I have been playing guitar for about a year now; I have been trying to learn barre chords recently and had a little success with mini barres up to four strings. I have been trying to learn the big barres with five or more strings that I need to hold down and I have found that my ring and middle finger are now in pain after attempting them. I typically go through a full warm up with both of my hands and have never had any pain until I started to learn barre chords. Any suggestions for pain prevention or how to handle the pain while playing?
Last edited by tonimleya at Apr 8, 2016,
You are going through exactly the same as what every guitarist goes through, call it your baptism. When I learnt em at first I just couldn't see how it was possible to do a full strings bar. Maybe 2-3 weeks of hand agony later, bang!

Just a case of building up the strength, it takes time, no pain no gain.
And once u get em, no pain at all. For life. I've been a few months in the past without playing, yet never had any pain on the bars. They're probably to do with muscle memory as much as strength.

U learning on an acoustic or an electric? If you learn on an electric ur fucked again if u try to play an acoustic!
Last edited by Stratman2016 at Apr 10, 2016,
If you're using electric you could also consider going for a lighter string gauge, probably one gauge lower than what you have. Just power though it and it will click.
You might want to exercise and warm up those wrist muscles first. I bought some hand therapy kit after I had an accident and needed to regain strength to play, these were great:

You start from the lightest and graduate up. Great for guitar warm ups, I still use them to this day.
Don't forget to warm up your hands before going in for the barres or any other hard guitar acrobatics, you can do some unrepairable damage to your hand if you go cold.

Maybe start with these:
Last edited by diabolical at Apr 10, 2016,
Yup as said before just keep practicing! I preformed Harvest by Opeth which is a about 5 minutes long all big bar chords. By the end of the song I was always so sore in the hand! But I watched a video of Michael AKerfeldt playing through the song and at the end he is shaking the blood back into his left hand. So it might always be there a little bit just keep practicing and stregnthening your muscles!
Don't put so much strength into pinching your thumb and index. Pull to guitar toward your body with your arm instead. It makes it way easier.
Thank you everyone that responded. I did try and place my hand differently on the neck of the guitar, it did make a big difference. Affter about a week of just practicing with the F and B barre cords my pain did go away. :-)
Tip from Rob Chapman that I found useful was: if you are sitting down to practice then move the guitar so it is in between your legs This alters the angle of the neck. Then, if you were to stand up, the angle of the neck does not change between the seated and standing position. This change of angle will change the stresses on your wrist. You can then change between the two positions to give your wrist a rest. Don't battle through the pain you might hurt your wrist. You need to slowly build up strength.
Last edited by monabri at Apr 29, 2016,
I'm sure you already know and I feel kinda dumb for saying this but...using the side of your finger instead of the flats requires a lot less pressure, just throwing it out there. It actually doesn't take hardly any pressure, your finger just doesn't naturally want to bend that way.
Flying in a blue dream
I don't mean to revive an old thread. I just think it's important to reiterate the point about not hurting yourself for anyone reading this. I learned barre chords one day, and then every now and then in my practise slipped a few in between regular chords. Then I had to play barre chords with a band, I wasn't ready for so much barre chord practise, it was so much over a few weeks, it really hurt. I had to stop completely. Now, a couple months later (hand pretty much healed) I picked up my guitar again and I can play them easily, and now when my hand hurts a little I stop!!!! and pick up my guitar again later! Your muscles need to build up strength and heal. Anyway, I have heard stories from teachers about people getting excited when they start a course and practise way too much and injure themselves because they think to themselves "no pain no gain", ending up getting surgery and not being able to play for a year or so.