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Old 09-28-2011, 12:13 AM
drteletubbie drteletubbie is offline
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Default Calluses on the barre finger?

So it's been a year now since I picked up an guitar for the first time and I've been kind of avoiding barre chord ever since, so I decided it was time to learn how to properly barre... Is it supposed to hurt at the beginning or am I doing the
wrong technique?
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:20 AM
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Landru Landru is offline
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It's supposed to hurt at the beginning, middle, and end - of the finger as well as the time. Barring also needs to be placed properly or else your knuckle will be over the 2nd or 3rd string and will not fret down.

For a lifetime of playing, the only things that seem to escape me are playing fast and barring. Fast I can do without. Barre chords - well - someday.

Best of fortune.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:36 AM
frankhond frankhond is offline
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You really need to take a look at this thread http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=228699

Barre is a technique that needs to be developed slowly and intelligently otherwise you can get permanent damage.

Start with partial barres. when going to full barres pay attention to exactly where you apply pressure. Never work harder than you need.

Many music styles work better with thumb over neck chords, learn those as well. I play maybe 80% those and partial barres, full barres only when really needed.
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:00 AM
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taylorcc taylorcc is offline
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Do check your action, especially at the nut. If it's easier and less painful to barre when you have a capo on, you need a setup.
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drteletubbie View Post
So it's been a year now since I picked up an guitar for the first time and I've been kind of avoiding barre chord ever since, so I decided it was time to learn how to properly barre... Is it supposed to hurt at the beginning or am I doing the
wrong technique?
Hi Dr TT…
You may be doing something wrong, or your guitar may be setup too high, or it could be other issues. Playing barres successfully is not a strength move; it's a positioning move.

Here are three short videos (under a minute each) I made and posted for students and friends. They are from different angles, and discuss finger placement and angle.

Where is the pressure - CLiCK

From Above and behind the neck - CLiCK

Front and above - CLiCK


I Hope these will help you…

As to pain…where does it hurt? If it's just from the action being too high or the strings too heavy, that may or may not go away with time. If it's the muscle on the back of the hand at the base of the thumb (between thumb and finger) that will likely get better with time and experience. That's an easy one to cramp up at first from just practicing barres for extended periods.



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Last edited by ljguitar; 09-28-2011 at 10:05 AM. Reason: had original posters initials wrong
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:50 AM
drteletubbie drteletubbie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorcc View Post
Do check your action, especially at the nut. If it's easier and less painful to barre when you have a capo on, you need a setup.
Isn't it normal that it's more easier to play the guitar when capo'd?
Anyway, the only area that's hurting is the side of my index finger, and to some degree, my fingertips, however, that's because of me recently buying a steel stringed guitar while I've been playing a classical ever since I started. Maybe I'm still adjusting to the fact I'm playing on a steel stringed, not a nylon stringed. Just before I bought the steel stringed I thought my classical had too high action. Now it feels like it's way too low.

Can't you build some kind of pad/callus on the side of your index finger? Because it seems I nailed the "technique" but I can't sustain it for that long... For example, I start playing an easy song with only barre chords (fyi, Use Somebody by Kings of Leon) - It starts out great, but it gradually starts to buzz because I can't hold it for any longer due to the pain.......
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drteletubbie View Post
...Can't you build some kind of pad/callus on the side of your index finger? Because it seems I nailed the "technique" but I can't sustain it for that long... For example, I start playing an easy song with only barre chords (fyi, Use Somebody by Kings of Leon) - It starts out great, but it gradually starts to buzz because I can't hold it for any longer due to the pain.......
Hi DR TT…
I'm not sure.

I sure don't feel any obvious callus on my barre finger like I do on finger tips of the fretting hand. But then I don't feel discernible callus on my picking hand finger tips either and I'm an all-flesh player.

When I feel both left and right hands in the area I barre, I feel no difference.

Switching from nylon to steel will require changes, and pain may be an obvious side effect up front.

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Old 09-28-2011, 10:13 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Playing barres successfully is not a strength move; it's a positioning move.
Definitely.

Most adults hands are plenty strong to handle the pressure needed to barre, but it's a matter of using the hand in a way it's likely not been used.

I always advocate rolling the finger back slightly toward the nut, so the knuckle is not straight up but leaning towards the tuning pegs a bit.

It's also important to use the thumb properly for support, take it slow, and work in higher fret positions (starting around the fifth fret or so with a "major" barre chord shape) and work your way down to first position...aside from playing way up the neck on a guitar with high action, a major chord barre doesn't get much tougher than the first one many people learn--the first fret F.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:18 AM
drteletubbie drteletubbie is offline
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Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi DR TT…
I'm not sure.

I sure don't feel any obvious callus on my barre finger like I do on finger tips of the fretting hand. But then I don't feel discernible callus on my picking hand finger tips either and I'm an all-flesh player.

When I feel both left and right hands in the area I barre, I feel no difference.

Switching from nylon to steel will require changes, and pain may be an obvious side effect up front.

I guess I'll just deal the pain for the moment until I start to consider to change the setup.

edit: thank you for the helpful videos btw! And for mr. beaumont, I am doing that!
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:23 AM
richnrbq richnrbq is offline
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I think barring is challenging and uncomfortable for almost everybody when they start. The good news is that with practice it becomes very natural and comfortable, like most of the left hand work on the guitar.

I find there is some subtle callousing on my left index finger that probably helps. I have to disagree about the partial barring being easier and a good step to full barring. I find it takes much more strength to partially barre because with a full barre, you're just laying your whole index finger out along the back of the fret and that feels much more comfortable to me. I'd experiment with how much to over shoot the top of the neck with your index finger. I find it most comfortable to go pretty far in that direction- see what works for you.

Overall, I'd say hang in there. It was really hard for me when I was starting out but now is second nature. The ongoing challenge is making some of the more difficult shapes with the remaining three fingers...

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Old 09-28-2011, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by drteletubbie View Post
...edit: thank you for the helpful videos btw!
Hi Dr TT…
I find barres neither mysterious nor that hard to normalize.

A bit of time and you will be up and running; millions before us, with far smaller hands than mine have conquered barres fairly early on in their playing routine.


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Old 09-28-2011, 01:13 PM
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"Isn't it normal that it's more easier to play the guitar when capo'd?"

No. I'd say it's common, but not optimum. Play a barre F. Put a capo on fret 1 and play a barre F#. Should feel about the same. If not, your nut needs work. See frets.com for setup pix.

My first guitar, purchased 1965, high action, no setup, gave me a noticable callus on my barre index finger. I was kinda proud of it

The guitars in my current fleet all have good setups. No callus.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:25 PM
drteletubbie drteletubbie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorcc View Post
"Isn't it normal that it's more easier to play the guitar when capo'd?"

No. I'd say it's common, but not optimum. Play a barre F. Put a capo on fret 1 and play a barre F#. Should feel about the same. If not, your nut needs work. See frets.com for setup pix.

My first guitar, purchased 1965, high action, no setup, gave me a noticable callus on my barre index finger. I was kinda proud of it

The guitars in my current fleet all have good setups. No callus.
Hmm, the difference was slightly, although the soreness was obviously still there.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:15 PM
fongie fongie is offline
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You will always have some discomfort, I play a lot of barring and still get discomfort, especially if I play solidly. I have small hands and it hasn't been a problem for me, it does get tired, cramp like feeling but thats only if I play continual barre chords solidly on a acoustic. I don't press down hard when I'm barring, some players think you have to use strength to play barre chords, well you don't. This is when cramps and pain sets in is by pressing too hard. Give your hand a good shake after every song.
By the way, my pain is on top of my hand muscle between the thumb and barring finger. Is that where your pain is too? If it is, give it a good rub there. Good luck, take your time and let your muscles get use to barring, don't over do it, you'll get there.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi Dr TT…
I find barres neither mysterious nor that hard to normalize.

A bit of time and you will be up and running; millions before us, with far smaller hands than mine have conquered barres fairly early on in their playing routine.
Larry and Mr. Beaumont; I'll take your tips and try to reposition my barre finger . . . . . thank you for the advice and good luck to me.
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