So while in guitar class today I complained to my teacher that after more than an hour of practicing songs involving barre chords my left arm/hand felt VERY tired. He observed my technique closely and gave me a couple pointers that I should share with you guys :)

Firstly, I’ve mentioned previously(with a video to demonstrate) that wrist position is very important in playing barre chords properly – as well as avoiding strains and injuries. (If you haven’t read that post you NEED to go through the categories section and read it(and watch the video I made!). Anyways, a quick summary is that your wrist should be relaxed as you fret barre chords – meaning that the required pressure on the strings should come from the barre finger (index) and the rest of your hand. This eliminates the risk of wrist tension induced injuries and hampered playing (I gave much more details in the post I dedicated to this error). Be sure to read it! :P

Also, in order to free up the muscles in your hand to exert pressure for the barre, you should ensure that your left hand/arm plays no role in supporting the guitar neck. For acoustic players, this means that you should be seated – with the guitar being supported by your knees (and minimally by your strumming arm)- and you should be able to take your left hand completely off the fretboard without the neck of the guitar dropping towards the floor. This will ensure that the muscles in your left arm/hand have to do less work – which in turn allows you to concentrate all their (and your) efforts on perfecting the barre chords :)

That last tip will greatly reduce fatigue – allowing you to practice barre chords for longer (and therefore improve faster) – while helping you play better. One additional point, however, is that you should minimize the tension in your left arm while playing. This was my mistake today! :P You don’t need to tense it up to ridiculous extents to play barres properly – just make sure you have a firm grip on the fretboard. Too much left arm tension restricts blood flow which causes your fretting hand to tire/fatigue faster – negatively affecting your playing, and the amount of time you can spend practicing at any given time. For obvious reasons, more time practicing means you’ll improve faster and get the hang of barre chords a lot sooner! :)

In other news, I plan to finally upload the anticipated cover I’ve been promising of “Adam Lambert – Whataya Want From Me” tomorrow night! It’s an excellent demonstration of barre chords – at least the way I intend to play it :) If you subscribe, you’ll know when I post it! If not, don’t forget check back tomorrow night! :P