Barre chord tips

Guitar Tricks Forum > Technique and Style > Barre chord tips

faith83

Full Access

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 194

Barre chord tips/Faith was wrong, wrong, wrong...

After the initial assumption that my weak wrist would mean I couldn't play barre chords, I am very happy to be wrong, wrong, wrong.

I'm posting the details of what I discovered for myself in case they help others.

The thing that makes barre chords work for me in spite of my weak wrist is to set my other fingers down first before the barre -- the opposite of the "right" way, I suppose. Changing the sequence of how fingers are set onto the fret seems to change how the muscles flex and interact with each other and puts less strain on my wrist.

The other alteration that made a huge difference for me was NOT trying to twist my index finger so that the boney part was on the fret -- that alone was a big ouchy ouchy. Instead, I'm keeping the index finger straight with the fleshy part on the fret and instead of twisting it, sliding it further forward on the fret, so that the bottom edge of the fret rests against the very bottom of my finger where it meets the hand, and the tip of the index finger is hanging over the top edge unused. Scooting the index finger offsets the loss of the "boney part" advantage and adds the strength of the whole hand/arm to the mix.


Having figured these two small adjustments out, barre chords slid into place pretty quickly. Tone is good, though not perfect, but all six strings are more or less ringing out, and it's easy and quick to reach for. I'm back in the game.

Thank you, all, for your suggestions -- it was playing around with them that led me to these adjustments, and next time I bitch and whine about not being able to do something, feel free to remind me of how wrong I was, LOL.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#1

Barre chord tips/Faith was wrong, wrong, wrong...

After the initial assumption that my weak wrist would mean I couldn't play barre chords, I am very happy to be wrong, wrong, wrong.

I'm posting the details of what I discovered for myself in case they help others.

The thing that makes barre chords work for me in spite of my weak wrist is to set my other fingers down first before the barre -- the opposite of the "right" way, I suppose. Changing the sequence of how fingers are set onto the fret seems to change how the muscles flex and interact with each other and puts less strain on my wrist.

The other alteration that made a huge difference for me was NOT trying to twist my index finger so that the boney part was on the fret -- that alone was a big ouchy ouchy. Instead, I'm keeping the index finger straight with the fleshy part on the fret and instead of twisting it, sliding it further forward on the fret, so that the bottom edge of the fret rests against the very bottom of my finger where it meets the hand, and the tip of the index finger is hanging over the top edge unused. Scooting the index finger offsets the loss of the "boney part" advantage and adds the strength of the whole hand/arm to the mix.


Having figured these two small adjustments out, barre chords slid into place pretty quickly. Tone is good, though not perfect, but all six strings are more or less ringing out, and it's easy and quick to reach for. I'm back in the game.

Thank you, all, for your suggestions -- it was playing around with them that led me to these adjustments, and next time I bitch and whine about not being able to do something, feel free to remind me of how wrong I was, LOL.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

Carl King

GuitarTricks Video Director

Joined: 10/08/07

Posts: 349

Awesome, Faith. Congratulations. Thanks for sharing your progress and tips. It's always a good day when you realize you can do something new!

-Carl.

Carl King
GuitarTricks Video Director / Producer

#2

Awesome, Faith. Congratulations. Thanks for sharing your progress and tips. It's always a good day when you realize you can do something new!

-Carl.

Carl King
GuitarTricks Video Director / Producer

DavesGuitarJourney

Full Access

Joined: 02/22/20

Posts: 307

I had kind of put off barre chords for awhile but reading tihs inspired me to give it another shot. I definitely find it helpful to place the other fingers first and then apply the barre.

I still cannot consistently play an F, but I can do it sometimes. That is definitely progress. I can usually get all 6 strings to ring clearly (eventually) on the electric. Acoustic is much more difficult still. I seem to have the most trouble with the B string. I haven't quite learned exactly what I have to do to get the index finger just right, and I think it is going to be different on the electric and the acoustic.

I think working on power chords has helped train my fingers for this. Baby steps, but steps in the right direction. With patience, persistence, and great teamwork here on the forum we'll all get this!

It takes as long as it takes unless you quit - then it takes forever and you will never get there.

#3

I had kind of put off barre chords for awhile but reading tihs inspired me to give it another shot. I definitely find it helpful to place the other fingers first and then apply the barre.

I still cannot consistently play an F, but I can do it sometimes. That is definitely progress. I can usually get all 6 strings to ring clearly (eventually) on the electric. Acoustic is much more difficult still. I seem to have the most trouble with the B string. I haven't quite learned exactly what I have to do to get the index finger just right, and I think it is going to be different on the electric and the acoustic.

I think working on power chords has helped train my fingers for this. Baby steps, but steps in the right direction. With patience, persistence, and great teamwork here on the forum we'll all get this!

It takes as long as it takes unless you quit - then it takes forever and you will never get there.