#1
I'm an aspiring songwriter, so my practice time has pretty much been spent looking at a chord sheet and deciding what sounds good for my songs. I'm kinda proud of the progress I've made in 8 months. But I'm always playing open chords on the top 3 frets. I've avoided bar chords to sticking to keys a, d, and g, where the minor chords are A minor and e minor. To my novice ears, this sounds fine. But what am I missing out on by not going up and down the fret board? What should I be doing?
#2
Quote by panman36
I've avoided bar chords.....But what am I missing out on by not going up and down the fret board? What should I be doing?


I think your answer is right there fella ;-)
#3
From what you explained... You're opening a magazine and only choosing to read the intro article. I mean, we're talking about open chords by the head of the guitar? Chord shapes can be played everywhere on the guitar, each shape will sound different where you play it. Some major and minor chords sound nice but if you want music that doesn't sound the same after the first 2 minutes you'll need to start practicing much more than open chords.

Barre chords are a great idea, tough when you first start out. Playing some scales is what everyone is told to do and go ahead and practice them. If not only for the feel of playing single notes and not just chords. Then you'll progress into arrpeggios (chords that are played one note at a time) and this and that.

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#4
Hi Pan,

I think your first problem is relying on a chord sheet. It's good that you're learning new chords, but it seems like you're randomly strumming until you find something nice sounding. While you WILL find some unorthodox and cool sounding progressions, you should spend time learning which chords are in which keys so you know some progressions off the top of your head to build on.


You are also making a mistake by not learning barre chords properly. They're the same exact chords as the open chords, but the change in pitch and fuller tone can really add what you're looking for. Once you get better at them, playing songs will get easier as you can simply slide your hand up and down the neck to play different chords (no need to change your hand position at all, unless you go from minor to major etc. or need to strum a note on the A string).


Barre chords open a world of possibilities for playing different styles by varying your strum speed. If you want to play a cool sounding reggae song, for instance, barre chords are the way to do it. You're limited when you play open chords because the open strings will ring out and muddy up the sound. With barre chords, you have complete control!


Lastly, don't forget to try new things! Experiment with hammer ons and pulls offs of certain notes while playing your chords/arpeggios. It'll bring your sound to the next level
#5
I should say I am learning and practicing Barre chords. However progress is frustrating. I'm not near able to play them fluidly in a song. And I've worked out a number of songs, which sound fine to me, without any Barre chords such as F, B, Bm, etc.

So advice so far seems to be... keep practicing Barre chords and i will. I realize G as a Barre chord has a different sound than open G. But at this point open G just sounds fine to me.

You're right, I have avoided practicing scales. Is that necessary for my purposes? Not really trying to play any fancy licks here. my songs are generally the folk/ country / pop rock vein if that makes any difference. I hope to start performing soon. Thanks for the advice so far
Last edited by panman36 at Apr 14, 2015,
#6
Quote by panman36
I should say I am learning and practicing Barre chords. However progress is frustrating. I'm not near able to play them fluidly in a song.


Barre chords take a lot of practice, and they're particularly difficult for beginners. With practice and time though they will get easier.
#7
That's better than avoiding them ;-)

There is lots of good advice on here about practising barre chords and, as vayne92 says, they take time.

In addition to advice you find on here I would also say to just try using them even if you don't quite have them sounding perfect every time. What I mean is pick a song and learn it with solely barre chords. I say this as I found that when I stopped stressing on them and just played them in songs, after a while, something just clicked. In fact, I just realised, one day, that they were sounding good.
#8
Just keep working on the barre chords. A good exercise is to simply take some songs you already know and convert all the open chords into barre chords, that'll give you plenty to work on.
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#9
Quote by steven seagull
Just keep working on the barre chords. A good exercise is to simply take some songs you already know and convert all the open chords into barre chords, that'll give you plenty to work on.


I like your advice thanks. I'll try that. I guess i find it difficult enough to decide which chord to play in a song, much less on which part of the neck to play it... dear god.

This is a song I've been practicing about every day, which I find crazy difficult and good practice for a wide range of chords 😆 http://www.guitaretab.com/b/beatles/1161.html (the second version)

Since this seems to have turned into a discussion on practicing Barre chords... is it better practice to try to keep time and play them sloppy or to take the time to make sure you are playing clean?
Last edited by panman36 at Apr 14, 2015,
#11
Quote by panman36
Since this seems to have turned into a discussion on practicing Barre chords... is it better practice to try to keep time and play them sloppy or to take the time to make sure you are playing clean?


Since you're more of a strummer you just need to make sure that your first finger placement is correct and strong. It's really the only hard part about barre chords. Once you're able to place it so that all notes ring out, speeding it up shouldn't be a problem.

Practice your barre around the 5th to 9th frets for the least string resistance and then practice on the 1-5 frets once you have some strength.
#12
Quote by Insanekid50
Practice your barre around the 5th to 9th frets for the least string resistance and then practice on the 1-5 frets once you have some strength.


That's definitely the easiest spot for barre chords. Something like a standard F barre chord for example is VERY difficult for beginners, so I'd definitely say playing around the 5th-9th frets is a good idea until you improve