View Full Version : Barre Chord Technique

08-14-2015, 03:54 AM
Although I don't have a problem with barre chords, our DNA causes us to search for a better way of doing things. As of now I place the pointer finger across the fretboard first and then apply the other fingers. I've been practicing placing the middle, ring and little finger first and then barring with the pointer finger. The latter seems to work better with newer chord formations and the former of course is better with the more familiar chord fretting. How do you barre? Any thoughts?

08-14-2015, 06:58 AM
I generally try to put all the fingers down at the same time - that seems to work best for me for both barre and non-barre chords.

Your mileage may vary!

08-14-2015, 08:08 AM
I agree with sopher. I think the optimal way is to place all fingers at once. It wasn't a concerted effort that led to that but rather it just happened over time as I got more comfortable with barring.

08-14-2015, 11:22 AM
I started learning by placing all fingers at once, and now may not do that if I want to hammer on. My philosophy on the left hand is do it 5 thousand times with slow intent, and then things will get more fluid and natural feeling. I don't have to use a lot of pressure with the barring finger and the shapes are much easier now than the first 4,999 times I've tried it.

08-14-2015, 07:07 PM
I also try to rotate my hand ever so slightly so that part of the side of my barring finger is what makes contact with the string. I find that I have less buzzing/muting and a cleaner tone.

08-14-2015, 08:10 PM
After playing guitar for so many years, I got very used to putting down all my fingers at once for bar chords. Only when I'm unfamiliar with the chord will I "finger" it, but it usually doesn't take me long to do them all at once.

08-15-2015, 01:48 AM
Practice helps with barre chords.
Try "Yuga" - http://yugadaily.com

08-15-2015, 02:06 AM
For me, it depends on what I'm playing. If it's just block chords, as for strumming only, then I usually throw all the fingers down at the same time. But if I'm picking a melody out while playing, then often the melody or passing notes get fingered first and the other fingers, including the barre if any, get thrown down immediately after. It's partly a matter of efficiency and smoothness, and partly a matter of giving myself a smidgen more time to get the harmony fingers in place.

08-15-2015, 06:39 AM
Thanx for all of the advice. I think when playing a familiar chord I place all fingers at the same time. It's probably with the unfamiliar chord that my fingering is more tentative. As i said, I don't have a problem with barre chords. And I am a firm believer in the 3P's. Practice Practice Practice.

08-15-2015, 07:41 AM
Thanx for all of the advice. And I am a firm believer in the 3P's. Practice Practice Practice.

And the fourth P: punishment.

(Bet you thought I was going to say "patience")

08-16-2015, 10:17 AM
I can't seem to barre chords the same way every time. It's all about context. I have to place my fingers on the frets as their previous and upcoming positions allow.
I'll say it. The fourth "P" is "practice".

08-17-2015, 05:16 AM
Nobody has asked about the most important finger in a barre chord... the thumb So many people have the neck in the web of the thumb. That throws the pressing fingers out over the top of the neck, and applies no counter pressure to the back of the neck. A barre is nothing more than a pinch with the side of the index finger. Were you to try to pinch someone with the top of the index finger, without the force from the thumb opposing it, all one gets is a push. Place the thumb on the back of the neck as though pushing in a thumb tack (wonder why they call it a THUMB tack) and the fingers have a completely different orientation to the fretboard. It greatly helps chord formations even when not barred. In Jim Beloff's yellow book on Page 11, he speaks of the use of the little finger for forming basic chords. When you learn to make chord shapes in the no barre mode the same as you make them in the barre mode, then a complete change of finger positions is not needed to use that chord shape somewhere else. Play a B7 with the pointing finger sticking up in the air, and that chord shape anywhere else on the fretboard is easy and the index fills in the second string position.

08-17-2015, 05:45 AM
That's really good advice. I have my students play the chords they already know but without using the index finger (not all the time, but as an exercise to prepare those fingers for when the barre chords come!). A good tip for getting all your fingers to go down at the same time is to hold the chord, the lift all the fingers just a few mm, then replace them (all at the same time!), then gradually increase the distance you lift your fingers. If you screw up, go back to a few mm. After a few days f doing this several times a day with a chord, you find that your fingers start to form the shape in the air, ready to land all at the same time.