I started learning to play the acoustic guitar a few months ago and have been teaching myself how to play. The one thing I still really struggle with is barring frets. Does anyone have any tips that might be helpful? Thanks.
I don't know, I've been told by a few people about having the need for stronger fingers too - but when I finally ended up learning to do bar chords, it ultimately had to do with how I was placing my index finger. It doesn't take my much strength to do it, but if I don't place it correctly it won't work.

And yes, practice. Practice practice practice. David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and Adam Sandler's Grow Old With You (yeah, serious) helped me learn bar chords.
You can try putting your finger closer to the fret instead of in the middle, and some random guy told me one time to "push" the fret board into your finger by pulling the guitar towards you (kinda with your right elbow) if that makes any sense.......worked for me.
For me, like re infinity it depends on my hand placement in general. I have to get my index finger to lay properly across the fretboard in a decent arc shape. I also had to get used to having my thumb in the center of my neck for some barre positions and moved closer to the top for other positions. Of course your finger will have to get stronger too over time but its technique as well as finger strength.
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jack johnson's flake is another good song to practice barres
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Hey there.
for finger placement it is all about practice practice practice.The trick is, in the beginning look at your index finger when you start the bar,make sure that none of the joint creases of your finger are on the strings use the meaty muscley parts of the finger that way you are sure to have the string pressed down fully on the fret board.Muscle memory will eventually take over and your finger will just end up in the right spot all on its own.
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thanks guys. i know practice is key, i just wanted to see if there were any helpful tips to go along with it.
barre chords are really hard, ive been practicing them for like 4 weeks and i still can't get my index finger to completely get all 6 strings to ring out the g string is always muted- i guess its because my index finger is messed up, some people (like me)just have index fingers with natural curves and dips that make barre chords impossible
How high is the action on your guitar? If the strings are crazily high off the fretboard then it will be hard to play barre chords. Also if you are playing a minor barre chord the root note is actually on the A string, so you don't have to barre the low E. Just barre the first 5 strings. That should make things a little easier.

EDIT: I mean A minor position barre chords. With E Major position barre chords you DO have to barre the low E note. Didn't mean to confuse you.
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Last edited by JJK at Sep 24, 2007,
Barre chords are easier for some people and harder for others. I had no problem whatsoever with them and it only took me a week of practice to get the basic barre chords down. Practice finding a good position with your index finger that is comfortable and covers all of the strings by rolling your index finger and sliding it up and down intill you find a good position. Practice on the 5th to 7th fret because that is where barre chords are easiest to play, then gradually progress. One more thing: instead of starting your daily practice with barre chords, do it last. Your index finger may start to hurt or get raw or you may get tired of playing early, which provokes you to quit for the day. That's what happened to me the first few days and made the rest of my practice miserable.

Good luck with it!
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I'm HORRIBLE with bars too, so don't feel alone. I'm developing my strength too, and that helps. Also, I try to avoid bars as much as I can by using my thumb to hit any bass notes on the low E.
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Once you get them down though they are so useful because you can replace any chord with a nice heartily-toned barre chord
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just out of curiosity, how much harder is it to play barre cords on an acoustic guitar than on an electric (if at all)?
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just out of curiosity, how much harder is it to play barre cords on an acoustic guitar than on an electric (if at all)?

Extra finger strength is required. If you practice them on the acoustic a little bit you will probably see a big improvement when you try them on your electric but don't get discouraged if it doesn't sound right at first. As mentioned in some of the other posts,try just placing your index finger first then adjust it accordingly so that your hitting all the strings then place your other fingers. Don't try to play a song with them right away just bar an A chord and hit it a few times,Adjusting your hand as you go. you should be able to hear the difference that a slight finger adjustment will make.Like I said before muscle memory will take over and your hand will just find the right spot on its own. NOW ROCK THE S**T OUT OF THAT THING!!!!!!!!!.
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as has been touched on before, place your finger across all the strings and then roll it away from you, so that if you were to look at the palm of your left hand, then the left side of your finger is the part that presses on the strings, hope this helps.
BTW do it arse about face if you're left handed!!!
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