View Full Version : Barre Chord help

02-02-2009, 09:40 AM
Well looking around the internet I see alot of people have a problem with Barre chords, and I'm no differen't. None of what I've read though has helped very much though because its usually something differen't than my problem. So I came to describe my specific problem and hopefully a few of you can help out.

Basically, I can't play a single Barre chord with all strings held down. When I play a Barre chord, E,A,G,B, and e all ring out beautifully. The only problem is the D string. No matter how I lay my finger on the fret, sideways, flat, even piggy-backing with my middle ontop of my index, I can never get the D-string held down and have it ring out. Its extremely frustrating, I'll press down so hard that my entire finger has deep lines running across it and the D-string still refuses to ring out. At first I thought it was my tiny finger, I'm only 15 and my hands aren't very big.

I found out its because when I lay my index finger down on the fret, right where my index finger bends (the crease of my finger) is where the D-string lays. So I tried moving my entire finger up, and then the A-string won't ring out. If I move it down, the G-string won't ring out, and so on. This problem is extremely annoying especially when playing finger-style. If I'm playing a barre chord, and have to pluck D, no sound comes out except a "pung".

I've tried so many techniques to try and fix this, but I've had no success at all. Does anyone have any ideas?

02-02-2009, 10:08 AM
Make sure your index finger is as close to the fret wire as possible without buzzing. Also place your thumb in the middle of the neck (thickest part) directly under your index finger. Some people find turning their thumb sideways helps. You might also try lowering the action on your guitar and/or switching to lighter strings to see if that helps...you shouldn't have to press as hard as you describe.

Barre chords aren't something that come quickly to most people (at least not clean barre chords) so give yourself plenty of time to get them down (as in months). If all else fails and you're absolutely convinced that your finger just isn't designed for barre chords, try putting a bandaid around the part of your finger that is causing problems (cut it into a thin strip if necessary). And play to your weakness where you can...if you're playing a chord where you'll be fingering the G string in front of the barre then place your index finger where the G string doesn't ring out.

Hang in there!

Ukulele JJ
02-02-2009, 12:35 PM
I've heard that pushing forward on the neck with your thumb, rather than back toward you with the rest of your fingers, sometimes helps.


02-03-2009, 07:30 AM
I read a post once, I wish I could find it. Anyway, it had two tips for barre chords that helped me a lot.

First, like the above poster said, push forward with your thumb. Second, add a slight curve to your pointer finger. It helps believe me.

02-03-2009, 09:07 AM
So, say if you play an E chord, barred on the first fret to make an F, its all good, because you are fretting the D string?

Cpatch covers most of what I could think of, particularly getting that finger right behind the fret wire. I think I tend to roll my index finger a little towards the thumb side, away from the creases. So instead of laying my finger dead flat across the strings, the pressure is a bit more towards the side of my finger. (I think what SinisterDom is saying about a slight curve to the finger also forces you to roll back a bit.)

As with most new skills, the ultimate solution tends to be practice and repetition.

02-04-2009, 04:16 AM
As with most new skills, the ultimate solution tends to be practice and repetition.


I thought I'd never get it at first. Just practice.