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  #1  
Old 12-28-2015, 07:22 PM
BreedloveRDMH BreedloveRDMH is offline
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Default Bar chords

After years of avoiding them I have committed myself to learning bar chords.
I'm working on the E shapes first

I have a 12 fret parlor and a 14 fret Taylor GC
I'd guess that the larger GC should be easier to learn on due to string tension??
I have mediums on the Taylor, should I switch to lights or maybe extra lights while I lear the bar and build up strength?

I am open to any tips
Thanks
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2015, 08:16 PM
jman60 jman60 is offline
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You can start with learning the fret board. Learn the natural notes (A, B, C, D, E, F & G) on the 6th. and 5th. strings to start. These are your "root notes".

Look here...
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/TB-007-NotesOnNeck.php

And here...
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/BC-172-G5-powerchord.php
Here he's showing you "power chords" or "fifth chords", basically half of
a barre chord. Once you're able to identify and play the fifth chords work on playing the full barre chord.

The other notes not shown/listed on the "Notes on Neck" diagram are sharps/flats. They're called "accidentals".

Here's some info...
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/TB-006-NoteCircle.php
and...

Justin has some great lessons for free. You should take a look.
www.justinguitar.com
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/BC-00...nersCourse.php

Justine's website should keep you busy for a while.
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:17 PM
motojunky motojunky is offline
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I'm genuinely curious how you've been able to play for years without playing bar(re) chords. I've seen several posts over the course of a couple of years that tell me you aren't the only one. I can see how you'd do an F or Bmin, but what about say an F#min? Are you just playing the bottom three strings?

I had this illusion early on that if I learned to play barre chords I'd be "good." Turns out that it is possible to be able to play barre chords and still be no good. I have an adequate chord vocabulary at this point (~2.5 years in) but I'm far from being a musician.

I know it's possible but I've not really looked at alternatives. I'd like to hear how you (or others) who play around using barre chords.

Thanks!

Last edited by motojunky; 12-28-2015 at 10:25 PM.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2015, 12:44 AM
Guitars+gems Guitars+gems is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motojunky View Post
I'm genuinely curious how you've been able to play for years without playing bar(re) chords. I've seen several posts over the course of a couple of years that tell me you aren't the only one. I can see how you'd do an F or Bmin, but what about say an F#min? Are you just playing the bottom three strings?

I had this illusion early on that if I learned to play barre chords I'd be "good." Turns out that it is possible to be able to play barre chords and still be no good. I have an adequate chord vocabulary at this point (~2.5 years in) but I'm far from being a musician.

I know it's possible but I've not really looked at alternatives. I'd like to hear how you (or others) who play around using barre chords.

Thanks!
There are a whole lotta songs you can play that don't need barre chords, and you can transpose too if you need to.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2015, 06:02 AM
stanron stanron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motojunky View Post
I'm genuinely curious how you've been able to play for years without playing bar(re) chords. I've seen several posts over the course of a couple of years that tell me you aren't the only one. I can see how you'd do an F or Bmin, but what about say an F#min? Are you just playing the bottom three strings?

I had this illusion early on that if I learned to play barre chords I'd be "good." Turns out that it is possible to be able to play barre chords and still be no good. I have an adequate chord vocabulary at this point (~2.5 years in) but I'm far from being a musician.

I know it's possible but I've not really looked at alternatives. I'd like to hear how you (or others) who play around using barre chords.

Thanks!
If you make regular, intellegant, use of a capo you can more or less forget about bar chords.

If you are a finger style player bar chords tie up too many fingers and leave far too few options for adding non chordal notes to your playing. This can limit your ability to play melodies.

I used a capo without bar chords for decades. I knew my bar chords and could play bar chords, but like the gentleman with an accordion, I didn't.

About five years ago I did a complete revision of how I play acoustic guitar and, amongst other changes, adopted a 'no capo no alternate tunings' policy. As a result I now have to play more bar shapes. Some are partial bars, some are complete. Some are based on the standard E and A shapes and some on the G and C shapes. I don't hold them down for bar after bar, like a rhythm player would. It might just be for one or two beats.

If you want to avoid bar chords experiment with capo position and key. You may never completely eliminate them but you can cut them down to a minimum, especially if you can 'thumb over'.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2015, 07:07 AM
Bikewer Bikewer is offline
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Barre chords? Hell, man, I play bluegrass....

I always maintain that the biggest obstacle to mastering barres is failure to have the guitar set up properly.
Especially the action at the nut. An amazing number of folks don't even understand that the action on an acoustic can be adjusted, and if they do they think it's a matter of "filing down the saddle" and that's about it.

If the action at the nut is correct, the effort required for good barre's is greatly reduced.
You can check this quickly by applying a capo. Is the instrument much easier to finger with the capo in place? If so.... You need an adjustment.
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:19 AM
Arthur Blake Arthur Blake is offline
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Default Prefer not to understand

Barre chords are like anything else on the guitar, they improve with practice until they become simple.

Probably not fearing them is the best idea.

I've always learned to play by working on songs I want to master. If one is too difficult to play, move on to another and come back to it later.

Patterns tend to be related, so often you learn something in one place and find it transfers to making something else easier. Then after a while, you will be able to play everything.

What I mean by the title is that I prefer not to understand how they are supposed to be difficult. It's like anything else you encounter, and you do it the best you can as you build strength and experience. Enjoy the music you are creating and you will find the technique follows.

I suppose it is also helpful to know how to practice. Strive for perfection with ease.
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:29 AM
motojunky motojunky is offline
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To be clear, I'm not looking to avoid them personally - I'm just curious what goes into playing without using bar chords. My guitar is set up well and I can play them just fine - or at least as poorly as open chords.

To the OP, the setup advice is key. Prior to having a good setup, I would tune down a step and capo at the 2nd fret to make bar chords playable. There are a few tutorial videos on YouTube that can give you technique help. I found a couple of songs that could be played with all (or mostly) bar chords and just stuck with it.

Good luck!
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2015, 08:11 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreedloveRDMH View Post
After years of avoiding them I have committed myself to learning bar chords.
I'm working on the E shapes first

I have a 12 fret parlor and a 14 fret Taylor GC
I'd guess that the larger GC should be easier to learn on due to string tension??
I have mediums on the Taylor, should I switch to lights or maybe extra lights while I lear the bar and build up strength?

I am open to any tips
Thanks
Hi RDMH

Here are three short (one minute) videos I made years ago for students and friends. They help harness some of the essentials for learning barre chords.

If a guitar is setup properly, the barre chord doesn't require much strength. It's not a squeeze maneuver…


Where is the Pressure? - CLiCK


Barre From Above and Behind - CLiCK


Barre from Front - CLiCK

Hope these help…




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Old 12-29-2015, 08:25 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanron View Post
If you make regular, intellegant, use of a capo you can more or less forget about bar chords.
I don't think this is true at all. Learning chords in different positions and inversions makes one a better player ... period. Can one "get by" without barre chords? Sure ... but a capo will never replace knowing and using barre chords.
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:31 AM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi RDMH

Here are three short (one minute) videos I made years ago for students and friends. They help harness some of the essentials for learning barre chords.

If a guitar is setup properly, the barre chord doesn't require much strength. It's not a squeeze maneuver…


Where is the Pressure? - CLiCK


Barre From Above and Behind - CLiCK


Barre from Front - CLiCK

Hope these help…




That's a great little tutorial. I learned Barre chords right out of the gate so I have no difficulty with them. In fact, I never use power chords at all. I just play the full Barre chord and pick the two or three strings needed to make the sound. That's weird.
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:48 AM
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RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motojunky View Post
I'm genuinely curious how you've been able to play for years without playing bar(re) chords. I've seen several posts over the course of a couple of years that tell me you aren't the only one. I can see how you'd do an F or Bmin, but what about say an F#min? Are you just playing the bottom three strings?

I had this illusion early on that if I learned to play barre chords I'd be "good." Turns out that it is possible to be able to play barre chords and still be no good. I have an adequate chord vocabulary at this point (~2.5 years in) but I'm far from being a musician.

I know it's possible but I've not really looked at alternatives. I'd like to hear how you (or others) who play around using barre chords.

Thanks!

I never barre and have a number of alternatives. Examples from 1st to 6th string:

"F" - Index finger on strings 1 & 2 (1st fret)
2nd finger on 3rd string (2nd fret)
ring finger on 4th & 5th strings (3rd fret)
Thumb on 6th string (1st fret)

"Fm" -Index finger on strings 1, 2, & 3 (1st fret)
ring finger on 4th & 5th strings (3rd fret)
Thumb on 6th string (1st fret)

"Bb" - Index finger on 1st string (1st fret)
Ring finger on 2nd & 3rd strings (3rd fret)
2nd finger on 4th string (3rd fret)
Thumb on 5th & 6th string (1st fret)

"Bbmin- Index finger on 1st string (1st fret)
2nd finger on 2nd string (2nd fret)
Ring finger on 3rd & 4th strings (3rd fret)
Thumb on 5th & 6th string (1st fret)

Move any/all of these shapes up the fingerboard to desired chord name.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2015, 09:59 AM
BreedloveRDMH BreedloveRDMH is offline
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Default Thanks to all

I'm going to keep at it and I'll give everyone an update in a week or so.
Nice answers folks as always from this forum
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2015, 10:18 AM
Mystery123 Mystery123 is offline
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@ljguitar.
Thanks, helps me as well.

I'm trying bar chords and it's getting somewhat easier.
I realized that I was angling the fretboard upwards to see where my fingertips are and that made it harder for bar chords.
Now I angled it so I don't see, if any, fretboard and much easier to bar.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:32 PM
jman60 jman60 is offline
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Breedlove and Mystery, just take your time as you form the barre chord shapes you're practicing, no need to place a deadline on what you want to accomplish.

And practice as much as possible, the more you do, the quicker you'll become proficient at playing barre chords.

Ljguitar has some nice videos, especially the overhead view. See how he's holding the guitar and where his thumb is on the back of the neck?

I remember how much I hated the "F" barre chord when I first started, and it took a good while before I could play it proficiently.
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