Barre Chords I give up

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by Antstrat, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. heltershelton

    heltershelton BANNED Silver Member

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    lots of times ive had people ask, "what chord is that"?
    and im all, "i dont know".
     
  2. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Most Honored Senior Member

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    Is that the same as the main finger?
     
  3. heltershelton

    heltershelton BANNED Silver Member

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    depends on what your main finger is......:sneaky:
     
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  4. nadzab

    nadzab Play Don't Worry Silver Member

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    This is pretty much how it works for me as well. If my index finger isn't flat, the side closest to the thumb is making the most contact - but I don't mean to make it sound like it's rolled way over, it's not.

    Someone suggested posting a pic of what you're doing currently, if you can - I agree that might help folks provide some good advice.
     
  5. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-O-Master

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    Disclaimer: I'm neither a guitar teacher nor a physiologist, and you could very well be looking at 30 years of bad habits here... but:

    - 1st Fret. Wrist rolls towards the nut. The barre finger also rolls in that direction, so the edge of that finger is pushing down on the strings. The thumb sits slightly on the bridge side of the forefinger, pushing on the back of the neck to create leverage to push down on the string. So this is an outward (anticlockwise) rotation. The muscle on the left of my wrist (from this angle) seems to be doing most of the work. The other fretting fingers also seem to be helping to push down the barre.

    Fret01.jpg

    - 9th fret. This is more of a pincer movement. The rotation is a lot less, I'm using the fleshy part of my finger to barre. The thumb is almost directly behind it. I'm using the muscle in the heel of my hand to hold the chord.

    Fret09.jpg


    - 17th fret. I'm now rolling the other way, the reverse of the first fret. The thumb is on the nut side creating the rotation pressure. and I'm using the inside of my finger to barre the chord. That's probably partially also due to the neck joint (even though this is a Roadhouse with a contour there). So this is an inward (clockwise) rotation. The muscle on the inside (right) of my wrist seems to be doing most of the work.

    Fret17.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
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  6. lammie200

    lammie200 Senior Stratmaster

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    systolsys nailed the pics. I can almost hear Stairway to Heaven just by looking at them. :)
     
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  7. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    Yes, pics are informative. That's the way I roll. But I have much more dainty digits.
     
  8. myredstrat

    myredstrat Senior Stratmaster

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    for what it's worth, I snapped a couple of quickies
    my thumb moves around a fair bit depending on whether I'm going up or down the fretboard IMG_2058.JPG IMG_2059.JPG
    also I have old man hands and have never really had calluses;)
     
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  9. oldrank

    oldrank Strat-Talker

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    Barre chords were the very first things I learned. They always seemed so basic. There was a time I felt embarrassed to play them cause it was all I knew. I never would have imagined people struggle with them. My struggle has always been scales and lead. Im slowly progressing. Im sure there is some 16 year old kid out there who started playing last year who is far far better than I will be in my lifetime.
     
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  10. DancesWithWeasels

    DancesWithWeasels Where there's a weasel there's a way Silver Member

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    Ant, I struggled with this too. Part of my problem is that my nut height is the factory default for an AM Pro, and it needs to come down a bit. But this past year I started doing more-or-less what Fezz recommends: practice the E and the A forms at the third fret (G -> C), back and forth, slowly and perfectly. I'm still not great at it, but I can do it well enough that I don't sound hopeless. Getting that 3rd finger to do the little barre is hard, but at that 3rd fret I can manage it, and can even do it letting the high E string ring clear. Yay. But I'll admit that it's taken a year or two to do well.

    All I can add is: try what Fezz recommends, and fiddle with your form using the various suggestions here until you find what works for you. Go slow and repeat. It's worked for me, and now I'm doing 7th and minor barre forms.
     
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  11. agy040

    agy040 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hi there,

    this finger stretch is like a Steve Vai standard spread when he was shredding etudes in former days. ;-)
    rock on, agy.040
     
  12. Richard McKay

    Richard McKay Strat-Talk Member

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    Having gone through the entire thread, here are my thoughts.
    1. Is your instrument set up properly? If the action (string height) is too high, you'll struggle more than you need to.

    2. Do you have access to an instructor? When I first encountered barre chords, I struggled. Then I went and found a teacher and together we figured it out very quickly.

    3. Some things to try:
    a. play partial barre triads on the three top strings (eBG) minor (just your index) and major (index plus middle). Do that for a few days.
    b. play power chords with two fingers (index and pinky) on the lowest two strings (EA). Do that for a few days.
    c. tune your guitar to open G or open E (look it up). Just play chords with your index finger up and down the neck. Do that for a few days or maybe a few weeks. After a few days, try to strum all the strings and see if you can get all the notes to sound out. If not, just go back to strumming what you can play. Try hitting the lower strings on beats 1 and 3 and the upper strings on beats 2 and 4.

    THEN a few weeks down the road, go back and try to play some barre chords. You should have no trouble at that point.
     
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  13. skinnyass

    skinnyass Strat-Talk Member

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  14. Scott Fagen

    Scott Fagen New Member!

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    This may have been pointed out before (there’s 6 pages of replies) ...

    As a beginner, you may be rotating the bottom of the fretboard forward/upward so you can see what your left hand is doing. This can cause the angle that your wrist has to get into to form a solid barre to be more difficult. Try keeping the fretboard more vertical....
     
  15. Yinzer

    Yinzer Strat-Talk Member

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    Try playing E major as an open chord with your middle, ring, and pinky. Once you have that down, just slide that shape up the neck and drop your pointer finger acrosd the neck right behind them. Takes practice getting the right amount of pressure, but it'll come.
     
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  16. Doc538

    Doc538 Strat-Talker

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    Well my take on this is to only play the couple of bars that you can comfortably and substitute for the rest, move on. If it really bothers you then just practice 2 bars at a time for several weeks but start with getting your guitar setup... A high nut can be a killer, oh and 9 gauge strings
     
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  17. epepe

    epepe New Member!

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    Make sure you're not pressing the back of the neck with your thumb while you're playing. Pressure should only be on the frets. If you've been doing this, it would cause your hand to cramp up into a claw. Also, make sure your thumb is perpendicular to the neck. Hope this helps.
     
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  18. phaedrus

    phaedrus Strat-Talk Member

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    One possibility is to explore alternate voicings.

    CAGED, inversions, etc. different names but they work out to be the same thing.

    Basically there are alternate ways to form almost any chord, and as you've already noted you can leave out notes to make it easier.

    Another concept to look at is shell chords from Jazz music. Basically only worry about three notes, root 3rd and 7th.
     
  19. TigerStrat

    TigerStrat New Member! Silver Member

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  20. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Strat-Talk Member

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    You have to face facts. Motor skills learning slows dramatically in your mid-20s when the myelin sheaths are fully laid down on the nerves in the white matter in the brain. I'm not being facetious here. Children are born with no myelin sheaths in this area. It acts as the insulation on nerve fibers. It slows the impulse speed, but greatly increases the nerve's ability to make connections. It's why a teen can learn a guitar riff in one or two tries whereas a 40 year-old takes 6 months. As me how I know that (trying to master Clapton's iconic "Crossroads" lead). As motor learning takes place and as a kid ages the myelin is laid down and is pretty much finished when you're in your mid-20s. Thereafter, motor learning is much more challenging. Not impossible, but no longer easy.

    It's why they say that if you don't start learning to play the pedal manual on an organ at 7 years-old, you may never master it. It's also why most of the world's greatest guitar players started in their early teens or earlier. My two grandsons started skiing when they were toddlers. They both expert skiers now (19 & 16 years old) and neither remembers a time when they were NOT skiing. I tried learning in my 40s and couldn't even safely get off the ski lift.

    So, keep trying and using the techniques everyone posted here, but manage your expectations. It will take longer and more practice to get it right.

    BTW: Once you've established a motor-nerve connection in your youth, it skill requires massive amounts of practice to maintain those skills.
     
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