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So I just wrote and submitted this article to EzineArticles but as usual I’m leaking it here before they publish it! If it’s your first time here and you have trouble with barre chords be sure to go through the categories section in the sidebar to get all my tips on how to make it a lot easier!
Once you have a mastery of playing barre chords, i.e. your strings don’t buzz anymore and you can play a clean-sounding B Minor chord without too much effort, a brutal realization usually hits. You can’t play any songs by simply holding onto that perfect-sounding chord for dear life and strumming away. This means that the next step is to learn how to switch to, and from, barre chords effectively.
When you first get the hang of it, you will often find that you grip the fretboard very tightly to exert enough pressure on the requisite strings with your barring finger. This is an acceptable part of the learning process but true mastery comes, not only from being able to play the chord without unpleasant buzzing, but also from being able to apply adequate pressure without overly tensing the wrist of your fretting hand. It is this tension that effectively paralyzes your left hand grip – making it very difficult at first to release the barre. The first step, therefore, in switching barre chords faster (and more accurately) is to learn how to exert this pressure more efficiently.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you will never move quickly from a barre chord if you don’t master the action of applying, and releasing, pressure on the fretboard. You need to practice playing a barre chord (I recommend the B minor chord) and moving it up and down the neck of the guitar (moving it up by two frets will give you a C sharp Minor chord). To do this effectively you will have to get your fretting hand accustomed to gripping the neck firmly when fretting the barre chord – while releasing all the tension before switching so that the hand can move up, or down, the neck to another chord (at which point you must be able to re-apply pressure just as quickly. This practice of continuously applying, and releasing, pressure is probably the most critical skill necessary to switch between these chords effectively.
Similarly, moving from a barre chord to an open chord requires a dynamic release of pressure on the fretboard so that your fretting fingers can move freely to the next chord form – without a pause. This, again, requires practice but simply switching back and forth between a B Minor and A Major (Open) Chord will give the necessary practice – providing that you keep in mind the importance of completely releasing tension (especially in the wrist) before attempting to move your fingers to the new chord. Optimally, it should be one fluid motion from one chord to the next that will soon become ingrained in muscle memory and no longer require much conscious thought. Achieving this level of skill will, however, take a lot of patient practice but will pay rich dividends when you no longer feel that dread as you look at all the barre chords used in a song that you really want to play.
And that’s the article I just submitted…I hope it helps and that they like it too! Email me your questions/comments at email@example.com and be sure to check out the rest of my blog for useful tips and videos to make barre chords easier! Oh, and subscribe! You can see the options to do that on the sidebar!