The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #16  
Old 10-08-2015, 07:35 PM
shekie shekie is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Burlington, MA
Posts: 356
Default

Finally had some time to watch Larry's videos, they were most informative. Three things I learned tonight:

1. Placing the first finger somewhat diagonally across instead of perpendicular to the fret.

2. The first finger is pressed down from the side, not directly from the fleshy center.

3. The thumb is pressed against the neck slightly behind the first finger, not directly opposite.

Thank you, Larry!

I also misspoke in my initial post that playing the shorter scale Martin was no easier than the longer scale Taylor. I practiced barre chords this evening on the Martin, and it really is easier on the shorter scale. I'm still lousy, but somewhat less lousy on the Martin. The action is actually slightly higher on the Martin and the nut width is the same on both, but as SFCRetired and Marshall suggested, it was easier on the shorter scale.

Thank you to all who took the time to respond!
__________________
Martin OM-28 - 2017
Gibson J-45 - 2019
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-08-2015, 07:48 PM
samcatluth samcatluth is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 404
Default struggling with barre chords

Couple of suggestions:
1. Tune the guitar down one half step.
2. Try silk/steel strings, they are easier on the hands. Jeff B
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-08-2015, 07:52 PM
Jim Owen's Avatar
Jim Owen Jim Owen is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wilkes County NC and Columbus Georgia
Posts: 5,452
Default

Hi Shekie,
It takes practice. You're asking the hand to do something that it doesn't do normally; so it's natural that you'll have to build a little bit of muscle. The thumb is integral to the process, and you'll find just the right amount of pressure.

All of us were lousy at this when we started. Trust me on that.
__________________
Peace,
Jimmy

Yes, I used to play in bars behind chickenwire, but that was to protect the audience.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-08-2015, 07:52 PM
MuddyDitch MuddyDitch is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Tulpehocken Delta
Posts: 318
Default

The joints in my index finger make barre chords painful, especially sideways torque. Breaking them down to partial chords or triads or using a thumb on the bass strings is how I work around them. YMMV.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-08-2015, 08:55 PM
SFCRetired's Avatar
SFCRetired SFCRetired is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Mid Missouri
Posts: 4,207
Default

Glad to see you got some pointers that help. Larry knows what he's talking about. Being self taught I struggled with barre chords myself so I stayed away from them for years. I still don't have them mastered like many or most people do, but to be honest what I play doesn't use a lot of them. I can make them all, I'm just not real fast at changes on some of them. So I try to find songs I like that uses some of them on occasion so I can get better.
__________________
Martin D-18
Larrivee SD-40R
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 10-09-2015, 03:59 PM
Haasome's Avatar
Haasome Haasome is offline
Charter Picker
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 8,106
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi Shekie…

After 40 years of teaching, I can tell you it's not strength but other things which affect barre chord play. If the action is set decently (not too high) and the

Here are three short (about 1 minute each) videos I made for students and friends. Old school video technology, but they still help get the info across.

I have them both embedded so you can play them from this page, and the link for each is included below it.



Where is the Pressure? - CLiCK



Barre From Above and Behind - CLiCK



Barre from Front - CLiCK

Hope these help…

These are excellent Larry. I'm not a very good guitar instructor and these really helped my son, who is just picking up the guitar for the first time and patiently letting me try to help him.

Thanks,
Paul
__________________
Paul
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 10-09-2015, 04:33 PM
jaybones jaybones is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Kelleys Island
Posts: 1,899
Default

At your age, you might be losing muscle strength. I recomend one of these, when I first started playing, I used one all the time.

http://www.amazon.com/Gripmaster-Exe...nger+exerciser

I'd also recomend lighter strings, detuning, the videos and also making sure you're arching your fingers across the frets. Wear your guitar higher if need be, and try and get the neck 45 degrees to your body. Keep the elbow loose and and hanging straight down from the wrist, which should also be loosely bent over a little. Arch your fingers over the fretboard, which should make your index finger as straight as possible.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 10-10-2015, 07:31 AM
ljguitar's Avatar
ljguitar ljguitar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: wyoming
Posts: 38,312
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybones View Post
At your age, you might be losing muscle strength.
Hi j-b…

I don't find muscle strength to be the factor which makes barre chords better. We have no muscles in our fingers to strengthen. Barres are not a strength technique/maneuver when a guitar is well setup. And the squeeze strengtheners cause us to tense, not relax, our forearm/hand, which is detrimental to all playing (relaxed playing is best).

Lighter strings, detuning, lowering action are three things I've used with aging students who have suffered deterioration, injury or surgery. Those are valid techniques.

I'm not a licensed therapist, so if they are involved in physical therapy to restore normal use of hand/arm/wrist/elbows/shoulder use after surgery, physical deterioration or injury, I ask them to share with the therapist about their guitar playing. Barre chords are not the only focus of their concerns. It affects many other aspects of playing guitar.

Posture (how one holds the guitar while playing) goes a long way toward solving barre chord issues. Not playing left knee style, but elevating the neck which in essence rotates the body. Raising the neck so the headstock is at least chin high, brings the first position playing closer to the body and eliminates dropping the shoulder and cranking the fretting wrist. It straightens and relaxes the fretting wrist.

Elevating the neck changes the angle of both fretting and strumming/picking hands. It is more ergonomic, and relaxes much of the playing. Some people accomplish straightening out the fretting wrist by dropping their left shoulder, which if they just sat up straight would elevate the neck.

After teaching fingerstyle for over 40 years, I'm pretty familiar with how we address issues which confront players, of which barre chords is probably one of the biggest hurdles at the start, and it becomes invisible in short order.



__________________
Larry J

Baby #01
Baby #02
Baby #03
Baby #04
Full-size Full-Scale Baby #4

Larry's songs...

…Just because you've argued till a discussion turns silent doesn't mean you have convinced anyone…
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 10-25-2015, 08:58 AM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Middlesex, Vermont
Posts: 224
Default

Here's an idea to consider.

Mastering barre chording will take time and requires an understanding of your body geometry to make best use of your arm leverage and so forth. I agree that the barre is usually best accomplished with the side of the forefinger, mostly because it puts the other fingers in an advantageous position to fret the remaining notes, but also because it allows you to leverage your arm and shoulder strength, instead of putting all the force on your wrist and hand muscles.

But there's another aspect that can help you with this method, and that is context. When you understand why you're reaching for a barre instead of for individual or smaller combinations of the notes, you will tend to go into "do what must be done" mode and somehow it becomes easier to accomplish.

I have trouble with some barre chords and alternatively, I'll play the three note combinations - short chords if you will - when accompanying someone else in a rhythm role. So, for instance, Bm can be accessed instantly by using an Am form, only with the last three fingers of your left hand to allow for a barre with the forefinger. Just don't do the barre yet. Nail the chord with the last three fingers and don't strum all six strings. You'll be building muscle memory for the chord itself independently of the barre. When you want to add the barre, you need not change anything else at all to do it. So this gets you partway down the road very quickly and does not interfere with the later addition of the barre with the forefinger.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 03-10-2016, 07:17 AM
shekie shekie is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Burlington, MA
Posts: 356
Default 5 months later

Felt compelled to drag this thread up regarding Larry J's advice and accompanying videos.

I've spent a considerable amount of time practicing placing my index finger diagonally across the fret board and applying pressure from the side of my index finger rather than the fleshy front part, and paying attention to thumb placement, slightly behind my index finger instead of directly opposite.

My barre chording is vastly improved from last October, so a big thank you to Larry!
__________________
Martin OM-28 - 2017
Gibson J-45 - 2019
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 03-10-2016, 07:33 AM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Earth, mostly
Posts: 1,208
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shekie View Post
Felt compelled to drag this thread up regarding Larry J's advice and accompanying videos.

I've spent a considerable amount of time practicing placing my index finger diagonally across the fret board and applying pressure from the side of my index finger rather than the fleshy front part, and paying attention to thumb placement, slightly behind my index finger instead of directly opposite.

My barre chording is vastly improved from last October, so a big thank you to Larry!
One thing that didn't get mentioned in the original batch of advice is the function of the depth of the neck. As you can see by my signature, I prefer a real "handful" of neck on my guitar. A deeper, fuller neck will give more leverage with less effort.
__________________
Harmony Sovereign H-1203
"You're making the wrong mistakes."
...T. Monk

Theory is the post mortem of Music.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 03-10-2016, 08:04 AM
Ditch Ditch is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: North central PA. & S.W. Fla.
Posts: 494
Default

I can tell you Larry's video's were a huge help for me. Also having the actioned lowered. For me I think my issue was my thumb placement. Keep at it, it will come.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 03-10-2016, 09:29 AM
Trevor B. Trevor B. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Posts: 1,055
Default

The only thing I'd add to Larry's excellent video demonstrations and pointers is to avoid "pinching" between left thumb and index finger when making a barre. The pressure one exerts should be directed to the fingertips and barre when it's in use, not divided between left thumb and fingertips. Pinching just creates unnecessary tension and inhibits both vertical and horizontal movement.
Kudos to Larry for making and posting these clear and highly informative little gems.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 03-10-2016, 10:13 AM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,718
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor B. View Post
The only thing I'd add to Larry's excellent video demonstrations and pointers is to avoid "pinching" between left thumb and index finger when making a barre. The pressure one exerts should be directed to the fingertips and barre when it's in use, not divided between left thumb and fingertips. Pinching just creates unnecessary tension and inhibits both vertical and horizontal movement.
Kudos to Larry for making and posting these clear and highly informative little gems.
Of course you need to pinch with the thumb. I wish this misinformation would stop floating around.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 03-10-2016, 10:15 AM
Benny61 Benny61 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 103
Default

I'm only a year into playing as well so I have a newbie ish question. I can play barre chords okay except the A shaped one ( like a B for example) and the way I've been managing is to play a barre on the second feet and barre from the fourth string down on the fourth fret with my ring finger in a way that mutes the high E string. It sounds okay to me but is that missing high E note gonna become an issue eventually?
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=