I'm not sure if this is the right place to be asking for advice but I play the acoustic guitar and I'm a bit of a beginner. I'm wanting to learn barre chords but I'm really struggling as my index finger is quite small to cover all six strings and then stretch my other fingers on a couple of other strings, I'm really struggling. Please, please has anybody got any tips for my problem, or will I just have to wait until my fingers grow a bit because I'm 15? (my index finger length is about 7.5cm).

Last edited by jacko_17 at Aug 20, 2006,
Well I'm 15 too and my index is about 7.5 as well (ya i measured cause I'm that cool ) and I dont have problems with it. I can play chords like F and B really easily and I've only been playing for about 10 months now. My advice is to just practise and practise.
to put this in perspective my finger is 8cm and yes when i first learnt to play barr chords i struggled. if it was easy everyone would be amazing but everything would be boring.
ok to start off just use your index finger keep it right next to the the fret and move up and down the neck just getting a clean sound then gradually add one finger at a time until you make the f shape barr. remember take it slowly and just keep plugging away. once you have that all others are a piece of piss
remember to use the weight of your body to your advantage and instead of trying to pinch your thumb and index finger to get the sound pull back with your arm a little more....hope that made sense...
wake the sun so the stars cant shine....
Last edited by frogan at Aug 20, 2006,
All that is good info also the song "Bother" by stone sour Helped me out greatly when i 1st started learning bars
Mines only 7 cm , and yes, I did just measure. Barre chords are hard to get down. Just keep on practicing. Make sure that when you're fingering the chord that you are pushing down hard enough so that the strings just don't get muted. That was my biggest problem. Eventually you'll get the strength and dexerity. Keep practicing!
Just thought I'd tell you that after an hour of practice using everyones advice, I'm starting to get the hang of barre chords but my index finger is starting to hurt a bit, is that usual?

Yea it is after awile you Finger will get stronger and it wont hurt anymore
I'm sorry to ask for more help on barre chords, but it's not my index finger I'm having trouble with now, but it's my other fingers in a certain position that's annoying me:
e.g. B Major

String x A D G B E
Fret 0 2 4 4 4 2

I find it hard to stretch my other fingers on the same fret and make the strings ring clearly.
Is there another way to play this B major chord and make it sound the same or can anyone give me some tips on playing it better?

Thanks.(It really is much appreciated!!)
Last edited by jacko_17 at Aug 24, 2006,
Also watch for this.... a lot of people have a tendency to push their hand so hard that it starts to "clench" resulting in a curved index finger. You can't barre that way. Make sure to have your finger form a rigid and straight straight line from the knuckle closest your wrist to the finger tip.... the whole length of the finger should be ruler straight.

Also turn your hand *very slightly* outward so you are using the outside edge of the finger to make your barre. Not the *edge* per se, but imagining that the center of your finger is the 12:00 position.... turn so you are maybe using the 2:00 position to barre with. Hope that makes sense.

If you find you have to press really hard, then the problem probably ISN'T that you're not pressing hard enough. The problem is some other fundamental part of your hand position.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Hello, im 15 to and been playing for 6 months on acoustic and i already do barre chords (the basic ones) perfectly.

What i did was practice this excersise for hours with my finger crying of hurt:

--1---2---3-- ...
--1---2---3-- ...
--1---2---3-- ...
--1---2---3-- ...
--1---2---3-- ...
--1---2---3-- ...

I practiced this endless hours until i manged to make sound the whole 6 strings.
Then i dominated basic A and E difernet positionds.
I mixed both of them and after a week i was doing barre chords.
All that proces took me about a month. Its slow but youl get it and youl be very happy

After that you can practice some nice and veryeasy barre only progresion that wil help you:

First chord: Second chord: Third chord:
Bm ? G

2 -- 2 -- 3
3 -- 2 -- 3
4 -- 3 -- 4
4 -- 4 -- 5
2 -- 4 -- 5
x -- 2 -- 3

For the forth core you go back to the second one.

Hope it hleps
Last edited by jeff00 at Aug 24, 2006,
Quote by jacko_17
Are there other options to the B major chord I stated in my previous post?


You could play it using an E formation above a barre at the 7th fret (all six strings) like this:


.... but using that might not make sense in the context of the song. If you are playing a bunch of chords in first position, doing a quick shift up to the 7th fret is less than efficient when you could simply grab it at the second fret and be done with it. Practice and learn the technique. You'll be glad you did.

BTW - there are *always* other ways of playing the same chord. You could do something crazily inefficient like this...

Barre the 4th fret and go:

or barre the 11th fret and do this:


Good guitar playing boils down to two things:
1. Good fingering
2. Good hand position

If you have those things, you can play anything.


Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Aug 24, 2006,
u can always play E and A minor shape barre chords by putting ur thumb over the top and play a sort of non-barred F shape.

*awaits flaming for improper technique*
john frusciante plays like that, so it can´t be that bad
it´s always up to what makes you feel most comfortable
Yeah I had that problem, my fingers are really small (index 6.5 - 7.0cm). At first I just put my index over the e and B strings, and did not play the E string. After about five months I learned how to put my finger across, all the strings, and push down. I thought it would be impossible, but I figured it out. Here's a tip, do not use the fleshy part of you index, but rather twist your hand a little and use the bone of your index.
First, play songs that stretch your hands. (I suggest Crash by DMB)
That should help. then buy smaller gauge strings (this worked well for me) they won't hurt as much
Grab one of those Gripmaster things and work with it. There are a hundred different exercises, each one targets a specific area. Hand and forearm strength do play a part in barre chords, along with PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Yeah I know, what a cliche...but true.
try learning bars on an electric...i learned on an acoustic but once in a while with a hard song my teacher would let me use his electric & it is a whole lot easier. if you cant use an electric, then my tip for getting the bar to sound clear is to rotate your index finger a little bit (nail side towards the neck) so strings cant get muted under creases. good luck