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DanTelles
07-03-2008, 08:25 PM
So after about the first 3-4 hours of practicing and playing, while using bar chords somewhat consistently in the songs my hands start to get tired. Am I doing something wrong or do you guys have a remedy for this?

Regster
07-03-2008, 10:28 PM
3-4 hours that's hardcore man, i only practice 1-2 hours, i guess the remedy is to let your hands rest

dannyboy
07-11-2008, 03:15 PM
Dude thats hardcore right there. It depends on the action of your guitar, the higher it is, the more fustrating it'll be to use bar chords, but at the sametime it'll be way easier in the long run when you use a guitar with a perfect action. Other than that your hands do get sore and tired after a while.

Nuke-ulele
07-14-2008, 07:43 AM
Barre chords take strengthening of the muscles in your forarm, wrist, hands, etc. If you are on a guitar, you may want to take it easy on that practice...you can actually get carpal tunnel and other injury if you work them too hard all at once. You will slowly build up strength, though. Even the biggest bodybuilder guys can have trouble with barre chords because they just use muscles in ways you don't often use them. On a uke I wouldn't think you would have to worry about them with the super light string tension, narrower and thinner neck, and soft nylon strings (when compared with guitar).

SuperSecretBETA
07-14-2008, 10:49 AM
You could also try lower tension strings to make it a little easier.

DanTelles
07-15-2008, 05:35 PM
You could also try lower tension strings to make it a little easier.

I play lights and ultra lights, and the main guitar I use is a Les Paul Custom with the thinner neck not the 50's fat one. I did get a lighter case of tendonitis before when I was practicing 5-6 hours a day so maybe I'm just pushing it too hard.

UkeNukem
06-18-2009, 05:16 AM
You might want to change your thinking from barre chords to movable chords. I usually fret 4 or five notes and let the others mute. PM me if you want examples.

ukulelebadass
06-18-2009, 05:21 AM
I use a lot of Bengay cream.

Bratset
06-21-2009, 08:14 AM
The thing that has helped me the most with barre chords is practice, and doing so regulary but not to much ;)
I practice about 1-2 hours a day

Chrisuzwhite
06-23-2009, 08:36 PM
Don't push barre chords with your wrist, make the pressure come from your forearm. That'll stop most of the pain you're probably experiancing.

DaveVisi
06-23-2009, 08:54 PM
Also, don't push straight down with a stiff finger. Bend your index finger slightly and apply pressure from the side. Your finger isn't designed to flex in that direction so you'll find it's more rigid than trying to keep your finger straight with muscles alone.


______ _____
| | | <--- Not good
| | |
V V V


______ ______
/ \ | / \ <--- Better
\ | /

Text diagrams suck. The top one shows that you have to apply direct downward pressure at each joint. The second one is with the side of a curved finger. I couldn't place arrows, but imagine the same arrows pointing inward, converging near the center. Each one reinforces the other, giving you three times the force at the desired spot than the first picture. This works well with a six string guitar with a much higher string tension. It's a piece of cake on a Uke with four low tension strings.

Ukulele JJ
04-14-2010, 02:25 PM
Yes, it takes practice
But practicing them that long in one stretch is probably not a good idea
It might help to think of it as pushing forward with your thumb, more than pushing back with your fingers


JJ

ceviche
09-06-2010, 04:03 PM
Here's a very simple way to help you make barre chords: Just move/swing your elbow away from the side of your body. That will allow your thumb and index finger to directly oppose each other in forming the barre while creating greater leverage between the rest of your fingers and your forearm. In this instance, the barre becomes the pivot point for the leverage between your forearm and your other fingers forming the chord behind the barre. Get it? Do it this way and you won't have to exert as much energy. Just try kicking your elbow out a little when you next try a barre chord and see what happens. Good luck!

--Dave E.

Mauimaster
01-23-2011, 12:48 PM
If I practiced 3-4 hours straight using just bar chords my hands would hurt too. The remedy is simple. Practice for an hour then take a thirty minute brake. Repeat this until you are done practiceing.

gnomethang
01-23-2011, 01:33 PM
Here's a very simple way to help you make barre chords: Just move/swing your elbow away from the side of your body. That will allow your thumb and index finger to directly oppose each other in forming the barre while creating greater leverage between the rest of your fingers and your forearm. In this instance, the barre becomes the pivot point for the leverage between your forearm and your other fingers forming the chord behind the barre. Get it? Do it this way and you won't have to exert as much energy. Just try kicking your elbow out a little when you next try a barre chord and see what happens. Good luck!

--Dave E.

Some great advice in the replies before this but this one does it for me.
Its from the arm not the wrist ands is down to position - use the best muscles for the job (including those in opposition)

JT_Ukes
01-23-2011, 01:38 PM
Doctor, it hurts when i do this..

Well, stop doing this.

France
01-23-2011, 08:19 PM
Another little technique is to let your arm and fingers sort of hang off the fretboard whilst gripping and this seems to give the pressure without the need to grip too tightly. Works for some.

Pippin
03-25-2011, 12:11 AM
You might also check hand position and make some minor adjustments there. If you have a lot of discomfort playing a Les Paul Custom, you are either playing a very poorly setup guitar or you are playing telephone cables, not strings, and way too long.

I have been playing guitar and ukulele both for over forty years. I can't tell you how many hours I used to play as a kid, but it was a lot. On my old Les Paul, I used to play "nines" for my string of choice. On acoustics, I play "tens" and did have "elevens" on my Martin for a while. I prefer "tens" (always played light strings).

Michael N.
09-06-2011, 10:17 AM
Guitar (or Uke) playing isn't about building strong muscles. It's more about training them, flexibility and accuracy.
You have to ask yourself the question: how come some kids as young as 8 can play amazingly proficiently, flying around the fretboard? It can't possibly be because they have seriously strong muscles in their hands.
Most of it is technique and practice.
Trying to play bar chords for hours on end (especially without good technique) is a recipe for serious injury.
The Posters who referred to using the arm have it correct. The small muscles between your thumb and index finger cannot sustain you through bar chords.
Practice by doing a bar with the index but remove your left hand thumb (a short way) from the Neck. To achieve the bar like this you have to apply some counterforce with your right arm, otherwise the Guitar body will swing away from you. You don't need huge force, just enough to counteract the pulling back of the index finger. Practice this for a couple of minutes, several times per day. It teaches you to use the arm (the so called 'large muscle'). It is quite possible to get clean notes using this technique. In fact some people use it for other chords and single notes. It should eventually lead to a lighter feel. If you have the 'death grip' it can be a real saviour!