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  #16  
Old 07-12-2018, 04:32 PM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARiley View Post
So instructor tonight had us working on barre chords. All the men in the class can do them easily; all the women struggle. Smaller hands, less powerful grips. For me, another issue -- stiffness. (Hey, I'm old, we all get that way if we're lucky.)

I have a D'Addario vari-grip exerciser to squeeze and strengthen grip, but do you all have any recommendations that will help me regain flexibility -- and stretch! -- in that nondominant little left hand?

Thanks!
Hi A.R…

There are a lot of ways to accomplish barres, and the method I use I taught to beginner and intermediate students for years.

- Barre Chords are not about strength...or clamping your finger across the fret. Strength exercisers may make your wrist and forearm stronger, but they won't improve playing barre chords.
- Stretch happens easier when you relax fingers than when you try to push them further
- Similarly - flexibility is best when relaxed, not forced.

Here are 3 one minute long videos I did for students and friends (eons ago in 2008). I haven't changed my technique nor approach in sharing about barres since.

Perhaps they will be helpful to you…


Where is the Pressure? - CLiCK


Barre From Above and Behind - CLiCK


Barre from Front - CLiCK

A decently low setup is helpful while learning. I've strung more than one students's guitars with .010-.047 acoustic strings till they 'got it'.

Some might call that cheating, but nobody ever produced a copy of the law they were breaking for me to consider. The thing is, students learned it pretty quickly.



Have fun learning…hope this helps



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Last edited by ljguitar; 07-12-2018 at 04:41 PM.
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  #17  
Old 07-12-2018, 04:43 PM
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Before you do anything, wash your hands in warm water for a few minutes. You might want to do some stretching while the warm water is running over your hand too. Sort of like a pre-warmup ritual.
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  #18  
Old 07-13-2018, 08:49 AM
macmanmatty macmanmatty is offline
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Originally Posted by KDepew View Post
I sometimes suggest that folks use a capo on the 5th fret or so. Lowers strings even more and playing further up the neck is less of a stretch. Then move the capo down as you progress.
for someone like me with dips in the joints of his index finger this does not work. I can make a first position F chord ALOT


for some like me who has dips in his index finger at the joints (my joints are deeply concave on my fingers) this does not work. I can more easily and cleanly make a F shaped chord and B minor and B shape chord at the first fret than any where else on the guitar. Making F, Bb minor, Bb major, and Bb7th chords respectively.
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  #19  
Old 07-13-2018, 09:28 AM
cmd612 cmd612 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARiley View Post
. . . do you all have any recommendations that will help me regain flexibility -- and stretch! -- in that nondominant little left hand?
Yes! I really like this exercise for flexibility and stretch. I found it in Scott Tennant's book, Pumping Nylon, but here's someone demonstrating it on youtube:



He's obviously using a classical guitar, but there's no reason you can't do the same exercise on a steel string, and use a pick if that's how you play.

Improving flexibility and stretch helped me a lot with barres. When I started, on some of the shapes it was really hard for me to keep the barre close to the fret and stretch to reach other notes in the chord and get those fingers up close to the appropriate fret, too. I'd get buzz, I'd squeeze harder, which didn't help, and for a long time I was sure I just couldn't play barres. (I was self-teaching, which didn't help since I had no one to critique my technique.) Eventually I figured out that getting all the fingers in the right places (ie right behind/almost on top of the frets) made a big difference. So I practiced up on the higher frets where the stretches are shorter, as has been suggested above, and I worked on improving my reach. It helped a lot. (So did a good setup. And a short scale guitar with light strings. )
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  #20  
Old 07-13-2018, 11:23 AM
beninma beninma is offline
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Setup setup setup...

Unless your hands have a health problem this shouldn't be hard. It's easy to get the run around with acoustic guitars about this.

Try it on a well setup electric with 8s or 9s... then realize it should only be marginally harder on a well setup acoustic that has 12s.

One thing I've noticed is people who have been playing a long time will downplay the need to nail the setup.

But then you find out they're playing $5000+ guitars. Guitars that expensive seem to arrive with better setups.
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