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  #31  
Old 09-30-2017, 07:21 PM
1neeto 1neeto is offline
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Originally Posted by Pitar View Post
Rigid use of the index finger as a capo is usually the mantra for students of barre chord placement. They focus on the clamping of that finger as capo-like as possible, thinking this and no other method is best.



The barre is not really a barre. By all appearances it is and hence the name but it does not need to sound all strings. It typically only needs to sound 2 to 3 strings. The e-strings are usually covered by the index finger with the balance of the notes between them chord-specific and typically the work of the other fingers.



The index finger will eventually adapt itself to sound only those strings it needs to sound. It will be relieved by the other fingers as they sound their fretted notes.



At this juncture I find placement of barre chords to be of no greater effort than placing open chords. That's just what comes from practice.


This right here explains something I know I do but never really understood. When I was learning barre chords, I was so hell bent on making sure every single note rang clean and it made the process frustrating. As time went by as I play, I know Iím not making every note ring clean, but the right notes are ringing. I guess like you say, my brain knows which notes need to ring and it adjusts my barre accordingly. I donít clamp nowhere near with the amount of force I used to, nor my finger resembles a capo, itís now more relaxed and not straight, i barre with a bit of a ďcurveĒ on my index finger now
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  #32  
Old 09-30-2017, 08:37 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Originally Posted by 1neeto View Post
This right here explains something I know I do but never really understood. When I was learning barre chords, I was so hell bent on making sure every single note rang clean and it made the process frustrating. As time went by as I play, I know I’m not making every note ring clean, but the right notes are ringing. I guess like you say, my brain knows which notes need to ring and it adjusts my barre accordingly. I don’t clamp nowhere near with the amount of force I used to, nor my finger resembles a capo, it’s now more relaxed and not straight, i barre with a bit of a “curve” on my index finger now
but can you play a minor 11th chord?

Seriously there a number of things one can do that convert playing barre chord from a serious problem to little or no problem,
such have a low guitar action, decent fret height, localized pressure differences, dynamic pressures, mini timeouts, index fingertip
extension beyond fretboard, and double finger barres. It takes some investigation to figure certain things out and some practice
time to make it become automatic.
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  #33  
Old 09-30-2017, 10:21 PM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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but can you play a minor 11th chord?
.
+1 Or just a chord using all strings in open tuning? Being able to keep the barre straight is useful, too. But keeping the finger straight does not mean clamping it hard onto the fretboard. They are only strings, after all.

I'm still pretty new at it, but I find it helpful to focus on feeling the strings pressing up under my finger, rather than on trying to push the strings down harder. Usually, if something buzzes, I focus on feeling the strings pressing up under my finger, then I can feel where the finger needs to be straightened slightly. For most chords, I keep the finger straight and I don't move it from 6 strings to 5 if I'm going back and forth between them. I just keep the barre the same and move the other fingers.
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  #34  
Old 10-01-2017, 12:05 AM
Looburst Looburst is offline
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All I can tell you is that there's this little muscle in between your thumb and pointer finger that will begin to build up after much playing of barre chords. Once that muscle gets built, there will be no stopping you. Play till it hurts then keep at it till you no longer feel it, the next day you'll begin to notice the difference.
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  #35  
Old 10-01-2017, 08:24 AM
fhole fhole is offline
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Many, if not most players grip too hard, whether playing single notes or barre chords. Assuming your guitar is set up properly (not always the case), practice experimenting with how lightly you can finger a note and still get a clear tone.

Something I learned from double bass that really helped my guitar playing was to let the weight of my arm pull the strings instead of squeezing with my thumb. Try it. You can actually play without using your thumb at all.
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  #36  
Old 10-01-2017, 11:25 AM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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Something I learned from double bass that really helped my guitar playing was to let the weight of my arm pull the strings instead of squeezing with my thumb. Try it. You can actually play without using your thumb at all.
+1 I've learned this, too. Surprising how many people don't think this technique is even possible.
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  #37  
Old 10-05-2017, 04:05 AM
Taylor414ce Taylor414ce is offline
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Been playing for a few years. I can hold my own but I can't get over the fatigue I get in my hand playing songs with multiple barre chords. Set up on my guitars is fine, technique is fine. I used to be a heavy weight lifter so I always thought I had strong hands! Not sure what else to try but it really frustrates me with this. Hoping someone has some ideas or hand exercises that willl help. And no I am not looking for work around. I don't mind playing barre chords I am talking about songs that are entirely using them.
I'm a beginner so you may well understandably ignore my reply but my teacher has me playing 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' using only barre chords (except the E part) using the F barre shape. I also find this tiring on my thumb/hand muscle and he told me its quite normal and will be tiring so (in my case) not to overdo it at the start.

Might be a useful exercise for you albeit you will be able to play it far more and for longer each day than me but might be useful. Hotel California is another one you can play using only barre chords shapes (except for the E and E minor part) although I find Dock of The Bay more tiring.
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  #38  
Old 10-05-2017, 04:40 AM
SunnyDee SunnyDee is offline
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Originally Posted by Taylor414ce View Post
I'm a beginner so you may well understandably ignore my reply but my teacher has me playing 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' using only barre chords (except the E part) using the F barre shape. I also find this tiring on my thumb/hand muscle and he told me its quite normal and will be tiring so (in my case) not to overdo it at the start.
Just curious as a beginner without a teacher, for this exercise, do you play the E with the middle, ring, and pinky leaving the index along the nut as if you were still playing the barre?
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  #39  
Old 10-05-2017, 05:41 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by fhole View Post
Something I learned from double bass that really helped my guitar playing was to let the weight of my arm pull the strings instead of squeezing with my thumb. Try it. You can actually play without using your thumb at all.
You can, although I wouldn't say it's a great idea . The mix of the two forces is ideal, as the balance can vary, and of course the thumb needs to stay in contact with the back of the neck (in most situations) to guide (partially anchor) the fingers.

I mentioned the arm weight idea back in post #10, and the idea (in case anyone is suspicious of the concept, as I once was) is that you need have your elbow held at 90 degrees (as you normally do, of course). Then the arm is like an "L" suspended at the top from the shoulder. If the forearm is held horizontal, its weight will naturally cause the arm to pivot back. There's a slight downward movement of the hand too, which needs to be countered (you don't want to pull the neck down).

Maybe worth remembering too that the fret hand should not be supporting the neck in any way. I can end up doing that if the guitar is not properly braced by the other arm and body (and supported on leg if seated or strap if standing).
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Last edited by JonPR; 10-05-2017 at 05:53 AM.
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  #40  
Old 10-05-2017, 07:01 AM
Taylor414ce Taylor414ce is offline
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Originally Posted by SunnyDee View Post
Just curious as a beginner without a teacher, for this exercise, do you play the E with the middle, ring, and pinky leaving the index along the nut as if you were still playing the barre?
Yes exactly so you just slide down keeping the same shape just leaving index floating. I find it a good exercise it's really tiring after not very long! He advised me not to do it for too long at a time (10 mins max) as the muscle needs strengthening. I do it a few times throughout the day for 5-10 mins a time. Definitely getting easier.
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  #41  
Old 11-16-2017, 01:38 PM
FwL FwL is offline
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A bit of self-serving thread necro, but I just posted an arrangement of Jethro Tull's Living in the Past in the Show and Tell forum. This is a good example of a song with mostly barre chords being used.

You could certainly play the song with other voicings but you won't get the same sound. Barre chords ore essential to this arrangement for that root-5th-octave fullness on the bottom that only barre chords give you. They also allow me to get that driving staccato rhythm going.


Living in the Past thread

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  #42  
Old 11-17-2017, 03:45 AM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3woodengulls View Post
Been playing for a few years. I can hold my own but I can't get over the fatigue I get in my hand playing songs with multiple barre chords. Set up on my guitars is fine, technique is fine. I used to be a heavy weight lifter so I always thought I had strong hands! Not sure what else to try but it really frustrates me with this. Hoping someone has some ideas or hand exercises that willl help. And no I am not looking for work around. I don't mind playing barre chords I am talking about songs that are entirely using them.
Think of the strings the other fingers fret in a barre chord. Then focus on placing the index finger to sound only the strings the others don't fret. It makes a big difference in the way you approach barre chords. Instead of tasking the index finger to be a capo every time you place a barre chord you'll find it's more a matter of accuracy than strength.
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  #43  
Old 11-17-2017, 07:05 AM
paulp1960 paulp1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitar View Post
Think of the strings the other fingers fret in a barre chord. Then focus on placing the index finger to sound only the strings the others don't fret. It makes a big difference in the way you approach barre chords. Instead of tasking the index finger to be a capo every time you place a barre chord you'll find it's more a matter of accuracy than strength.
I very much agree with this. Once you realise that your index finger is only pressing 3 strings down (the other fingers do the rest) you can become more economical in the pressure you need to apply with the index finger.

This may drop to only 2 strings if you are playing A shape barre and don't want to sound the lowest string, for example.
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  #44  
Old 11-17-2017, 10:32 AM
piper_L piper_L is offline
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Just to contribute - although I'm not a "classical" player, I like to use etudes from the classical repertoire to stretch my technique (which needs a lot of stretching at this point )

I found the well-known Sor Study in B minor (Opus 35 #22) to be pretty helpful for barre chord study. Some full B minor and F# major bars, some moving back and forth between the two, many partial bars (and discovering where I didn't need a full bar was useful), and enough non-bar stuff in between to rest your hand. Your mileage may vary, but I found I learned a lot working on this - at first, I couldn't play it, now I can.

Recently I've been working on Carcassi Op 60 #3. Some tricky partial bars, and some interesting bars that ask you to put the 4th finger one fret higher than you'd expect in a bar (I hope that makes sense, see measure 7 and measure 14 for instance). I'd run into this in an arrangement of the Beatles "Because" and Fleetwood Mac's "Never Going Back Again" and I find myself more capable of working on those, probably due to the practice in the etude. It's tricky keeping the bar on the 1st finger while stretching out to get the 4th finger up...

And the etudes are good music, in a classical way, so they're pretty to work on.

I hope this idea helps!
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  #45  
Old 11-20-2017, 06:46 PM
s0cks s0cks is offline
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Honestly, it doesn't require strength. I'm super skinny and barre chords became fairly effortless once I figured out how to play them right (it was quick fix once I knew what to do). Contrary to popular belief I don't use my thumb as an opposing force. The thumb and finger muscles are weak - they weren't designed to apply prolonged pressure.

Use gravity and your bicep. Pull back on the neck. I find it useful to think of the actions of the left hand being separated into two actions.

1. The finger muscles that allow you to get your fingers into the correct shape.

2. Gravity, with assistance from the bicep, pull the fingers into the fretboard.

I kid you not when I say a full barre, for me, requires no more effort or pressure than an open G chord.

If your applying pressure using thumb and finger muscles then your just locking in excess tension. You want those muscles to be used only for creating he right chord shapes - beyond that you are just creating more tension than you need.

When it comes to gravity, here is a diagram I threw together ages ago to help show the physics. When you relax the shoulder (red), then the upper arm swings back slightly, which in turn pulls the hand toward the fretboard. When gravity isn't sufficient add a touch of force by pulling back with the bicep, but I have to stress, you don't need much force at all.
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