#1
Something I've noticed recently is that the vast majority of "mainstream" music is played primarily with open chords and in natural keys.

I don't come across a whole lot of acoustic music that is played strictly with barre chords and in sharp or flat keys. Am I wrong?

I enjoy playing barre chords on acoustic, but I like to mix them in with open chords. I love the sustain of open chords and playing straight barre chords for several minutes is still taxing on my fretting hand after a couple years of doing barre chords.

I really like playing in keys like E Major, B minor, F#m, A, etc... where I can play progressions that include open and barre chords, as opposed to something like C#, where everything needs to be barred or played with a capo.

When I'm playing open chords, I can go on autopilot and add some nice alterations/fills/melodies with little effort. My playing feels much more solid and fluid. Barre chords are great for a more percussive sound, but I generally prefer the sound of an open chord over a barre.

Does anyone agree with this or I misguided in my thinking?
#3
yeah i agree, i actually dislike barre chords in general because i just dont think they sound as good and i use a capo to change keys.
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#4
well you dont really have point, other than the harmonic and ambiant response of open strings in comparison to fretted notes. i agree with what you have said, but due to the nature of the instrument, its design and use within moderm popular music barre chord sequences are not a neccesity other than for those with little applicable talent/poor technique.
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#5
Quote by Bob Sacamano
Something I've noticed recently is that the vast majority of "mainstream" music is played primarily with open chords and in natural keys.

I don't come across a whole lot of acoustic music that is played strictly with barre chords and in sharp or flat keys. Am I wrong?

I suppose it all depends on who you are listening to and what their style is, but I'd say that you're probably right in saying that the majority of "mainstream" music is primarly open chords and natural keys. As for acoustic music that is strictly barre chords, Jack Johnson is about the only artist that comes to mind. I know that lots of his songs are played strictly with barre chords to emphasize his percussive muting style. I'm sure there are other artists that I can't think of and tons that I just don't know of.

Then of course there are people with different styles. Dave Matthews, for instance, plays primarily with his own chord voicings. If you listen and learn his music, you'll come to find that he has arranged chord voicings that allow him to play only on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th strings (notice, all the wound strings). I haven't ever spoken with Dave Matthews or anything, but I have to assume that he arranged and uses these voicings purposely in order to compliment his percussive strumming style. Then have a look at someone like Ben Harper or John Butler. These two guys play a good bit of slide guitar. In essence, playing slide guitar is basically just like playing only barre chords only you generally are in an open tuning and simply can barre all the frets to produce a chord. John Butler also plays several songs in open tunings without a slide. Once again, I see this as more or less playing barre chords.

Quote by Bob Sacamano
I enjoy playing barre chords on acoustic, but I like to mix them in with open chords. I love the sustain of open chords and playing straight barre chords for several minutes is still taxing on my fretting hand after a couple years of doing barre chords.

Ditto.

Quote by Bob Sacamano
I really like playing in keys like E Major, B minor, F#m, A, etc... where I can play progressions that include open and barre chords, as opposed to something like C#, where everything needs to be barred or played with a capo.

Try exploring some different chord voicings. You'll find that you can play in a key like C# without having to use only barre chords or a capo. First, obviously, C is in C#. But try playing those chords as D shapes up the fretboard. For instance a D# as xx1343, and from that derive an F# as xx4676 and a G# as xx6898. Take your major triad and play the chords all over the place. Play your A# as xx876x for example. Some might call those D shapes barre chords, and I don't know what the technical definition of a barre chord is so they might be correct. But for all intents and purposes concerning your left hand, they don't play like barre chords.

Quote by Bob Sacamano
When I'm playing open chords, I can go on autopilot and add some nice alterations/fills/melodies with little effort. My playing feels much more solid and fluid. Barre chords are great for a more percussive sound, but I generally prefer the sound of an open chord over a barre.

The longer and the more you play, the more comfortable you'll get playing barre chords. You will arrive at a point where you can go into "autopilot" and throw in nice filler riffs between barre chords as well. If you start practicing, I think you'll find it rather easy to do actually being that you can use the same riffs on any chord since your playing the same shape. You can work out 3-4 good, solid filler riffs and use them as a basis. Then when you become more comfortable with this style, you'll start going into autopilot and you'll be able to add lots of variations to the riffs to get those nice alterations/fills/melodies that you enjoy playing along open chords with little effort.

I suppose that I generally prefer the sound of an open chord over a barre chord myself. But as you are getting at, barre chords certainly have their place!
#6
^^

Funny - first thought I had when I read this thread was Jack Johnson as well. I've been wondering why he's almost exclusively barre - I was attributing it more to voicing rather than the percussive style, but for a lot of his stuff the open chords don't seem to change voicing much...