#1
Hello!

I have browsed the site over the years from time to time, but never joined until now. I've never played guitar prior to June of 2016 - I got injured pretty badly and was confined to a couch for most of two months, so I picked up a guitar and began teaching myself through Youtube and other methods. Long story short, I'm doing alright for a very beginner, but I'm encountering the same issues I am sure every player known to man has encountered, and figured some of you guys would have some helpful feedback on how I can improve.

I suck with barre chords UNLESS my guitar is in a different....stance?

I don't play standing up much at all - the injury was a back injury and I do my best just to get up in the morning and put my boots on, so when I play, it is usually sitting down. Needless to say, I don't aspire to really perform with a guitar - I do love creating things though and music is something I've always been into/worked with. Not to mention my stress levels are so much better with this as an outlet...kind of amazing, really.

So, back to the stance thing.....whether it be electric or acoustic, I don't keep the guitar on my lap in the traditional "sitting on right leg" stance (when using barres), I actually swing it a little to the left almost like a spanish guitar type style. (Sitting in the middle of my legs/mostly on the left). I am more inclined to do this with the electric to get clean barres with palm muting.

I guess it's from playing in a computer chair as well, but I seem to get much more leverage on barre chords and they are much more comfortable to play if I have the added arm torque and I keep my index finger slightly curved so the bony part is fretting the strings. Also, I am NOT making an excuse because I know it can be done, but I have fairly small hands/short fingers so barres are a b----. Still, I am working with what I got but was wondering if there was anyone else with particularly short fingers that have managed to fluidly switch between barre chords and make them sound good without breaking your bones/guitar neck. Also, working on incorporating my pinky as much as possible! It is loads better now than it was, but it tends to curve inwards towards the ring finger, instead of down. Not really sure what I can do about that, but I'm working it. Are there any exercises I can do to strengthen the grip?

Standing up and playing it's almost relearning things in some ways....open chords are pretty easy, barres are insanely difficult to produce well. I have the strap so the guitar is right at waist level - any lower and it's near impossible with my T-Rex arms.

Open to all suggestions and hope the post wasn't too long....
Here is a link to some of the stuff I've done/written so far. I am rather fond of open chords because I can cheat and make it sound alright...haha.

Look forward to the replies, cheers!

https://soundcloud.com/user-71680307
#2
i used to suck with barre chords till i succumbed to a bad habit. then i saw guitarists like john mayer and hendrix do the same thing so I never corrected it.


I do that for a lot of my chords when i'm lazy. helps when i'm playing someone elses shitty guitar with the highest action possible and the chords to the song are F F F F F F FFFFFFFFFFFfffffffffFFFFFFF

edit: embed
"ba doo doo ba doo doo ba doo daa"
- earth,wind, and fire
Last edited by hecks at Jan 6, 2017,
#3
Try to set the strap so that the guitar sits the same as if you were sitting down.

Try playing with the angle that the guitar neck sits at. Keep your pickhand at your hip or closer to your body and kind of push the frethand away from your body a bit, almost like its right out in front of you. You can get more strength and a different angle. Barre chords are hard and take a lot of practice a fiddling to get right. Try lots of things and figure out what works and what doesn't.
#4
Three things I would try.

1) Hike the guitar, standing or sitting, that means pull the strap way up so the guitar is right under a nipple and when you are sitting use a footstool and support the guitar on your left leg (assuming you are a righty). Keeping the guitar down at belt level looks cool if you are a chunking metalhead and all but its REALLY hard on your wrists if you are doing much more than power chords. Find a video of Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) if you want an example, of a "high" riding guitar.

2) Thumb on the back of the neck, even with the middle finger. Don't squeeze with it per se its mostly there to keep you from pulling the neck back towards you, think support.

3) Elbow out away from your body...ideally you uses the side of the index finger, because it is a more straight line and you won't end up with the strings getting into the fold under the knuckle, it also keeps your wrist in a more natural angle which reduces wear and tear (and prevents tendinitis) a lot of guys starting out keep their elbow in against their ribs, which is great when you are up on the 12th fret, for open/1st possition barres its another one that twists your wrist out of shape.
#5
Quote by tripped1
Three things I would try.

1) Hike the guitar, standing or sitting, that means pull the strap way up so the guitar is right under a nipple and when you are sitting use a footstool and support the guitar on your left leg (assuming you are a righty). Keeping the guitar down at belt level looks cool if you are a chunking metalhead and all but its REALLY hard on your wrists if you are doing much more than power chords. Find a video of Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) if you want an example, of a "high" riding guitar.

2) Thumb on the back of the neck, even with the middle finger. Don't squeeze with it per se its mostly there to keep you from pulling the neck back towards you, think support.

3) Elbow out away from your body...ideally you uses the side of the index finger, because it is a more straight line and you won't end up with the strings getting into the fold under the knuckle, it also keeps your wrist in a more natural angle which reduces wear and tear (and prevents tendinitis) a lot of guys starting out keep their elbow in against their ribs, which is great when you are up on the 12th fret, for open/1st possition barres its another one that twists your wrist out of shape.


Have to be careful with elbow out ... can eventually put a lot of tension into shoulder and neck.
#6
Play songs with both barre and open chords so you can learn to transition between the two smoothly and easily. Give it about a week also depending how much you practice, you'll master the barre chords in no time. I know this was of no help since I gave you the most obvious answer. Oh and I usually HAVE to sit in a chair or in the edge of my bed to play effectively, gotta find that sweet spot I suppose.
#7
Thanks for all the feedback! I've been practicing them a bit. Made a little riff a couple days ago out of a few, I just have to figure out how to quickly transition to the chords from open positions. Lots more practice I guess! It is more challenging on acoustic, but I find practicing there and then grabbing the electric makes it easier to do things there.

Here's the riff!

https://soundcloud.com/user-71680307/d-75
#8
Have to be careful with elbow out ... can eventually put a lot of tension into shoulder and neck.


Agree with this. I was using elbow out method for months. I still catch myself doing it. Didn't realize I was building up a lot of tension in my shoulder, which then effected my entire arm to the point I started to get real bad wrist pain. Simply letting my elbow collapse to my side was a huge relief and rid me of a lot of tension that I didn't even know I had!! I thought my wrist issue was just RSI from too much gaming/typing, but letting the elbow collapsed relieved so much wrist pain.
#9
I just have to figure out how to quickly transition to the chords from open positions.


I found doing it very slowly helped a lot. For one song I had to switch from C major open to Cm barre. I could do it but there was a lot of tension and I always felt the tension rise as the chord change approached. When I did it very slowly and forced myself to do it as relaxed as possible, it didn't take long for it to become very easy and 2nd nature.

Your barre chords should be fairly relaxed. Shouldn't require much more pressure than an open chord tbh, once you get the fingers right.