Soooo, I hope everyone had a great Christmas! :) I did upload a cover of “The Only Exception” by Paramore to YouTube on Christmas Eve (it’s embedded in the post below this one and makes for excellent barre chord practice!). :P
If it’s your first time on my blog you should look through the categories in the sidebar where you’ll find some great tips to help with playing barre chords – right from the basics. Anyways, on to tonight’s post! :)

Barre chords are exceptionally difficult for new guitarists due to a variety of reasons. The two main factors, however, are inadequate finger strength and undeveloped manual dexterity. Although you will develop both of these over time – assuming that you practice barre chords diligently (rather than shying away from them as many beginners do) and incorporate them into your practice sessions regularly – a good way to speed up the process is to practice scales.

Scales are – put simply – an ordered progression of single notes in music. The most common is the C Major Scale.

For this exercise to have maximum effect, however, there are some things you need to pay close attention to. First, you need to ensure that you keep each of your fingertips hovering close to the fret they are assigned to. For example, if the C Major Scale variation you’re practicing starts with a note on the second fret (as it does in the example below), your fretting hand is in second position – which simply means that your index finger covers the 2nd fret while your remaining fingers handle the 3rd, 4th, and 5th frets respectively.

This is the tab for the C Major Scale that I recommend for beginners. It should sound like the familiar do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do sound you get from playing the first 8 keys on a keyboard.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in playing barre chords, you should be able to read tab by now. If you can’t, the best I can do within this post is say that the lowest string on the tab staff represents the thickest (bass) string on your guitar (the one furthest from the ground and closest to your chin) and that the numbers represent the frets on which you should press each string. For example, to play the first note you would use your middle finger to press the string shown on the third fret. The next note would require you to use your pinky finger to press the same string on the 5th fret – and so on to the next string with the index finger on the 2nd fret, etc. Needless to say you pick the relevant string as you fret the note! :p


Your fingers will probably exhibit an initial tendency to rise away from the strings and straighten out. For practicing scales to work best you have to “force” your fingers to remain curled and within an inch or so of the fretboard – always over the correct fret. This is where you’ll need to concentrate on developing that high level of control over your fingers that you’ll need to use barre chords effectively! :)

Not only does practicing scales strengthen your fingers, but it also builds excellent manual dexterity – critically important if you ever want to play lead guitar in a band – and provides an additional bonus in getting the exceptional combination of strength and coordination required to make playing barre chords feel easy.

Be sure to share this post if you like it and don’t forget to check out the post below this one for the Paramore cover I mentioned earlier! :)