First of all, I want to apologize for the long delay since my last post! Schoolwork and band obligations have been so time-consuming :( Anyways, today I’m gonna talk about how to master the “position switch” – moving barre chords up and down the guitar neck. Incidentally, this post assumes you already have a decent handle on playing barre chords so, if you don’t, you can find a LOT of helpful posts with all sorts of useful tips (even video demonstrations) in the “Categories” sidebar on the right. :)


A wide variety of mistakes can make switching between barre chords (or even switching from barre chords to open chords) unnecessarily difficult. The most common of these is gripping the fretboard much too tightly. While a fairly firm grip is necessary to play a clean barre chord, too much tension in the fretting hand can make it difficult to release the barre to move elsewhere a long the neck. The simple solution to this error is to find – through trial and error – the least amount of pressure required for you to execute a clean barre chord and to only use that much. Special attention should also be paid to quickly releasing the pressure and sliding the fretting hand along the neck to the next desired fret – without raising your fingers too far away from the fretboard. Optimally, they should glide easily along (or just over) the strings to the next fret.


Another common problem – encountered most commonly by beginners when switching barre chords – is a less than pleasant buzzing sound after a position change. This is often caused by fingering errors that will sort themselves out over time with SLOW, repetitive practice. This simply means that – similar to how you learn how to switch open chords – you need to do it slowly (with a concentrated effort on precision) before you can do it fast. Take charge of your fingers and make sure they go where they’re supposed to – it will become natural before you know it and then you can speed it up! :)


Another common cause of buzzing is that – after moving a barre chord up or down the neck – the chord form may simply need to be moved slightly so that the barring finger is just behind the next adjacent fret (as it should have been before the switch – I explain this is my other posts about getting barre chords to sound clearly). This maximises the effective pressure on the strings while reducing the amount of effort (and consequently the amount of tension) required in your fretting hand – very important as I explained above. Finally, check to make sure that your other fingers are in the frets they’re supposed to be in and not crossing over.


With these guidelines in mind, practice is all it takes. A good idea is to try moving the same barre chord from (e.g. E-based) up and down the neck while concentrating on the tips above. The idea is to do it SLOWLY and accurately to train muscle memory before speeding things up! Patience is key! :)


P.S. You might want to look through my other posts in the sidebar – lots of helpful tips in there to make barre chords far less annoying! Ill try to post again soon. :)