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#1
So I've been playing for about a year, but I was able to et serious when I got a new guitar the first day of summer. Its been a few month and I am still struggling with Barre Chords. I try using my thumb to push up against the back of the neck trying to help, but how can I improve barre chords? Any help would be appreciated!
#3
The most important thing is to relax. Don't apply huge amounts by anchoring the thumb too firmly as this will slow your chord changes down in the long run.

Practice heavily, relax and focus initially only on E string major and minor barred, followed by A string position then move on to 7th and 6th barre chords.
#4
There's a couple of alternative ways to play barre chords that put less tension on your thumb rather than the "gripping as hard as you can" approach. Give them a go and see if it makes a difference (this first one is a bit weird but I found it oddly helpful... not sure if it's legit though):

1) Instead of barring with the flat of your index finger, try to roll it onto it's left side eeever so slightly (that is, if you're using your left hand to fret you're looking at your finger with your palm facing towards you). The problem people have with barring is usually that they can get most of the strings ringing out OK but one or two mute due to a slight gap at the joints, so they overcompensate by trying to grip as hard as possible. The side of your finger doesn't have this gap so can help alleviate that issue. Don't turn it too much, it only needs a very slight adjustment, but hopefully you see the difference.

2) Another alternative is to barre the strings using the force of your arm pulling back rather than using the (weak) grip between your index finger and thumb. To get a good idea of what this is like simply try to barre the string without your thumb touching the back of the neck (don't do that all the time, it's still good to have a little support from the thumb, but it's a good way to demonstrate what I mean).
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Oct 19, 2015,
#5
try practicing with a heavy string gauge. you'll train your muscles and after a while you will play them like their nothing.
#6
Get a hold of some classical barring exercises and do them. Start higher up the neck ( i.e. 5th fret or higher)
#7
Barre chords are frustrating when you're starting out with them and it's very easy to get discouraged and put off practising them. Don't do this. Stick with it and practise them regularly and you'll soon master them.

Two things that I would add that may of obvious, but many people don't think about at first.

(1) Work on keeping your index finger completely straight. Not bending at the middle joints. If your finger is bent slightly, you may get the top and bottom strings ringing clearly, but you'll mute out the middle strings. Note - keep your finger and wrist relaxed when working on this. Don't tense up.

(2) Also ensure that your index finger is close to, and parallel to the fret wire. Make sure it is not at a diagonal angle across the fret. If it is at an angle you might find the high E string tends to be muted or buzz.
#8
B minor bar chord is pretty easy I just learned it last week I do it every day
#9
Thanks for all the tips! Now I can barre, and my new focus is to change chords faster as I play with them lol
#10
ok...assuming that your guitar is set up correctly..and you have a string gauge you like..

lets start with the monster F major chord..after this one the rest should be easier...

ok..just rest your fingers on top the strings in the chord form don't apply any pressure yet..your thumb behind the neck for support near the middle .. this will be flexible and will change as you move up the neck..

just press down on the strings and release the tension but don't take you fingers OFF the strings..press..release..do this several times..ok..

same thing..now strum the chord one down stroke when you press down..did it sound like a full chord..if not..go slower and repeat the exercise..remember when you release the pressure on the strings .. don't take you fingers off the strings..

do this in several positions 3rd fret 5th etc...

when you finally get the chord to ring true..hold the chord down for two strums..release and don't take your fingers off the strings..

then try three strums etc...now this may take a few weeks and your fingers may hurt..go slow take a break..and begin again ..perhaps 10-15 min a day until you can get 4-6 strums without a problem

hope this helps
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Nov 17, 2015,
#11
Remember that you don't need to barre all of the strings in the chord. You only need to barre the ones that aren't being fretted by other fingers.


Quote by Vincesax
try practicing with a heavy string gauge. you'll train your muscles and after a while you will play them like their nothing.


Guitar isn't weight lifting. If you use heavy strings, you're going to get used to using an amount of pressure that is inappropriate and counterproductive on lighter gauge. Worst case, it can cause injury. It's always best to practice on the instrument exactly as you intend to play it.
#12
Quote by Guitar Bandit
Barre chords are frustrating when you're starting out with them and it's very easy to get discouraged and put off practising them. Don't do this. Stick with it and practise them regularly and you'll soon master them.

Two things that I would add that may of obvious, but many people don't think about at first.

(1) Work on keeping your index finger completely straight. Not bending at the middle joints. If your finger is bent slightly, you may get the top and bottom strings ringing clearly, but you'll mute out the middle strings. Note - keep your finger and wrist relaxed when working on this. Don't tense up.

(2) Also ensure that your index finger is close to, and parallel to the fret wire. Make sure it is not at a diagonal angle across the fret. If it is at an angle you might find the high E string tends to be muted or buzz.


I'm finding it very difficult to make myself practice barre chords. I can do the open chords and switch between them quickly and easily. It's really hard to practice something that is difficult and sounds like shit when the open chords sound so good. I recognize it's the next step in my development as a player, but I dread barre chords. I have been trying out the "E Major" looking one, sliding it up and down the frets and playing it. Sounds like crap! I'm toying with the idea of practicing barre chords exclusively for an hour or two a day, but I'm worried the frustration will put me off playing. I'm playing a couple hours a day on average. Just picking.

I think the worst of it, for me, is that I have bad technique. I've been trying to improve, but the way I hold the guitar its' like I have to relearn it to play barre chords. My thumb never sits on the back of the neck like it should, always on the opposite side. Not enough to be useful, mind you...I can't thumb a string to save my life.
#13
I working on my fingerstyle technique, and nothing shows bad barring than plucking individual strings in the cord, they all have to be perfect.

This is a good artical about were you thumb should be, I've got away with bad technique for a decade, so get good form now or you will have to go back and relearn it.

http://andylemaire.com/bar-chord-hand-positions/

Also this...

http://www.guitarprinciples.com/for-all-styles/strengthen-that-bar

Warning: this is so FUCKING hard...
I had to do it with a capo for a week, just to get the fingering right. Remember any strength exercises are not about speed set your nome at 92? or slower.
But it works, I do it twice a day.
When your hand starts to hurt stop, time how long you have done.
You will see from your notes that your sedately getting better.
Last edited by onelove50 at Nov 18, 2015,
#14
Oh and don't worry about "relearning" stuff, as guitarist we all have to do it occasionally.

When I had been playing for a couple of years I was plagued by bad habits.... Just a bit of work irons them out, don't worry. And don't be fooled by people who say, "oh it's my style", proper form, is proper for a reason.

2 hours just on barre cords seems counter productive because you will get bored and hate them even more. Just find songs with 1 barre in them, when you can play it like the record. Move onto a song with 2, and so on.

Working on repertoire (and performing it) is the best and most enjoyable way of getting good at the guitar in the first couple of years.
Last edited by onelove50 at Nov 18, 2015,
#15
Quote by onelove50
Oh and don't worry about "relearning" stuff, as guitarist we all have to do it occasionally.

When I had been playing for a couple of years I was plagued by bad habits.... Just a bit of work irons them out, don't worry. And don't be fooled by people who say, "oh it's my style", proper form, is proper for a reason.

2 hours just on barre cords seems counter productive because you will get bored and hate them even more. Just find songs with 1 barre in them, when you can play it like the record. Move onto a song with 2, and so on.

Working on repertoire (and performing it) is the best and most enjoyable way of getting good at the guitar in the first couple of years.


Thanks for the tips. I will continue working on that "E Maj" looking barre. God knows when I'll be good enough at it to actually use it in a song. Maybe I'll just work on the chord every day for a good 10-15 minutes, and try to make them all productive. I'm assuming that once I get the first barre chord out of the way that the rest will come easier..is that too much to assume?
#16
Quote by mclardy99
So I've been playing for about a year, but I was able to et serious when I got a new guitar the first day of summer. Its been a few month and I am still struggling with Barre Chords. I try using my thumb to push up against the back of the neck trying to help, but how can I improve barre chords? Any help would be appreciated!
Well, there are two schools of thought regarding switching between electric and acoustic playing. Some say one ruins you for the other. While I'm not the greatest guitar player, I believe just the opposite. Which is, you'll never build up enough strength playing an electric, particularly with light strings. (.009 to .042).

My instructor, (50 odd years ago), simply gave me a Mel Bay chord book, and made me practice. 1, 2, 3, 4, change, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.

In any case, practicing on an acoustic with either light or custom light strings, should toughen you up plenty to manage an electric with even regular gauge strings. (.010 to .046). This is a strength training regimen like any other. Watch a ballplayer sometime. They warm up with either 2 bats, or a slip on weight collar. Drop the other bat, slip off the doughnut, and you can go hit a home run.

The guitar needs to be setup up properly. That includes the proper depth in the top nut slots. (You'll never seem to be quite able to do that 1st fret F barre if they're not cut correctly).

Other than that, you just have to slog through the hours and hours of practice necessary to build up the strength and stamina.

Barre chords are one of those disciplines, where asking questions on the internet is only going to be of minimal, (if any), help. Unless of course, you're doing it dead wrong, which is kind of unlikely.

So, drop your wrist well under the plane of the neck, get your thumb on the center of the neck, and push Um, pretty hard.

Quote by cdgraves
Remember that you don't need to barre all of the strings in the chord. You only need to barre the ones that aren't being fretted by other fingers....[ ]....
IMHO (of course), this is a tad impractical. If we add this up with some other advice given thus far like, "keep your finger perfectly straight", it begins to contradict itself.

First of all, most of today's fingerboards have a minimum radius of 16". Many are closer to 12" or 14". So, a "perfectly straight finger" isn't going to cut it. All that does is hit the board at the highest point. I don't know about you, but I really don't have the time to play head games with myself trying to figure out which strings I should be pushing lightly, and which ones get hit harder. Curve the finger as it contacts the board. In fact, most of the failures at hitting the root 6th chord, come from the 1st, 2nd, & 6th strings, simply because the high point of the fret board is behind the fingered strings. To correct that, (while simultaneously applying less pressure behind the fretted strings), using your method, you would have to form a more extreme arch in the index finger to avoid, applying excess pressure to strings 3, 4, & 5.

So again it makes sense, but it's a bit less than practical to implement.

In fact, it isn't a bad idea, to tune the guitar to a E chord, and play "Get off of My Cloud" for a few minutes a day. "Look Ma, one finger". "
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 18, 2015,
#17
Quote by TobusRex
Thanks for the tips. I will continue working on that "E Maj" looking barre. God knows when I'll be good enough at it to actually use it in a song. Maybe I'll just work on the chord every day for a good 10-15 minutes, and try to make them all productive. I'm assuming that once I get the first barre chord out of the way that the rest will come easier..is that too much to assume?


Yes 10-15 a day is perfect, if you wanna do more do it 15min in the morning 15min at night. Call it a E maj " shape", because there are many barre chords with the root on the 6th string.

And don't really listen to this guy.

Quote by cdgraves
Remember that you don't need to barre all of the strings in the chord. You only need to barre the ones that aren't being fretted by other fingers.


It will help you at first but when you attempt, minor, minor seventh and suspended barres, you need the barre to hold true, and then the rest come as easy as minor, minor seventh and suspended open cords.

Again I would suggest when you get your E maj " shape" down, use it in all the songs you can, and just work from there.
Last edited by onelove50 at Nov 18, 2015,
#18
Quote by Captaincranky

IMHO (of course), this is a tad impractical. If we add this up with some other advice given thus far like, "keep your finger perfectly straight", it begins to contradict itself.



Of course it's impossible with something like a x5756x, but if you're playing something like xx5433, you needn't barre anything but the "33" part.
#19
Quote by cdgraves
Of course it's impossible with something like a x5756x, but if you're playing something like xx5433, you needn't barre anything but the "33" part.
Well then, perhaps we al should have been more specific.

The TS appeared as though he were referring to a "grand barre"(*), which as you know, covers all 6 strings. The particular example you've given, (xx5433, quite frankly, I wouldn't even consider a barre chord.

"xx5433", is the actual answer to, "how can I get away without using a full barre".

(*) I would hazard a guess that 90% of threads on this topic, are exactly that. Pleas for help on grande barre forms.
#20
I would assume that people have trouble with the E-shape barre chord, in which case it is helpful to arch the barre a bit so that it's not working against itself. Keeping the index finger too straight or rigid puts the pressure on the middle strings - which are already fretted - and makes it harder to press on the outer strings where the barre actually is.
Last edited by cdgraves at Nov 18, 2015,
#21
Quote by cdgraves
I would assume that people have trouble with the E-shape barre chord, in which case it is helpful to arch the barre a bit so that it's not working against itself. Keeping the index finger too straight or rigid puts the pressure on the middle strings - which are already fretted - and makes it harder to press on the outer strings where the barre actually is.


My barre technique is such that I can barre all the chords with one finger. I don't even need to brace my thumb on the back of the neck. This lets me get a good stretch and good freedom with the other fingers. I have a few different techniques for whatever the job at hand is. Sometimes I'll back up the index with the next finger, sometimes I roll more to the side of the finger than others etcetera. Being able to play an easy flush barre like that opens a number of possibilities. You might be fine playing a low major shape with a poor barre, but if you want to improvise any extension that lifts a finger, your poor technique will be exposed. I play an 816ce so, I have medium strings on it. So basically, whatever guitar you have, you should eventually be able to do the same thing. It took me a while to be able to get to where I am now for that, and I'm still working on getting better. It all depends again on what you want to do, how versatile you want to be, and how much effort you want to put into it. 15-30 minutes a day will not be enough.

The barre is actually a very powerful technique. I used to exclusively thumb wrap for my low major chord grip, which I still do sometimes, but really the barre grip is much more versatile and powerful, because of the way you can hold it, and have so many other options available. You can run through the whole major scale like that, without ever lifting the barre.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 19, 2015,
#22
Quote by cdgraves
I would assume that people have trouble with the E-shape barre chord, in which case it is helpful to arch the barre a bit so that it's not working against itself. Keeping the index finger too straight or rigid puts the pressure on the middle strings - which are already fretted - and makes it harder to press on the outer strings where the barre actually is.
And I couldn't agree with you more. In fact I published the exact same sentiment in my OP.

In hindsight, I should have voiced my concerns in 2 different post. Combining a response to two different members in a single post likely muddied the waters.

This topic, the grand barre chord, seems to meet with a great many sympathizers and enablers, offering seemingly endless workarounds to the novice guitarist.

Despite having learned on a $15.00 Woolworth's slot head some 50 years ago, medium "Black Diamond" steel strings, high action and all, I feel fortunate that I wasn't offered any quarter against the full barre discipline.

Today, I play the 12 string as much as the six string acoustic, and use a full barre on the twelves. Can I keep it up all night, no. Are my twelves tuned to concert pitch, no. I make the concessions to reality necessary to enjoy the experience. Still in all, I don't pick up a solid body with light strings, then start whimpering about how hard it is to do a barre chord. I put in the work necessary early on, and knew how hard I had to work to obtain the results I desired.

Am I unreasonable, not sure. But, at least I don't think surfing the web, will get the job done, hard work will.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 19, 2015,
#23
Is it impossible for you to make a post without acting like a condescending jackass, cranky? Being a great guitar player is not justification for acting like a complete tool.
Last edited by TobusRex at Nov 19, 2015,
#24
Quote by TobusRex
Is it impossible for you to make a post without acting like a condescending jackass, cranky? Being a great guitar player is not justification for acting like a complete tool.
I'm far from a great guitar player. Nor have I ever claimed to be.

What was it I said that has you so torqued off? Perhaps, "you have to put in the work"?

Next I suggest you direct some of your formidable wrath at "fingerpickingood. After all, "his technique is so good, he doesn't even have to use his thumb to produce a barre".IMHO, that's fairly condescending. Not to mention possibly contrary to the laws of physics.

In the meantime, might I suggest a bit more practice, and a bit less character evaluation of me?

Basically, my greatest sin is telling the truth. A long time ago, someone turned me on to this old saw, "If you want to be alone, just be right".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 19, 2015,
#25
It wasn't something in this thread that "torqued" me off. It's been building up since I've been hanging around. I dislike your attitude, your thinly veiled presumption of superiority. "I learned on a piece of shit 50 years ago, blah blah blah...used razorwire instead of guitar strings. Did barre chords on it too, so I'm superior to you pussies finally getting around to learning. I'm so damn good I can do barres on 12 stringers, no prob."

That in a thread about barre chords. It's not enough to offer advice, you have to go on with the anecdote that proves how great you are in comparison and what worthless pieces of crap the rest of us are. Yeah...nobody is willing to "work" but you. Of course I work 60 and 72 hour weeks...but that doesn't matter, right? Maybe some of us don't consider playing a guitar "work"...maybe some of us do it because we love it?

As for what made me dislike you, previously I was curious about 12 stringers and asked a bunch of questions. You gave some good info, which I appreciated. I went to the local store and tried their 12's. I didn't like any of them. I complained about the thick necks...and of course you did the jackass thing which you do so well...implying I was lying about the thick, clubby necks. Of course you had no idea of which 12s I played, so your comment was 100% horseshit. For all you know I WAS playing a guitar with a cricket club neck, but that didn't stop you from acting like a prick. By the way...if you had implied I was lying to my face I'd have beaten you to a bloody pulp. Treat me with respect and I will repay...otherwise and the same is true.
Last edited by TobusRex at Nov 19, 2015,
#26
One of the most common issues is placing the thumb in the wrong position. Your thumb print should be the part that squeezes the back of the neck - not the tip - and it should be about halfway up, and pointing upwards to the ceiling.

It might feel natural to point your thumb sideways, but you should correct this.
#27
Quote by TobusRex
....[ ]....That in a thread about barre chords. It's not enough to offer advice, you have to go on with the anecdote that proves how great you are in comparison and what worthless pieces of crap the rest of us are. Yeah...nobody is willing to "work" but you. Of course I work 60 and 72 hour weeks...but that doesn't matter, right? Maybe some of us don't consider playing a guitar "work"...maybe some of us do it because we love it?
True, it's a thread about barre chords. Also true, it's not your thread about barre chords. At the bottom of these type threads, one theme is consistent, playing the guitar is harder than I thought it would be. But playing the guitar is the same as any other repetitive physical activity. The more you do it, the more your strength and stamina will increase, period.

FWIW, if I say I can do something, there's always tacit, "and you should be able to do it as well" in there.

Realistically speaking, with all the free lessons, tabs, and information published on the web, the average person will be able to go much further on their own, than way back when, where the only recourse was paid lessons at the corner music store.

Quote by TobusRex
As for what made me dislike you, previously I was curious about 12 stringers and asked a bunch of questions. You gave some good info, which I appreciated. I went to the local store and tried their 12's. I didn't like any of them. I complained about the thick necks...and of course you did the jackass thing which you do so well...implying I was lying about the thick, clubby necks.
Well, I have 4-12 strings ATM, and have gone through another 3 over the course of the years. The 5 most recent, a Taylor 115e, 2 Crafter hybrids, a Crafter D-8-12 dread, and an Epiphone I tossed in the trash, all had very similar necks. 1 7/8" width at the nut is pretty much the standard. So, there's very little difference, (IMHO), when I change from playing one to another. The Ovation I had played the same as well. The only 12 string I ever had with a "clubby neck" was a Guild jumbo from the mid 90's. I hear that they've added an extra truss rod and thinned those down considerably as well.

Something you really haven't considered, is it actually might be you at fault, and those guitars might not have been the issue. At least not in its entirety.

Quote by TobusRex
Of course you had no idea of which 12s I played, so your comment was 100% horseshit. For all you know I WAS playing a guitar with a cricket club neck, but that didn't stop you from acting like a prick. By the way...if you had implied I was lying to my face I'd have beaten you to a bloody pulp. Treat me with respect and I will repay...otherwise and the same is true.
You know, I actually think I'm not that hard to get along with. Really, I mean, I'm not calling you any names, cursing at you, spewing hate, or threatening to, "beat you to a bloody pulp".

It would seem you have a highly "sophisticated" sense of self worth as well.

So, to reiterate, this isn't your thread, so save your crap for the next time I try to help you. Not much to worry about there though.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 19, 2015,
#28
Yes, I'm certain it's all my fault. Your profile page isn't filled with dozens of people calling you a jackass or anything.

You are a rude piece of shit.
#29
Quote by TobusRex
Yes, I'm certain it's all my fault. Your profile page isn't filled with dozens of people calling you a jackass or anything.

You are a rude piece of shit.
There's also a few that seemed to have appreciated my help as well. Did you manage to miss them?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 19, 2015,
#30
Quote by Captaincranky
There's also a few that seemed to have appreciated my help as well. Did you manage to miss them?


The one I thought most appropriate (besides the one I added) is this:

This jerk will stalk and harrasss anyone of intelligence who makes helpful posts, probably because his lame ego demands that he dominate every thread. He doesn't care about the topic, only insulting others to make himself feel superior. He's nothing but a keyboard coward and pathetic loser, and the other comments in this profile confirm that. The really unfortunate thing about having a goon like this on the forum is that knowlegeble players are not going to stick around in such a trashy climate.

Plus this one from the moderator pretty much nails it:

You did not get warned for defending someone else's recommendation. (Because I also defended DR Rares as well) You got warned for trolling and trying to pick fights.
Frankly, I do respect your knowledge of guitars and your recommendations, but if you can't find a way to do it without constantly insulting others and picking fights, this may not be the right place for you.


With the knowledge you have you could be a tremendous mentor on here, but you choose to be a prick. I don't know where you were raised, or by whom, but they did a lousy job. You are an entitled, smug jackass.
Last edited by TobusRex at Nov 19, 2015,
#31
Quote by TobusRex
The one I thought most appropriate (besides the one I added) is this:

This jerk will stalk and harrasss anyone of intelligence who makes helpful posts, probably because his lame ego demands that he dominate every thread. He doesn't care about the topic, only insulting others to make himself feel superior. He's nothing but a keyboard coward and pathetic loser, and the other comments in this profile confirm that. The really unfortunate thing about having a goon like this on the forum is that knowlegeble players are not going to stick around in such a trashy climate.

Plus this one from the moderator pretty much nails it:

You did not get warned for defending someone else's recommendation. (Because I also defended DR Rares as well) You got warned for trolling and trying to pick fights.
Frankly, I do respect your knowledge of guitars and your recommendations, but if you can't find a way to do it without constantly insulting others and picking fights, this may not be the right place for you.


With the knowledge you have you could be a tremendous mentor on here, but you choose to be a prick. I don't know where you were raised, or by whom, but they did a lousy job. You are an entitled, smug jackass.
Then you should lead by good example, and simply shut up. ...

But again FWIW, I've never tried to optimize my profile page. Somebody writes something nice, somebody writes something nasty, I just leave it there. The good, the bad, and the ugly stay there, while I allow public opinion run its course. I've never removed anything.

Should I take this to mean you'll be stopping by then?

One thing though, I run into a lot of problems, simply by virtue of my chosen screen name. Something you would do well to take note of, as "rex" is Latin for "king". That gives off a certain air, and promotes certain founded or unfounded assumptions as well.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 19, 2015,
#32
Thanks for the Latin lesson. It fills my heart with joy that you had an opportunity to use Google Search and show off your brains.

If you had bothered to read my posting you'd have seen that I ALREADY posted to your page. Enjoy.
#33
Quote by TobusRex
Thanks for the Latin lesson. It fills my heart with joy that you had an opportunity to use Google Search and show off your brains.

If you had bothered to read my posting you'd have seen that I ALREADY posted to your page. Enjoy.
I hardly had to Google "rex". And like I said before the good, the bad, & the ugly on my profile are pretty much ignored by me.
So, you can go there, and act like the adult you no doubt think you are, and do all the ad hominem attacking you desire. "Ad" means "to the". "Hominem" you can look up yourself.
#34
I'm a beginner player; I've been frustrated with barre chords (working on F as it comes up in songs). Captaincranky, thanks for explaining how much work it takes to master it. It's easy for me to start thinking I'm just an inherently poor player when my progress doesn't continue as quickly as I think it should.
#35
Quote by Captaincranky
I'm far from a great guitar player. Nor have I ever claimed to be.

What was it I said that has you so torqued off? Perhaps, "you have to put in the work"?

Next I suggest you direct some of your formidable wrath at "fingerpickingood. After all, "his technique is so good, he doesn't even have to use his thumb to produce a barre".IMHO, that's fairly condescending. Not to mention possibly contrary to the laws of physics.

In the meantime, might I suggest a bit more practice, and a bit less character evaluation of me?

Basically, my greatest sin is telling the truth. A long time ago, someone turned me on to this old saw, "If you want to be alone, just be right".


It doesn't violate the laws of physics. Didn't mean for it to sound like that. OP was talking about having trouble and mentioned using the thumb. Thought it would be useful information that I sometimes barre without the thumb at all.
That's why I mentioned it, but I can see why you thought that. My bad.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 19, 2015,
#36
Quote by fingrpikingood
It doesn't violate the laws of physics. Didn't mean for it to sound like that. OP was talking about having trouble and mentioned using the thumb. Thought it would be useful information that I sometimes barre without the thumb at all.
That's why I mentioned it, but I can see why you thought that. My bad.
To me, the syntax of your statement are somewhat unclear.

To attempt to "barre without your thumb", at least without something supporting the neck from the rear, string tension would simply force the neck away from your finger. "For every action, an equal and opposite reaction occurs".

I would concede the guitar could be jammed against your body something. But perhaps what you meant, wasn't what you wrote.

No, "my bad" there, infuriated people are telling me I to do it all the time myself.
#37
Quote by blueturtle
I'm a beginner player; I've been frustrated with barre chords (working on F as it comes up in songs). Captaincranky, thanks for explaining how much work it takes to master it. It's easy for me to start thinking I'm just an inherently poor player when my progress doesn't continue as quickly as I think it should.


There's a lot to this. I've played for decades and still manage to disappoint myself grievously.

But, chord drills are indeed drudgery, there's no more palatable way of putting it.

Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, you had your book of chord progression drills, and you practiced them diligently, as you didn't want to disappoint your all too human instructor.

Beyond that, if I say I can do something, it bears the tacit belief that you should be able to do it as well.

There actually aren't a crap load of "tricks of the trade" to be learned. You need good basic, classical position form, and the rest is repetition.

I'm retired. So, I could practice barre chords all day, should I go that null to the rest of my life. But others have at battery of more pressing demands on their time.

Let's assume your guitar is setup correctly.

Let's assume you've strung it up with a gauge of string set you can manage for the rest of your playing.

Let's assume that you don't have any tangible medical conditions which prevent you from gaining the necessary strength, or causing any pain, other than that from simple skin contact and exertion.

Finally, let's assume you have the time necessary to invest in proper practice.

Now, what's left? I believe only repetition of the behaviour you want to improve upon (Better known as "practice".

When you hear people coming in and telling you "how easy barre chords are", keep in mind, I deeply believe they "don't know their own strength", or they're simply busting your chops. (Pun not intended, although it works well, if I do say so myself).

Now, take a moment to go through my stipulations. Which criteria don't you feel you meet?
#38
Quote by Captaincranky
To me, the syntax of your statement are somewhat unclear.

To attempt to "barre without your thumb", at least without something supporting the neck from the rear, string tension would simply force the neck away from your finger. "For every action, an equal and opposite reaction occurs".

I would concede the guitar could be jammed against your body something. But perhaps what you meant, wasn't what you wrote.

No, "my bad" there, infuriated people are telling me I to do it all the time myself.


You understood it correctly. It doesn't sound possible, I know, but it is. Even when I do use my thumb, it is often only kind of just there as an anchor point, and isn't really doing much other than offering stability. I must intuitively brace with my elbow/against my body or something like that. I never really analyzed it before, but since I can do it, I'm pretty confident it doesn't violate the laws of physics.

For some of the grips I do with a barre on that guitar, there is no other way I could get the power I needed unless I really pushed like that on the guitar. I can't generate the sort of power I need with a sort of pinching action with my thumb. After getting that, I realized the thumb wasn't really doing that much. I push really hard that way. Like I said earlier, it's an 816 with medium strings, so the pressure to form a barre like that is significant, but I can do it without pushing the guitar around my body.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 19, 2015,
#39
Quote by fingrpikingood
The barre is actually a very powerful technique. I used to exclusively thumb wrap for my low major chord grip, which I still do sometimes, but really the barre grip is much more versatile and powerful, because of the way you can hold it, and have so many other options available. You can run through the whole major scale like that, without ever lifting the barre.



I've never understood why people try to force the thumb fretting on completely conventional barre chords. Forcing the thumb all the way over doesn't really free up any dexterity.

I use a partial barre or double stop quite a lot, as well. It's really indispensable for the kind of legato you want in jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, or anything with that kind of inflection. Makes rock n roll pentatonic legatos a piece of cake, too.
#40
Quote by cdgraves
I've never understood why people try to force the thumb fretting on completely conventional barre chords. Forcing the thumb all the way over doesn't really free up any dexterity.

I use a partial barre or double stop quite a lot, as well. It's really indispensable for the kind of legato you want in jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, or anything with that kind of inflection. Makes rock n roll pentatonic legatos a piece of cake, too.


The thumb wrap suits a more bluesy style of play, more bending and stuff like that, and is really comfortable for that. You can see that just a turn of the wrist can bend nicely, and your wrist is in a good orientation for that. There are a number of chords where I might choose the thumb or the barre depending on the situation. Overall, I find the barre a more powerful position, but both are indispensable, to me.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 20, 2015,
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