I'm a 45 year old drummer (but haven't been playing for years due to family and work and life-stuff). I've always loved the guitar, so I bought myself a Mexican Strat a couple months ago and have been having a blast. I've been trained musically at the college level so reading tabs is easy and fun, and I'm progressing pretty fast. However, I'm frustrated with my left index finger when it comes to playng things that involve using it like a capo. In those situations, I have trouble with the middle strings not being depressed enough to get a good ringing sound unless I press so hard that I soon get cramps in my thumb. Standard barre chords are not a problem since most of them involve some fingering on those middle strings. But when I'm doing picking and fingering patterns that require laying down that left index finger across a fret, and varying the notes with the other fingers, I always have problems with the notes on the middle strings when left to just the open position barre finger. Does this make sense? I've tried moving the finger closer up the fret which helps a little, and pressing harder, which helps a little, and "rolling" the finger in various positions, which helps a little, but this is very frustrating and seems to be holding me back at the moment. I've wondered if my finger is just too crooked, or is this something that everyone has a problem with and eventually gets better with time? Sorry for the long post.

I kind of understand what you're getting at, but if you could show me a few examples, I could probably help you out a bit more.

Basically though, it should get easier with time. If it is a standard 5th chord such as:

D |--5--|
A |--5--|
E |--3--|

I would recommend fretting the 3 with your index, the 5 on the A with your ring finger, and the 5 on the D with your pinky instead of both 5's with your ring finger or pinky. If this is what you're talking about, it's all about the fingering. However, something like:

D |--5--|
A |--5--|
E |--5--|

That's going to be fingered with just one finger obviously. If this is what you're talking about, then it should come easy with time.

Hope that helps, good luck man.
- FJ

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Last edited by flyingjew34 at Mar 1, 2007,
Well, the best position to place your barre finger would be at almost a 45 degree angle. In other words, not completely on the side of your finger, but also not completely flat. In the middle rather. This is a very common problem among beginners that all guitarists have struggled with at one point or another. The most important thing is that all of the strings ring out clearly and that there is not any really bad pain. There will be pain felt on the side of your barre finger because it is not used to that feeling, but you should be able to distinguish in between that type of pain and the bad type (i.e. in the wrist, or tendons). Also, when making a barre, the thumb should support the barre finger. Good luck buddy.
Quote by Unbridled
Well, the best position to place your barre finger would be at almost a 45 degree angle..... <snip>

Thanks, that's about the angle I keep it at, mostly just a natural reaction out of necessity because I'm thin and the side of my finger is nowhere near straight because my knuckle protrudes. To be more specific, the problem is when I'm covering an entire fret (let's say the 5'th fret) with the index finger, and then picking and fingering other notes (let's say on the 6'th and 7'th fret) with my other fingers. Of course doing this fingering with the other fingers tends to cause the position of the index finger to "roll" over a little. I guess I'll figure it out and eventually get better at it, it's only been a couple months after all.