Well we couldn’t have a blog at ihatebarrechords.com and not rant about them! But we’re also going to see if we can make it easier for you (or someone you know) to  pick it up! Barre Chords are probably the most difficult, most frustrating, just plain mind-numbing part of learning to play the guitar. Just when you though you hadthe hang of it…playing your way through a few songs…your teacher/book tells you the hardest is yet to come.

To their credit, barre chords are really useful. For one thing, they’re “movable”. This means you can move a  barre chords anywhere along the neck of the guitar, from the first fret upwards, to achieve chords of the same quality – but a different name. Take for example, the infamous B minor chord. It’s played on the second fret. (You can google the chord diagrams for it but we’ll talk about it later here). You can move the entire chord form up the neck by one fret to play a C minor chord. And another fret to play a C#. I’ll do a  post about how to use movable barre chords to your advantage soon but for now let’s stick with the topic…how to PLAY them…

If you’ve already tried, chances are you’re familiar with the annoying buzzing you usually get when you first start. I’ll use the Bminor chord again to give advice on this. To play a Bm chord you “bar” your index finger across the bottom five strings of the second fret while using your remaining three free fingers to form the chord. You can see the chord diagram here http://www.learn-to-play-rock-guitar.com/images/b-minor-chord01.gif

The “buzzing” is almost invariably caused by inadequate pressure causing you to press too lightly on the high e string – muting it. A quick way to improve on this is to rotate your index finger a bit onto its side (in the direction of the nut). Don’t roll it so much that your fretting hand feels completely awkward…just enough so you’re pressing on the strings with the firmer surface of the side of your finger (rather than the softer surface you might instinctively use). On that note you should also change your thumb position so it lies directly along the middle of the neck (with your thumb pointing to the nut) – giving you maximum leverage to apply pressure with your index finger. Lastly, be sure to apply firm, and steady, pressure with your index finger. Yes, your fingers are going to hurt, especially if you’re playing on a steel string, but I promise it will come so natural eventually that you won’t know how you struggled in the first place! :)

A good way to double-check to ensure you’re playing correctly is to pick each string individually to hear if its ringing clearly. Make the necessary adjustments and keep practicing! A couple of weeks should do it and then you  can worry about switch between barre chords and open chords (which I WILL post on!). Until next time…(probably later today)  :)