure you only feel soreness "pain", any other kind of pain and you should stop right away.

Quote by GuitarDude85


Wow. This just goes to show that something is seriously wrong with me. I was finally getting it. The last two days, I was finally starting to switch to the F chord smoothly. But today, I'm completely out of it. I'm not switching smoothly at all today. Weird, ain't it??


That's also completely normal. Everyone has off days. Try warming up and stretching before starting next time.
Last edited by RicketyCricket at Apr 19, 2015,
#31
A lot of different things have to all come together at the same time before playing a barred chord is possible, let alone easy. You are going to find you will have good days and bad days. On the bad days I will practice other things for a while to take my mind off it and then come back to it later. Sometimes later means the next day. I would suggest you do take your guitar into a qualified guitar tech and have them check the setup. I had my SG done about 6 months after I got it and when I got it home I would have bet I had a completely different guitar. It was SO much easier to play (without the strings buzzing) than it had been it was unreal. Until then I hadn't known just how much of a change a good setup can give. One thing I had done was to have to frets polished, made sliding the chords up and down the neck a lot easier on my fingers.
#32
Quote by GuitarDude85
Wow. This just goes to show that something is seriously wrong with me. I was finally getting it. The last two days, I was finally starting to switch to the F chord smoothly. But today, I'm completely out of it. I'm not switching smoothly at all today. Weird, ain't it??


Which F are you playing, the barre chord E or the c shaped one on the top 4 strings? They're both tricky for beginners but the C shaped one was easier to me at first.
#33
I had the action lowered on my Yamaha acoustic, and lowered the string gauge slightly (12's to 11's) and it made a world of difference.
#34
It took me a few months. Focus on building strength in your index finger. That's what really helped me with barre chords.
#35
Just to add to this, I've been practising bar chords more often now. I've found that barring the index finger higher up than I though was necessary, and rolling it to the side has helped me barre chords with a very relaxed grip - no more than any open chord.

That said, it can still be hard on the first fret due to the higher action on the nut. If you capo on 1st fret (or above) it makes it a lot easier I find. All of this I keep in mind for when I get my next guitar (low nut action please!). This is on acoustic mind you, probably easier on the electric.
#36
Ok, seriously guys. How long does this take? Can you believe I STILL have not mastered this bar chord and it's been four months since I started this thread? This cannot be normal. Maybe there is something wrong with me or my guitar.
#37
Even on shittily set up guitars you should still be able to do it. Is it just the f chord in root position you're having trouble with or is it any and every barre chord?
ayy lmao
#38
Quote by GuitarDude85
Ok, seriously guys. How long does this take? Can you believe I STILL have not mastered this bar chord and it's been four months since I started this thread? This cannot be normal. Maybe there is something wrong with me or my guitar.


http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/tips_to_help_you_master_barre_chords.html

cmon man are you even trying
#39
Are you slowing it right down? Switch from C to F, then G to F, then A to F, etc... very slowly. Repeat indefinitely until it becomes easy. Only speed up when you can do it without thinking.
#40
Quote by GuitarDude85
Ok, seriously guys. How long does this take? Can you believe I STILL have not mastered this bar chord and it's been four months since I started this thread? This cannot be normal. Maybe there is something wrong with me or my guitar.


It can take a while. But sometimes it's not just how much you try, or for how long, but technique as well.

You may need to change something up. I use medium strings on an acoustic, and it took me a really long time, some hardcore callouses to be able to get the strength and technique for barre chords that I have now.
Page 1 of 2