#1
Does anyone else think that there can be a physical limitation as to why you can't play bar chords properly?

I've heard stories as to people taking 2 years, 10 years or never having been able to play bar chords but can be pretty successful with other chords and solos.

I'm sure that there are really successful guitarists out there who can't do bar chords well.

I can't do them at all. I've been trying for 3 months and so far I can bar the bottom 4 strings on the 5th fret. And even at that it sometimes doesn't ring clearly. If I try to place my next finger onto one of the strings on a fret next to the index finger, the index finger lifts. Not only that but the finger next to it dampens strings below it and it becomes a mess.

I practise this for an hour each day and I'm still no further forward. However, I know a lot of other chords, power chords and some scales and can happily write songs. I even know how to fingerpick. My guitar teacher says I'm picking things up really well and I shouldn't worry too much about the bar chords but to keep spending 5-10 mins each day trying them and eventually it will magically click into place.

So, do I have a physical limitation stopping me playing? Is it just that I need more practise? Am I doing anything wrong thats stopping me getting bar chords down? Do I even really need bar chords? Am I expecting too much of myself for wanting to be able to do bar chords after only 3 months?

Any advice is appreciated, even if it is just to say "keep practising".
always in the poo, only the depth changes
#2
My advice would be to use the search button and read the other 500 replies to this age old question. However, since i'm in a good mood i'll help out.
The best way to improve your barreing ability is....
PRACTICE
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That he can't actually play!
#3
keep practising dude, you'll get it with time for sure, your fingers just have to adjust
#5
i dont remember how long it took me, but probably more than 3 months, just keep praactising.
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#7
exercise ur finger strenght, and when holding a bar chord move ur index finger up and down to get the spot when all strings ring
#8
Indeed. To develop on what Philip said, look up some stretches and exercises to make it easier to reach frets that are a longer distance from one another. I would also suggest doing some chromatic scale exercises in order to build up some independance in each of you fingers, then you won't experience the problem of one finger moving with the other so much.

Sorry if this is a little incoherent, typing this in a lesson so i gotta be quick.
#10
Probably been said above.. but practice! it's finger strength and finding the perfect position for your index finger.

Also, if you're using 10's or above you'll find it harder than on 9's. Another factor involved is the neck of the guitar. What type of guitar are you playing and what gauge strings?
#11
I'm playing guitar since summer last year and i wasn't able to play barre-chors,too. I remember when i played some songs where a "Gm" was used. Before that i never was able to play a normal "F" or a "Bm". After i used more and more often the "Gm" i tried to play the "F", then the "Bm" and after a few weeks i was able to play all of them. Powerchords included. I don't think, that there are people who need years to play those chords. It's just practise. If you practise 1 oder 2 days in a week u probably need that long time, but if u're interested and want to practise u gonna learn it in a few months. I learned 2-3 hours per day so i was able to play them after...i think it was in the end of autumn, means 4-5 months.
#13
I play a squire strat with 10's strings, problem with strings was i was using 9's before and they kept snapping after a couple of hours use, guitar shop i went to recommended 10's as being more sturdy and set the guitar up for me with them, I have no problems holding down strings to play open chords or to play pentatonic scale etc, just damn bar chords.

Would changing back to 9's really make enough difference for me?
always in the poo, only the depth changes
#14
small hands make little diference dude, if they really are a problem there are necks that will suit you better
#15
Is there anything I can attach to my index finger for now which will bar the strings so that I can get my hand used to the shapes of the chord, I heard someone mention once that they used a cut-down chopstick and someone else said that they used a slider on the index finger that helped them with the barring of the strings.

Any ideas?
always in the poo, only the depth changes
#16
dont go looking for quick and easy ways around it dude, just practice, it will not take years, however if you keep posting on here instead of PRACTICING like everyones bin saying to it really will take years
#17
I post on here during my lunch break at work, which is why I'm not practising right now. I do practise for 1-2 hours each night when I'm at home, but because I have a family etc I can't section off 3-4 hours at a time for practising except at the weekends.
always in the poo, only the depth changes
#18
Breakthrough! (well,...sort of....)

5th fret

Barred the bottom 2 strings with the index finger, made the "e" chord shape with my middle, 3rd and pinky, and my thumb barred the top string whilst hanging over the neck of the guitar.

Result? Strange look, but sounded like an A barre chord. Was a little buzzy but recognisable.

I'm thinking, could I develop that, I know it would be strange from a style point of view, but from a functional point of view it would be spot on.

Anyone agree or does anyone do anything similar?
always in the poo, only the depth changes
#19
Barre chords only took me baout a month to learn, but I have big fingers. All I did was practice a lot. And to the early question, they come in so handy, you wonder how you got along without them.
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#20
Try it on an acoustic with gauge 12 strings.
86% of the people who frequent the "Electric Guitar" forum would say that they have played guitar for under 5 years.
#21
Try using the side of your finger, like.. turn it to the left a bit.. that's how i barre the barre chords.
#22
youve already made a forum the same as this and there is only one piece of advicee. practice is everything
#23
when I started I used to borrow my uncle's acoustic (higher action, wider neck) and I would bar (sp?) a chord at a higher fret, and move my way down towards the first fret. If it buzzes play each string individually and adjust your finger. Then hold that position and play around a little before taking your fingers off and doing it again. I don't recommend finding an easy way out because you'll never be able to do it when you're not comfortable (high action, etc.) Just play through the pain and you'll get it.