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- How To Play Bar Chords On Guitar | Beginner Guitarist Academy on How Long Does It Take To Learn Barre Chords
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- atanu on Barre Chords – A Complete Guide (hopefully!)
- Samuel Lafontaine on The Two Major Barre Chord Shapes You Need to Know
- kaoticnick on Why You Need Barre Chords
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If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering whether barre chords are easier (or harder) on acoustic guitar versus their electric counterparts. The short answer is yes – it makes difference. Acoustic barre chords are considerably harder – especially if you’re playing on a steel string – for a number of reasons that I’ll explain below. Hopefully, it’ll be an interesting read and help you get the hang of playing barre chords better – whichever type you happen to be stuck with.
Electric guitars have something that their acoustic cousins don’t – external power. This means that they don’t rely on acoustic means (duh!) to generate sound and can generate the smallest detectable vibrations while allowing the amplifier to do the rest. You might ask; What does this have to do with playing barre chords on either of them? Well, because they need to provide more volume – without any external help – the vibrations (sound) produced by an acoustic guitar must be substantially greater than the tiny buzzing an electric guitar actually makes when it isn’t amplified. This means that the part of the guitar that produces sound – the strings – must be correspondingly thicker so they can move more air; thus producing a louder sound. Makes sense?
Maybe you can already see where this is going. Acoustic barre chords are harder to play because the thicker strings (i.e. higher gauge strings) are much harder to press down than much the thinner strings you’ll find on an electric. Barre chords inherently require extraordinary finger strength (which you’ll develop overtime) but the thick strings on an acoustic guitar do make it considerably harder. This is even more true if the guitar is steel stringed – simply because steel strings are heavier than their nylon counterparts and offer more resistance against your index finger as you try to press them down. But they sound sooo much better than nylon!
Anyways, I actually do recommend that beginners learn barre chords on acoustic guitar first. The reason for this is simple – you want to be able to play on anything. If you specifically try to learn barre chords on electric first you WILL pick them up a bit faster but you will also regret it the day you want to play an acoustic and realize how limited you are as you struggle with barre chords all over again.
In contrast, if the get them down on acoustic you’ll be able to play them like a breeze on on your electric and never have to think about them too much again. In short, if you have a choice, learn on acoustic first and then switch over if you like. If you don’t have a choice, make the best of what you have and check out my barre chords resources to help you play them better!
P.S. You can post any questions you have on the new forums I’ve set up on the site or just come join our friendly new guitar community!